HP Cabinet switches back to indirect polls for local bodies

The Himachal Pradesh cabinet on Friday reversed the decision of the previous BJP government in the state which prescribed direct elections for various posts.

Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh cabinet on Friday reversed the decision of the previous BJP government in the state which prescribed direct elections for various posts. The posts of which elections are to be held are of mayor and deputy mayor and president, vice-president of panchayats and local bodies.

Among a slew of measures passed by the state cabinet today was a move to revive the State Administrative Tribunal, which was abolished by previous BJP government.

The Cabinet also gave its nod to the framing of a new `Comprehensive Guiding Principles-2013` for regulating the transfers of officials working under the state government.
The Cabinet approved the HP Municipal (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013, and the HP Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013, to restore the old system of indirect elections to the office of president and vice-presidents of Municipal Councils/Nagar Panchayats and for the post of mayor and deputy mayor of the Shimla Municipal Corporation.

Among other measures, the Cabinet decided to provide enhanced relief to farmers affected by incessant rains and untimely snow in the state in general, and in the tribal Kinnaur district in particular, by amending existing norms.

It approved an enhanced support price of Rs 6/kg for grafted variety of mango and Rs 5.50/kg for seedling mangoes under the Market Intervention Scheme (MIS), 2013. It also gave its assent to an increase in the support price of apple from Rs 6 to Rs 6.50/kg under MIS.
In keeping with the announcement made in the 2013-14 Budget, the Cabinet approved regularisation of daily wagers /contingent workers who have completed seven years of continuous service as on March 31, 2013.

It also gave a go ahead to simplification of norms for permission under Section 118 of HP Tenancy and Land Reforms Act, 1972, for providing land for industrial purpose in the state.

In order to encourage opening of new hotels and tourist facilities in the backward panchayats of HP, the Cabinet gave its approval for hotels coming up in rural areas to be exempted from luxury tax for a period of 10 years from the date of commissioning.

For ensuring early registration of new dealers, it approved abolition of registration fee under the HP VAT Act, CST Act, Passenger and Goods Tax Act and Luxury Tax Act.
The Cabinet decided to ask successful bidders to deposit Project Development Success Fee as per the provisions for construction of the Bhuntar-Bijli Mahadev and Palchan-Rohtang ropeways.

It also allowed the bidder to incorporate one more company in the joint venture as a consortium partner in the Palchan-Rohtang ropeway project.

The Cabinet gave the green signal to the filling up of 800 vacant posts in the police department and 778 posts of Patwaris (Mohal) in offices of Deputy Commissioners.

It also decided to fill about 450 posts of different categories on contractual basis in the Health and Family Welfare Department and approved purchase of 125 new ambulances under Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram.

It cleared the proposal for the establishment of an Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) in Una district in Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode in association with HP Power Corporation, HP Power Transmission and Rolta India.

The Cabinet decided to provide medical reimbursement to the children of retired Government Employees on the same basis as those of the serving employees, keeping in view the exorbitant cost of life-threatening diseases.
It also gave its nod to the purchase of laptops and printers for 1,185 Gram Panchayats through HP Electronics Development Corporation.