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About Himachal Pradesh

History and Geography. Himachal situated in the heart of the western Himalaya, identified as "Dev Bhumi"and 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 for ever 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 re-organisation 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 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 hectares owned by 9.14 lakh farmers. The marginal and small farmers possess 86.4 per cent of the total land holdings. The cultivated area in the state is only 10.4 percent. About 80 per cent of the area is rain fed and farmers depend on weather gods for rains. The food grain production in 2006-2007 has been 16 lakh metric tonnes.

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 nut and citrus fruits like mango, litchi, guava and strawberry. The total area under fruits, which was only 792 hectares in 1950, has increased to 2.23 lakh hectares now. Similarly, the fruit production has also increased from 1200 MT in 1950 to 6.95 lakh tonnes in 2007 seven lakh tonnes is the new target fixed for fruit production for year 2006-07. Horticulture generates gross domestic income of about Rs.2200 crore annually.

The Horticulture Technology Mission for the integrated development of horticulture is being implemented with a total outlay of Rs.80 crore during the tenth five-year plan period. 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, vermicompost, greenhouses, organic farming and farm mechanisation.

Roads are the lifelines and major means of communication in the predominantly hill State of Himachal Pradesh. Out of its 55,673 sq. km area, 36,700 km is inhabited out which 16,807 inhabited villages are scattered over slopes of numerous hill ranges and valleys. Realising the importance of construction of roads for connecting production areas with market centres, Himachal Pradesh Government has decided to connect every panchayat with roads in the next two years. When the Pradesh came into existence in 1948 there were 288 km. of roads. This number had gone up to 30,264 km by 15 August 2007.

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

The use of IT in governance is aimed at having SMART (Simple, Moral, Accountable, Responsive and Transparent) government. The State Government official website at http://himachal.nic.in is a web portal providing citizen centric services to the citizens and it has got interfaces for getting inputs from the grassroots level. The first phase of the H.P. State wide Area Network (HIM SWAN) which has been completed has been connected to internet. In the PhaseI of HIMSWAN, H.P. Secretariat Local Area Network has been established with a provision to provide LAN connectivity to every third person. In the Phase-II of HIMSWAN all the districts headquarters will be connected with state headquarter. Software Technology Park and High Speed Data Connectivity Facility in Shimla has started its activities. All IT units in the State have been given Income Tax holiday up to year 2007. Information Technology Park is proposed to be set up in the State in Solan district.

Tourism Industry in Himachal Pradesh 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 the State 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 Rs.2.00 crore per annum by way of Sales tax, luxury tax and passenger tax. In the year-2007, tourist arrivals in the State were 8.3 million of which 2008 lakh were foreigners.

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, etc. Hot water springs, historic forts, natural and man-made lakes, shepherds grazing their flock are sources of immense pleasure and joy to the tourist.

The State Government is aiming at promoting sustainable tourism, encouraging private sector to develop tourism related infrastructure in the State without disturbing the existing ecology and environment. The main thrust is on employment generation and promoting new concepts of tourism in the State. In order to increase the duration of the stay of the visitors/tourists, a special emphasis is being laid on the development of activities-based on tourism

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