Budget 2008: No IIT For Himachal – ‘A promise is a promise Mr Chidambaram’

Shimla: Having lost the assembly election to the opposition BJP, the congress led UPA government has left Himachal out in the cold, trashing the announcement made on last Gandhi Jayanti (2nd October) by none other than the finance minister P Chidambram on The Ridge at Shimla that an IIT would be established in the hill state.

Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal told my Himachal News, “Finance minister’s pre-election announcementon behalf of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made at the Ridge Ground before the statue of Mahtama Gandhi on his birth anniversary that an IIT would be established in Himachal has turned out to be an empty promise.”

“A promise is a promise Mr Chidambaram,” says Pankaj Goswami, a Shimla based blogger.

“Unlike Rattan Tata, who did deliver on his promise about Nano, the finance minister like any other politician of the day simply forgot that promises are meant to be honored,” says Goswami.

“I fear that Mr Chidambaram even remembers that a promise about establishing an IIT in Himachal was ever made,” he adds

Chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal termed the budget as ‘very disappointing for Himachal’.

He said, “Even the advantage that the pharmaceutical industry enjoyed in our state stands largely diluted after bring down excise across the board for the sector.”

The finance minister budget proposal proposes to reduce excise duty on all goods produced in the pharmaceutical sector from 16 per cent to 8 per cent, which has taken away much of the advantage the excise exemption that the industry enjoyed in Himachal Pradesh and Uttrakhand.

The chief minister also said that the budget speech is silent about extending the industrial package to 2013.

However, the debt relief announced to the farm sector is expected to benefit about Rs 2 lakh farmers. State economic advisor Pradeep Chauhan disclosed that there were about 7 lakh farmer families in the state, out of which nearly 80 percent were small or marginal farmers.

On farm debt, KK Verma, deputy chief UCO bank, who is on the state level bankers committee said, in all, bank loans to the farm sector in the state stood at Rs 1970 crore. “As of now there were Rs 111 crore of overdue farm loans in the state that could get benefit from the relief announced in the budget today. This relief would benefit about 2 lakh families, he added.

Though most of the government employees who constitute as much as 3.5 percent of the population have welcomed raising of the income slabs but sounding a discordant note, DK Sharma, a retired economist said “minimum income slab should have been raised to Rs 2 lakh if one is to take into account inflation and the rising tax base in the country.”

As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik leads a team of media professionals at Hill Post. Spanning a career of over two decades in mass communication, as a Documentary Filmmaker, TV journalist, Print Media journalist and with Online & Social Media, he brings with him a vast experience. He lives in Shimla.

7 Comments

  • The budget is historic. There are cheers for farmers and salaried workers. Education and defense get boost and 16 universities are coming up. “Aam Aadmi” is the real winner with this budget. The budget would take care of the most pressing problems like inflation and farmers’ distress in the country.

    Above all keeping India in mind as a nation and the concessions annouced in the budget for farmers, employees, senior citizens, middle class, students, defense, higher education, small scale industries, self employed and professionals the budget is not bad. It could have better but again it is all relative keeping past budgets in mind.

    Although Himachal is left out in terms of some important aspects like IIT but it is not final and it can be readdressed. All we need that people and all political leaders needs to come out with a plan and work on it. This can be done with our collective efforts.

    If Himachal Government and Himachal People can put a strong case with the center government it is not too late to achieve these goals. There is going to be a discussion on the budget in the parliament and there would be lot of changes in the budget befor it becomes final. We have our representative in the upper house and lower house to take this issue to the center government and get it done. It all depends how we people can get involve and ask our leaders from Himachal to get united and put it together with the center government. Things do take time and we may have to work hard on this, but this all is achieveable.

    I have start talking of Bhanupalli-Bilaspur rail line for the first time in 1982 after which I have made several representations to state and center government . Finally, this year the railway line is included in the railway budget. Same way, my vision of construction of bridge over Gobind Sagar took 26 years to be fullfilled. Last year Government announced to construct the proposed bridge.

    I wish the things could be easy but they are not. Actually before Universities and other developments we lack more basic things in Himachal which can be done in almost no time without center government involvement. A good example may be to construct 3-4 bath rooms on Kalka-Shimla and Shimla-Dharamsala highways where people can wash their hands with soap and water and can make themselves fresh.

    Our Chief Minister Mr. Prem Kumar Dhumal is working hard and tirelessly to bring issues of Himachal Pradesh in the forefront. Let us ask all our leaders to support him and to team with him to make a strong case for a Central Uniersity and IT in Himachal Pradesh. Let us start contacting our leaders and jump on this issue so that we are not left out.

    http://in.jagran.yahoo.com/epaper/index.php?location=44&edition=2008-03-01&pageno=1

  • It is the fact that there is not much to be delighted when comes to Himachal Pradesh.

    Whatever the congress or BJP assures to the himachal, that should be get completed by putting a strong hand in front of central government. Everytime it should not be the case of vote banking and congress should come forward and speak the truth. It has now become the case of state agenda not any political.

    Everytime the budget comes, we hope for having some good contributions of central govt. to himachal whether its railway or union budget. But it seems, the center has no care for the beautiful land. I salute to the himachal govt. for having such a good grown state. Now the thing that is left is the strong political pressure that need to be created so that center should listen to our short demands.

  • This is the same story with other states too. See what is happening in Panjab? They have to come to the extent to sue Center Government in the Supreme Court of India. Same is also true even in states ruled by the Indian National Congress party.

    It is very important for people and political leaders from all parties to unite together and put a united front to press their claim. But it is easy to say than to do. Most of the time people keep on thinking and don’t do anything. We all know how difficult it is for political leaders to come together for a common cause and to cross the party lines and support each other to win the game.

    Everyone have different interests, different agenda, and different allegiance. How many time do we see people oppose even the most right things just for opposition. The most important recent example is US-India nuclear deal. Previous governments worked hard to get this deal. Now when the deal is on the table the same people who wants it are opposing. It is very hard to change human behavior.

    We in Himachal Pradesh are lucky in so many respects. Other states are struggling hard to get their share from Center Government. We must give credit to previous Himachal Governments to make Himachal Pradesh of today which we all are proud of. It was not long back when we were called Paharias and were not looked kindly.

    Himachal of tomorrow will be what we people of Himachal Pradesh will think, act and work for her today. It is the people which would make the difference and in order to do that we all have to get together and unite. This is exactly the philosphy of My Himachal.

  • IIT for Himachal?

    I was going thru this statement and believe me, I was surprised to see so much of Negativity of not having an IIT for Himachal Pradesh………

    SOme questions those came to my mind:—

    What benefit would an IIT give to Himachal Pradesh?
    How are local masses affected by it?
    Does IIT upcoming develop infrastructure of the state?
    Does it generate employment to a large scale?

    To the best of my knowledge, selections to IITs happen thru a National Level Exam….so the local people don’t get any reservations ….more so, if you travel to IIT Powai (Mumbai), Kharagpur, Delhi….(i’ve been to only three of them)….am not sure what benefit these institutes offer to the locals…….but they do add a certain “VIP status” to the place.

    If not meeting a status of IIT is for “VIP status” for HP well then this point of not getting IIT is worth a crore mentions….however, if the concern of development of local masses is concerned…..then as a State Himachal Pradesh still has long way to travel…….our own Indira Gandhi Medical College……by now should have attracted the best students….has that happened? Our Engineering Colleges in the state……by now should have supported Govt growth policies…..

    Well, education and development are a Cause and Effect phenomenon but then they need to be integrated well

  • @Vine

    You can see on My Himachal panel itself we have few IITians and more would come in future. Their interest, what they can do for the state? They have vast knowledge, excellent background and best possible exposure. I am not saying it is only limited to IITians, of course other professionals are also equally capable. But discussion is about IIT in HP and its advantage.

    Let me give you two examples of very successful IITians and how they are helping change India and of course whole world (although there are so many examples):

    Vinod Khosla: his venture capital firm Khosla Ventures.com. I live in US and I hear about this guy every month. He is the one behind some of the top technology ventures, Sun Microsystems and Juniper Networks etc. And then he funds numerous smaller ventures. And most highlighted these days being his alternative energy fuels venture, Ethanol.

    Second one Kanwal Rekhi; TiE, created by him and another bunch of technology people. What’s this group of people doing? They have created the vast network of successful individuals thus helping do networking, expand businesses and of course help local communities. And then of course Rekhi poured his own millions inside IIT (http://www.it.iitb.ac.in/ ).

    I happened to see Khosla from nearby back in India and listen to him when group of NRIs started networking to bring IT industry to India, these guys worked tirelessly to bring industry back to home, the movement you see now and the way it is changing much of India is due to people like him, and course, many many more proud Indians like him.

    So you produce one good leader, student, he or she would produce ten more or hundred and thus would create a revolution. Which we of course lack in Himachal or much of North India. I see HP government lacking in so many things, decision making, networking, reaching to potential investors, every day. It hurts, we have created a vast pool of Himachalis who are there to come forward but then too many bureaucratic hurdles never let them come forward or reach to the right people and government red tape never approach them.

    Think if we have good pool of successful people across the world, then in ten years (yes Himachal is way behind the race, even ten years are too short to speed up) those people putting their sources inside HP, whether in education or investment. Think after 10-15 years not now. It would turn around the hilly state! Although I do believe friends and people like you would speed it up way before it. Idea of this discussion forum and pool is to unite all of us thus become catalyst in the change! So come forward and join hands and support for best possible lobbying for the State. And I forgot to tell you that every year, IIT and other outside venture capitalists fund IIT student ventures, which by the way create local jobs, research and much more.

    But topmost agenda is PRIDE! Self confidence, Hope! I was watching a program on TV about US Navy’s Blue Angles flying across American cities, they sped millions every year, why? So as to keep that spirit in young minds to look beyond horizons, inspire them to join Navy and serve the country, at the same time NASA spends a great deal in sending their astronauts across the world, because they need those fresh minds for future growth, for ideas which would change world beyond imagination. It is hope, it is that thought of touching the sky, which thus inspire the generations. Now you might say I went away from the real point. But lets say our kids hope to become students at that local IIT, may not reach but I am sure would do engineering at some other college, this would create vast technology force for which India is known now, though HP lacks way behind, we have more B. Ed. colleges than engineering.

    Another good article to read.

  • @ vine

    IIT for Himachal?

    The issue has two aspects and let me respond to both while attempting to take the debate forward on the questions you raise.

    First is political morality and the game that political parties play.

    Like Brutus and Co. in Mark Anthony’s words in a Shakespearean play (Julius Caesar), Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, P Chidambaram and Co. are all honorable gentlemen.

    They need not dole out carrots to befool simple people for garnering votes.

    You will agree if we as citizens of the country cannot trust the word of the highest placed and most respected leaders then whom can we trust.

    Second coming to the more serious issues which you raise:

    ****** What benefit would an IIT give to Himachal Pradesh ? ******

    The hill state is best suited for some sectors only, which include Tourism, Power Generation, Information Technology and Education.

    Though the state has achieved high literacy rates but at best only mediocrity has prevailed.

    Lack of centers of excellence makes it imperative that to have a trickle down effect, better quality institutions are set up. (An IIT surely fits the bill).

    Surely to be admitted to such an Institute one needs to pass an all India examination but unless such institutes are expanded on a country wide basis, chances of our boys finding a seat in them are less likely.

    ****** How are local masses affected by it ? ******

    Local masses may not be directly affected but such an institute in your vicinity is bound to study technologies and innovative models of development suited to your environment.

    At the moment we cannot even construct proper roads that can withstand freezing temperatures at one end and heavy monsoon rains on the other end.

    Tremendous amount of public resources are used to maintain the main road networks, forget about the off-beat ones.

    An institute like IIT can provide human capital to come up with solutions for such problems.

    And they definitely have an impact on the masses.

    ****** Does IIT upcoming develop infrastructure of the state ? ******

    The argument advanced above is applicable for developing infrastructure too.

    ****** Does it generate employment to a large scale ? ******

    No it does not generate employment to a large scale. After all it is not cement unit.

    In an IIT institute, at best only some small jobs will percolate down to Himachalis.

    Cement unit generates large scale jobs and the government is pushing for more cement plants.

    What kind of jobs are these ??????????

    Proud landed people stand displaced.

    From being homely people, many have become homeless; living a truckers life, constantly ferrying clinker and cement to distant destinations.

    Worse, a disrupted home life has bred HIV and AIDS.

    Surely you want advocate large scale employment at such a cost.

    Indira Gandhi Medical College or for that matter the RP Medical College Tanda may not be the best medical institutes in the country or the region but we are proud to have them.

    They have not become centers of excellence but without them, the health services is the state what not be what they are.

    For arriving at a fair assessment, do make a comparative study of health services or health educational institutes among hill states.

    (I have only traveled to some parts of Kashmir and some parts of North East, and the contrast is there for anyone to see).

    It’s not about prestige or obtaining a ‘VIP Status’.

    To address basic issues related to the states development, human resource has to be developed and centers of excellence is the best place where talent can be nurtured.

  • It is true that IIT will not do much to the himachal. Still the level of education and feeling ourselves proud that “we have IIT” will come to our soul.

    If leaders have promised, They should do.

    Secondly we need to call some software industries and provide some good railway transporation to himachal. Even in the other nations like USA or UK the companies lie far away from our homes but reaching out is not that difficult. People like to live in the hilly places and want to enjoy every beauty. This will in turn give profit to himachalies.

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