New era of development and change in Himachal Pradesh

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Himachal Pradesh On the 53rd Statehood Day, I convey my heartiest greetings to all the people of the state. It is an occasion of pride and joy for all of us. It was on this day, January 25, 1971, that the then Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi granted full statehood to Himachal Pradesh amidst heavy snowfall on the historic ridge of Shimla. As a result of his efforts, Himachal Pradesh became the 18th state of India. Late Dr. Yashwant Singh Parmar, the creator of Himachal and the first Chief Minister of the state, made significant contribution in getting Himachal full statehood and taking it forward on the path of development. On this occasion, I pay my heartfelt tributes to him.

On December 11, 2022, our government took over the responsibility of serving the public and started working for the change in the system. Himachal Pradesh is going through a phase of economic crisis. The present government inherited a debt of Rs 75,000 crore from the previous BJP government, while employees have Rs 4,430 crore as arrears, pensioners Rs 5,226 crore and DA of employees and pensioners Rs 1,000 crore. Moreover, the previous government opened and upgraded 900 institutions in the last 9 months of its tenure without any budget provision. Due to this, there was an economic burden of Rs 5000 crore on the state.

The Congress party has given ten guarantees in its manifesto during the assembly elections. The first of these guarantees was the restoration of the old pension scheme, which has been completed in the very first meeting of the cabinet. About 8 thousand crore rupees of NPS are stuck with the central government. Despite this, the state government has fulfilled its promise of giving old pension. This will benefit around 1.36 lakh NPS employees of the state.

This is not a political decision of the state government to give old pension. Our intention is to protect the self-esteem of government officials and employees and provide social security to them because they have written the saga of the state’s development. Government officers and employees play an important role in the development of the state. I appreciate everyone’s valuable contribution. We are committed to provide DA to the employees and their benefits to the pensioners. Our pledge letter has also promised to provide one lakh employment to the youth and monthly financial assistance of Rs.1500 to the women. To fulfill both these guarantees, we have constituted two sub-committees of the Cabinet, which will submit their reports within a month.

On this auspicious occasion of today, I want to tell all the government employee brothers and sisters that you should reach out to every eligible person standing in the last row, who have not yet received the benefits of government schemes. I have seen struggle in personal life. That’s why I am well aware of the problems of the common man. The government will work on the ground to solve their problems. Despite the huge debt burden, the state government is working with determination to fulfill all its promises. This requires some tough decisions to be made. I assure you that in the coming 4 years, we will bring the state’s economy back on track. Your cooperation is needed in this. I want to say that the present government will fulfill all its promises.

I have been saying that we have come to power not for happiness but to change the system. System change cannot happen overnight. The present government has a policy of zero tolerance towards corruption. As soon as we assumed power, we have started taking steps to eliminate corruption. In the matter of question paper leak of the examinations, the functioning of the Himachal Pradesh Staff Selection Commission Hamirpur has been suspended and now the selection will be done on the basis of merit in a fair and transparent manner.

It is only 44 days since the formation of the present government. We have tried to live up to our commitments. We have set up Chief Minister’s Sukh-Ashray Sahayata Kosh of Rs 101 crore for the needy. The government has taken this step not out of compassion, but to give them their rights. I have contributed my full salary and all the MLAs of Congress have contributed one lakh rupees each to this fund. The government will bear the entire cost of education of needy children who get admission in institutes like IIT, AIIMS, IIM, IIIT, Polytechnic, ITI. They will also be given pocket money.

The state government will play the role of mother and father for the children living in old age homes and shelter homes. The government will provide clothing subsidy of Rs 10,000 per person per year to single women and special children. A festival allowance of Rs 500 per person is also being provided to the residents of Child Protection Institutions, Old Age Homes, Nari Seva Sadan, Shakti Sadan and Special Homes for celebrating Lohri, Makar Sakranti, Holi and other festivals.

In the short tenure of the present government, we have taken many steps towards system change. Even in the education policy, the present government is trying to bring major changes and system changes, so that poor children can get equal opportunities to study and grow. Rajiv Gandhi Model Day-Boarding Schools will be opened in each assembly constituency in a phased manner. New technical courses such as robotics, block chain technology, cyber security, cloud computing, data science, artificial intelligence and machine learning courses will be started in polytechnics, ITIs and engineering colleges to provide employment to the youth. The government has started working on this. The government is also going to bring a new employment policy.

Tourism is the main source of our economy. Special attention will be given to natural, rural, horticulture, adventure and religious tourism. This will provide employment opportunities to the local people on a large scale and tourism will be promoted up to the village level. To increase the participation of youth, tourism projects will be linked to the start-up scheme.
The present government is making efforts to promote investment so that the youth of Himachal Pradesh get employment in the private sector as well. The government will bring a new investment policy, in which government bonds will be reduced for the convenience of investors. The government is also making efforts to increase the income of farmers, animal herders and horticulturists. For this, guidelines have been given to the officers.

Himachal Pradesh is known as the fruit state. Our government has resolved that in view of the importance of agriculture and horticulture, their participation will be ensured in deciding the price of fruits of farmers and horticulturists. Appropriate steps will be taken to provide loans without interest to the youth to set up their industries and businesses. Our government has set a target to harness hydropower, hydrogen and solar energy to preserve the state’s environment and to make Himachal Pradesh the country’s first green energy state by the year 2025.

Green products will be promoted in the state, due to which exports will increase. The government will set up solar projects up to 500 MW in the coming financial year.
The state government has also decided to promote green energy in the state. For this, electric vehicles will be encouraged. The state government has decided to promote electric vehicles in a phased manner.

Best health facilities will be made available to the public in the health institutions of the state so that people do not need to resort to foreign states or private hospitals for the treatment of their serious diseases. Robotic surgery facility will be provided at IGMC, Tanda and Hamirpur Medical College. Medical staff will also be recruited.

I hope that our government will get active and constructive cooperation from all of you, which will pave the way for progress and development in our beautiful state.
On the occasion of Complete Statehood Day, I once again extend my best wishes to all of you and wish the state and your bright future. I want to reiterate once again that we have not come for power, but for a change in the system, in which cooperation of all of you is necessary.
Jai Hind, Jai Himachal.

– Thakur Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu
Chief Minister, Himachal Pradesh.

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