Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Thursday ruled out payment of unemployment allowance to youths and said “it is not feasible and affordable” for the state. Briefing mediapersons after the Cabinet meeting, he said the state government has gone a step further and launched Rs 500 crore skill development schemes which also envisaged payment of skill development allowance (SDA) of Rs 1,000 per month and Rs 1,500 to youth with 50 per cent physical and mental disabilities.
Stressing that the conditions for payment of SDA had been relaxed and the minimum age for payment of allowance had been reduced from 18 years to 16 years and the educational qualification from matriculation to middle and 1.52 lakh have benefited from the scheme so far. This ambitious scheme covers all trades of ITIs, polytechnics, diploma or certificate courses in hotel management and nursing courses from government or government affiliated training institution and the state Government is open to any amendment required in the in the scheme to cover maximum number of youth, he added.
The Chief Minister said that from past four years, provision of Rs 100 crore was made in the budget every year and a Kaushal Vikas Nigam has been set up for implementation of ADB assisted Skill Development Project to provide employment to sixty-five thousand youth and to upgrade skill infrastructure in the state. The government provided employment to 44,463 youth in various government departments since December 2012 and mandatory condition of employing at least 70 per cent Himachalis in projects and industrial units has helped in providing employment to 2.90 lakh persons, he added.
Start-ups and New Industries Scheme has been started in the current year to boost self-employment in the small scale industries, two state of the art industrial areas are being set up at Kandrouri in Kangra District and Pandoga in Una District to attract new investment. While Rs 1,000 crore horticulture development project has been started to boost employment in Horticulture sector and 20 per cent funds have been converged with MNREGA under decentralised planning to provide employment to more people, he added.
Unemployment allowance was a major promise made by the Congress in its manifesto during the assembly polls in 2012 and state Transport minister G S Bali, who was overseeing the manifesto drafting, had also raised the issue of non-implementation of election promise to pay unemployment allowance.