Shimla: President of India Ram Nath Kovind today addressed the special session of the Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha to mark the Golden Jubilee celebration of the Statehood of Himachal Pradesh.

Speaking on the occasion, Governor of the state Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar felicitated the President on his visit to Himachal Pradesh. He said that it was a matter of pleasure that we became part of this important and historical moment of 50 years of the golden journey of the State. He said that the state had received the guidance of the President, which would be a roadmap for development.

“Legislative Assembly is the temple of democracy and the representatives elected by the people keep views of the people according to their aspirations, which we get to see here”, said the Governor.

 He said that the Assembly was considered as the centre of positive discussion and it was only through the views expressed here that the understanding of the element was achieved. He said that different regions of Himachal Pradesh had different culture and customs and this sense of respect for diversity needs to be carried forward.  

Shri Arlekar paid his rich tributes to all the eminent personalities of Himachal Pradesh who contributed significantly in realising the dream of full statehood. He said that the people of the state bow to all those who dreamed of Himachal as a separate state. He also remembered the contributions of the first Chief Minister Dr. Yashwant Singh Parmar for the development of the state.

The Governor also released ‘Who’s Who’ publication of Vidhan Sabha and presented a copy of same to the President. 

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, while extending his warm greetings to the President of India, said that it was a matter of great happiness that the State was celebrating this year as the golden jubilee year of the Statehood.  He said that despite difficult geographical conditions, the 50 years journey of this hill State had been glorious and full of achievements.  He said that in the year 1971, the per capita income of the state was Rs. 651 which had now gone up to Rs 1,95,000. Similarly, the length of the roads in 1971 was 7370 kilometers whereas today the State had over 37,808 kilometers of roads. He said that in 1971, there were only 4945 educational institutions in the state whereas today this number had gone over 15000.  Today, the State had several national level prestigious institutions such as AIIMS, IIM, IIIT and the State had also made extensive progress in agriculture and horticulture sector in these years.  

The Chief Minister said that the present State Government had launched several welfare schemes such as Jan Manch, Mukhyamantri Sewa Sankalp Helpline-1100, Him Care, Sahara, Himachal Grihini Suvidha Yojna, Shagun Yojana, Chief Minister Swavlamban Yojana, Nai Rahein-Nai Manzilein Yojana and Natural Farming Khushal Kisan for upliftment of every area of the State and to ensure welfare of every section of the society.  

He said that the State Government organized ‘Global Investors Meet’ for the first time to attract more investment in the State. The special programmes had been launched for upliftment of the weaker sections especially scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, other backward classes and economically weaker sections. The present government had taken numerous steps for the welfare of farmers, gardeners, businessmen, employees, workers, youth, women and other sections and was also ensuring that the benefits of the policies and programmes of the government and welfare schemes reach to the last ebb of the society.

Jai Ram Thakur said that the progress made by the State in various fields had been recognized at the national level and many awards had been received by the State for launching various innovative schemes and unprecedented development.  He said that the country as well as the State was facing Corona pandemic for the last about two years, but under the able and dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the country not only successfully tackled this pandemic but also conducted the world’s largest vaccination campaign.  Himachal Pradesh had become the first State in the country to achieve cent-percent target for first dose to the population above the 18 years in the Covid vaccination campaign, he added. 

The Chief Minister expressed his gratitude to all the people of the State for their significant contributions in the development journey of the state, besides paying his tributes to former Chief Ministers of the State late Dr. Yashwant Singh Parmar, Ram Lal Thakur and Virbhadra Singh. He also thanked former Chief Ministers Shanta Kumar and Prem Kumar Dhumal for their contributions in the development of the State. 

Leader of Opposition Mukesh Agnihotri said that this Vidhan Sabha was the first paperless Assembly of the country. He said that the role of Dr. Y.S. Parmar and Virbhadra Singh in development of the State was immense as both these leaders remained Chief Ministers of the State for maximum time. He also urged the President of India to constitute a Himachal Regiment of the State, keeping in view the immense role the youth of Himachal they were playing in the Armed Forces. 

Speaker, State Vidhan Sabha Vipin Singh Parmar welcomed the President and other dignitaries present on the occasion. He thanked the President for gracing the Vidhan Sabha by his address. He also traced out the rich and glorious history of the State Vidhan Sabha. He said that this Vidhan Sabha was probably first Vidhan Sabha of the country which could be truly called ‘E-Vidhan Sabha’.  

Deputy Speaker Hans Raj presented the vote of thanks.

Union Minister Anurag Singh Thakur, former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, Ministers, MPs, MLAs, former MPs and former MLAs were also present on the occasion.

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