Himachal Pradesh Governor Acharya Devvrat said that it is a matter of pride that 58 per cent elected representatives in Panchayati Raj Institutions are women. In his address to the state Assembly on the opening day of the Budget session, he congratulated the people for “overwhelming participation” in the recent panchayat polls. He said the government was working for overall development of the state and providing corruption free governance.
“Xero tolerance to corruption” was the commitment of the government and a toll free phone number has been installed by the State Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau for reporting graft cases, Devvrat said. He said Tourism, Horticulture and Hydropower were major contributors to economy of the state. Health and education for all and road connectivity has been the priority of the government, the Governor said, adding eight new Civil Hospitals, 16 Primary Health Centres and 4 Health Sub Centres had been opened in the current year.
The government is providing 56 drugs and 10 consumables free of cost to the patients in all health institutions for better healthcare and 266 doctors, 15 specialists and 25 Medical Officers (Dental) have been recruited, Devvrat said. Also, 167 posts of paramedical staff were filled up and the process to fill up another 516 posts is underway, he said, adding to overcome the shortage of teachers in medical colleges, the government has decided to raise the retirement age from 62 to 65 years.
Under the “Beti Hai Anmol Scheme” the scholarship amount has been hiked from Rs 300 to Rs 1,500 per annum for every girl school student, while for the college students the amount has been raised to Rs 2,250 from Rs 450. “Rs 21,000 is being provided to the grand-daughters of the freedom fighters for their marriage,” he said, adding a Model Children Home for girls is being set up at Mashobra at a cost of Rs 6.16 crore. “In the current financial year, 4,45,997 children, 1,00,789 pregnant and lactating mothers and 1,37,931 adolescent girls have been covered under ICDS programme and financial assistance to children under “Bal/Balika Surksha Yojna” has been enhanced from Rs 500 to Rs 2,300 per month,” Devvrat said.
To provide greater access to education, the government has opened 21 new primary schools, upgraded 49 primary schools as middle schools, 92 middle schools as high schools and 58 high schools as senior secondary schools. Also, seven degree colleges and one art college were opened in the current year, 535 vacancies of teaching and non-teaching staff were filled, while 878 posts in various teaching categories were created, the Governor said.