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Awareness brings positive change in attitude towards AIDS in society : Chief Minister

While presiding over a State level function on Worlds AIDS day at hotel Peterhof today, Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu stated that the government will launch a scheme and make budgetary provisions in the next fiscal for providing educational opportunities to the children suffering from the disease, thus extending helping hand to them and to include them in the mainstream.

Based on the theme 'Let Communities Lead', the Chief Minister exhorted all to come forward to help those suffering from the trauma of the disease. Earlier a person suffering from AIDS was looked down upon but due to continuous awareness programmes, since the last decade there has been a comprehensive change in thinking and the attitude of the people. The present Government is providing all possible help to the people suffering from AIDS.

The Chief Minister said that the Government will also launch a scheme for widows besides specially-abled children in its upcoming budget adding that it is also under consideration to open a school or college for specially-abled children in the State. "I stand with my government to become the eyes, ears and speech of such children to provide them better education and make them an integral part of the society", said Sh. Sukhu.

The Chief Minister said that Mukhya Mantri Sukh-Aashraya Yojana has been launched for the welfare of orphan children, under which the state government would bear the expenses of their studies, and accommodation besides other requirements. He said that arrangements have been made by the government for the upbringing of orphan children till the age of 27 years and has also enacted an act for this purpose. He appealed to the youth to face the challenges with determination for success.

The Chief Minister said that the state government mulls to bring major reforms in the health and education sector, adding that English medium education from class 1st would be started during the upcoming academic session in government schools. He said that adequate teachers would be recruited and sports infrastructure would be strengthened. The state government was working with commitment to provide quality education in government institutions. Along with this, new courses including Artificial Intelligence have been started, he added.

Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said that despite limited resources and heavy debt burden, the state government will bring the economy of Himachal Pradesh back on track in four years and in the next 10 years Himachal Pradesh will be the most prosperous state in the country. He said that the state government was taking hard decisions for this, whose positive results will be visible in the coming times.

The Chief Minister gave away awards to various organizations on the occasion for their valuable contribution in checking the spread of this dreaded disease.

Stand Alone Integrated Counseling and Testing Centre Una, Dr. Radha Krishnan Government Medical College, Hamirpur (STI Clinic), ART IGMC Shimla (ART Centre) and NGO Sunrise-Targeted Intervention Project (TIP) Una were awarded as Best Service Centres.

Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu also awarded Government ITI Barthin, district Bilaspur, Government Degree College, Chuwari, district Chamba, Sidharth Government Utikrisht College, Nadaun, district Hamiprur, Shaheed Captain Vikram Batra Government College, Palampur, district Kangra, T.S. Negi Government Degree College Rekong Peo, district Kinnaur, Rameshwari Teachers Training Institute Sharabhi, district, Kullu, Government Degree College Kukumsari, Udaipur, district Lahaul-Spiti, Vallabh Government College, Mandi, district Mandi, Government Degree College, Dhami, district Shimla, Himachal Institute of Dental Sciences, Poanta Sahib, district Sirmaur, Government Degree College, Arki, district Solan and Government Degree College Amb, district Una as Best Red Ribbon Clubs.

He also appreciated the efforts of Principals of RKMV College, Shimla, RGGDC, Kotshera, Shimla, Centre of Excellence Government College, Sanjauli, Shimla, JLN Fine Arts College, Chaura Maidan, Shimla, St. Bede's College Shimla, Government Sanskrit College, Shimla, Government Nursing College, Shimla, H.P. College of Education, Totu, Shimla, Shiwalik Nursing College, Bhatakuffar, Shimla, ITI, Shimla, Modern Nursing College, Government Senior Secondary School, Tutu, Government Senior Secondary School Sanjauli and Government Senior Secondary School, Annadale for making the state level function a success.

The Chief Minister also flagged-off the awareness rally and also evinced keen interest in the exhibition set up on the occasion of World AIDS Day. He announced to provide rupees one lakh to a woman suffering from AIDS as financial assistance.

Health Minister Dr. (Col.) Dhani Ram Shandil said that new diseases were emerging in the world and the scientists are striving hard to find their cure and treatment techniques. He said that if the body is not healthy then the mind will also not be healthy. He said that Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu is very considerate on sensitive social issues and the state government was taking serious steps to deal with HIV and other serious diseases. Not only this, the state government is also taking strict action to curb the drug menace. He said that with proper care and taking proper medicines, a patient suffering from HIV can lead a normal life.

Earlier, Secretary Health M. Sudha Devi welcomed the Chief Minister and apprised about various steps being taken by the department for generating awareness regarding AIDS among the masses.

A short play on AIDS awareness was also presented on the occasion.

State AIDS Control Society presented a check of rupees two lakh, Bank of Maharashtra Rs. 25 lakh and Government Senior Secondary School Tutu presented a check of Rs. 51 thousand to the Chief Minister towards Aapda Rahat Kosh.

Chief Parliamentary Secretary Sanjay Awasthi, Mayor MC Shimla Surender Chauhan, OSD to the Chief Minister Gopal Sharma, State Project Director AIDS Control Society Rajiv Kumar and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.

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