By OUR STAFF REPORTER
DEHRADUN, 20 Jan: Finance Minister Prakash Pant communicated directly with the people regarding the state budget for the fiscal year 2019-20 via Facebook at the Veer Chandra Singh Garhwali Auditorium, here, today. There was a direct dialogue with 1127 people in an hour’s time. Information will be given to all the questioners in writing and, after the coming budget session, this dialogue would be continued with the people. Pant added that the government believed the budget ought to be not an academic exercise, but based on the wishes of the people.
Regarding questions by some youths regarding employment, the Finance Minister stated that there were a total of 2,17,000 posts in the state government departments. Currently 1,73,000 posts were occupied. The government was recruiting with transparency to fill the vacant posts and about 9 lakh 33 thousand jobseekers were registered with the Employment Offices. In 2017-18, 3000 posts had been filled by the Uttarakhand Subordinate Services Selection Commission and recruitment for 1600 posts was under progress. The process of recruitment by the Public Service Commission was also underway, even as employment had been provided in non-government institutions by Employment Offices by holding Employment Fairs. Employment opportunities had been provided to the youth by organising army recruiting fairs by requesting the union government. Apart from the government jobs, the concept of skill development among the youth to provide them employment was being pursued. As part of this, 13,800 youths had been skilled this year and the process was ongoing.
In 2018, there had been proposals for investment of Rs 1.24 lakh crore at the Investors’ Summit, of which nearly Rs 24,000 crore worth of investment had already been done. This would also provide employment opportunities to the youth. He claimed the state government was constantly trying to provide basic amenities in the remote areas of hill districts to prevent migration and the government was working on connecting villages having population of 250 with roads. Good results had also been seen and the number of non-populated villages had decreased.
He also spoke about the Home Stay Scheme, which has been launched by the government to provide employment to the youth in the villages. In order to expand the health services in remote areas, 190 primary/community health centres were being equipped with modern medical services and the appointment process for 2286 heath related jobs was in progress. The government was working fast in every village on road connectivity.
In response to a question, the Finance Minister said that the GDP of 3 districts in the plains had increased, while increase in the GDP of the hill districts remained a challenge before the government. As part of this, investment by the government in agricultural services was being increased.
Responding to a question by senior journalist Anjali Nauriyal, the Finance Minister said the government supported women empowerment and the government was moving forward on the campaign, “Beti Bachao – Beti Padhao”, started on 22 January, 2015. The women were the backbone of the economy of the hills, because of which the Chief Minister, Trivendra Singh Rawat, had announced that loans to women would be given at zero per cent interest. The plan was to set up residential colleges with a view to providing higher education to women, under which a residential university had already been established in Almora.
Chairman, Fourth State Finance Commission and former Vice-Chancellor of Kumaon University, Prof BK Joshi also answered questions on the topic of education to end gender disparity. Also present on the occasion were Additional Secretary, Finance, Savin Bansal, LN Pant and Manish Upreti.
The programme was successfully conducted by senior journalist Satish Sharma.
By OUR STAFF REPORTER