PUNJAB TO AMEND PRISON ACT TO STRENGTHEN SECURITY & CURB CRIME IN JAILS

Chandigarh, February 24:The Punjab government has decided to amend the Prison Act 1894 to strengthen security across the state’s prison and curb criminal acts by inmates through more stringent punishment for major offences like rioting, escape from prison, and other violations of prison discipline and rules.

A Bill to bring in the necessary changes will be introduced in the Budget Session of the Vidhan Sabha, scheduled to begin on March 1.

The decision was taken on Wednesday by the State Cabinet at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh. The council of ministers approved a proposal mooted by Jails Department to add new penal provisions in the said Act to strengthen security arrangements and prevent the use of mobile phones by the inmates, riots inside the jails, incidents of assault on the jail staff, damage to the jail property, incidents of absconding, possession of drugs inside the jails etc.

Section 52-A(1) has been amended with imprisonment not less than 3 years, which may extend up to 7 years or with fine, not exceeding Rs.50,000/- or with both for offences against prison discipline. In case of non payment of fine, the imprisonment may be further extended to one year, and on second or subsequent conviction, shall be punished with the imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than 5 years but which may extend to 10 years and shall also be liable to fine which may extend Rs.5 Lac. The existing provision provided for maximum of 1 year imprisonment and fine exceeding rupees twenty-five thousand or both.

Sub-Section (3) of Section 52-A shall be now omitted as it earlier stipulated that the prisoner shall undergo the sentence awarded under sub-section (1) or under sub-section (2) after the completion of the sentence already undergoing.

A new Sections 52-B deals deals with punishment for rioting, while Section 52-C with punishment for assault or use of criminal force to deter prison official from discharge of duty, as well as for punishment for assault or criminal force,

Section 52-D for dealing with escape from prison has been inserted, while Section 52-E has been introduced for mischief causing damage to prison property and Section 52-F for punishment for mischief causing damage to prison property.

Section 52-G deals with punishment for criminal intimidation against a prison official in the prison premises and Section 52-H stipulates punishment for introducing, removing etc. of spirituous liquors, tobacco etc has also been inserted in the amended Act.

Further, Section 52-I has also been inserted for offences to be cognizable, non-bailable etc. which envisages all offences u/s 52-A, Section 52-B, Section 52-C, Section 52-D, Section 52-F, Section 52-G are cognizable and non-bailable and triable by Magistrate of 1st Class.

Clauses (2) and (16) of Section 45 shall be omitted in the amended Act.

It may be noted that despite various security arrangements in the jails of the state, there have been cases of use of mobile phones by the inmates in recent times, as well as riots inside the jails, incidents of assault on jail staff, damage to jail property, fugitive incidents. Incidents of drug trafficking are also coming to light from time to time, which is creating difficulties for the jail administration and the law and order situation in the state.

The Prisons (Punjab Amendment) Act 2013 made some amendments to the Prisons Act, 1894 to prevent wireless communication devices in prisons, vide which a punishment not exceeding one year (bailable) with or without a fine of Rs. 25,000/- was imposed. But it is felt that this provision of punishment is proving insufficient to prevent such incidents and thus the existing provisions of the Act are being amended to make these more stringent to deter the inmates from committing such offences.

==============================

COMMON CADRE OF PUNJAB HEALTH & FAMILY WELFARE AND MEDICAL EDUCATION & RESEARCH DEPTS TO BE BIFURCATED

· CABINET APPROVES MOVE TO ENSURE EFFICACIOUS HANDLING OF SERVICES MATTERS OF COMMON CADRE

Chandigarh, February 24:The Punjab Cabinet led by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday gave approval to the bifurcation of the common cadre of the departments of Health & Family Welfare and Medical Education & Research.

The move is aimed at prompt resolution of disputes arising out of the establishment matters between these two departments through separation of controlling authority and rules of both the departments.

Notably, when Punjab came into existence, the departments of Health & Family Welfare and Medical Education & Research were a single entity, with a common set of promulgated in 1945.

Later, the departments of Medical Education & Research and Health & Family Welfare were split into different departments, and separate directorates of Health & Family Welfare and Medical Education & Research were established. The Medical Education & Research department came into existence on April 2, 1973. However, the cadre controlling authority of various categories of Para-medical staff under the Directorate of Medical Education & Research remained under the control of the Health & Family Welfare department, with the official staff of Grade-3 and Grade-4 in Directorate of Health and Family Welfare having common seniority.

==============================

PUNJAB CABINET OKAYS NEW POLICY FOR CONSTRUCTION OF MORE THAN 25000 HOUSES FOR ECONOMICALLY WEAKER SECTIONS

Chandigarh, February 24: The Captain Amarinder Singh led Punjab Cabinet on Wednesday approved a new EWS Policy, paving the way for construction of more than 25000 houses for the economically weaker sections, with developers and authorities required to develop 5% of project area for EWS housing.

These houses would be constructed in reasonably sized pockets, along with social infrastructure, such as schools, community centres and dispensaries, at convenient locations to ensure comfortable living for the beneficiaries. They will be provided access to basic civic amenities.

This decision was taken during a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh through video conferencing.

The houses under the new policy would be constructed with the latest brick-less technology, using services of qualified Project Management Agencies (PMAs). They will be offered to eligible families, who will be financed by banks at affordable monthly instalment rates.

The policy provides for eligible applicants to furnish proof of birth in Punjab or of 10 years’ stay in the state from the date of application, such as Aadhaar card, copy of ration card, extract of voter list, copy of driving license, passport etc. Family income should not be more than Rs.3 lac per annum from all sources, as revised by GoI or Punjab from time to time. The applicant/his spouse/minor child must not already own freehold/leasehold residential plot/dwelling unit in Punjab or Chandigarh, and the applicant would be required to self-certify on these counts.

The applications will be received and verified by the authorised banks. Only an application for which a Bank provides loan, or applicant undertakes to make lump sum payment within 40 days of issue of letter of intent, would be considered for allotment through draw or otherwise. Applicant must be married and the application must be in the joint name of husband and wife. There will be bar on sale, gift, mortgage with possession, exchange, long lease of the so allotted EWS dwelling units for a period of 15 years except within the family case of death of allottee.

The government would fix sale price for EWS keeping in view the cost of construction of unit, proportionate cost of site development and common infrastructure such as school, community centre etc. and administrative charges such as PMC, advertisement cost, which would not exceed 5% of the total project cost. Land cost will be taken as zero and there would be exemption from EDC on such EWS projects.

Developers may consolidate their EWS areas in pockets which must be at least 1km apart, be it of 12 to 16 acre in size, in residential zones of SAS Nagar and New Chandigarh Master Plans, on already constructed master plan roads, 5 acre to 16 acre on existing roads with minimum 40 feet right of way in case of rest of Punjab, within 4km of their colonies. Apart from these, the value of area transferred to government and area reclaimed in the colony must be same as per collector rates of the two lands.

It is required that area being offered should not be less than the area being reclaimed, and all EWS land would be transferred to government free of cost. In case of group housing projects, land can be similarly offered such that EWS houses equal to 10% of the number of apartments, can be built on 80% area of land offered @80 units per acre. Remaining 20% area will be kept for essential amenities/social infrastructure. Developers who have transferred EWS area of their projects to government in compliance to notification dated December 31, 2013 can also take benefit of it by exchanging land given to government, with such new parcels of lands by way of mutation.

Notably, in 2013, Cabinet approved a policy that made it mandatory for developers to transfer the EWS pockets free of cost to government and accordingly a notification was issued on December 31, 2013. Subsequently, in 2016, the said policy was amended by the Cabinet Committee vide notification dated May 24, 2016.

Some developers handed over the possession of the EWS pockets to the respective authorities while few, who had obtained licenses/approvals prior to 2013-14, went to Punjab and Haryana High Court, against retrospective application of the policy of 2013 and subsequent amendment in the Act in 2014 that demanded free transfer of their EWS areas to concerned development authority, while their projects had been approved according to the original Act of 1995 under which they could sell the EWS plots at a sale price that was 15% less than what they would charge from others.

Moreover, there has been general resistance to construct EWS houses within the colonies due to wide variance in life styles necessitated by economic status. It was also felt that provision of social infrastructure in large number of small sized EWS scattered pockets was extremely difficult. In view of these limitations and legal issues, virtually no EWS houses have come up in the state under the government policy. Finally, to address all these issues and to see that EWS houses are actually built in the state in requisite numbers, the new policy has been framed in accordance with relevant provisions of extant law.

===================================

Rs. 6.8 crore released for purchase of LED screens in 6,180 government schools: Vijay Inder Singla

Audio-visual techniques helping students to easily understand difficult terms of syllabus: School education minister

Chandigarh, February 24:Punjab school education minister Mr. Vijay Inder Singla, on Wednesday, said that their government has released a grant of Rs. 6.8 crore for purchase of LED TV screens in as many as 6,180 government schools across the state. The cabinet minister said that the state government under the visionary leadership of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has continuously been converting ordinary classrooms into smart classrooms to provide quality education to the students of government schools. He added that new LED screens will be provided to Middle, High and Senior Secondary schools and the required directions have also been sent to district education officers.

Mr. Vijay Inder Singla said that the school education department has especially developed e-content of the syllabus and the audio-visual teaching techniques have been helping the students to easily understand the difficult terms. He added that the reforms introduced by their government has shown positive results as the government schools have outshine private schools in the terms of results which helped to restore trust of parents in government schools.

In the directions issued to the district education officers, the school education department has clarified that each school has been facilitated with the grant of Rs. 11,000. For the purchase of LED screens, the school management committees will have to pass a resolution and will also have to follow financial rules. The school heads and teachers have also been asked to install screens on adequate places for proper utilization besides encouraging students for safe maintenance of LED TVs.

==============================

SADHU SINGH DHARAMSOT MOURNS PASSING AWAY OF LEGENDARY SINGER SARDOOL SIKANDER

CHANDIGARH, FEBRUARY 24: Welfare Minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot on Wednesday expressed grief over the passing away of world-renowned Punjabi singer Sardool Sikander, who breathed his last today after a brief illness. He is survived by his wife and two sons.

In his condolence message, the Minister described Sikander as a great versatile singer, who would be ever remembered for his immense contribution to enrich Punjabi singing. The demise of legendary singer Sardool Sikander is an irreparable loss for singing and art fraternity, he added.

Dharamsot had personally gone to the private hospital where Sikander was admitted after he tested COVID positive last month. Sikander was born in village Kheri Naud Singh of Fatehgarh, and had migrated to Khanna in Ludhiana district nearly two decades ago. Sardool Sikander’s two brothers Gamdoor Aman and Bharbhoor Ali were residing in the village and elder brother and Sufi singer Gamdoor Aman passed away nearly two decades back while the younger brother and renowned player of the Tabla Ustad Bharbhoor Ali passed away a year ago.

===============================

Punjab Police to recruit IT experts, establish district-level Cyber Crime units to deal with rising Cybercrimes


- Three-months long Punjab Police’s Cyber Awareness Campaign ends on high-note

- 26 webinars, competitions to help citizens understand new age technologies organised under this campaign

CHANDIGARH, February 24:To ensure the safe and secure cyber world, the Director General of Police (DGP) Punjab Dinkar Gupta on Wednesday, announced slew of measures including recruitment of around 200 cyber crime and digital forensic experts and setting-up of Cyber Crime Units in all the districts to deal with rising cybercrimes.

“Amid the COVID-19, we are living more of our lives in the cyber world and many people using online banking and students attending online classes still don’t aware about the term cybercrime,” said DGP Gupta while addressing the closing ceremony of Cyber Surakhya— an online awareness campaign via webinar.

A three-month long cyber awareness campaign was the joint initiative of the Punjab Police and Cyber Peace Foundation (CPF).

DGP Gupta said that the Punjab Police is committed to ensure the safe cyber world to the citizens especially to the women and children, who are more vulnerable to fall prey to cybercrime.

While the recruitment of IT and Cyber Crime experts will be started from April 2021, the Cyber Crime Units are expected to be functional at district level in next 6 to 8 months, said DGP Gupta. Notably, the Punjab Police already have a state-level Cyber Crime Cell in Mohali.

The DGP also stressed on the need to sensitise citizens regarding new-age cyber frauds including telephone and financial frauds, identity theft crimes (phishing), and malware detection besides assisting them to identify cyber threats and seek redressal to mitigate the threats.

He said that the Punjab Police and CPF have also conducted a survey to further understand the gaps and put into place safety and response measures to fight cybercrime.

Advisor CPF Dr Rakshit Tandon, while divulging details said that 8505 respondents including 3342 males, 5101 females and 72 others, who participated in the study displayed a deep understanding on cybercrime including stealing the data from computer hardware (51%) as well as crimes such as hacking (51%), online impersonation (39%), and online harassment (38%) while 34% respondents also stated that conducting unlawful transactions from someone else’s account and spreading fake news (36%) also falls into the category of cybercrime.

The survey, in which majority of respondents were in the age group between 10 to 20 years old and are school-going further showed that about 56% of them knew how to report a cybercrime and 50% of the respondents knew that cybercrime is reported at the police station, he added.

He said that interestingly, 70% of respondents were also aware that Punjab Police had dedicated Cybercrime Cells besides Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and 44% of the respondents were aware that they could seek remedy against cybercrimes under the Information Technology Act, 2000.

ADGP Community Affairs Division Gurpreet Kaur Deo informed that as many as 26 webinars covering diverse subjects to help citizens to understand the new age technologies and their pros-cons, were organised under this cyber awareness campaign and speakers including 22 senior police officers and 33 experts from Cyber Peace Foundation delivered lectures. She said that apart from organising webinars, competitions like Brain Olympics, Slogan Slam and Pant-a-Thon were also organised for the viewers.

Meanwhile, Founder CPF Vineet Kumar said that the campaign had generated more than 20 lakh impressions in the last 3 months with over 3 lakh unique viewers, who have watched webinars during the campaign period. The webinars can also be watched anytime by visiting “Punjab Police India” page on Facebook, he added.
=================================

GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY FOR PUNJAB GIRLS TO PURSUE ELITE CAREER AS COMMISSIONED OFFICER

Chandigarh, February 24: The Punjab Government provides Golden Opportunity for Girls of Punjab aspiring for an Elite Career as a Commissioned Officer in the Armed Forces at the Mai Bhago Armed Forces Preparatory Institute for Girls Mohali.

The Mai Bhago Armed Forces Preparatory Institute for Girls Mohali has invited applications from the aspirants for Admission in the Seventh Batch commencing July 2021.

Disclosing this here today official spokesperson of the Punjab Government said that MBAFPI is a fully residential institute, spread out on a sprawling 9 acres. Institute provides General Awareness, Communication Skills, Personality Development Confidence Building, NCC Training, physical fitness training and indoor & outdoor sports activities. The students would be given training for SSB by professionals and entrance exams to the Armed Forces.

The Spokesperson further said that this training includes 3 years Graduation Degree from MCM DAV College Chandigarh. The basic eligibility for the applicants include Punjab Domicile currently pursuing 10+2 in any stream and from any board and completing (10+2) in March / April 2021, should be 16 years or more on 01 July 2021.

The interested candidates can apply online by clicking on link entrance exam Mai Bhago Armed Forces Preparatory Institute for Girls at: http:// recruitment-portal.in or http:// mbafpigirls.in Link will be operational from 04 March, 2021 on 28 April, 2021.

For any other information or query the candidates can contact at 0172-2233105, Email to maibhagoafpi@yahoo.in or visit www.mbafpigirls.in website or CDAC website: http://recruitment-portal.in.

The spokesperson further clarified that MBAFPI has no tie up with any entrance exam training institute anywhere.