To provide maximum benefits to the OBCs, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said, his government had raised the income limit of creamy layer from Rs 4.50 lakhs to Rs 6 lakhs per annum.
While addressing the meeting of Himachal Pradesh Other Backward Classes (OBC) Welfare Board at Parayas Bhawan, Dharamshala, Singh quoted the figures from the 2001 census: the state had an OBC population of 9, 27,542, which was 15.27 percent of the total population.
The chief minister also informed the audience of the measures he had taken to ensure adequate representation of OBCs in government jobs. He said 12 per cent of Class I and II positions and 18 per cent of the Class III and IV positions have been reserved for the OBCs.
He said that state government had also taken up the matter of adding more sub-castes to the OBC schedule of Government of India in February 2006, and that the central government had included Tarkhan, Badhai, Ramgarhi, Dhiman (excluding Lohar), Vishwkarma, Pumba, Hadi and Saini in the schedule, while others were being considered by the National Commission of Backward Classes.
Besides, Singh said, the state government had also taken a decision to provide three biswa of land in rural areas and two biswa in urban areas as plots for houses to the landless families.
Virbhadra Singh said he had taken various initiatives to ensure that development works benefited all categories, but especially the weaker sections of society. He claimed that the state had achieved many milestones in the course of its rapid development in the past year.
Singh directed the district administration to construct the road leading to the cremation site of the Labana community in Galma panchayat of Mandi district. He also directed the authorities concerned to repair the road to the temple of the Labana community at Tanda, in Lohara panchyat, Mandi district.
On this occasion, the chief minister also stressed the need for planting fruit-bearing trees in the forest to avoid conflict between humans and wild animals and to check the monkey menace.
According to Singh, directions have been issued to prepare a project report for channelling the Batta River in Sirmour district. He has also directed the PWD to prepare a feasibility report for constructing a bridge over the river to link Fatehpur with Gulabnagar.
Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Dr Dhani Ram Shandil said that state government had started various schemes for the welfare of OBCs. He said various training courses with a focus on these communities had been conducted in the state. He noted that the number of OBC beneficiaries under various schemes for students had increased from 500 to 2500 during the current financial year.
Shandil also said that the Himachal Pradesh Backward Classes Finance and Development Corporation had been set up in Kangra. The corporation gives vocational training, and loans up to Rs 5 lakh on low interest rates for self-employment ventures. It also provides interest-free loans of up to Rs 50,000 rupees for higher education and professional courses. Shandil added that OBC students had also benefited from scholarships.
Published in the March 2014 issue of the Forward Press magazine
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