By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 9 Jun: The state government has decided to grant relief to tour and adventure tourism operators affected by the Covid lockdown in the form of direct benefit transfer. A proposal to this effect was approved by the Uttarakhand Cabinet at its meeting chaired by Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat at the Secretariat, here, today.
Later, Government spokesperson Subodh Uniyal informed the media about the various cabinet decisions taken in today’s meeting. A total of 14 proposals were approved at the meeting. Yet another important decision approved today was the proposal to launch the Vatsalya Scheme, which had been announced some days ago by Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat. It is aimed at helping the children orphaned due to Covid in the state.
While the tour operators and adventure tourism tour operators affected adversely by Covid would be compensated in the form of direct benefit transfer of Rs 10,000 each, businessmen in the tourism sector would be compensated more. While the total expenditure expected to compensate 352 tour operators is expected to be around Rs 35.20 lakhs at the rate of Rs 10,000 per operator, the total expenditure estimated to be incurred for 303 adventure tour operators, also to be compensated at Rs 10,000 per operator, is expected to be around Rs 30.30 lakhs. On the other hand, an amount of Rs 28.99 crores was approved as compensation to the tourism businessmen to compensate for loss to the tourism industry due to Covid pandemic. Under this, one-time financial assistance of Rs 5,000 per employee would be given to the beneficiaries at the rate of Rs 2,500 per month per employee for 2 months. The total expenditure expected to be incurred in this regard would be around Rs 25 crores.
In view of the Covid effect, the Vatsalya Scheme was approved by the Cabinet as a social security scheme for the children orphaned or having lost one parent due to Covid. It may be recalled that the scheme had been announced by the Chief Minister some time ago. The scheme would be applicable from March 2020 to March 2022. Under this, children who have lost their parent or guardian will be given free ration, education, etc., worth Rs 3000 per month till he or she reaches 21 years of age.
It was decided to extend the Craftsperson Promotion Scheme by 5 years. Under this, 25 craftspersons would be given a cash award of Rs 1 lakh. It was also decided that, under the Veer Chandra Singh Garhwali Yojana, interest would be reimbursed on the loan taken from 1 April to 30 September under the Home Stay Scheme. The total expenditure expected on this head is expected to be around Rs 2 crores. A total of registered 631 river-rafting guides would be given Rs 10,000, each, with total expenditure expected to be around Rs 63.10 lakhs. The cabinet also approved exemption from the fee for Licence renewal to these operators with an estimated expenditure to be around Rs 6 lakhs while the total loss on exemption of aero sports licence fee is expected to be around Rs 65 lakhs.
The Chief Minister’s Self Employment Scheme (Mukhyamantri Swarozgar Yojna) for Micro and Nano Enterprises would also be implemented. Under this, small businesses like sewing, weaving, tea, fruit vendors related to sundry nano industries would benefit. A total of around 20 thousand people affected by the adverse effect of the lockdown are expected to benefit, incurring a total expenditure of around Rs 10 crores of which Rs 5 crores would be borne by Hans Foundation.
The ongoing work on Sohan Singh Jeena Medical and Research Institute, Almora’s college campus and the associated Govardhan Tiwari Government Base Hospital, Almora, would be continued to be done by the Uttar Pradesh Rajkiya Nirman Nigam while all the new works would now be done by the Construction Division of Uttarakhand Peyjal Nigam. The cabinet also approved the implementation of the Uttarakhand Moneylending Regulation Rules, 2018. In view of the requirement of land for administrative building, command control, etc., under the Kedarnath Reconstruction Master Plan, 8 buildings of the erstwhile Garhwal Development Corporation have been permitted to be demolished. M/s Webcast was approved as executing agency for flood control works in Badrinath at a cost of Rs 100 crores.
The cabinet also approved a proposal that those who lived outside the jurisdiction area of any district development authority in a rural area where it was not mandatory to get map approval for construction of houses, could still apply for map approvals if they required to get maps approved for sanction of bank loans. The right of allotment, cancellation, transfer, rent of sheds or plots belonging to the state industrial department has been given to the District Magistrate by the cabinet.