Relaxing Corona Lockdown

By: Vijay Kumar Verma, Group Editor-ICN World

H.P. Cabinet Decides On Lifting of Section 144 and requirement of RT PCR for Entry into the state

SHIMLA : In the  Meeting of State Cabinet held here today under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, it was decided to increase the opening timing of shops from 9 am to 5 pm from June 14 with saturday and sunday continuing  to remain closed.

The Cabinet decided that offices with staff strength of 75 and above would function with 50 percent attendance from Monday. All the medical colleges, ayurvedic colleges and dental colleges in the state would open from June 23 while Pharmacy and nursing schools would open from  June 28.

Intrastate movement of public transport would also be allowed with 50 percent occupancy from coming Monday. Section 144 stands lifted and there would be no requirement of RT PCR tests for entering into the State. Corona curfew however will continue from 5pm to 5am

The Cabinet provided a relief of about Rs 40 crore to the transport sector one of the worst hit sectors by the pandemic and the measures include an Interest subvention on working capital for stage carriage operators, under which a loan amount of Rs 2 lakh per bus and maximum amount up to Rs 20 lakh would be provided to the bus operators as working capital.  The duration of the loan would be 5 years, in which one year would be of moratorium period, and there would be 75 percent interest subvention, which would be paid by the state government.  In the second year, there would be an interest subvention of 50 percent which would be borne by the state government.  About Rs. 11 crore relief has been provided by the government on this scheme.

The Cabinet also provided much needed relief to Stage Carriage, Taxi, Maxi, Autorickshaw and Institution Buses by giving a relief of 50 percent on payment of Special Road Tax and Token from 1st August, 2020 to 31st March, 2021.  The Transport sector thus would get a relief of about Rs. 20 crore due to this decision.

It also decided to provide 50 percent relief on Special Road Tax and Token Tax during the period of three months from 1st April, 2021 to 30th June, 2021.  This decision would provide relief of Rs. 8 crore to stage carriages, taxis, maxi, autorickshaws, contract carriage buses and institution buses.  This relief provided by the government to the transport sector during the critical period of Corona would benefit all the people of the State and would also prove to be a big help for the transport sector.

The Cabinet also directed on filling up vacancies in various departments besides increasing honorarium to different categories of employees.

Keeping in view the covid-19 pandemic situation in the State, the Cabinet decided to conduct examinations of Graduate and Shastri final year during July, 2021 as per SoPs issued by UGC. It also decided to hold the examinations of 1st and 2nd year of graduation after the final examinations. It also decided to start the academic session for the year 2021-22 for graduation classes from 1st week of August this year.

The Cabinet also gave its nod to revised scheme for Interest subvention on Working Capital Loan for Hospitality Industry  with a view to ensure that Tourism operators could get easier access to working capital at interest rates lower than the prevailing market rates. The revised scheme provides for interest subversion of 75 percent in first year while the  payment period has also been increased to five years. Some other categories like ropeway and travel agents have also been included in the new scheme.

The Cabinet decided to include the families under National Food Security Act (Priority Households Category) where death occurred due to Covid pandemic. The guidelines for identification of Priority Households under National Food Security Act, 2013 issued on 1st August, 2013 would be relaxed to give them immediate relief and such families would immediately be included by Gram Panchayats and Urban Local Bodies under National Food Security Act (PHH category) by simply getting Covid death certificates of such persons who died due to Corona.

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