Himachal budget offers incentives to govt & contractual employees

Shimla/February 7
Himachal Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Friday presented the Budget for 2014-15 in Vidhansabha here in which the Congress led government announced various sops and incentives for the people of the state.
Himachal govt announced 10% Dearness Allowance to be given to all the state government employees and pensioners. Further, all Contractual Employees, completing six years of service as on March 31, 2014 will be regularised. Their leave benefits increased. And they will also be brought under RSBY scheme. Monthly honorarium of Part Time Water Carriers has also been increased from 1,300 to 1,500.
Greenfield airport project to be explored near Kandaghat and survey for developing an airport in Mandi district to be done.
All Daily Wagers completing seven years of service as on March 31, 2014 to be regularised. Ration Allowance of Constables, Head Constables, ASIs, SIs, and Inspectors increased from `150 to 180 per month. Honorarium of Home Guards increased from ` 225 to ` 260 per day. Rank allowance increased by 20%.
5,000 functional posts to be filled up in different departments. Daily Wages increased from 150 to 170. Part-timers completing eight years of services as on 31st March, 2014 to be made daily wagers. Monthly honourarium of Tailoring Teachers increased from ` 1,600 to ` 2,000.
Additional honorarium to Anganwari workers, helpers increased by 50%. Pensioners on attaining the age of 65-70, 70-75 and 75-80 years will be given pension allowance of 5%, 10% and 15% respectively. Benefit of Dual Family Pension to the families of Military Family Pensioners granted from 2014-15. 3,500 women based Self-Help Groups (SHGs) would be assisted to achieve credit mobilization target of ` 100 Crore.
10,700 new houses to be constructed under various housing schemes with a grant of 75,000 per house. Provision made for repair of houses for BPL general category houses under Rajiv Awaas Yojana. An expenditure of 190 Crore will be incurred for implementing Integrated Watershed Management Programme covering 25,000 Hectare area. The State Government will transfer 476 Crore to PRIs and 382 Crore to ULBs for the years 2012-2017 as recommended by 4th State Finance Commission.

Sops for Gram Panchayats

245 vacant posts of Panchayat Sahayaks will be filled up to ensure timely delivery of services. 200 Gram Panchayat Offices will be upgraded and 1,425 Lap-Tops will be provided under Rajiv Gandhi Panchayat Sashaktikaran Abhiyan at the cost of ` 55 Crore. Grant-in-aid to Gram Panchayats for payment of honorarium to Panchayat Chowkidar to be increased from 1,650 to 1,850 per month. Honorarium of the representatives of PRIs increased from 1st April, 2014.
Increase in the honorarium of the representatives of PRIs from April 1, 2014. The honorarium of the Chairperson Zila Parishad will be increased from 5,000 to 6,500, that of the Vice-Chairperson from 3,500 to 4,500 and of Member Zila Parishad from 2,000 to 2,400 per month. In the case of Panchayat Samiti, the honorarium of the Chairperson will be enhanced from 2,500 to 3,500 of the Vice-Chairperson from 2,000 to 2,400 and of Member from 1,800 to 2,100 per month. In the Gram Panchayats, the honorarium of the Panchayat Pradhan will be enhanced from 1,800 to 2,100, that of Up-Pradhan from 1,500 to 1,800 per month and the sitting fee for the members of Gram Panchayats will be enhanced from 175 to 200 per sitting.With this increase the representatives of PRIs will get an honorarium of 30 Crore per annum.
A special drive to be launched to reduce the pendency of revenue court cases by 20 percent. Water ATMs to be installed at important destinations. 240 Crore to be provided as energy charges to IPH to provide drinking water and irrigation facilities at an affordable cost. Swan Channelisation from Daulatpur Bridge to Gagret Bridge costing ` 922 Crore and Channelisation of Chounch Khad costing ` 180 Crore to be taken up. A budget outlay of 1,500 Crore proposed for Irrigation and Public health.
2,000 MW additional hydro-power capacity targeted for commissioning in 2014-15. Streamlined the process for project clearances for Small Hydro Power Projects. Free power from 2 Mega Watt projects to be reduced from 7 percent to 3 percent. Preference to Himachalis for allotment of projects upto 5 MW.
State VAT on plant and machinery of Hydro-Power Projects will be given full set-off of 5% Entry Tax. VAT on all type of plant and machinery used in generation of hydro-power, to be reduced to only 2 percent. State Government to take over the liability of 564 Crore of the loan outstanding against the HPSEBL. Cheaper electricity from SJVNL, which the State gets on account of its equity of 25%, to be given to HPSEBL for its lifetime to ensure low-priced electricity supply to the consumers.
Work on ‘Four laning of Parwanoo-Shimla Highway’ to be done on BOT basis at a cost of 2,500 Crore. The facility of filing e-returns, e-tax payment, e-declaration and issuance of statutory forms on-line extended to all the registered dealers of the State with effect from 1st July, 2014. Government to initiate large number of ropeway projects in the State. Luxury Tax exempted for a period of 10 years for New Hotels opened in the rural areas of the State.

Sops for Education Sector

Net Books (Lap Tops) to be provided to 7,500 meritorious students of Class-10th &12th during 2014-15. ICT at School Scheme (Phase II) to cover 618 Government Senior Secondary Schools, 848 High Schools and 5 Smart Schools.
Skill development allowance scheme liberalised to cover maximum youths. A budget provision of 100 Crore kept for Skill development initiatives. A City Museum & Entertainment Park to be set up in the heart of Shimla city. Financial assistance for bulk purchase of books of Himachali writers raised from 10,000 to 25,000 for State Awardees and 6,000 to 15,000 for other writers.
Annual grant of Youth Clubs for procurement of sports equipments and cultural instruments increased from 10,000 to 18,000. 50 posts of Coaches and 13 posts of Groundsmen to be created , to give boost to sports activities. Cheaper and quality Generic Drugs to be provided to the people of the State. Drug warehouses to be established in the State.

Sops for Health Sector

Mobile Medical Units to be set up for better health care services in far-flung areas. Trauma Centres to be set up at Nurpur, Rampur and Kullu. Kamla Nehru Hospital at Shimla to be upgraded as full-fledged Mother-Child Hospital. Mother and Child hospital to be set up in Mandi. Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana to cover Sanitation workers, rag pickers, Auto Rickshaw drivers and Taxi drivers etc. Social Security Pension increased from 500 to 550 per month. All persons above the age of 80 years to get Social Security Pension irrespective of any income limit except those drawing any other pension.

Other sops

Persons with above 70% disability to get higher pension at the rate of 750 per month. Marriage grant for them to be raised to 40,000. Housing Subsidy for repair of houses of SCs, STs & OBCs increased from 15,000 to 25,000. A uniform income limit of ` 35,000 per annum fixed for eligibility to avail benefit under various schemes.
An allocation of ` 924 Crore proposed for the development of tribal areas for 2014-15. Financial Assistance of World War-II Veterans increased from ` 750 to ` 2,000.
Annuity of Gallantry Award Winners increased from 3,000 to 5,000. 2 Crore to be provided for establishment of War Memorial Museum at Dharamshala. ‘Samman Rashi’ of wives and daughters of late freedom fighter enhanced from 3,500 to 5,000.
Marriage grant to the daughters and grand-daughters of the Freedom Fighters enhanced to 51,000 in case of daughters and 21,000 in case of grand-daughters. Two Women Police Stations to be established in Shimla and Dharamshala.