Cabinet meeting

Chandigarh,22.03.18-Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh presiding over Cabinet meeting held at Chief Minister's official residence on Thursday

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 CABINET APPROVES PROPOSED MODIFICATION IN LAND POOLING POLICY-2013 TO CREATE LAND BANKS IN GMADA

 

·        DECIDES ON 15% COMPENSATION TO LAND OWNERS, WITH HIGHER SHARE FOR COMMERCIAL LAND EXCHANGE

 

 Chandigarh, March 22: The Punjab Cabinet today approved a modification in the Land Pooling Policy-2013 in order to create Land Banks for the proposed Aero City Expansion Project of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA), with a minimum of 15% compensation to be given to the land owners.

 

This decision was taken in the Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh here at his official residence this evening, said an official spokesperson, adding that the modification will help create land banks for urban estate through land pooling.

 

The cabinet decided that higher share of commercial area could be considered to be given to land owners if they so desired. However, in such cases, they would get lesser share of residential area to the tune of 1:3 ratio.

 

The amendment was mooted after detailed deliberations with the farmers and other stakeholders in the vicinity of Aero City Mohali, where 70-80 percent of the land owners were willing to give up their land for the proposed Aero City Expansion project for land pooling.

 

A small percentage of the farmers demanded cash compensation to purchase land for cultivation in other areas, while a few farmers requested to trigger Land Acquisition Act and issue notification and award as per law, so that they are not harassed by the Income Tax Department.

 

The spokesperson said that the farmers also shared their experiences of previous land pooling and gave vital inputs suggesting modifications in the Land Pooling Policy-2013. The land owners also asked for increased proportion of commercial area from 121 sq. yards to 200 sq. yards, clubbing the commercial sites at one location if it was more than 200 sq. yards.

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 CABINET OKAYS REDUCTION IN SC COMMISSION’S NON-OFFICIAL MEMBERS FROM 10 TO 3

 Chandigarh, March 22: In a pragmatic move towards prudent fiscal management, the Punjab Cabinet on Thursday okayed the reduction in number of non-official members of the SC Commission from 10 to three, reversing a decision taken by the erstwhile SAD-BJP government a few months before the last Assembly elections.

 The Cabinet, at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, accepted a proposal of the Department of Welfare of Scheduled Castes, Backward Classes & Minorities to amend Section 3 (2) (b) of the Punjab State Scheduled Castes Commission Act, 2004.

 

The necessary legislation will be presented before the House in the Budget Session, according to an official spokesperson, who disclosed that the Cabinet had also agreed to a proposal to amend section 4 (1) of the Act, stipulating that no person above the age of 70 years shall be eligible for appointment as Chairperson and Non-Official members, and the Chairperson and Non-Officials Members, once appointed, shall get a fixed term of three years.

 

Notably, the SAD-BJP alliance government amended the Punjab State Scheduled Castes Commission Act, 2004 on November 15, 2016, to enhance the strength of non-official members in the Commission from three to ten members with the provision to appoint a senior vice chairman and vice chairman from among the non-official members to adjust their political aspirants. This had resulted in additional financial burden on the State Government.

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 2 PCS OFFICERS TRANSFERRED

Chandigarh, March 22:The Punjab Government today issued transfer/posting orders of 2 PCS officers with immediate effect.

Disclosing this here today, an official spokesman said that Mr. Paramdeep Singh-II has been posted as Deputy Secretary, Health and Family Welfare while Mr. Paramjit Singh-II has been posted as Sub Divisional Magistrate, Dera Bassi.

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PUNJAB TO OBSERVE SHAHEED DIVAS AS YOUTH EMPOWERMENT DAY

 STATE-WIDE OATH ADMINISTRATION TO DAPOs BY CM, MINISTERS TO MARK OCCASION

  Chandigarh, March 22:The Punjab Government has decided to observe the March 23, the martyrdom day of Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh, Shaheed Sukhdev and Shaheed Rajguru as 'Youth Empowerment Day'.

 A state-wide programme to administer oath to Drug Abuse Prevention Officers (DAPOs), an initiative which Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh will launch tomorrow, will mark the occasion, an official spokesperson said on Thursday.

 The state-level function, where the Chief Minister will pay his homage, will be held at Khatkar Kalan (the ancestral village of Shaheed – e-Azam Bhagat Singh) Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar. Local Government, Cultural Affairs and Tourism Minister Mr. Navjot Singh Sidhu will also be present at the event.

 Pogrammes at the district level would be presided by the state ministers, said the spokesperson. Health and Family Welfare Minister Brahm Mohindra will administer the oath to DAPOs at Ludhiana, Rural Development and Panchayats Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa at  Gurdaspur, Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal at Hussainiwala (Ferozepur), Public Works Minister Razia Sultana at Mohali, Education Minister Aruna Chaudhary at Fatehgarh Sahib, Forest Minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot at Patiala, and Technical Education Minister Charanjit Singh Channi at Hoshiarpur.

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STATE GOVT. WILL GIVE ADEQUATE COMPENSATION TO IRAQ VICTIMS’ KIN BUT CENTRE SHOULD ALSO PITCH IN, SAYS PUNJAB CM

·        ORDERS IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF FEB & MARCH PAYMENTS, IN PLACE OF QUARTERLY PAYOUT, ON COMPASSIONATE GROUNDS

 Chandigarh, March 22: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday promised adequate compensation by the state government for the families of the Iraq victims but reiterated his demand for the Centre also to recompense them since the tragedy had occurred overseas.

The Chief Minister, on compassionate grounds, also ordered immediate release of Rs. 20000 as monthly pension to each of the bereaved families for February and March 2018, waiving off the condition of quarterly payouts. The DCs have been asked to disburse the pension amount immediately, he added.

Dismissing as false the allegation made by Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia that the families of the victims had not been paid compensation by the state government for the past six months, the Chief Minister said payment had been made till January 31, 2018, as of yesterday. With the release of the next two months’ pension, the payment was now completely up to date, he added.

Talking to mediapersons at the state Assembly, he clarified that the state government had been paying the monthly pension to 24 families, of which it so far had information.

The Chief Minister had earlier informed the House that, as per the information received from the Ministry of External Affairs, there are 27 victims from Punjab, of whom 11 hailed from Majha region and 11 from Doaba, with the remaining were from other parts of the state.

Intervening in a discussion on Leader of Opposition Sukhpal Singh Khaira’s call attention to extend adequate financial assistance to the next of the kin of the bereaved families, the Chief Minister told the Vidhan Sabha that all criteria for compensation is such matters would be duly followed by his government.

He further said that his government would not indulge in any politics or arguments with the Centre on grant of compensation, but stressed that it was the central government’s responsibility also to provide financial assistance since the killings took place outside the country.

In response to questions from members, he said the mortal remains of the victims would take some time to reach India as there were some legal issues, which the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) was trying to sort out with the authorities in Mosul.

Captain Amarinder Singh told the members that he was in constant touch with the External Affairs Minister in this regard and had been told that the bodies of the ill-fated Punjabis would land at Amritsar Airport once the requisite formalities are completed by the Mosul authorities in Iraq. He further said that the coffins with the remains of the deceased would be received at the Airport by the state government, with full respect and honour, before being handed over to the respective families for the last rites.

Meanwhile, expressing gratitude to Captain Amarinder Singh for showing magnanimity on this emotive issue, Leader of Opposition Sukhpal Singh Khaira said that the State Government should extend maximum financial assistance to the families, besides mounting pressure on the Union Government for additional compensation for them.

Congress MLA Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi expressed grief over the tragic incident and suggested that all MLAs, cutting across party lines, should approach the central government to seek Rs. 1 crore compensation and a job for each of the families.

Ruling out any politics on the issue, Congress member Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon was also of the view that while the state government was doing everything for the welfare of the bereaved families, the Centre also had a responsibility towards them.

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CAPT AMARINDER TAKES ON SUKHBIR OVER BID TO TAKE CREDIT FOR CONG GOVT’S WELFARE INITIATIVES

·        DISMISSES SAD CHIEF’S CLAIMS AS MALICIOUS, ISSUES POINT BY POINT REBUTTAL

 Chandigarh, March 22: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has flayed the Akalis, led by Sukhbir Singh Badal, for their shameless attempts to take credit for various welfare and development initiatives of the Congress government by trying to usurp them as their own.

In a statement issued here on Thursday, the Chief Minister came down heavily on Sukhbir Singh Badal for his false and malicious claims on various announcements made by the government as part of the Governor’s address at the start of the current Budget Session in the Vidhan Sabha.

While governance was an ongoing exercise in continuity and his government had no qualms in acknowledging or continuing with any worthwhile projects of the previous regime, the Akalis’ effort to take credit for all the good work of his government was yet another lie being perpetrated by them on the people of Punjab, said the Chief Minister. The Akalis would not be sitting in the Opposition had they really worked for the welfare and benefit of the people during their 10-year-rule, he quipped.

The fact is that what had been done by them in the name of public welfare was actually just aimed at the welfare of one family, Captain Amarinder Singh said.

Countering Sukhbir Singh Badal’s claim on the Interstate River Water Issues, the Chief Minister said the return of the land acquired for SYL to the farmers was only the logical conclusion of the bold Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004, passed by his government during his earlier stint.

On the Shahpur Kandi Project, Captain Amarinder Singh said while the Akalis had launched the project in 2013, the fact was that the work was soon stopped by the J&K government. It was only through his government’s continuous efforts with the J&K government and the Central Government that approval had finally been granted in August 2017 for resumption of the work, he added.

The Chief Minister also lashed out at Sukhbir Singh Badal for his claim with regard to Kurki of farmers’ land, pointing out that it was the Congress government which had abolished Section 67A of Cooperatives Act, in line with its election promise. Unlike the erstwhile SAD-BJP government, the Congress does not believe in making the farmer dependent on political patronage or official cooperation to safeguard his interests, said Captain Amarinder Singh, coming down heavily on the Akalis for ruining the farming community.

Acknowledging that free power for agriculture sector and SCs/BCs and BPL families was a continuation from the previous government’s policy in this regard, the Chief Minister said his government had not only managed to carry the scheme forward, despite the legacy of fiscal debt inherited from the SAD-BJP, but had actually gone way beyond. His government, said Captain Amarinder Singh, had expanded the ambit of the scheme to cover freedom fighters (300 free units) and industries (subsidized variable tariff of Rs 5/unit for next five years), which the Akalis never even thought of doing.

The Chief Minister was also critical of the Akali Dal’s misinformation campaign on the issue of free power from farmers. There was no question of taking away this benefit from the farmers, he added, rejecting the Akalis’s allegations to the contrary.

Regarding the Smart City projects at Amritsar, Ludhiana and Jalandhar, the Chief Minister pointed out that only identification of these cities was done during the Akali tenure and no works were ever tendered. In fact, in the case of Ludhiana and Jalandhar, even the Project Management Consultants to execute the project were never appointed.

The hollowness of Sukhbir Singh Badal’s claim on this issue was further exposed by the fact that the Government of India never released any funds for Amritsar and Jalandhar after the SAD-BJP government failed to pass on the Rs 194 crore received from the Centre for Ludhiana to the SPV, said Captain Amarinder Singh.

The SAD president’s claims on old age pension also came in for criticism from the Chief Minister, who pointed out that not only had his government raised pension from Rs 500 to Rs 750 but, contrary to Sukhbir Singh Badal’s allegation on pending arrears, had been releasing pensions every month since December 2017. Captain Amarinder Singh reiterated his government’s commitment to regular payment of the pensions.

As for the Shagun scheme, which he conceded was started by SAD-BJP during their 1997-2002 tenure, Captain Amarinder Singh said it was, however, the Congress which had always increased its coverage, first in 2004, then in 2006 and again, in 2017, from Rs. 15000 to Rs. 21000. What is more, his government has already cleared all pending arrears under this scheme up to March 2107, he said, adding that the remaining arrears would also be paid out at the earliest.

Citing the Industrial Business Policy 2017 as another major initiative of his government, the Chief Minister pointed out that while Invest Punjab, set up by SAD-BJP, had done good work initially, the MoUs signed could never be implemented on the ground in the absence of a stable Industries Policy. The conversion rate was as poor as 14%, he noted, adding that the new policy launched by his government would boost the implementation and provide a strong platform to investors and industry.

Captain Amarinder Singh urged Sukhbir Singh Badal not to indulge in such blatant falsehoods to promote his political agenda with his attempts to mislead the people of the state. Punjab’s citizens had seen them at work in the last one decade and would not succumb to their political games now, he added.

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 PUNJAB AG EXHORTS YOUNG LAWYERS TO LEARN FROM SENIORS TO PROTECT DEMOCRATIC VALUES

 Chandigarh, March 22: Punjab Advocate General Atul Nanda on Thursday called upon young lawyers to learn from the experience of their senior colleagues to protect the democratic values of the nation.

He was speaking at a function in Jalandhar where the Bar Council of Punjab & Haryana felicitated lawyers of the Bar who had completed more than 50 years in the legal profession. Nanda described the legal fraternity as an important medium for preserving and promoting the values of free speech, civil liberties and fundamental rights, which were an integral part of the democratic fabric of India. Those who have lived this process through long and rich years of practice are the pillars on which such democracy stands and thrives, he said, terming the felicitation as “nothing short of a lifetime achievement award for our senior friends.”

He exhorted the young lawyers to take advantage of the experience of such seniors, who he described as the fountainhead of knowledge and proficiency. Nanda asked the young lawyers to find a mentor in their seniors and emulate their example.

The occasion was graced by lawyers, office bearers of the Bar Council, legal luminaries as well as judges of the High Court of Punjab & Haryana.

Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Arvind Sangwan also addressed the gathering.

Deputy Commissioner Mr. Varinder Kumar Sharma, District and Session Judge Mr. SK Garg, the Chairman of the Bar Council of Punjab & Haryana Dr. Vijender Singh Ahlawat, District Attorney Mr. Satpal, Chairman of Felicitation Committee Mr. Karanjeet Singh, Mr. RS Mand and others were also present on the occasion.

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 PUNJAB CABINET GIVES NOD TO TABLING NARANG COMMISSION REPORT WITH ATR IN ASSEMBLY


· ALSO APPROVES PRESENTATION OF BUDGET ESTIMATES FOR 2018-19

Chandigarh, March 22: The Narang Commission report, along with the Department’s Action Taken Report (ATR), is all set to be tabled in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, with the state cabinet giving its go-ahead for the same on Thursday.


The Council of Minister, headed by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, approved the tabling of the report of the Commission of Inquiry headed by Justice (Retd.) J.S. Narang, and the Memorandum of the action taken thereon by the Department of Mines & Geology, under the provision of Section 3 (4) of Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952.


This was disclosed here by a spokesperson of the Chief Minister's Office after the Cabinet meeting.


It may be recalled that the Chief Minister had on Wednesday announced the government’s decision to present all Commission reports before the House, with the Narang Commission report to be tabled in the current Budget session itself.


The Narang Commission of Inquiry was constituted on May 30, 2017, under Section 11 of the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952 to inquire into all aspects related to sand mining auctions. The Commission submitted its report to the Government on August 9, 2017.


In another decision, the Cabinet has also okayed the presentation of the budget estimates of the Punjab government for the year 2018-19, in pursuance of the provisions contained in the Clause (1) of Article 204 read with Article 206 of the Constitution of India.

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AFTER MBBS DOCTORS, MEDICAL OFFICERS (DENTAL) ALSO CLEARED BY CABINET FOR FULL SALARY DURING PROBATION

 

 Chandigarh, March 22: The Punjab Council of Ministers, headed by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, has decided now to bring Medical Officers (Dental) also in the ambit of medical professionals who will get their full salaries, including allowances, during probation period also.

 

The cabinet on Thursday cleared a proposal to waive off the condition of basic pay only for Medical Officers (Dental), just days after it had approved a similar waiver for MBBS probationers in government hospitals.

 

The move is aimed at ensuring the best dental treatment and diagnostic services in government healthcare institutions by engaging professional Dental Officers.

 

The matter was put up before the cabinet after it was brought to the government’s notice that the Medical Officers (Dental) were also part of the PCMS cadre and should also be considered for relaxation from the condition of basic salary only during their probation period.

 

The cabinet decision would facilitate new Medical Officers (Dental) to get full salary in the pay scale of Rs.15600-39100+5400/- Grade pay, a spokesperson of Chief Minister's Office disclosed.

 

The spokesperson said that exemption from the condition of basic pay during probation period to the newly appointed Medical Officers (Dental) was being provided on the same analogy as already done in the case of Punjab Civil Services (Judicial Branch), Assistant Teachers/Scientists of Punjab Agriculture University, Specialist Doctors and Medical Officers (MBBS).

 

Except these categories, all newly appointed employees/officers of Punjab Government, including Medical Officers (Dental), were getting only basic salary during their probation period, as per the notification issued by the Finance Department on January 15, 2015.

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PUNJAB CABINET OKAYS WAIVER OF LOANS UP TO RS 50,000 FROM SC/BC FINANCE CORPORATIONS

·        TOTAL LOAN AMOUNTING TO RS.52 CRORE TO BE WAIVED OFF FOR 15,890 BENEFICIARIES, INCLUDING DEFAULTERS

 Chandigarh, March 22: Fulfilling yet another of its poll promise, the Punjab government, led by Captain Amarinder Singh, is all set to waive off loans, up to Rs. 50000 each, taken from the Punjab Scheduled Castes Land Development and Finance Corporation (PSCLDFC) and Punjab Backward Classes Land Development and Finance Corporation (PBCLDFC).

The cabinet on Thursday paved the way for the waiver, which will benefit 15,890 people who had taken loans up to March 31, 2017, including those who had defaulted on their payments, an official spokesperson said. A total amount of Rs 52 crore will be waived off under the scheme.

In the case of Punjab Scheduled Castes Land Development and Finance Corporation, there are 14,260 beneficiaries eligible for loan waiver, with a total financial liability of Rs.45.41 crore. The total number of eligible beneficiaries in the case of Punjab Backward Classes Land Development and Finance Corporation is 1630 and the financial liability involved is Rs.6.59 crore.

Under the scheme, the beneficiaries would be issued no dues certificates only after the repay the balance amount, with interest, minus Rs. 50000 which the government has decided to waive off. The cut-off date would be March 31, 2017 for calculation of interest/penal interest.

The loanees who have already filed a civil case in the court against the corporation would not be covered under this scheme, until they withdraw the cases unconditionally. If any dispute arises for waiving off loan under this scheme, the Executive Director of the Corporation would be the competent authority to take decision.

Rules and regulations of the corporation would be treated as amended to the extent of conditions of this scheme. If any legal dispute arises under the scheme, then the legal jurisdiction would be Chandigarh courts only.

Pertinently, the Punjab Scheduled Castes Land Development & Finance Corporation advances loans to poor Scheduled Castes people at nominal rate of interest and Punjab Backward Classes Land Development and Finance Corporation advances to poor backward classes people. The loan recovery of the PSCLDFC and PBCLDFC is 67% and 85% respectively.