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Himachal Pradesh CM Formulates Development Policy for Sustainable Development of Himalayan States

The conclave called for development of new tourist destinations as old hill resorts had reached their saturation stage

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The conclave called for development of new tourist destinations as old hill resorts had reached their saturation stage. Wikimedia Commons

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Sunday advocated the formulation of a holistic development policy for sustainable development of the Himalayan states so that they could progress on par with other states.

Addressing a conclave here of Chief Ministers and representatives of 10 Himalayan states, Thakur said about 66 per cent geographical area of Himachal Pradesh is covered with forests and if ecologically viable and scientific silviculture practices are allowed, the state can earn additional annual revenue of Rs 4,000 crore.

The conclave called for development of new tourist destinations as old hill resorts had reached their saturation stage. Thakur said that the state is neither able to get full revenue from its forest wealth, nor undertake developmental activities over a large geographical area on account of national laws and court orders.

sustainable development, himachal
Thakur said that the state is neither able to get full revenue from its forest wealth, nor undertake developmental activities over a large geographical area on account of national laws and court orders. Wikimedia Commons

“Therefore, Himachal Pradesh should be suitably compensated for being deprived of revenue worth crores for being denied harnessing of its forest wealth,” he said. He urged the Finance Commission and the Union government to provide adequate grant to revenue deficit states so that they have adequate funds for capital investment after overcoming the deficit remaining post-devolution.

He said that Himachal Pradesh has seen a huge fall in income following GST implementation and urged the Finance Commission for proper evacuation of GST for the state for the remaining 33 months.

Thakur said that the state has immense tourism potential but due to non-availability of rail and air connectivity, a big airport needs to be constructed. The construction of roads in Himalayan states was expensive and rail network was almost negligible.

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Thakur also said most of the rivers in the country originate from the Himalayas and the Himalayan states are playing the most significant role in furthering Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s water conservation initiative. Wikimedia Commons

Moreover, the Himalayan states are prone to several natural calamities on account of the hilly terrain and it was the need of the hour that the Union government ensures adequate allocation of funds under the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) for these states, he said.

ALSO READ: Fourfold Increase in Himachal Farmers’ Income with Crop Diversification Project

Thakur also said most of the rivers in the country originate from the Himalayas and the Himalayan states are playing the most significant role in furthering Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s water conservation initiative.

According to the Chief Minister, since most Himalayan states have to depend on the Centre and the Finance Commissions for financial management, they are facing a lot of hardships after the scrapping of the Planning Commission. (IANS)

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Italy to Make Climate Change and Sustainable Development Study Compulsory for School Children

Many traditional subjects, such as geography, mathematics and physics, would also be studied from the perspective of sustainable development

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Italy, Climate Change, Sustainable Development
Italy's Education Minister Lorenzo Fioramonti gestures during an interview with Reuters in Rome, Italy, November 4, 2019. VOA

Italy will next year become the world’s first country to make it compulsory for schoolchildren to study climate change and sustainable development, Education Minister Lorenzo Fioramonti said.

Fioramonti, from the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, is the government’s most vocal supporter of green policies and was criticized by the opposition in September for encouraging students to skip school and take part in climate protests.

In an interview in his Rome office on Monday, Fioramonti said all state schools would dedicate 33 hours per year, almost one hour per school week, to climate change issues from the start of the next academic year in September.

Many traditional subjects, such as geography, mathematics and physics, would also be studied from the perspective of sustainable development, said the minister, a former economics professor at South Africa’s Pretoria University.

Italy, Climate Change, Sustainable Development
Fioramonti, from the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, is the government’s most vocal supporter of green policies and was criticized by the opposition in September. Pixabay

“The entire ministry is being changed to make sustainability and climate the center of the education model,” Fioramonti told Reuters in the interview conducted in fluent English.

“I want to make the Italian education system the first education system that puts the environment and society at the core of everything we learn in school.”

Fioramonti, 42, the author of several books arguing gross domestic product should no longer be used as the main measure of countries’ economic success, has been a target of the right-wing opposition since becoming a minister in the two-month-old government of 5-Star and the center-left Democratic Party.

His proposals for new taxes on airline tickets, plastic and sugary foods to raise funds for education were strongly attacked by critics who said Italians were already over-taxed.

 

He then sparked fury from conservatives when he suggested crucifixes should be removed from Italian classrooms to create a more inclusive environment for non-Christians.

Despite the criticism, the government’s 2020 budget presented to parliament this week included both the plastic tax and a new tax on sugary drinks.

“I was ridiculed by everyone and treated like a village idiot, and now a few months later the government is using two of those proposals and it seems to me more and more people are convinced it is the way to go,” Fioramonti said.

ANTI-SALVINI

Italy, Climate Change, Sustainable Development
In an interview in his Rome office on Monday, Fioramonti said all state schools would dedicate 33 hours per year, almost one hour per school week, to climate change issues from the start. Pixabay

Surveys showed 70-80% of Italians backed taxing sugar and flights, he said, adding that coalition lawmakers had told him they would table budget amendments to introduce his proposal to hike air ticket prices before the budget is approved by end-year.

Fioramonti said targeted taxes of this kind were a way of discouraging types of consumption which were harmful to the environment or individuals, while generating resources for schools, welfare or lowering income tax.

In this vein, he suggested other levies on various types of gambling and on profits from oil drilling.

Also Read- Delhi AQI Improves, Down to ‘Very Poor’ After Almost a Week: Report

His progressive positions on the economy and the environment are the antithesis of Matteo Salvini’s hard-right League, which has overtaken 5-Star to become easily Italy’s most popular party, with more than 30% of voter support. (VOA)