Himachal Pradesh Plan for 2013-14 Finalized

The Annual Plan for the year 2013-14 for the state of Himachal Pradesh was finalised here today at a meeting between Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, Mr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Sh. Virbhadra Singh. The plan size has been agreed at Rs.4100crore.

In his comments on the performance of the State, Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia said the State has had satisfactory performance. Human development indicators are comparable to any other State and focus on social services is in line with the centre™s priorities. He said the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) growth rate of Himachal Pradesh during 11th Plan was 8.1% which is almost equal to national average of 8%. Himachal Pradesh has a huge potential to develop horticulture, proximate to big markets Delhi and Chandigarh being added incentive, and needs to nurture the development of this sector. The performance of Himachal Pradesh in industrial and Services Sectors is much better and higher than the national average. However, a comprehensive effort in the agriculture sector would be required from the State Government to achieve targeted agricultural growth rate of 3% during 12th Plan Five Year Plan.

Human Development Index (HDI) of Himachal Pradesh is 0.652 which is better than the national average of 0.467 and places Himachal is 3rd position among 22 States. The performance of State in most of the Health and educational indicators like birth rate, death rate, infant mortality rate, anaemia, under nutrition (0-3 years), literacy rate etc. are better than the national average. Child-sex ratio (0-6 years) in the State has reported an increase from 896 in 2001 by 10 points to 906 in 2011.

To institutional the process of Gender Budgeting and mainstreaming gender, State Finance Departments could set up Gender Budget Cell on the lines of the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Finance. The State Planning Departments can also issue guidelines on gender budgeting as a part of their annual plan circular. State should take necessary steps to achieve the goals/outcomes of the restructured ICDS by the end of 12th Five Year Plan.

The State Government has prepared a long term vision for the development of tourism and has targeted to increase contribution of Tourism Sector in the GSDP from the current level of 10% to 15% by the year 2020 by developing tourist friendly infrastructure. Himachal Pradesh has great potential in terms of natural resources which should be harnessed to generate sustainable growth and income opportunities for the people. Tourism, obviously, holds good prospects for the State. The State Government needs to prepare a comprehensive plan to improve high value as well as religious tourism.

Briefing the Planning Commission on development strategy and issues needing centre™s attention, Mr Singh said the State Government required compensation in the form of Green Bonus on account of ecological services rendered to the national by preserving forest areas in the State. He also requested to provide 90:10 funding pattern in all Centrally Sponsored Schemes at par with other Special Category States of North-Eastern regions. He said the central industrial package should be extended till 2020. Planning Commission may draw strategy for the development of infrastructure projects like Roads, Railways, and Airports & Power for North Western Himalayan states, as is being done for the North Eastern States.

He said in the 12th Plan, State has given 1st priority to ˜Social Service Sector™ with an outlay of Rs.1371.40 crore (33.45%). The funds allocated for the Education & Health sectors will help in improving the human development indicators in the State. The 2nd priority has been given to ˜Transport and Communication Sector™ with an outlay of Rs.865.14crore (21.10%) to link feasible villages with motorable roads and maintenance of the existing infrastructure.

He said Bilaspur Leh via Manali Rail and Baddi- Chandigarh Rail lines should be declared as projects of national importance considering their economic and strategic importance.

The population should not be the sole criteria for determining allocations under any Centrally Sponsored Schemes as the population in hill states is sparsely dispersed. He said Shimla is the only town in State with population of more than one lakh which is eligible for funding under JNNURM. Due to difficult geographical conditions and limited working season in hill states, cost norms and normative completion time need revision for all CSS.

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