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Himachal Pradesh, India

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Avdisha, 8th Standard, Wisdom World School, Kurukshetra, Haryana, India - 136118

Area: 55,673 sq. km

Population: 68.65 lakh (census 2011)

Capital: Shimla

Jurisdiction of High Court: Himachal Pradesh High Court

Principle language: Hindi, Pahari

State flower: Chimul (Bell Rhododendron)

State tree: Deodar

State animal: Snow leopard

State bird: Western tragopan

Official website: http://www.himachal.gov.in

Himachal situated in the heart of the Western Himalaya, identified as “Dev Bhumi” is believed to be the abode of Gods and Goddesses. The entire state is punctuated with stone as well as wood temples. The rich culture and traditions have made Himachal unique in itself. The shadowy valleys, rugged crags, glaciers and gigantic pines and roaring rivers and exquisite flora and fauna compose the symphony that is forever Himachal.

Himachal Pradesh came into being as a Union Territory in April 1948 as a result of integration of 30 princely states spread over 27,000 sq.km. In 1954, when another “C” class state of Bilaspur merged in Himachal Pradesh, its area increased to 28,241 sq.km. The position remained unchanged till 1966. On reorganisation of the state, the hilly areas of Punjab were merged with the state, increasing its size to 55,673 sq.km. Himachal Pradesh today is quoted as a successful model of not only hill area development but also for having realised development in education, health and social services.

Agriculture

Agriculture being the main occupation of the people of Himachal Pradesh has an important role in the economy of the state. It provides direct employment to about 69 per cent of the main working population. Income from agriculture and allied sectors accounts for nearly 22.1 per cent of the total State Domestic Product. Out of the total geographical area of 55,673 sq. km., area of operational holding is about 9.79 lakh hectare owned by 9.14 lakh farmers. The marginal and small farmers possess 86.4 per cent of the total land holdings.

Horticulture

Nature has endowed Himachal Pradesh with a wide range of agro-climatic conditions which have helped the farmers to cultivate large varieties of fruits ranging from temperate to sub-tropical. The main fruits under cultivation are apple, pear, peach, plum, apricot and citrus fruits like mango, litchi, guava and strawberry.

The Horticulture Technology Mission for the integrated development of horticulture is being implemented. This Mission is based on the “end to end approach” taking into account the entire gamut of horticulture development with all backward and forward linkages in a holistic manner. Under this scheme, four centres of excellence are being created in different Agro-Climatic Zones with common facilities like water harvesting, vermin-compost, greenhouses, organic farming and farm mechanization.

Roads

Roads are the lifeline and major means of communication in the predominantly hilly state of Himachal Pradesh. Out of its 55,673 sq. km area, 36,700 sq. km is inhabited out of which 16,807 inhabited villages are scattered over slopes of numerous hill ranges and valleys. When the Pradesh came into existence in 1948 there were 288 km of roads. There are 14 National Highways with a total length of 1752.830 km.

Hydro-Power Generation

Himachal Pradesh has immense hydro-potential in its five river basins. Chenab, Rabi, Beas, Satluj and Yamuna which emanate from the western Himalayas pass through the state. The strategy of development in the power sector comprises expeditious actualisation of the Hydro Electric Potential and introduction of power sector reforms to bring efficiency in the sector and provide high quality power to the consumers at reasonable rates besides availability of abundant power to industrial and tourism sectors. The total identified potential in the state stands at 23,230 MW which is one fourth of India’s total hydro-power potential. Presently out of this 6,480 MW has already been harnessed by various agencies. Projects aggregating to 7,602 MW are under execution.

There is no denying this fact in view of the way the Government has embarked upon an accelerated Power Development Program, the state is speedily moving towards becoming a “Power State” of the country. All the census villages in the state have been electrified.

Industrial Growth

Industrial development has been given big boost in the state. Pollution free environment, abundant availability of power and rapidly developing infrastructure, peaceful atmosphere and responsive and transparent administration are some of the added attractions and advantages that the entrepreneurs get in Himachal Pradesh. 349 large and medium and about 33,284 small-scale industrial units with an investment of about 4,822.54 crore have been set up in the state generating employment for 2 lakh persons. The sector is contributing 17 per cent to the State Domestic Product and the annual turnover on this account is about 6,000 crore.

Information Technology

The Government of Himachal Pradesh has developed an IT Vision-2010 in collaboration with NASSCOM to make the state an IT destination. Under this, it has been decided to accord the status of industry to all IT projects including related services and educational institutions. As such, all the incentives available for industrial units are also being given to all IT units, and related services.

Bio-technology

Keeping in view the importance of bio-technology, special emphasis is being laid on exploiting the vast bio-technology potential available in the state. A separate Department of Bio-technology has been set up in the state. State’s own biotechnology policy has been formulated. All biotechnological units are entitled for incentives which have been allowed for industrial units. The state government proposes to set up a Bio-Technology Park in Solan district.

Irrigation and Water Supply

Villages have been provided with drinking water. Over 15,000 hand pumps have been installed in the state so far. For better reform in water supply and irrigation sector, the state government has taken up a project with the total cost of 339 crore for irrigation as well as for drinking water supply schemes with Gesellschaft for Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ).

Forestry

The total geographical area of the state is 55,673 sq km. As per record, the total forest area is 37,033 sq. km. Out of this, 16,376 sq. km. area is not fit for tree growth comprising alpine pastures, area under permanent snow, etc. The cultivable recorded forest area is only 20,657 sq. km.

Efforts are being taken to bring maximum area under green cover by implementing state’s projects, Government of India’s projects and also under external aided projects. The World Bank has sanctioned a 365 crore Integrated Watershed Development Project for the Mid Himalayas under which all panchayats of 42 developmental blocks in 10 districts would be covered during the next five years. There are 2 National Parks and 32 wildlife sanctuaries in the state. Total area under wildlife sanctuaries is 5562 sq. km; area under National Parks is 1440 sq. km and total area of Protected Area Network is 7002 sq. km.

Education

Himachal Pradesh has emerged as the third best state in terms of over-all development and performance. Himachal Pradesh has been adjudged number one in primary education and teacher-student ratio. The state has witnessed literacy revolution as it is second only to Kerala in literacy. It has about 17,000 educational institutes, including three universities, two medical colleges, one engineering college in the government sector and a number of technical, professional and other educational institutions. Now the state government’s emphasis is to ensure qualitative improvement in the education besides need based expansion.

Tourism

Tourism industry in the state has been given very high priority and the government has developed an appropriate infrastructure for its development which includes provision of public utility services, roads, communication network, airports, transport facilities, water supply and civic amenities, etc. The state government is poised to transform it into “A Destination for All Seasons and All Reasons”. The State Tourism Development Corporation contributes 10 per cent to the state exchequer. The Corporation contributes more than 200 crore per annum by way of sales tax, luxury tax and passenger tax.

The state has a rich treasure of places of pilgrimage and of anthropological value. The state has also the pride of being the home to rishis like Vyas, Parashar, Vashist, Markandey and Lamas. Hot water springs, historic fort, natural and man-made lakes are in attractions for its tourists.

The state government is aiming at promoting sustainable tourism, encouraging private sector to develop tourism related infrastructure without disturbing the existing ecology and environment. The main thrust is on employment generation and promoting new concepts of tourism in the State.

For the promotion and development of the State from the tourism point of view, the government is focusing on the following areas: (1) history related tourism, (2) identification of new areas/tourist destinations and promotion of village tourism, (3) improvement of infrastructure, (4) pilgrimage tourism, (5) tribal tourism, (6) eco-tourism, (7) health tourism. (8) promotion of adventure tourism, (9) wildlife tourism, and (10) cultural tourism.

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