Himachal Pradesh government announced sops for employees and hikes in funds allotted to social welfare schemes. Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal announced seven per cent DA to employees and pensioners from January 1, 2013, at an Independence Day function in Kullu today, two months ahead of Assembly polls. The chief minister announced hike in daily wages from Rs 130 to Rs 150 and social security pension from Rs 400 to Rs 450 per month, besides increase in daily allowance of Home Guard volunteers from Rs 200 to Rs 225. A cash award of Rs 31,000 to students from the state admitted to IIT/IIM and annual scholarship of Rs 15,000 to 2,000 top ranking girls in plus two examination will be given, he said. All constables completing 20 years of services would be designated as Honorary Head Constable, while firemen would be Honorary Chief Fireman and jail wardens would be Honorary Chief Warden, Dhumal said. Rs eight crore would be released for payment of medical reimbursement bills of pensioners, he said. The chief minister also announced a hike in financial assistance under Mukhya Mantri Kanyadaan Yojna, for marriage of girls of BPL families who had lost their fathers, from Rs 11,000 to Rs 21,000 and assistance under Mother Teresa Ashaya Matri Sambal Yojna from Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000.
Dhumal said traders with annual turnover upto Rs eight lakh would be exempted from registration and daily allowance of Panchayati Raj functionaries would be doubled. Referring to benefits for farmers, Dhumal announced extension of Pandit Deen Dayal Kisaan Baagwan Samridhi Yojna for four years beyond March 31, 2013 and announced Rs 190 crore more would be spent to benefit farmers. He also announced 50 per cent subsidy on wheat seed and fodder to farmers affected by drought conditions this year and said subsidy under Horticulture Technology Mission would be increased from 55 per cent to 80 per cent. Dhumal said a University and Medical College would be opened in Kullu in private sector and announced public holiday for state employees on Parshuram Jayanti. The chief minister announced three months remission of sentence to prisoners who were sentenced to imprisonment of more than ten years, two months remission to prisoners sentenced between five to ten years and 45 days to those undergoing sentence between three to five years. Independence Day was celebrated with fervour at all district headquarters as unfurling of national flag, march past and colourful cultural programmes marked celebrations.
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