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Sukhu sets 2032 target to make Himachal India's most prosperous state

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Sukhu sets 2032 target to make Himachal India's most prosperous state

Shimla, Dec 30 (Ajit Weekly News) The cash-strapped Congress Government in Himachal Pradesh, which raised a loan of Rs 12,912 crore to meet its development needs in 2022-23, is set to make it the most prosperous state by 2032.

Aiming for a long-term road map for fiscal prudence, first-time Chief Minister Sukhvinder Sukhu believes the government is strong-willed and its intentions are good.

“We will be successful in bringing the economy back on track by 2027 and make Himachal Pradesh the most prosperous state in the country by 2032,” Sukhu said.

According to him, the economy has improved by 20 per cent in one year of the Congress Government coming to power.

Sukhu said the government is promoting self-employment opportunities and encouraging a start-up culture, apart from providing job opportunities in government departments.

“Living up to the promises made by the Congress party during the campaign for the Assembly elections, the government has initiated the first phase of the Rs 680-crore Rajiv Gandhi Self-Employment Start-up Scheme for the youth. Soon the second and third phase of this scheme would also be started, aimed at providing more self-employment opportunities,” Sukhu said.

Under the first phase of the scheme, the government is also providing 50 per cent subsidy to the youth for the purchase of e-taxis and they will also be ensured a fixed income.

Last week a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on Finance Accounts for 2022-23 pointed out that the state raised a loan of Rs 12,912 crore to meet its development needs in 2022-23. However, the total debt burden on the state is Rs 81,045 crore till March 31, 2023. But, the revenue deficit, which was Rs 7,962 crore in 2021-22, came down marginally to Rs 6,335 crore in 2022-23.

Sukhu says the government is working to provide financial assistance for setting up solar energy projects and will purchase electricity from them for 25 years, promising a fixed income.

Taking a step ahead, the Chief Minister this month laid the foundation stone of Himachal Pradesh’s largest solar plant of 32 MW in Pekhubela in Una district with a deadline to complete it by February 2024. It will generate 66.10 million units of electricity annually.

The state’s major sources of renewable energy include mini and micro hydropower plants, solar, biomass and wind energy. Of late, there has been a noticeable increase in the solar and wind power share with the amended policy compared to hydropower.

Himachal Pradesh’s economy highly banks on hydroelectric power, high-value horticultural and vegetable products and tourism. However, climate change and unsustainable development over the decades are posing challenges to the economy.

For farmers, the Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister assured a scheme in the forthcoming budget (in March 2024) for their economic prosperity. This will provide a fixed income based on natural farming.

In tourism, Chief Minister Sukhu says the government is providing ease of stay, a safe environment for travel and other state-of-the-art facilities to attract more tourists. He said the infrastructure is being developed as per the modern-day requirements for the convenience of tourists.

“There were about 9,000 hotels in Himachal and considering the influx of tourists, the operation of home stays is also being regulated,” said Sukhu.

Chief Minister Sukhu visited Dubai this month and invited investments in tourism and other sectors. Regarding the process of land acquisition for the expansion of the airport in Gaggal in Kangra district, Sukhu said it would be completed by March and every district headquarter is being connected with a heliport facility.

Despite the natural calamity in July-August and financial constraints, Sukhu said the government has succeeded in bringing tourism back on track in Himachal Pradesh.

“A record number of tourists have reached the state, taking the tourist footfall to over 1.5 crore this year,” Sukhu said.

On industrial investments, Sukhu said the foundation stone of the Rs 268 crore Pepsi bottling plant at Kandrori in Kangra would be the biggest investment in the district and would provide over 2,000 employment and self-employment opportunities.

Himachal Pradesh is an ideal destination for investment and the government is providing much-needed facilities to the investors, Sukhu said, adding the roads leading to the industrial belts will be improved.

(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at [email protected])

–Ajit Weekly News

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