himachal cabinet

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh assured to release the adequate funds from National Disaster Response Fund to Himachal Pradesh for undertaking relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction works in flood affected areas of the State.

Himachal Pradesh Cabinet led by Chief Minister, Virbhadra Singh called on Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh at 7 Race Course, New Delhi and requested him to provide financial assistance from National Disaster Response Fund for relief and rehabilitation works in flood affected areas of the State. Ambika Soni, General Secretary All India Congress Committee also accompanied the delegation.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh told the Prime Minister that State had suffered massive losses due to heavy rainfall and requested the Central assistance under NDRF and Prime Ministers Relief Fund. He told that first installment of SDRF amounting to Rs. 68.12 crore was released by the Central Government in July 2013 and State Government had released its share of Rs. 15.14 crore. He said that total 129.24 crores had been released to various departments and district administration for providing immediate relief to the affected areas. He told that the State as whole experienced heavy rainfall which was 576% to 1358% above the normal rainfall during the 15-17 June 2013 and Kinnaur and Sirmour district were the worst affected. He told that total 69 human lives had been lost and 2427 animals have perished in the flash floods. He told that 11157 houses, 4519 roads, 2763 water supply schemes had been badly damaged in the flash floods.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh requested the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh to restore the industrial package of the State till the year 2020 to remove regional disparity in the field of industrial development and create employment avenues to youths in the State. He told that Special Package to the industries was introduced in the year 2003 for the period of 10 years till March 2013. However the incentive of central excise duty was withdrawn in March 2010 and income tax incentive was withdrawn in March 2012. He told that the these incentives to Special Category States were not adversely affecting the industrial development of bigger States and told that about 16500 units in small, medium and large scale sector with the proposed investment of Rs. 48,830 crore having employment potential of 5,42,580 persons was approved between 6th January 2003 to 31st March 2013. However out of these approved units only 9,353 units with investment of Rs. 14,557 crore having employment potential of 1, 20,602 persons were actually set up in the State. He said that State Government had made massive investment to improve infrastructural facilities in industrial areas to facilitate the industrial investment.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh requested the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to release the full amount of Rs. 2,100 crore Special Plan Assistance to the State for financing the Annual Plan of Rs. 4,100 crore to speed up the development in the State. He requested SPA/SCA of Rs. 2,100 crore for the annual plan 2013-14 as the State had suffered huge loss due to adverse recommendations of the 13th Finance Commission. He said that Himachal Pradesh had got only 50 percent increase in the total devolution of funds by 13th Finance Commission over 12th Finance Commission in comparison to 126 percent increase to all other States and the State was deprived of additional transfer of Rs.10,725 crore during the award period of 13th Finance Commission between the year 2010-15 and requested to provide SPA/SCA to fund the State plans to compensate the State.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh requested the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to provide uniform funding in the ratio of 90:10 in Centrally Sponsored Schemes for all Special Category States. He told that at present the funding under Sarv Shisha Abhiyan (65%), Mid Day Meal Scheme (75%), Indira Awas Yojna, Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (75%), Swaran Jayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojna (75%), Nutrition Component of ICDS (50%) and the Ambulance Service Under NHM (20%) is less for the Himachal Pradesh compared to other Special Category States in North East. He requested that funding pattern for all Special Category States should be exactly at par with North Eastern States and requested to issue guidelines to all Central Ministries to modify the guidelines for the existing schemes and adopt uniform norms for all Special Category States.

Dr. Manmohan Singh sympathized with the flood victims of the State and said that the State had badly suffered in recent flash floods and assured all possible central assistance. He appreciated the relief and rehabilitation works done by State Government in restoring the normalcy in the flood affected areas.

Dr. Manmohan Singh assured the delegation that all the demands of the State Government like extension of Industrial Package, Special Plan Assistance, strengthening of Rail Network will be positively considered by the Central Government in time bound manner to increase the pace of the development in the region and fulfill the aspirations of the people from present Congress Government.

The delegation comprised of Vidya Stokes, Irrigation & Public Health and Horticulture Minister, Kaul Singh Thakur Health and Family Welfare Minister, G.S. Bali, Food & Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Minister, Sujan Singh Pathania, Agriculture Minister, Thakur Singh Bharmouri, Forest and Fisheries Minister, Mukesh Agnihotri, Industries and Information & Public Relations Minister, Sudhir Sharma, Urban Development Minister, Prakash Chaudhary, Excise & Taxation Minister, Dr. (Col) Dhani Ram Shandil, Social Justice & Empowerment Minister, Anil Sharma, Rural Development & Panchayati Raj Minister, Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee, President, Sukhvinder Singh Thakur and Dr. Shrikant Baldi, Principal Secretary Finance.