Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday chaired the 6th Meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog virtually in which issues related to agriculture, infrastructure, manufacturing and human resource development were discussed in detail.

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh conducted the proceeding of the meeting.

While addressing the meeting virtually from Shimla, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said that being a hilly state, greater funds and resources were required to create infrastructure in Himachal Pradesh as compared to other states.

He said the state government is laying special stress on making Himachal Pradesh a tourist hub of the Country. He said that the biggest bottleneck in this was lack of better air and rail connectivity.

He urged the Prime Minister for approval and to provide assistance for construction of Greenfield Airport Mandi and for expansion of Kangra Airport. He said that this would give a big boost to tourism activities, besides being important from a strategic point of view.

The chief minister said the state government was giving top priority on the development of infrastructure in Himachal Pradesh. He thanked the Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking a personal interest in completing the work of Atal Tunnel Rohtang in record time.

He said that with the completion of this Tunnel, there has been a lot of improvement in livelihood in Lahaul and Pangi Valley, as thousands of tourists have turned towards this. He said the about 5,000 vehicles were crossing the Rohtang Tunnel daily. He said the snow festival organised in Keylong Valley attracted a lot of tourists, which would never have been possible without this tunnel.

Thakur said that the Baddi area of the state can boast of being the biggest Pharma hub of Asia.

He said that now the State has aggressively made a bid for Bulk Drug Pharma Park for the state. He said that in addition to this the state has also bid for setting up of a Medical Devices Manufacturing Park and Electronic Manufacturing Hub for the state.

He urged for approving all these Parks for the State, which would go a long way in transforming the economic condition of the state. He urged the Prime Minister to favourably consider the request of the State in this regard.

The chief minister said that the state has performed exceptionally well in implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission. He said that Himachal Pradesh has emerged as the first state in the country to receive four tranches under the Jal Jeevan Mission. He said that the State has achieved the target of covering 100 percent households with tapped drinking water in three districts and the target has been fixed to provide tapped pure drinking water to cent percent households in another three districts during the year 2021-22.

Thakur said that ‘Subhash Palekar Natural Farming Scheme’ was being implemented in the state as per the priority of the Prime Minister. He said that so far more than one lakh farmers have been benefited and tangible results have been received under this scheme which has helped in doubling the income of farmers. He said that more than 9000 apple growers of the state have started apple production in 155 bighas as per the Subhash Palekar Natural farming method.

The chief minister thanked the Prime Minister for always being considerate towards the developmental demands and requirements of the state. He said that Rs 450 crore interest free loan provided by the Union government has come handy to the state in meeting out its expenses.