CAPT AMARINDER LED PUNJAB CABINET AUTHORISES DCs TO DECLARE NEW MANDIS AS NEEDED

Chandigarh, April 10-The Punjab Cabinet, headed by Captain Amarinder Singh, on Friday authorized the Deputy Commissioners to declare new Mandis in their respective districts, as needed, to meet the demands of social distance while ensuring smooth procurement of the grain.

These would be in addition to the 3800 Mandis already notified this year for procurement operations, disclosed an official spokesperson after a Video Conference of the Council of Ministers.

The Cabinet took stock of the preparations for the harvesting and procurement of wheat, scheduled to begin on April 15. It was decided that the procurement arrangements should be finalized and notified by 11th April so that that every grain of the farmers is procured, though in a staggered manner.

The state has already decided to extend procurement till June 15 and has sought incentives from the Centre for delayed transportation to the Mandis by the farmers in view of the COVID-19 crisis. The Centre is yet to respond to the state’s demand.

The Cabinet further noted that the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on procurement of wheat should be widely circulated and publicized so that all protocols, including provision of sanitisers, handwashing arrangements etc, can be strictly complied with. DGP Dinkar Gupta has already been asked to come out with a comprehensive security plan for the Mandis.

The Cabinet was informed that while 73% of the state’s requirement for gunny bales had been met already, the remaining shortage of 7.2 lakh bales would be met with PP bags if the West Bengal government does not open production in time. As of now, West Bengal has only resumed transportation of the 27000 bales which were ready.

ACS Development Vishwajit Khanna said rules had been amended to make payments to farmers through the Arhtiyas instead of direct bank transfer that was to be introduced this year. The Chief Minister had earlier suggested the change in order to maintain continuity and stability in these difficult times. The Mandi Board has already extended the validity of the licenses of the Arhtiyas, which were to expire on March 31, till the wheat procurement operations in the state are over. The Arhtiyas would be paid within 48 hours of procurement and would, in turn, be required to pay the farmers in the next 48 hours.

Khanna informed the cabinet that the 3718 purchase centres set up in the state included 153 main yards, 283 sub yards, 1430 purchase centres and rice mills. Nearly 137 lakh MT of wheat is expected to arrive in the mandis of which 135 lakh MT would be purchased by government agencies while two lakh MT by the private traders. Khanna said that the Centre has fixed MSP of wheat at Rs 1925 per quintal for the current RMS against Rs 1840 MSP fixed last year.

A farmer shall be entitled to take multiple coupons each day or on different days depending on space in order to avoid rush in the mandis. About 27 lakh coupons would be issued by market committees to Arthiyas. Farmers with each coupon will be entitled to bring one trolley having about 50 quintal wheat.

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PUNJAB PRISONS DEPARTMENT DONATES RS. 37 LAKH TO CHIEF MINISTER COVID RELIEF FUND

  • RANDHAWA THANKS ALL OFFICIALS FOR CONTRIBUTING THEIR ONE DAY’s SALARY FOR NOBLE CAUSE

CHANDIGARH, APRIL 10:In view of the Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s appeal to donate generously towards CM COVID Relief Fund, the Punjab Prisons Department has donated a sum of Rs. 37 lakh to help the state in its battle against deadly corona virus.

Disclosing this here today, the Jails Minister S. Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa thanked all the officers/officials of Prisons Department for donating their one day’s salary voluntarily for a noble cause in this difficult time. He said this humanitarian gesture of the department would also supplement the efforts of state government in mitigating the hardships being faced by the people amid curfew/lockdown.

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PUNJAB EXTENDS CURFEW TILL MAY 1, TASK FORCE TO DECIDE ON EXIT STRATEGY

CABINET ALSO DECIDES ON HIGH-POWERED COMMITTEE TO DRAW ROADMAP FOR POST-COVID ECONOMIC REVIVAL

ANOTHER TASK FORCE TO WORK ON QUICK UPGRADATION OF HOSPITAL INFRASTRUCTURE

Chandigarh, April 10-Amid apprehensions of community spread of COVID-19, the Punjab Government on Friday decided to extend the curfew in the state till May 1, 2020.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the Council of Ministers, chaired by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, to check community spread of the pandemic and to prevent overcrowding at the Mandis in the light of the ensuing wheat harvesting/procurement season.

Captain Amarinder will convey the decision to Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Saturday’s conference with the chief ministers, according to an official spokesperson.

Citing the grim projections about the spread of the pandemic in the coming weeks, the Chief Minister said the curfew restrictions were essential so that the medical infrastructure is not burdened beyond its capabilities. There was general consensus in the medical community that the lockdown curbs would only delay the spread of the disease, he said, hoping that some medication/cure would be found soon.

On a proposal by the Chief Minister, the Council of Ministers also decided to set up a multi-disciplinary task force to formulate an exit strategy for gradual relaxation of curfew/lockdown. The task force will submit its report within 10 days. The task force will about 15 members representing trade, business, industry, agriculture, civil society and health care professionals. The Chief Minister has been authorized to decide on the composition of the task force.

The Cabinet also approved establishment of a high-powered committee to suggest a road map for State's economic revival in post-COVID era once the crisis softens and normal working is restored. Captain Amarinder said he will request former Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Ahluwalia to head the committee.

The Council Ministers also resolved to urge upon Government of India to establish an Advance Center of Virology in Punjab with an anticipated investment of Rs 500 crore, with the state government to offer land free of cost for the project.

For the quick upgradation of the state’s health infrastructure to combat the current crisis, the Cabinet set up a task force under the Principal Secretary, PWD, to look into it. Principal, Secretary, TCA and MD, Punjab Health Systems Corporation will be other members of the task force, which will carry out the task of quick upgradation of health infrastructure in a time bound manner. The Chief Minister asked the Health Department to submit a detailed proposal for this.

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PUNJAB CABINET OKAYS ORDINANCE TO BRING PRIVATE HOSPITALS INTO COVID-19 BATTLE

Chandigarh, April 10-In a major decision, the Punjab Cabinet on Friday approved the Punjab Clinical Establishment (Registration and Regulation) Ordinance 2020, to bring the state’s private hospitals under the umbrella of the COVID-19 battle.

It was necessary for the private hospitals to join the battle against COVID-19, said Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, while chairing a video conference of the Council of Ministers.

The Chief Minister has been authorized by the Council of Ministers to approve the final draft of the Bill after its legal vetting.

Captain Amarinder said it was important to activate all the resources, in the larger interest of the state, in the light of the current battle, which threatens to be a long-drawn one.

The Ordinance will provide for registration and regulation of clinical establishments in a professional manner to ensure compliance of clinical standards and protocols and transparency in the functioning of these establishments for fair and proper delivery of health services to the common man.

There would be no undue interference in day-to-day functioning of these establishments, as per the proposed legislation, which will, to begin with, be applicable to all clinical establishments of 50 beds and above as in the case of Haryana. It is proposed that the Punjab Health Council may be headed by an expert/ professional of national repute instead of a bureaucrat, with at least two other professionals as members.

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PUNJAB CABINET SUB-COMMITTEE ON FISCAL MANAGEMENT TO BE EXPANDED TO DECIDE ON EXPENDITURE CUTS

Chandigarh, April 10-The Punjab Council of Ministers on Friday authorized Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh Minister to nominate four additional members on the Cabinet Sub-committee on Fiscal Management for broad-based discussion and decision on expenditure cuts needed to tackle the COVID-19 crisis.

Reviewing the state’s fiscal situation amid the COVID crisis, the Cabinet also asked the various departments to send their proposals for expenditure cuts by Monday and it was decided that the Cabinet Sub-committee will meet on Tuesday to discuss the same.

The Chief Minister, who heads the Cabinet Sub-committee, underlined the need to generate resources for the COVID-19 battle, and also suggested expansion of the sub-committee to make the discussions more broad-based.

Finance Minister Manpreet Badal informed the meeting that Rs 30 thousand crore of revenue earned through the upcoming procurement operations would be infused into the state’s economy. This would help in strengthening the COVID-19 battle of the state, said Captain Amarinder.