During the SPARK-2023 event organized by the Himachal Pradesh State Co-operative Bank Ltd (HPSCB), Chief Minister, Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu unveiled the bank’s new logo, besides the launch of internet banking facility, Academy for Agriculture Entrepreneurship Development for Growth and Empowerment (Aagri EDGE) and a new website. The Chief Minister also released the bank’s vision document during the event. He also presented the prizes to the best performing branch offices of the bank.
Emphasizing on the need for the HPSCB to be prepared for future challenges, the Chief Minister said that the state government would strengthen the cooperative banks by providing all possible assistance. He said that banks should be equipped with digital technology and provide facilities to the customers utilizing modern technology. He said that reforms will be implemented within six months to enhance the functioning of cooperative banks and assured that permissions under Section-118 of the Himachal Pradesh Tenancy & Land Reforms Act 1972 will be given on priority to co-operative banks for land purchase.
Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said that the first budget of the present government symbolizes the system revamp, in which efforts have been made to strengthen the rural economy. He said that the HPSCB should ensure its active participation in the implementation of these initiatives. The state government is formulating a scheme to provide loans up to Rs. 20 lakh at the rate of one percent interest to poor students for higher education, so that no one is deprived of education due to lack of resources. Along with this, taxi operators are going to be issued permits to run e-taxi in the coming time. The state government will provide a 50 percent subsidy on the purchase of e-taxi, e-bus and e-truck. The state government will provide 40 percent financial assistance to set up solar power projects ranging from 250 kW to 2 MW and the electricity generated would be purchased by the Himachal Pradesh Electricity Board Ltd. He said that cooperative banks should liberally provide loans in these schemes, whose sovereign guarantee would be provided by the state government. He said that the state government would make the cooperative bank a prime bank for the scheme of setting up solar energy projects.
The Chief Minister said that Himachal Pradesh would fight strongly for its due rights. He said that 12,000 MW power was being produced in the State but Himachal Pradesh was getting only 12 percent power as state share, which was unfair to the people of State. The issue of enhancing royalty in hydro power projects, which have completed payback period, has been taken up with the Union Government. Along with this, Himachal should get back hydropower projects made by Central Public Sector Undertakings after a certain period. Talks have been held to get back the Shanan project and the present state government is ready to fight for the interests of Himachal Pradesh. He said that water cess is the right of Himachal and the state will take it. He said that the present state government would bring the economy of Himachal Pradesh back on track in the coming four years. The Chief Minister said that the state government would promote green industries including tourism, hydro energy, IT, Data Center and food processing sector.
The Chief Minister said that the state government is moving ahead with its innovative thinking and has implemented the old pension scheme for the state government employees in the first cabinet meeting. The government has fulfilled the first promise and all the promises will be fulfilled in a phased manner. He said that the present government has inherited a huge debt but the state government is working towards making the state self-reliant and increasing financial resources. He said that 90 percent of the population lives in villages and efforts are being made to strengthen the economic condition of rural population. A scheme is underway to buy cow’s milk at the rate of Rs.80 per liter and buffalo’s milk at Rs.100 per liter from farmers to support the agriculture sector.
Deputy Chief Minister, Mukesh Agnihotri highlighted the significance of the cooperative movement in Himachal Pradesh, which has gained recognition nationwide. He stated that the first cooperative society was established in 1892 in Panjawar, located in the Una district within his assembly constituency, Haroli. He emphasized that cooperative banks in Himachal Pradesh, initiated through societies, now serve as the backbone of the state’s economy. While acknowledging instances where individuals tarnished the reputation of cooperatives, he assured that the state government is taking corrective measures to transform cooperatives into a new mass movement. Agnihotri urged officers to work with the bank’s reputation in mind.
Mukesh Agnihotri said that the previous government’s financial mismanagement had burdened the state with a debt of Rs. 75,000 crore. Despite the challenging situation, the Chief Minister’s strong determination has led to the reinstatement of the old pension scheme for government employees. Agnihotri stressed that the present state government prioritizes the well-being of employees and urged for their contribution in the state’s development. He also expressed concerns over attempts to destabilize Himachal Pradesh financially and the creation of obstacles in providing financial assistance to the state.
HPSCB Chairman, Devender Shyam while extended a warm welcome to the Chief Minister, emphasized the bank’s commitment to support the state’s development. He highlighted the bank’s success under the Chief Minister’s guidance, setting new records and effectively implementing state government schemes to benefit the public. Furthermore, the bank is actively participating in the Green Initiative led by the state government. He shared details about the bank’s diverse range of activities. He also presented a cheque of Rs. 2 crore to Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu towards Chief Minister Relief Fund on behalf of the bank.
Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Mohan Lal Brakta, MLAs Nand Lal, Harish Janartha, Kuldeep Singh Rathore, Ajay Solanki, Chandershekhar, Principal Advisor to Chief Minister (IT and Innovations) Gokul Butail, Chairman Jogindra Central Co-Operative Bank Limited, Mukesh Sharma, Chairman of Himachal Pradesh State Cooperative Agriculture & Rural Development Bank Limited, Sanjay Chauhan, Secretary Agriculture, Rakesh Kanwar and other dignitaries were also present on the occasion.