UTTARAKHAND: A NEW HOPE IN THE HIMALAYAS
Despite geographical challenges, the Uttarakhand state has been moving rapidly on the path of development under the leadership of Chief Minister Mr. Trivendra Singh Rawat. The state government in the past one year has taken several major initiatives in the field of good governance, agriculture, tourism and industries, whose impact has begun to appear on the ground.
GOOD GOVERNANCE & TRANSPARENCY
Good governance and transparency has been the basic core value of the state government led by Chief Minister Mr. Trivendra Singh Rawat during the last one year and his image of an honest and clean politician has added to the credibility amongst the masses which has been visible in the working style of the government.
Adopting a policy of ‘Zero Tolerance’ against corruption, the state government has come down heavily on the corrupt putting behind bars, 20 government officials allegedly accused in the land acquisition scandal of the National Highway 74. Much to the relief of the poor and common people, the state government took stringent action against dealers of public distribution scheme who were allegedly involved in not distributing appropriate ration to PDS beneficiaries. The ‘no nonsense’ approach of the Chief Minister had an effect which was felt down the line putting a check on corruption at all levels.
This atmosphere of good governance, transparency, care for the poorer and public accountability has reposed the faith of the common man in the state government. The business of illegal mining from the rivers flowing from Uttarakhand was one of the most flourishing and notorious. Chief Minister Mr. Trivendra Singh Rawat soon after taking reins of the state decided to start online auction process of mining leases to control illegal mining trade in the state. This move helped in preventing corruption, checking illegal trade practices and ultimately led to phenomenal rise in revenue for the state government.
The new round of changes with transparency also brought in changes in the work culture of the state government. Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat showing commitment to better work ethics introduced biometric attendance system in offices, bring in a change in work culture where employees are regularly coming to their places of work not only bringing in efficiency but also providing relief to the common person.
Not to be satisfied and ensuring accountability, Chief Minister Mr. Trivendra Singh Rawat started “CM Dash Board’ scheme to monitor the working, output and outlook of each department.
The state government in another boost to common man has strengthened the Right to Service Act adding 162 new services into the Right to Service Act to make sure every citizen gets timely benefits of these public services. The people can now register their complaints on toll-free number 1905. In another milestone, the Transfer Act has also been implemented with an aim to bring transparency in the transfer of state government employees checking malpractices and corruption in the system. The results of all these initiatives and efforts have started showing on the ground.
Uttarakhand, popularly known as “Devbhoomi” (the land of Gods), has abundant natural resources. The nature has bestowed the state with huge opportunities of tourism having 17 major mountain peaks, 51 colourful cultures, 89 small rivers, 111 picturesque lakes and ponds and 151 wildlife sanctuaries. The state is home to ‘Char Dham’ temples of Badrinath,
Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri, besides Haridwar and Rishikesh, one of the most revered Hindu places of pilgrimage attracting lakhs of devotees every year from India and abroad. The natural landscape of Uttarakhand offers tourists a mosaic of flavours in the shape of devotion, yoga, religion, culture, spirituality, adventure, river rafting, mountaineering, trekking and wildlife together with scenic beauty of Himalayas with its pristine snowy peaks, salubrious meadows, gushing rivers and waterfalls, rich flora and fauna with pious Ganga and its’ tributraies.
Following the 2013 natural disaster, ‘Char Dhamyatra’ has returned back to its’ past glory and the state government has been working overtime to ensure all facilities for the pilgrims by ensuring their safety, security and well- being. To get back the confidence of the pilgrims for ‘Char Dham’ yatra was a daunting task after the unprecedented 2013 deluge but despite all odds, the Trivendra Singh Rawat government successfully managed last year’s ‘Char Dhamyatra’ successfully. The presence of record number of pilgrims during the opening of portals of Kedarnath Dham on April 29, 2018 is a proof that pilgrims have reposed their faith again in the state government efforts and this year ‘Char Dhamyatra’ is bound to create a record.
Last year, a total of 24 lakh pilgrims took part in the ‘Char Dham’ and Hemkund Sahib yatra. The government is expecting that more than 40 lakh pilgrims are likely to visit these places as connectivity has been revamped and all kinds of facilities including transport, medical services, boarding and lodging and food have been revamped. The government has started helicopter services for both Char Dham and Hemkund Sahib. The government has also taken several key measures to ensure that the pilgrims get all the basic amenities during their visit to the Himalayan pilgrimage centres.
Following the disaster that devastated Kedarnath area, Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi has shown a keen interest in the reconstruction of the Kedarnathdham. The Trivendra Singh Rawat government took it as a challenge to complete the reconstruction of Kedarpuri within a stipulated time.
Despite the weather’s adverse conditions, the construction work is continuously going on at the pilgrimage centre. As the season of ‘Char Dhamyatra’ has already commenced, the state government has made fool proof arrangements for the safe and secure travel and stay of the pilgrims.
Apart from religious tourism, the Trivendra Singh Rawat has focused to link the tourism activities with the improving the livelihood of the villagers living in the hilly areas. The state government has launched “Home Stay” scheme with an aim to encourage villagers to improve facilities in their homes to invite tourists.
In the budget presented this year, it was announced that in the next five years, 5,000 ‘Home Stays’ would be established. The government is aiming to generate selfemployment at the local level with the help of ‘Home Stay’ project. Under the proposed ‘Home Stay’ project, the plan is to revive the villages situated near the major tourist destinations.
The vacant homes in the villages would be revamped and would put on offer for tourists to stay in the refurbished villages. On the initiative of Chief Minister Mr. Trivendra Singh Rawat, many youths from the state have already started ‘Home Stay’ in their respective houses and villages.
The state government is also working on an ambitious project to develop 13 new tourist destinations in 13 districts. The 13 new places are being identified in 13 districts and these new destinations would be theme-based. These tourist destinations would be developed on the themes of adventure tourism, water sports, yoga, Ayurveda and wellness apart from scenic beauty.
In a move aimed at making the journey of tourists travelling in hill stations and religious places comfortable and save their time, the main temples and tourists spots in the state are being connected with ropeways. The work of linking the Purnagiri Temple of Kumaon and the Surkada temple of Garhwal with the ropeway is in progress. In addition, there is a plan to start ropeway services between Yamunotri-kharsali, Govindghat-ghangaria and Guchupani-mussoorie.
The Uttarakhand government is making special efforts to encourage shooting of movies along with tourism. Recently, the a Film
Policy was approved under which a friendly environment is being provided to the film producers for shooting of their films.
For attracting more and more filmmakers, fees for film shooting have been waived off .this has resulted in many big Bollywood producers coming to the state to shoot their films which in turn would bring economic benefits to the people of the state, including hoteliers and businessmen. Since 2015, more than 100 films, TV serials, documentaries, video albums, have been shot in Uttarakhand so far. In order to encourage the shooting of films, the Chief Minister had himself visited on the sets of Shahid Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor starrer “Battigul, Meter Chalu’ film in Tehri.
Impressed by the film policy of Uttarakhand, the Union Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has conferred Special Mention Certificate for Film Friendly Environment to Uttarakhand under the “Most Film Friendly State Award 2017”.
The jury of producers/directors has given this award to Uttarakhand for trying to prepare a conducive environment for film shooting. The jury has praised the efforts of Uttarakhand that was a relatively new state with a difficult geographical terrain at the national level.
INDUSTRY AND INVESTMENT
With more than 71 per cent geographic areas of Uttarakhand hilly and forested, there are limited possibilities of having heavy industries in the state. The State Industrial Development Corporation of Uttarakhand (SIDCUL) has been tasked to bring in investments in the state with plain areas of Haridwar and Rudrapur becoming hubs of industrial activities in the state. The state government is also working on the plans to attract investments in small industries as per the need of the state.
Uttarakhand has tremendous potential for investing in tourism and hospitality, wellness tourism, adventure tourism, food processing, hydropower, and aromatic products.
The Uttarakhand government has adopted a ‘Red Carpet’ policy for attracting industries with a single window clearance system in place for acceptance of investment proposals in the state.
Since the implementation of the investorfriendly system, 460 investment proposals worth Rs 2,500 crore have been approved. The Chief Minister Mr. Trivendra Singh Rawat has given clear instructions that all the people interested in investing in the interest of the state are welcome. A new Start-up policy has been implemented in the state to give a boost to the growth of self-employment and small entrepreneurs in the state.
Providing a major relief to investors, the state government has relaxed the norm for grant of permission to purchase land for setting up new ventures in the state. Now, an investor can get the permission from district level only. Due to all these reforms, Uttarakhand is the first state amongst the Himalayan states under Ease of Doing Business category. Surely, more and more investments would come in Uttarakhand in the future, which would generate millions of jobs here.
Chief Minister Trivendra Rawat is leaving no stone unturned as has taken key initiatives to attract industries. Recently, the Chief Minister made his first foreign tour to attract foreign investors. During his recent visit to Thailand, the Chief Minister not only visited the industrial establishments of the country but also showcased the huge opportunities of investment in various fields in Uttarakhand before the foreign investors and Thai industrialists.
Nearly 300 investors attended the conference on food processing and most of them expressed their desire to invest in Uttarakhand. In Bangkok, a road show was also organized to attract investments in tourism sector in which 102 travel agencies participated. For the potential entrepreneurs of Thailand, there is tremendous potential for investment in food processing, tourism, hotel and hospitality sector in Uttarakhand.
Recently, Governor of Bali (Indonesia) I Made Mangkupastika met the Chief Minister. During the course of the meeting, the letter of intent was signed between Bali and Uttarakhand government regarding tourism and culture, e-governance, human resources and capacity building, environment and health. It is clear from these developments that Bali would also be interested in investing in Uttarakhand in the near future.
Along with the big industrialists of the country, foreign companies have also been invited to invest in Uttarakhand. In this regard, Uttarakhand Investor Meet would be held for the first time in September-october this year. The government is hoping a large number of industrial investments in Uttarakhand. The Trivendra Singh Rawat government is working zealously to change the fate of the state and its’ people by attracting industries and investors.
On the occasion of ‘Aapki rai–aapka budget’, Chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat interacting with women’s self-help group and the public
CM on the occasion of Devbhoomi dialogue CM addressing people’s grievances
Meeting delegates of Asian Development Bank
CM greeting Prime Minister of Nepal CM Trivendra Singh Rawat visit to Thailand attracting investors