The Himachal Pradesh Cabinet on Saturday announced a new scheme, Mukhya Mantri Shahari Rojgar Guarantee Yojana, to provide 120 days of assured employment to the state’s urban population. The government also said that it will provide Rs. 2,000 each to the state’s one lakh registered workers to help them tide over the economic crisis triggered by the pandemic.
Compensation for farmers
To compensate for the damage caused to various crops in the state by untimely thundershowers and hailstorms last month, the government said that it will compensate agriculturists, horticulturists and will help them in marketing their produce.
Relief for tourism sector
For the “worst-affected tourism industry”, the government has waived off electricity demand charges for six months. Excise and taxation licence fee would also be waived off and lifting quota of bars would be on pro-rata basis, a government statement said.
The government has also announced salary allowance for HP Tourism Development Corporation employees, token tax and special road tax waiver for four months, early processing of GST refunds for the industry, promotion of part-time Class IV workers who have completed eight years of service as daily wagers, among its measures to revive the economy.
Liquor vends to open
The Cabinet has also allowed liquor vends to operate in the state from May 4. Himachal Parliamentary Affairs Minister Suresh Bhardwaj told reporters that it was decided not to charge any licence fee from liquor vends for the lockdown period (March 22 to May 3). He said it was also decided by the Cabinet that the excise policy for 2019-20 will continue till May 31 against the earlier March 31. The period of the excise policy for 2020-21 will start from June 1 and continue till May 31, 2021, he added. The toll barrier policy will also follow the same calendar.
Taskforce for economic revival
The government has constituted a taskforce headed by Jal Shakti Minister Mahender Singh to suggest remedial measures to revive the state’s economy.
Meanwhile, the daily relaxation in curfew timings has been increased from four to five hours beginning Monday. Hardware shops would also be allowed to open and construction activity in urban and rural areas will be permitted, a government official said. DCs will take a call regarding opening of shops in their jurisdiction but barber shops, spas and saloons will remain closed.
Cong seeks relief package from Centre
In a letter to incumbent CM Jai Ram Thakur after a video conference of the state Congress Legislative Party, former CM Virbhadra Singh urged Thakur to demand a compensation package from the Centre due to limited scope resource generation in the hilly state. The former CM welcomed the government’s decision to allow stranded Himachalis to return home, but urged strict compliance of quarantine for them.
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