Shimla: The Congress government in poll-bound Himachal Pradesh on Tuesday reduced the value-added tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel by one percent.

A decision in this regard was taken at a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh here.

After Gujarat and Maharashtra, Himachal became the third state to slash VAT on prices of petrol and diesel.

Himachal charges 27 per cent VAT on petrol and 16 per cent on diesel. Now VAT on prices of petrol and diesel slashed by one per cent, an official told IANS.

The cabinet also decided to relax the Himachal Pradesh Ceiling on Land Holdings Act of 1972 to allow religious institutions to dispose of surplus land through sale, gift or any other means with a condition that such transfer would be in the favour of an agriculturists as defined in the act.

In order to provide a range of healthcare services, the government decided to operate mobile medical units in 10 of the 12 districts.

Remote Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti districts are exempted under the National Health Mission, an official statement said.

A decision was also taken to start two bike ambulances in Shimla town under National Ambulance Service (108) on a trial basis to reduce the response of time emergencies.

The cabinet also decided to set up the state human rights commission with Himachal Pradesh High Court's former Chief Justice Jagdish Bhalla as its Chairperson and former journalist K.S Tomar, who is also a former state Public Service Commission chairman, as its member.

Governor Acharya Devvrat has given consent in this regard, said an official statement.

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