The budget session of the Himachal assembly began on a quiet note on Wednesday with governor Kalyan Singh keeping his address to the house short. This is the first time in the assembly's history when a governor did not read the entire text of his speech on the opening day of the budget session.
Kalyan arrived at the assembly building at 11 in the morning and was received in accordance with the new protocol by speaker Brij Bihari Butail, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, parliamentary affairs minister Mukesh Agnihotri and assembly secretary Sunder Singh Verma. Winding up his address in five minutes, he left the house soon after highlighting the government's policies and programmes in brief.
While Virbhadra and Butail accompanied governor for tea, Dalhousie MLA Asha Kumari who empanelled one of the presiding officers conducted a brief proceeding. She announced the house had been adjourned till noon. However opposition members demanded the house should meet again at 11:30 am. Kumari then announced the house would reassemble at 11:45 am.
When the house met again Virbhadra apprised the members about the business at hand and later laid out the supplementary demands for fiscal 2014-2015. The text of the speech was then read out. It mentioned the government had adopted the election manifesto as a policy document and most of the promises made in it had been fulfilled.
"The government has given high priority to education as it is determined to ensure all children in the state have access to schooling. Towards this end it has set up 100 new schools and upgraded 160 primary to middle school during the past two years. It has spent Rs. 235 crore on various pension schemes covering over 304,000 people during the current fiscal, "the speech read.
Kalyan also said the National Rural Livelihood Mission was being implemented in a phased manner in five blocks of the state, adding a Rs. 7.84 crore annual action plan had been approved for the current year. It has been proposed to provide 8,000 women's self-help groups credit totaling Rs. 48 crore.
The government is also determined to eradicate corruption from the state at all levels and has adopted the policy of zero tolerance to corruption. To achieve this objective, the state vigilance & anti-corruption bureau has been entrusted to weed out corruption and also to detect 45 leakage of Government revenue in various Departments, Boards, and Corporations. The bureau is empowered to investigate cases against government employees as well as other individuals," he stated.