Staff Correspondent

Social sector gets top priority

SHIMLA: The 11th Five Year Plan (2007-2012) outlay for the hill State of Himachal Pradesh has been fixed at Rs.14,000 crores - up from the Rs.10,300-crore outlay for the 10th Plan. This was decided at a meeting between the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, and Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh in New Delhi on Thursday.

According to the Chief Minister, the social service sector has been given top priority with 44 per cent (Rs. 6,158 crores) of the Plan outlay. Altogether Rs. 2,177 crores would be spent on the transportation and communication sector, Rs.1,240 crores on irrigation and flood control, Rs.1,494 crores on agriculture and allied activities, Rs.1,140 crores on the energy sector, Rs. 811 crores on general economic services and Rs.361 crores on rural development.

The Chief Minister said that 5744.10 MW additional hydel power potential would be exploited in the State during the Plan period and out of this 2,751 MW would be under the Central and joint sector, 1,831 MW in the private sector and 1,150 MW in the State sector.

He said an ambitious plan has been formulated to attract 10 lakh foreign tourists and 3.25 crore domestic tourists to the State during the Plan period.

It is proposed to set up 23 new technical education institutions, 250 primary schools, 500 middle school, 1,000 senior secondary schools and 15 new colleges in the State during the Plan period.

Mr. Singh said 5,000 new industrial units would be set up and 27,000 artisans trained and 50,000 new employment opportunities generated in the industry sector during the Plan period. Also 170 bridges and five cableways would be constructed to provide the road connectivity to 200 villages in the State.