Chandigarh, August 5: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his personal intervention to not allow Geographical Indication (GI) tagging of Basmati to Madhya Pradesh, in the larger interest of Punjab and other states which are already Basmati GI tagged.

Apart from Punjab, other states which already have GI tagging for Basmati are Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Western UP, and select districts of Jammu and Kashmir.

Noting that All India Rice Exporters Association is also vigorously opposed to consider any claim of MP for GI tag for Basmati, raising concerns about its serious negative impact on Indian export potential, the Chief Minister noted that India exported Basmati to the tune of Rs. 33,000 crore every year, but any dilution in registration of Indian Basmati may give advantage to Pakistan (which also produces Basmati as per GI tagging) in international market in terms of Basmati characteristics, quality parameters.

In his letter to the Prime Minister, the Chief Minister has drawn his attention to the economically and socially important issue of Geographical Tagging, saying GI tagging of MP Basmati would negatively impact the state’s agriculture and also India’s Basmati exports. Madhya Pradesh has sought inclusion of its 13 districts for GI tagging for Basmati.

Urging Modi to direct the concerned authorities not to disturb the status quo in this matter, the Chief Minister said this was essential for safeguarding the interests of farmers and Basmati exporters of India.

As per the geographical indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act 1999 a "geographical indication tag can be issued for agricultural goods that are originating in the territory of a country, or a region or locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristics of such goods is essentially attributable to its geographical origin. GI tag for Basmati has been given on the basis of the traditionally grown areas of Basmati due to special aroma, quality and taste of the grain, which is indigenous to the region below the foothills of Himalayas in the Indo-Gangetic Plains and Basmati of this area has distinct recognition across the world,” the Chief Minister has pointed out.

Madhya Pradesh, said Captain Amarinder, “does not fall under the specialised zone for Basmati cultivation.” It was for this reason that MP was not included in indigenous area of Basmati cultivation in the history of India, he said, adding that MP's move to get its area included for Basmati tagging is a direct violation of the GI tagging procedure and laws, and any attempt to breach the GI tagging areas will not only hit the status of aromatic Basmati cultivation in India’s specialised area in but will also negate the purpose of GI tagging regulation in the Indian context.

The Chief Minister further pointed out that MP had earlier attempted to get the GI tag for Basmati cultivation in 2017-18. However, Registrar of Geographical Indications (RGI), constituted under the geographical indications of goods (Registrations and Protection) Act 1999, rejected the demand of MP after investigating the matter. The Intellectual Property Appellate Board, Government of India, had also discarded the claim of MP in this regard. Later, MP challenged these decisions in Madras High Court, but did not get any relief.

Further, to look into the claim of MP to get GI tag for its Basmati, the Government of India had also constituted a committee of eminent agricultural scientists, which after thorough deliberations, had also rejected the state’s claim, Captain Amarinder pointed out.


Free skill training & placement for Punjab youth under 'Hunar Se Rozgar Tak' in Tourism and Hospitality: Channi

2000 students to be trained under the umbrella scheme 'Hunar Se Rozgar Tak'

Chandigarh, August 5: The Punjab tourism department to provide free training and skill development to the youth interested to pursue their career in the tourism and hospitality sectors post COVID-19. Disclosing this here today the tourism and cultural affairs Minister Mr. Charanjit Singh Channi said that more than 2000 students would be trained under the umbrella scheme of 'Hunar Se Rozgar Tak' and they will also be assisted in placement. About 1000 students would be provided training in Skill Testing and Certification under Entrepreneurship program.

The employment generation and tourism & cultural affairs minister informed that a large number of tourism service providers in the unorganized sector also require basic training and certification to provide better services standards and consumer satisfaction. Therefore, about 800 such tourism service providers shall be provided training for skill testing and certification. In another programme 400 persons would be trained under the entrepreneurship program of the government of India. In this program a short-term quality training would be provided for Cook-Tandoor, Barman, Baker, Homestay (multi–skilled Caretaker) and Halwai.

He further said that the youth would be provided this free training in hospitality sector through the educational institutes at Mohali, Fatehgarh Sahib, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Nawanshahr and Mohali empanelled with Punjab Heritage and Tourism Promotion Board and Institutes of Hotel Management at Gurdaspur, Bathinda and Food Craft institute at Hoshiarpur.

Mr. Channi said that inspired by the message of the Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh to improve skills, Build Careers, Change Lives, these small but very useful steps were being taken by the tourism department would help in providing livelihood opportunities to the youth of Punjab and also to improve the service standards for tourists, which will act as catalyst for increasing tourist inflow in the State.

Mr. Hussan Lal Secretary Tourism and Cultural Affairs Department disclosed that all these trainings would be provided free of any cost to the students. He called upon the students to avail the benefits of these schemes to develop their skills and get employment. 'The students would also be given stipends amounting to Rs 1500 to 2000 after successful completion of their training.




Chandigarh, August 5: While extending the Ayushman Bharat – Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojana (AB-SSBY) for one year, the Punjab Cabinet on Wednesday decided to bring state government employees/pensioners and employees of non-government organized sectors, including private sector/boards and corporations, into the fold of the health insurance cover.

The Department of Health and Family Welfare has been asked to prepare a detailed proposal for inclusion of the new categories into the ambit of the scheme, which provides insurance cover of Rs.5 lakh per family per year for 42.27 lakh poor and other families. The scheme will now be extended from August 20, 2020 to August 19, 2021, as per the Cabinet decision.

After the meeting of the state cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, a spokesperson said of the 42.27 lakh families current under the scheme’s cover, 14.86 lakh poor families had been identified as per the 'Socio-Economic Caste Census' (SECC) of 2011. Of the remaining 16.30 lakh families are Smart Ration Card holder families, and 11.10 lakh J-form holder farmers, sugarcane growers having weighment slips, construction workers, accredited journalists' families and small traders' families.

Notably, the Cabinet has given approval for extension of Ayushman Bharat – Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojana for the next policy plan period i.e. August 20, 2020 to August 19, 2021 at the tendered premium rate of Rs. 1100 per family per year, by IFFCO-Tokio General Insurance Company Ltd., selected through tendering process. The total estimated cost of premium, i.e. Rs. 464.98 Cr, @ Rs. 1100 per family per year, to be shared amongst the Center, State Treasury, and the participating departments (Punjab Mandi Board, Building and Construction Workers’ Welfare Board, Excise and Taxation Department, PUNMEDIA), is Rs. 98.07 Cr., Rs. 244.71 Cr. and Rs. 122.18 Cr. respectively.



Chandigarh, August 5: The Punjab Cabinet led by the Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday gave its approval for Rs.501.07 crore expenditure incurred so far by the State Government to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Disclosing this here today, a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office said that out of Rs.501.07 crore, Rs.76.07 crore was spent by the Health Sector Response & Procurement Committee for purchase of various equipment &relief, while Rs.425 crore was spent by various departments out of the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) and budgetary resources set aside for the management and control of the pandemic.

Giving the break-up of the provisional expenditure of Rs.425 crore incurred by the various departments, the spokesperson said that Rs.131.99 crore was by the Department of Health & Family Welfare, Rs. 36.16 crore by Medical Education & Research, Rs.3.77 crore by Transport, Rs.10.12 crore by Information & Public Relations, Rs.10.11 crore by Rural Development, Rs.14.04 crore by Social Security, Women & Child Development, Rs.45.05 crore by PWD, 0.11 crore by Jails, Rs.78.2 crore by Food & Civil Supplies, Rs.12.65 crore by Deputy Commissioners on the development, operation & maintenance of COVID care centres in state, Rs.4.86 crore by Water Supply & Sanitation, Rs.3.62 crore by Home, Rs.8.79 crore by Local Government and Rs.65.22 crore by Deputy Commissioners.

The State Government had allotted funds totaling Rs. 470 crores out of SDRF and budgetary sources for Covid fight, of which 90.42% has already been spent. The allocation was for management and control of the pandemic; augmentation of the health infrastructure including procurement of state of the art medical equipment for enhanced testing; provision of protective gear for frontline workers, for better case management setting up and designating healthcare facilities as Level-I, Level-II and Level-III depending on the requirement of care, to ensure relief to those who were impacted by the lockdown and lost their livelihoods and to ensure return of stranded migrants to their homes.

Apart from this, a sum of Rs.76.07 crore was spent by the Health Sector Response & Procurement Committee on the purchase of equipment for the Health & Family Welfare Department, Medical Education and Police Departments, including PPE Kits, N95 Masks, Triple Layer Masks & VTM Kits. The committee made these purchases on exigency basis since the Covid-19 situation called for the immediate measures to be undertaken.

Notably, the Health Sector Restructuring Procurement Committee was constituted on March 28, 2020, under the Chairmanship of Additional Chief Secretary, Governance Reforms, to make an assessment on realistic basis on the requirements of PPEs and all the other necessary material and equipment required to effectively control the Covid-19 pandemic and take speedy decisions for ensuring timely procurement of the same.


Punjab State Women Commission

Expulsion Issue of Elderly Woman

Punjab State Women Commission Seeks Status Report from SSP, Khanna

Also Directs POLICE to Ensure safety of the Victim

Chandigarh, August 5-Punjab State Women Commission on Wednesday sought a status report by August 6, 2020 from Senior Superintendent of Police, Khanna in case of expulsion of an elderly woman from home in village Bhorla, Samrala, District Ludhiana.

Seeking report by August 6, 2020, Chairperson of Punjab State Women Commission Mrs. Manisha Gulati said that the matter had come to her notice through media reports. She directed the Senior Superintendent of Police, Khanna to depute a senior officer for investigate the matter and send the status report through e-mail by August 6, 2020 so that further action on this case can be taken. She also directed to ensure the safety of the elderly woman.



Chandigarh, August 5: To become eligible to avail Additional Borrowing of 2% of GSDP in 2020-21, and to further boost ease of doing business, the Captain Amarinder Singh government has decided to allow facility of Automatic Renewal of Licence and Maintenance of Register in Electronic/Digital Format to the industries.

The state cabinet, which met under the Chief Minister through Video Conference on Wednesday, approved necessary amendments to the Factories Act, 1948 and Punjab Factory Rules, 1952.

As per the new Rule, a licence shall be renewed for one year digitally through automation mode if there is no change in particulars of licence from the previous granted/renewed licence and other conditions required by Government.

Disclosing this, a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s office said that the move was in line with the directives of the Ministry of Finance, Government of India, for eligibility to procure Additional Borrowing of 2% of GSDP in 2020-21, subject to implementation of specific State Level Reforms by January 31, 2021. Automatic renewal of certificates/licences required by Business Entities is one of the reforms.

It was mandatory, therefore, to change the Rules for providing automatic approvals to avail of the additional 2% borrowing, said the spokesperson.

At present, there is no provision of Automatic Renewal of Licence under Punjab Factory Rules, 1952, so a new Rule is to be inserted in Punjab Factory Rules, 1952 to give such facility to the industries in the State. Accordingly, the Cabinet has given the nod for insertion of new Rule 10-A, related to the “Automatic Renewal of Licence” under Factories Act, 1948/Punjab Factory Rules, 1952.

Likewise, acceding to the demand of industries in wake of technological upgradation across various platforms, new Rule 114 in the Punjab Factory Rules, 1952, with regard to maintenance of different prescribed registers under Factories Act, 1948 and Punjab Factory Rules, 1952 in electronic/digital format, has also been inserted.



Meanwhile, to ramp up the civic infrastructure and improve the quality of public life in 167 Urban Local Bodies (ULBs), the Cabinet has okayed release of Rs.1046 crore of funds to the Local Government Department under the Punjab Urban Environment Improvement Programme (PUEIP) Phase-II.

The Punjab Government had initiated PUEIP in the Financial Year 2019-20 to improve the infrastructure related to roads, drains, street lights, solid waste management and construction & maintenance of parks etc., to ensure better quality of life of residents in 167 ULBs, and had sanctioned Rs.298.75 crore for this programme.



Chandigarh, August 5: The Punjab Cabinet led by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday approved the Four Year Strategic Action Plan (4SAP) 2019-23 and Annual Action Plan 2019-20 of six departments, taking the total number of state departments which such plans in place to 24.

The departments for which the plans have been given the nod today are Social Justice Empowerment & Minorities, Governance Reforms & Public Grievances, Power, Higher Education & Languages, Revenue, Rehabilitation and Disaster Management, Information Technology and Key Performance Parameters (KPPs).

According to a spokesperson of the Chief Minister's Office, the KPPs for Government Officials, as per the Four Year Strategic Action Plan and Annual Action Plan, are focused upon goals, targets and performance parameters of each government official, for the 4-year-period 2019-2023 and for 2019-2020, respectively. The performance parameters prescribed in the Four Year Action Plan for every key personnel responsible for execution of the department's policies, programmes and schemes shall be monitored through the online SDG Monitoring System. The performance on the KPPs shall be reflected in the Annual Performance Appraisal Reports of the Key Personnel as per targets assigned to them.

The state government has adopted the SDGs to take up proper planning, implementation and monitoring of the progress of realisation of the SDGs for optimal results. Till now, 4SAP of 24 departments have been prepared and approved by the Cabinet. The allocations for Annual Action Plan 2021-22 and Revised Estimates for 2020-21 would be decided on the basis of 4SAP 2019-23 of the Administrative Departments.

The key parameters are in line with the United Nations 2030 Development Agenda, the associated 169 Targets and 306 Indicators, which comprehensively cover social, economic and environmental dimensions and build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). While the MDGs target low handing fruit, the SDGs are ambitious, have a much wider sweep, and call for concerted efforts on the part of all stakeholders.

Detailed guidelines have already been issued to the Administrative Departments for the preparation of the Strategic Action Plan. The Administrative Departments are required to finalise Four Year Strategic Action Plan (4SAP)- 2019-2023 and Annual Action Plan 2019-2020, with the approval of the Minister In-charge and submit the same to the Planning Department.