Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said that Himachal Pradesh had emerged as one of the most developed State in the country the credit for which goes to the employees and those who had retired by giving their valuable services in implementing the government’s policies and programmes in true spirit. He said that employees should come forward to work with more dedication besides the guidance of the pensioners and their vast experience would be fruitful in development of the State.
The Chief Minister was presiding over the conference of the State Pensioners Association held at Sundernagar, in Mandi district today. He said that despite of financial constraints, the State Government was considerate to the genuine demands of its employees and pensioners and they were been given various benefits from time to time.
Virbhadra Singh said that there were limited scopes for employment in government sector and keeping this in view, the State government had launched a novel Skill Development Allowance Scheme to enable youth in getting technical training for adopting self-employment. The uneducated youth would also be benefited under the scheme for providing the technical training in various trades.
He said that as promised in the budget announcements, the State Government had enhanced the pension of pensioners and family pensioners of pre-2006 period upto 50 percent and 30 percent respectively of the minimum of the pay in the pay band. The State Government had enhanced the benefits at the time of retirement form 1st January, 2006 as per the recommendations of Pay Commission and from this period the limit of gratuity had also been enhanced in all cases from Rs. 3.50 lakh to Rs. 10 lakh. The fixed medical allowance had also been enhanced from Rs. 250 to Rs. 350 from April, 2013.
He said that State Government was providing full pension after completion of 20 years of service whereas in the neighbouring State Punjab, the minimum service of 25 years was required for the same. Similarly, one time payment of 40 percent of pension on retirement by commutation was being given by the State Government, whereas Punjab Government commutes only 20 percent of the total pension.
Virbhadra Singh promised to consider the demand of the State pensioners to convert five percent pension allowance into additional pension keeping in view the Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules and State resources. He said that Government would ensure timely reimbursement of the medical bills of the pensioners and so far Rs. 50 crore had already been allotted to different departments under this head. He also agreed in principle to constitute Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) for the pensioners to fulfill their demand.
The Chief Minister honoured the veteran pensioners on the occasion. Later, he also inspected the Jawahar Lal Nehru Engineering College at Sundernagar and directed the concerned authorities to complete the construction work of the administrative block and boy’s hostel in a stipulated time period and also ensure the quality in construction work.
Jiwanand Jiwan, President of the State Pensioner’s Welfare Association thanked the Chief Minister for safeguarding the interests of the employees and pensioners and ensuring all round development of the State. He also raised various the demands of the Association.
Harish Sharma, President of the District Mandi Pensioners Welfare Association welcomed the Chief Minister while Shri Sohan Lal Thakur, Chief Parliamentary Secretary proposed the vote of thanks. Harichand Gupta, General Secretary also spoke on the occasion. Health Minister Kaul Singh Thakur, Excise and Taxation Minister Prakash Chaudhary, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister Anil Sharma, Chairman, APMC, Mandi Harinder Sen, Advisor to the Chief Minister T.G. Negi, OSD to the Chief Minister Amit Pal Singh, Vice President of the Association H.R Vashishtha, former employees NGO’s leader C.S Mandyal and pensioners in large number from all over the State other senior officers were present on the occasion.