Shimla: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Thursday announced a slew of populist measures, including release of eight per cent additional Dearness Allowance for employees and pensioners from January 1 this year.
The Chief Minister also announced a hike in honorarium of freedom fighters from Rs 7,500 to Rs 10,000 per month.
Norms under skill development scheme were also relaxed and age for coverage was increased from 18 to 25 years.
Presiding over the state-level Independence Day function at Mandi, Singh said the qualification for becoming eligible under the scheme has also been lowered from 12th pass to matriculation.
"Release of DA will put a burden of Rs 4,000 crore on the state exchequer," the chief minister said.
The registration process has also been simplified and condition of registration with employment exchange for two years has been waived off and now the candidate should be registered with any Employment Exchange on the date of application, he said.
Applicant can now file an affidavit regarding his or her being unemployed instead of filing an employment certificate issued by a Magistrate, he said.
Widows and un-married daughters of the freedom fighter will get Rs 5,000 instead of Rs 3,500 per month.
Listing achievements of his government, Singh said that during a short span of over seven months, the state government has taken a string of initiatives and important decisions aimed at welfare of all sections of society.
He said that Rs 1,371 crore was being spent on social welfare sector during this year, which was 34 per cent of total plan. Social security pension was enhanced from Rs 450 to Rs 500 and senior citizens above 80 years of age were being given monthly pension of Rs 1,000.
Besides, 10,900 pending cases of pension have been accorded approval and there was no pending case as of now, the chief minister said.
Singh said that Rs 3,836 crore were being spent on education sector during the current financial year, which was 18 per cent of the total budget.
"Incentive of Rs 75,000 would be given to students on getting admission in degree courses in any Indian Institute of Technology or All India Institute of Medical Sciences and in Post Graduate/Diploma course in any Indian Institute of Management," the chief minister said.
Describing the Food Security Bill, 2013 as a historic
step, Singh said that the state government has decided to fully implement the scheme. He said the state government was providing subsidised food grains to all the Ration Card holders and it would continue.
The government was spending Rs 175 crore on subsidised ration scheme, he disclosed.
The chief minister said that financial assistance under the Mukhyamantri Kanayadan Yojana had been enhanced from Rs 21,000 to Rs 25,000.
He said that as many as 10,000 houses will be constructed for the houseless poor during the current year and the housing subsidy under Rajiv Awas Yojana and other state housing schemes has been enhanced from Rs 48,500 to Rs 75,000.
The chief minister said that Environment friendly and labour intensive industries, based on local raw material, would be promoted and three new state of the art industrial areas would be development in Una, Solan and Kangra districts.
"A mechanism has been evolved for granting clearances to industrial projects in a time-bound manner within 90 days of receiving the application and the state government has strongly taken up the matter regarding restoring the special industrial package to the state till 2020 with the Union Government," he said.
The chief minister took salute from march past by contingents of Army, Police, Home guards and para military forces and also unfurled the national flag.
Independence Day functions were also held in all the state headquarters and inspite of intermittent rains and fog people enthusiastically participated in functions.