Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Monday urged Union Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman for a nod to the ADB funded tourism project from the Economic Affairs department as the ministry has already given its in-principle approval for it.
He was addressing a virtual meeting with all Chief Ministers and Finance Ministers of the states with Sitharaman to discuss ways to create a reform-focused business climate and further facilitate investments to help boost growth.
He stated that the Rs 2095 crore ADB Tourism Infrastructure Development Project was awaiting a nod from the Screening Committee of the Economic Affairs department.
This would give a much-needed boost to tourism activities in the state, he added.
Thakur thanked the Union government for providing free vaccines in the country and said otherwise the state would have to spend about Rs 500 crore to vaccinate its over 55 lakh eligible population.
“In order to make the private sector partner in development, the state government organized a ‘Global Investor Meeting’ in November 2019 in which 703 MoUs worth Rs 96,720 crore were signed. The groundbreaking of 236 MoUs regarding projects worth Rs 13,488 crore was signed within two months of the Meet.
Apart from this, the state has made tremendous improvement in ‘Ease of Doing Business’ from improving the ranking from 17th position to 7th position,” the CM said.
He stated that the economy of the state was adversely affected during the pandemic and during the pre-Covid, the economy of the state witnessed a growth of 4.9 per cent which dropped down to minus 6.2 per cent during the pandemic.
Now, this growth has gone up to 5.5 per cent, he stated.
He urged the Union Finance Minister for providing all possible assistance to the state for strengthening air connectivity in the state and requested Sitharaman to make a provision of about Rs 3,000 crore for the construction of Greenfield Airport at Mandi in the next year’s Budget.
He also urged the Union Finance Minister to provide adequate funds for the construction of National Highways in the state.
The Centre and the state governments are bearing the cost of the Bhanupali-Bilaspur rail line in a 75:25 ratio. Keeping in view the strategic importance of the Bhanupali-Bilaspur-Leh railway line, he urged the Union Finance Minister that the Centre should bear the full expenditure of the proposed railway line.
“Himachal has succeeded in harnessing about 10,948 MW power potential till date while projects worth about 5,497 MW had been allocated to the private sector for execution. The One Time Amnesty Scheme for giving a boost to the power sector has proved a boon to the power sector in the state,” he added.
Additional Chief Secretary Industries RD Dhiman, Additional Chief Secretary Finance Prabodh Saxena, Additional Chief Secretary Excise and Taxation J C Sharma, Secretary Jal Shakti Vikas Labroo, Secretary Health and Horticulture Amitabh Avasthi were also present in the meeting among others.