Education & Health top priority of Government: Governor


    Himachal Pradesh Governor Acharya Devvrat today said that his Government was giving top priority to Education and health when he was delivering address in the State Assembly on commencement of budget and 14 session of present legislative assembly today. The Governor mainly highlighted four years achievements in his one hour long address and said that his State Government fulfilled almost all poll promises made in the manifesto and mainly promoting education, health and social sector.


    “My Government has given top priority to the education sector. The number of educational institutions to provide quality education saw a quantum jump with focus on accessibility and equity,” the Guv on the first day of the Assembly Session said in customary address here today. During 2016-2017, he said, the Government has upgraded 154 middle schools and 109 high schools. Besides, 17 new degree colleges have been opened.


    To extend financial aid to Himachali students pursuing higher education, in India or abroad, an interest subvention of four per cent loan up to ten lakh has been made available. Mr. Devvrat, who addressed the members in Hindi, said the Government has distributed 10,000 laptops among the meritorious students of Class X and 10+2 under the Rajiv Gandhi Digital Student Yojna in the last fiscal.


    Praising the Congress government, he said drinking water facilities have been provided in 99.88 percent government schools and 99.79
    percent schools have separate toilets for girls. “The dropout rate at primary school level has now been reduced to less than one percent and the state has achieved 99.9 percent enrollment in six to 14 years of age group, which is the highest in the country.”


    More than eight lakh people have been screened free of caost for Diabetes and Hypertension in the state up to Dec 2016. Free dental treatment to the IRDP and BPL families in the state is being provided as mnay as 63,780 patients were treated and 2838 dentures were delivered. To provide medical relief, he said the government has decided to provide 56 drugs and 10 consumable free of cost in all health
    institutions for which budgetary provision of Rs. 68 crore has been made.


    He said the state, which was declared open defecation free on October 28 last year, has shown better health indicators. The birth rate has
    reduced to 16.4 in comparison to 21 at the national level. The infant mortality rate has reduced to 28 against 42 at the national level. So
    is the total fertility rate, It’s 1.7 as compared to India’s 2.3. A strong advocate of drug-free society, Devvrat said a special campaign for cannabis eradication was launched in the state from August to September last and cannabis plants were uprooted from 2,145.75 hectares.


    He said to check the menace of drug trafficking, three narcotics crime control field units in Kullu, Shimla and Kangra were set up. The
    police have seized 377 kg charas, 27 kg opium and 607 kg poppy husk last year. For promoting horticulture, the World Bank has approved the Project Implementation Plan of Rs. 1,134 crore under the Himachal Pradesh Horticulture Development Project. About 36,000 farmers have already adopted organic farming.


    The Governor said that total area of 2.27 lakh hectare is brought under fruit co rps cultivation and including 3000 hectare during last year. The state was expecting 1321 thousand tons 1500 tons of Milk and wool production during up to this financial year. About 7712.50 metric tons of fish valuing at about Rs 81.19 Crore has been produced from all water reservoirs of the state till Dec 2016  providing livelihood to about 13,413 fishermen. In the industrial sector, there were 42,745 units registered with an overall investment of Rs. 20,170.11 crore till November 30, 2016.


    Himachal Pradesh, whose economy largely depends on tourism, has seen a spike in arrival of tourists. The number of tourists visiting the state has gone up to 184.50 lakh last year, with an increase of 5.24 percent over the preceding year, he said. The Government is providing incentive of 15 percent on capital investment subsidy on tourism units subject to maximum ceiling of Rs. 50 lakh.


    Under an Asian Development Bank-funded project, Rs. 640 crore is being spent to create tourist infrastructure at prominent tourist
    destinations, he added.
    During the current FY 245 kms motorable roads and 22 bridges have been constructed connecting 40 villages after spending Rs 912.73 Cr. Out of 3226 gram panchayat state had provided road connectivity of 3138 panchayat so far out of 88 remaining panchayat works in  74  are in progress. State had laid the target to provide at least 70 litre of safe drinking water per capita per day. The month-long session will have 21 sittings and conclude on April 7.  Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh would present the budget on March 10. This would be his 20th budget since he became the chief minister for the first time in 1983.


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