Revenue loss to the Himachal Pradesh government during the Covid pandemic has come down from 54 per cent in the first quarter to 37 per cent in the second quarter and 11 per cent so far in the third quarter, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur Saturday said as he counted his government’s achievements on the completion of its first three years.
The BJP government’s third anniversary will be celebrated virtually across the state on Sunday.
Thakur said that despite the pandemic, foundation for development works worth Rs 3,500 crore was laid this year. The state government repaid previous loans worth Rs 3,700 crore and took fresh loans of Rs 4,000 crore this fiscal year, and is expecting a financial assistance of several thousand crores from the Centre, he said. His government had “inherited” a debt of nearly Rs 48,000 crore when it came to power, he claimed.
The CM said that previous governments in the state practised vendetta politics but this trend was done away with during his tenure. “We do not take decisions based on feelings of vengeance or for political motives. On coming to power, the very first decision taken by the Cabinet was to lower the eligibility age for social security pension from 80 years to 70 years. The government has approved 1.63 lakh new pension cases in these three years,” he said.
Thakur said that he started several new initiatives such as Janmanch, a programme of public functions in which people can get their grievances redressed, and the Sahara Yojna, in which bed-ridden patients of serious illnesses are entitled to a monthly allowance. He said that all women in the state have an LPG gas connection now and 1.17 lakh people have been provided free health treatment under the Himcare scheme.
“For promoting self-employment, we started a scheme which provides subsidy to young people to set up their businesses. It helped set up nearly 1,100 units which employ more than 3,600 people,” said the CM. He added that among other schemes, new tourist destinations are being developed in Himachal, and farmers are being incentivised to adopt a method of natural farming.
‘Hopeful of getting a bulk drug park’
Thakur said that Himachal is “aggressively bidding” for the allotment of one of three bulk drug parks proposed to be started in the country. Such a park is likely to attract an investment of Rs 10,000 crore and employ 15,000 people, he said.
‘No shortage of ventilators’
The chief minister said that the number of ventilators in Himachal have been increased from 60 to 600 during the Covid pandemic, and there is no shortoge of Covid-related medical items.
Social gatherings led to a spike in Covid cases in November, he said, but the daily number of cases have come down from 900 per day during the peak of the surge to 300 per day now. Himachal’s total caseload is over 54,000, including 4,347 active cases. Nearly 900 Covid patients have died in the state so far.