The State Planning Board has approved Rs. 7900 crore annual plan for year 2020-21, which is Rs.800 crore more than 2019-20 with about 11 percent increase.This was stated by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur while presiding over the meeting of State Planning Board held here today. He said that social services sector has been accorded priority by allocating Rs. 3487.24 crore, which was 44.14 percent of the total annual plan. He said that transport and communication sector has been allocated Rs. 1394.89 crore, whereas agriculture and allied activities had been allotted Rs. 974.29 crore. Similarly, irrigation and flood control has been proposed Rs. 508.05 crore, while Rs. 499.05 crore has been earmarked for energy sector.Chief Minister appreciated efforts of the Planning Department for making a comprehensive and interesting presentation on economy of the State. He said the state has made remarkable progress in various spheres, but still a lot more could be achieved. He said the meeting of Planning Board would go a long way in making the planning for state more effective and result oriented. He said that the state has made marked progress in the field of education. He expressed concern over the gap between the male and female literacy rate. He said that efforts should be made to reduce this gap as this would help in women empowerment.Jai Ram Thakur said that the life expectancy rate of state was better than the national average, which speaks of better health services being provided to people of the State. He said that the low productivity rate was also an area of concern. He said that the per capita income of state was better that the national average and most of other states, which was Rs. 1,76,968 in 2018-19 and had shown increase of 10.12 percent from 2017-18. He said that Himachal Pradesh was second state after Sikkim to achieve the target of ODF. Chief Minister said that since 90 per cent population lives in rural area, emphasis should be laid on increasing crop production and strengthen the farm income for betterment of state economy. He said that stress must be laid on research in the farm sector, so that the farmers could be motivated for cultivation of high yielding crops. He said that the farmers should also be promoted for adopting natural farming as this would not only fetch them better price of their produce, but also help in improving the health of the soil.
While laying stress on empowerment of women, the Chief Minister said that greater participation of women in self help groups must be ensured so that they could become partners in development of the state. He said that the state government has launched several welfare schemes for ensuring empowerment of women. He said that judicious funding must be ensured for equitable development of the state particularly in respect of central sponsored schemes such as CRF and NABARD etc.Jai Ram Thakur said that the state government has launched several schemes for redressal of public grievances nearer to their doorsteps. He said that Jan Manch and Chief Minister Sewa Sankalp Helpline 1100 were proving boon to the common man. He said that the Grihini Suvidha Yojna has ensured that Himachal Pradesh become first state of the country with every household with gas connection. He said that adequate funds have been provided under the backward area Sub Plan. He said that out of the 3226 Panchayats, only 80 remains to be connected with roads. Chief Minister said that the state government was ensuring that instead of going for expansion of education and health institutions in the state, stress must be laid ion qualitative improvement of institutions. He said that focus must be laid on quality education so that the students could be prepared for meeting the challenges for the present competitive world. He said that the state have six medical colleges in government and one medical college in private sector. He said that in addition to this, AIIMS was also coming up in Bilaspur district.Jai Ram Thakur said that the state needs to focus more on irrigation sector to bring maximum area under irrigation. He said that this would motivate the farmers for going for cultivation of cash crops. He said that the state government was also committed to make Himachal a favourite tourist destination of the country. He said that the government was ensuring that work on four-laning projects was expedited so as to ensure better connectivity in the state.
He directed the officers to ensure that all bottlenecks in road projects must be removed at the earliest. He said that in order to ensure better air connectivity, all the existing three airports were being expanded and improved.Chief Minister said that the success of Global Investors' Meet has ensured active participation of private sector in development of the State. He said that MoUs worth Rs. 96,000 crore have been signed and ground breaking ceremony of Rs 13,500 crore has been performed.Chief Minister also released two publications of the Planning Department on the occasion.Vice Chairman, State Planning Board Ramesh Dhawala said that the state has achieved a remarkable growth in the field of education, health, horticulture and social services sectors. He said that the state economy has achieved a growth rate of 7.3 percent in the financial year 2018-19. He said that efforts should be made on ensuring quality education in state instead of unmindful expansion of educational institutions. He also laid stress on taking steps for revenue generation for state exchequer. Cabinet Ministers Mahender Singh, Suresh Bhardwaj, Sarveen Chaudhary, Dr. Ram Lal Markanda, Vipin Singh Parmar, Virender Kanwar, Bikram Singh, Govind Singh Thakur and Dr. Rajiv Saizal, MLAs and non official members gave their valuable suggestions in the meeting to make it more effective and result oriented.Principal Secretary Planning Prabodh Saxena while welcoming the Chief Minister gave a detailed power point presentation on Annual Plan- 2020-21 and progress of the state in various sectors. He also presented a glimpse of achievements of the state under Sustainable Development Goals.Chief Secretary Anil Khachi, Additional Chief Secretaries, Nisha Singh, Sanjay Gupta, Manoj Kumar and R.D. Dhiman, Advisor Planning Dr. Basu Sood, Principal Secretaries, Vice Chancellors of State Universities and other senior officers were present on the occasion.