CM presides over 50th Statehood day function at Jhandutta

SHIMLA -25 January, 2020-While presiding over 50th Statehood day function today at Saheed Ashwini Kumar Memorial Senior Secondary School Jhandutta in Bilaspur district, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur announced 5 per cent DA to the employees and pensioners of the State Government from 1st July, 2019. This would ensure financial benefit of over Rs. 250 crore to the employees and pensioners. He also announced opening of PWD Division at Jhandutta. He also announced Rs. 3 crore for additional building of Saheed Ashwini Kumar Memorial Senior Secondary School Jhandutta.

He said that the Golden jubilee year of the Statehood would be celebrated by organising 51 programmes throughout the year in different parts of the State to trace the developmental journey of the State. He urged to people to be part of this celebration.

Chief Minister hoisted the National Flag and took salute from the impressive march past by contingents of Police, Home-guards, NCC cadets, NSS Cadets, Scouts and Guides and school Children.

Assistant Superintendent of Police Ashok Rattan led the Parade.

Chief Minister also unveiled the Golden Jubilee Plaque on the occasion to mark the 50th Statehood day.

While greeting the people of the State on the auspicious occasion of Statehood Day, Chief Minister said that the State during these 49 years has witnessed unprecedented development in all spheres of development credit of which goes to the active support and cooperation of the people of the State besides able leadership provided by the successive Governments. He said that when Himachal attained Statehood, the length of roads was mere 7740 km and the literacy rate was 31.3 percent. He said that there were only 4963 educational institutions and 482 health institutions and only 2944 villages had electricity. He said that the State has witnessed unprecedented development in all sectors as today the State has a sound network of 37207 km roads and 3128 panchayats out of total 3226 have been connected with roads.

Shri Jai Ram Thakur said that present State government completed two year in the office on December 27, 2019 and significant efforts were made to provide benefits of developmental schemes to all areas and sections of the State by launching innovative and new welfare and development oriented schemes.

Chief Minister said that the State has received National level awards for better performance in the field of good governance, health, education, agriculture and horticulture during this period. He said that the State has been selected as the best State in the country for its achievement of sustainable development goals, which was indeed a matter of pride.

Jai Ram Thakur said that new schemes such as Jan Manch, Mukhya Mantri Seva Sankalp Helpline, Himachal Grihini Suvidha Yojana, Himcare and Sahara have yielded good results and Himachal Pradesh has emerged as the second best State in the country in overall performance due to effective implementation of welfare schemes. The State has achieved first place in the 'State of the States' Award in the fields of education and health, he added.

Chief Minister said that in the first meeting of the cabinet, the present State government reduced the age limit for receiving social security pension from 80 to 70 years without any income limit. With this first decision, 1.30 lakh senior citizens were benefited at that time and at present 2,63,798 senior citizens are receiving social security pension of Rs. 1500 per month, he said.

Jai Ram Thakur said that the Janmanch, which was started with the objective of establishing direct dialogue with the people of the State has yielded good results as since first Janmanch was organized on 3 June, 2018, 181 Janmanch programmes have been organized in different parts of the State. He said that more than 90 percent of these complaints were redressed on the spot and the remaining complaints were forwarded immediately to the concerned departments for further action. He said that apart from this, Mukhya Mantri Seva Sankalp Helpline-1100 has been started to bring the government closer to the public and to solve most of the problems of the citizens at their doorstep.

Chief Minister said that the country was blessed to have a strong and able leadership in form of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and it was under his visionary leadership that the country was regaining its old glory. He said Him Care scheme has been started for all the families not covered under Ayushman Bharat Yojana in the State under which free medical treatment facility of Rs. 5 lakh was being provided for five members per family under this scheme on the lines of Ayushman Bharat Scheme. He said that as many as 5.50 lakh families have been registered within a year under the scheme and more than 58 thousand patients have been treated under this scheme, on which the government has spent an amount of Rs. 54.75 crore. He said that financial assistance of Rs. 2000 per month was being provided to the eligible patients under the Sahara Yojna to the patients suffering from serious diseases like paralysis, cancer and muscular dystrophy.

Jai Ram Thakur said that Global Investor Meet was organized on November 7-8, 2019 at Dharamshala for the first time, making this small State a platform for entrepreneurs and investors from all over the world which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He said that a result of these efforts, 703 MoUs involving investment proposals worth Rs. 96,720.88 crore have been signed so far, which is much more than the target fixed for the Meet. He said that Ground breaking ceremony of 240 projects having investment of worth Rs. 13,656 crore was held on 27 December, 2019. He said that this would open new employment opportunities to the youth of the State.

Chief Minister said that special initiatives have been taken to promote tourism in the State and a tourism policy has been formulated under which an action plan has been made to attract tourists throughout the year. He said that under the Nai Raahein-Nai Manzilein scheme, the Chanshal Valley was being developed for skiing, Janjehli for eco-tourism, Bir-Billing for paragliding and Larji and Pong Dam for water sports. He said that the ADB project of Rs. 1892 crore approved for the State would go a long way in developing Himachal Pradesh as a favourite tourist destination.

While expressing concern over the increasing cases of drug abuse particularly amongst the youth, Chief Minister said that the State Government has taken concerted steps to check this social vice. He said that for this the active participation of every citizen is required. He said that it becomes responsibility of each one of us to make Himachal Pradesh a drug free State.

Jai Ram Thakur said that abrogation of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir, decision on Triple Talaq and Citizen Amendment Act, 2019 were the biggest gift of the Prime Minister to the Nation and this was possible only due to the strong leadership provided by Narendra Modi. He said that this has paved a way for One Nation, Best Nation (Ek Rashtra, Sherastha Bharat).

Referring to the development of Bilaspur district, Chief Minister said that an AIIMS was coming up at Kothipura in Bilaspur. He said that for this the people of the State were thankful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the then Health Minister and present National BJP President Jagat Prakash Nadda. He said that drinking water supply scheme worth about Rs. 66 crore for Bilaspur would be started soon. He said that Rs 105 crore Hydro Engineering College was coming up in Bilaspur district. He said that efforts would be made to develop Bilaspur from tourism point of view and Sri Naina Devi Ji would be soon connected by ropeway from Anandpur Sahib. He said that Rs. 37.81 crore augmentation water supply scheme once completed would benefit 19 Panchayats of Kot Dhar area.

Chief Minister also honoured the participants of cultural programme and Parade Commanders on the occasion.

A colourful cultural programme was also held on the occasion.

Irrigation and Public Health Minister Mahender Singh Thakur, MLAs Sarkaghat Col. Inder Singh, MLA Jhandutta J.R. Katwal, MLA Bilaspur Sadar Subhash Thakur, MLA Ghumarwin Rajinder Garg, former MLA Randhir Sharma and R.R. Kondal, , Chief Secretary Anil Kumar Khachi, Director General of Police S.R. Mardi, Deputy Commissioner Bilaspur Rajeshwar Goyal, Director Information and Public Relations Harbans Singh Brascon, SP Bilaspur Sakshi Verma and senior civil and police officers were present on the occasion amongst others.

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Himachal Pradesh participating in Surajkund Crafts Mela as 'Theme State'

For the promotion of Tourism, Cultural-Heritage, Cuisines and Himachali products, the Department of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Himachal Pradesh along with Industries Department, Language, Art and Culture and Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) is participating in the 34th Surajkund International Crafts Mela-2020 as a "Theme State. R.D. Dhiman, Additional Chief Secretary Tourism and Civil Aviation today informed that this year Himachal Pradesh got the opportunity to showcase the tourism potential, cultural-heritage, handloom-handicrafts and other products of the state at an international level platform. The prestigious Surajkund International Crafts Mela is scheduled from 1st to 16th February, 2020 at Surajkund, Faridabad (Haryana).

R.D. Dhiman further stated that as a 'Theme State' this time the Department has made all the necessary arrangements for showcasing Himachal Pradesh's traditional art and culture at one place for the national and international visitors. He said that during the 16 days Crafts Mela, there will be daily Himachali cultural performances at Mela ground, besides Himachali cultural night on 4th February, 2020. In addition, a Fashion Show will also be organized on 9th February, 2020 by Ritu Beri, a famous dress designer. 70 Artisans stalls are being put up for showcasing and selling of Himachal products. Himachali Food stall also being set up for serving variety of Himachali dishes during the fair.

Yunus, Director, Tourism and Civil Aviation informed that the Department of Tourism will publicize the State from tourism point of view through print and electronic media. He further added that during the inaugural session on 1st February, the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh will grace the occasion and the Governor of the State on closing ceremony on 16th February, 2020 of the Surajkund International Crafts Mela.

He further added that the Department of Tourism has constructed one permanent gate of hill architecture at Mela ground as per the traditions of Surajkund Crafts Mela Authority by the 'Theme State' and one permanent monument of Bhimakali Temple, Sarahan. Besides this five gates at each entry point of the Crafts Mela ground in the style of Sakaya Tangyud Monastery Spiti, Chamba Millennium gate, Chhinna Mastika Shaktipeeth Chintpurni, Chindi Mata Temple gate Karsog and Jwalamukhi temple gate are also being set up and one 'Apna Ghar' has been set up in a traditional style. An information centre has also been set up by the Tourism Department to provide information to the tourists and to showcase unexplored tourist destinations.

He said that the department of Tourism had earlier participated as a 'Theme State' in the year 1996.

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Associations thank Chief Minister for announcing 5 percent DA

HP PA/PS Association has thanked the Chief Minister for announcing 5 per cent DA to the employees and pensioners from July 2019.

In a statement issued from Shimla today President of the Association Diwan Negi and General Secretary Tulsi Ram Sharma said that this would provide an additional financial benefits of over Rs 250 crore to the employees.

H.P. Secretariat Services (Gazetted Officer) Association (HPSSA) President Kultar Singh Rana and General Secretary Dr. Vivek Jyoti has also thanked the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur for announcing five percent D.A. to the employees and pensioners of the State Government from 1st July, 2019.They said that State Government has always been very positive for welfare of the employees of the state.

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Sanjay Kundu reviews tax collection of North Zone of Excise Department

Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Sanjay Kundu who is also Principal Secretary Excise and Taxation, presided over a meeting of all Excise and Taxation Department officers of North Zone at Dharamshala today to review the revenue collection. The tax collection for period April-December 2019 was reviewed in comparison to corresponding period of 2018.

He said that tax collection of Revenue districts of Chamba, Nurpur, Kangra and Una was Rs. 841 crore in the year 2019, whereas it was Rs. 756 crore in the year 2018. Tax collection was 11.27 percent more in the year 2019 as compared to the year 2018.

He said that Tax collection in Excise head was 418 crore, VAT 208 crore, SGST 164 crore, PGT 18.82 crore and OTD 31.92 crore in the year 2019, whereas tax collection in Excise head was 381 crore, VAT 224 crore, SGST 104 crore, PGT 18.46 crore and OTD was 27.65 crore in the year 2018, he added.

Principal Secretary said that tax collection in Enforcement Zone Palampur was 21.52 crore in the year 2019 as compared to 0.96 crore in the year 2018. There was 2191 per cent increase in tax collection in the year 2019 as compared to the year 2018. He said that in Enforcement Zone Una tax collection was Rs. 13.38 crore in the year 2019 as compared to Rs. 2.56 crore in the year 2018. It was 422 per cent more in the 2019 as compared to the year 2018.

The Principal Secretary fixed target for tax collection for Financial Year 2019-20 of 1200 Crores for the North Zone, Rs 30 crore for Enforcement Zone Palampur and Rs. 19 crore for Enforcement Zone Una.

He complimented the officers of the State Excise and Taxation Department for detecting fake input tax credits of cigarettes industry, pharmaceutical industry and tourism industry. In the meeting it was decided to lay thrust on GST collection in mining activities, tourism activities and projects (including hydro-electricity projects).

Sanjay Kundu directed all Officers to effectively expedite the filing of GST returns from its existing level of 85 % to 100 % to realize full GST revenue. Business establishments that are not issuing sale bills for transactions of over Rs 200 should be proceeded under section 122 of GST Act, which has provision of penalty of Rs 10000/- under SGST Act and Rs 10000/- under CGST Act. The officers were also asked to keep eyes on trading of iron and steel and plywood. The officers were also advised to realize all arrears pending with excise (liquor) contractors and bottlers.

To build the capacity of officers of Excise and Taxation Department, Sanjay Kundu said that the State Government will be requested to provide training to officers of the Department in reputed national and international institutes like IIMs, Indian School of Business. He said that the State Government would be requested to send officers of the Department for exposure visits to foreign countries which are model countries for GST revenue collection. -0-

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Survey to ascertain exact number of persons with disabilities

Himachal Pradesh government will conduct a survey in the state to ascertain the exact number of persons with disabilities. The government has taken a number of steps for the empowerment of this underprivileged section of the society.

This was stated by Dr. Rajiv Saizal, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister yesterday evening while presiding over the first meeting of HP State Advisory Board on Disability. Expert members of the Board including Prof. Ajai Srivastava, Dr. Anupam Thakur and Sanjna Goel also spoke in the meeting which was conducted by Hansraj, Director SC OBC Minority and Specially Abled Affairs.

Dr. Rajiv Saizal said that Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur was very sensitive towards the problems of disabled people.

He said government was implementing the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 and it's rules have already been framed. He said, "Four percent seats at secondary level and 5 percent at higher level educational institutions has already been reserved for them. In government jobs, 4 % reservation is being provided to the disabled. Apart from this, unemployment allows of Rs. 1500 per month is also being given to the eligible disabled candidates."

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CM disburses assistance to the landslide affected families

The State Government was committed to provide all possible assistance to the families affected due to the natural calamities in the State. This was stated by the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur while addressing the people at Ghumarwin in Bilaspur district yesterday evening after disbursing assistance to the members of families affected due to the massive landslide in Kathalag-Karyalag village in Ghumarwin area of Bilaspur district on 18th August last year.

Chief Minister provided cheque of Rs. 2 lakh as Mukhiyamantri Aawas Yojna Assistance, Rs 1.67 lakh as Jan Sehayog Assistance besides papers (Pattas) of three Biswa land for construction of house to each affected family. As many as seven families were affected in this natural calamity in which over two hundred bigha fertile land was washed away.

Jai Ram Thakur said that the State Government was committed to provide all possible assistance to the affected families and was always with the families in this hour of distress. He said that Rs 2 lakh has been already provided to the affected families as immediate relief by the State Government.

Local MLA Rajinder Garg thanked the Chief Minister for providing all possible assistance to the people of the village whose prime land and houses were damaged due to the heavy rains last year and they were forced to live in temple complex.

Irrigation and Public Health Minister Mahender Singh Thakur, MLAs J.R. Katwal and Subhash Thakur, Deputy Commissioner of Bilaspur Rajeshwar Goyal were present on the occasion among others.