Budget to take Himachal towards new heights of development: Ministers

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Jal Shakti Minister Mahender Singh Thakur, Education Minister Suresh Bhardwaj and Agriculture Minister Dr. Ram Lal Markanda have hailed the budget presented by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur today and said that the budget includes provisions for welfare of all sections of the society and it would take the state towards new heights of development and prosperity.

They said that special emphasis has been laid on encouraging skill development and entrepreneurship, to provide wide opportunities to youth. Similarly, several provisions have been made for agriculturist, horticulturist, weaker sections, women, children, elderly, pensioners and employees, which is unprecedented.

Ministers said that it has been proposed that 50 thousand more eligible people would be brought under the ambit of social security pension in the coming fiscal. Social Security Pension of widows and disabled has been enhanced to rupees one thousand and then is a proposal to increase the honorarium of Aanganwadi workers, Mini Angaanwadi workers and Angaanwadi assistants has been prepared.

The minimum wages of daily wagers would be enhanced to Rs. 275 from Rs. 250. They said that 10 thousand new beneficiaries would be covered under various housing schemes, out of which 5100 houses would be constructed for eligible persons belonging to schedule castes.

Mahender Singh, Suresh Bhardwaj and Dr. Ramlal Markanda said that keeping in view of social concern of the government Chief Minister has announced to enhance the honorarium of Panchayat Silai Adhyapikas and Panchayat Chowkidars by Rs. 500, 10 percent increase in honorarium of outsource IT teachers, regularization of water carrier in five years instead of six years and increase of Rs. 500 per month in state share of ASHA workers has also been proposed in the budget.

They said that creation of Rs. 20 crore Krishi Kosh has been proposed for strengthening of farmer produce organizations, benefiting thousands of farmers in next three years.  They said that this budget would be very helpful for doubling the farmers’ income by 2022. It has also been proposed to bring 20 thousand hectare additional land under natural farming, which would result in reducing the investment by farmers and increasing their income. Similarly, 50 percent subsidy would be provided to farmers and horticulturists for erecting permanent structures to support anti-hail nets.

Ministers said that in order to bring quality in elementary education modern facilities would be made available in hundred cluster schools under a new scheme. Similarly, it has been proposed to develop nine colleges as Utkrisht colleges, to improve mathematics skills of students establishing laboratories in 50 schools and to start Virtual Class Rooms in 106 new educational institutions.

They said that several important proposals have been made in Health Sector, which would help to provide better health services to the people at their door step. Mammography facility would be provided in all district hospitals of the state, which would be helpful for detecting the breast cancer at initial stage and its treatment.  It has been announced to increase the financial assistance to Rs. 3000 per month from Rs. 2000 per month given to chronically ill patients under Sahara Yojna. It has also been proposed to extend free diagnostic facility for 56 tests to all. State Government has also proposed that senior citizens of 60 years and above age would be provided Ayurvedic medicines free of cost.

Ministers said that it has been proposed in the budget to provide piped drinking water supply to every household in the state by 2024. It has also been proposed to increase honorarium of Water Guards, Para-Fitters and Pump Operators by Rs. 300 per month. 49 panchayats out of 88 panchayats without road connectivity would be provided with road facility.   

They said that many proposals have been made to boost tourism sector in the state, which would include construction of five new heliports, expansion of existing airports and construction of ropeways.