The Planning Commission on Wednesday approved Himachal Pradeshs annual plan of Rs 4,100 crore for this fiscal – Rs 400 crore more than the outlay for 2012-13. The plan was approved at a meeting between Deputy Chairman,Planning Commission,Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh at Yojna Bhawan in New Delhi. Virbhadra Singh went to Delhi with a strong team of officers headed by Chief secretary Sudripta Roy and principal secretary (Finance) Srikant Baldi. The state budget was passed on March 29.
The Plan size for the new fiscal is almost 11 percent higher than the Rs 3700-crore plan outlay for 2012-13 . The social,transport,communication and energy sectors have been given priority in that order, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said in Delhi after the meeting.
Speaking at the meeting earlier in the day,the chief minister said the state economy growth rate for the 12th plan period had been fixed at 9 per cent. An outlay of Rs 1013.52 crore has been allocated to scheduled caste sub-plan for implementing various schemes for upliftment of Scheduled Caste population. He added that Rs 369 crore (9 percent) of the outlay had been earmarked for Tribal Area Sub Plan and Rs 37 crore had been allocated for various development projects in declared backward areas of the state.
Additional 5,009 MW of hydel energy would be generated in the state during the 12th five year plan of which the state proposes to achieve a target of 1,918 MW in 2013-14. He stressed the need for low cost open access and grid connectivity in entire country to evacuate surplus power for energy consumers at various parts of the country at proper price.
On the World Bank-funded Mid-Himalayan Watershed Project,Virbhadra Singh said the project cost has been revised to Rs 596.25 crore from the initial Rs 365 crore and this would make a significant impact in 704 gram panchayats of 44 blocks in 10 districts.
He said house boats would be introduced in vast reservoirs in the state as a tourism promotion activity as 1.50 crore tourists visiting the state annual prefer popular tourist destinations in the state.
He requested the union government to start air services to all the three airports in Shimla,Kangra and Kullu to boost the arrival of high-end tourists during the summer,besides pleading for declaring the Bilaspur-Leh via Manali railway line as project of National importance keeping in view its strategic importance.