CAPT AMARINDER LED PUNJAB GOVT GIVES NOD FOR REDEVELOPMENT OF 1764 ACRES OF CLOSED BATHINDA PLANT LAND

Chandigarh, June 22: The Punjab cabinet on Monday gave the nod for the redevelopment of the 1764 acres of land of the now-closed Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Power Plant in Bathinda.

Following the cabinet decision, the land, belonging to the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL), will now be acquired by Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA), under the Department of Housing and Urban Development, through a 80:20 revenue sharing scheme.

PUDA has also been allowed by the Cabinet, which met here under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, to raise loan upto Rs.100 crore for development and sale of the site with state guarantee.

The plant was shut down in 2018 as per the modalities worked out by a sub-committee set up on August 24, 2017, for the closure of the state-owned thermal plants in view of the Central Electricity Agency (CEA) guidelines to retire non-viable Thermal Power Plants (TPPS) that have exceeded 25-year life span. Subsequently, another Cabinet sub-committee was set up on May 18, 2020, with Housing & Urban Development Minister, and Industries & Commerce Minister and Local Government Minister as members, to work out the modalities of the redevelopment of the Bathinda plant land.

The state government decided to redevelop the site to bring prosperity to the area by maximizing direct and indirect employment generation opportunities. The PSPCL Board passed a resolution to hand over the land (barring the areas under the colony which is spread over approximately 280 acre) to PUDA for its appropriate development and sale under the 80:20 profit sharing scheme. Under the scheme, 80% profit from the sale of developed land, over and above the notional value of the land, goes to owner i.e. PSPCL in this case and 20% is retained by PUDA for its role as developer and for branding. PUDA will rope in the services of professional agency/agencies to advise it on the best possible utilisation of different parcels of the land.

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PUNJAB CM RELEASES REPORT ON DOCUMENTATION OF AGRICULTURAL PROCUREMENT DURING COVID-19

STATE GOVERNMENT TO DOCUMENT ALL ASPECTS OF ITS COVID-19 MANAGEMENT EXPERIENCE

Chandigarh, June 22: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday released a report documenting the successful conduct of wheat procurement by the State Government from April 15 to May 31 under the shadow of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Disclosing this here today, a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office said that the state government had decided to document various aspects of Covid-19 management including health response such as medical treatment and testing besides other areas like handling of migrants’ crisis, use of IT tools, etc.

The present report was the first in the series of structured documentation reports which have been brought out by the Mahatma Gandhi State Institute of Public Administration (MGSIPA), Chandigarh with the assistance of Indian School of Business, Mohali and Ernst & Young, he added.

Congratulating MGSIPA for the initiative, the Chief Minister said that the Covid-19 pandemic was an unprecedented crisis and the State Government and its officers must learn from their experience to improve response to such unforeseen and black swan events in the future.

“Procurement of wheat was indeed a very challenging operation given the nationwide lockdown on the one hand, and threat of spread of contagion on the other. It was successfully accomplished due to the innovative micro-planning done by the Departments of Agriculture and Food & Supplies and the whole-hearted participation of the all the stakeholders, including the farmers, arhtiyas, truckers and labourers”, said Amarinder Singh.

The report was released in the presence of all Ministers and senior officers of the State Government before the meeting of the Council of Ministers. A digital version of the report can be accessed at punjab.gov.in, diprpunjab.gov.in, agri.punjab.gov.in, mandiboard.nic.in, dgrpg.punjab.gov.in and covidhelp.punjab.gov.in.

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PUNJAB TO CHANGE DEFINITION OF LARGE FACTORIES FROM ‘500 WORKERS’ TO ‘1000 WORKERS’

CABINET ALSO OKAYS VARIOUS OTHER REFORMS TO ENCOURAGE LARGE UNITS & EMPLOYMENT GENERATION

CHANDIGARH, JUNE 22-To encourage the establishment of large manufacturing units and boost generation of employment opportunities in the state, the Punjab Government has decided to amend the law and the rules to change the definition of such units, while ushering in a host of other reforms to make such industries to operate with ease.

The state cabinet, at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, on Monday approved the necessary amendments in Section 45 (4) of the Factories Act, 1948 and in Rules 2(A), 3 (A) and 70 (5) of Punjab Factory Rules 1952, to raise the threshold limit for defining a large factory from ‘more than five hundred workers’ to ‘more than one thousand workers’.

The change was necessary to encourage the establishment of large manufacturing units, which industrialists were at present shy of doing on account of the conditions laid down years ago, many of which were no longer implementable in the current scenario. For instance, under the existing Section 45 (4) of the Factories Act, 1948, an Ambulance room is mandatory for factories employing more than 500 workers. When such provisions were envisaged, the factories employing such large number of workers were located away from the cities. Moreover, the modes of transport and communication were negligible. Further, provisions of ESI Act were not applicable to such factories due to non-implementation area as pe the ESI Act, and private hospital facilities were not available nearby. This necessitated the provision of having an ambulance room on the premises, which is no longer the case in view of the better means of transportation and communication that exist today, with a number hospitals/nursing homes also available around such factories.

According to a government spokesman, the rights and liberties of workers will remain fully protected even after these amendments, aimed at facilitating quicker revival of the industry.

Meanwhile, with a view to facilitating the industry, and to make optimum use of the facilities and manpower available with the leading technical institutions, the Cabinet has also approved amendment in rule 2 (A) to declare such leading technical institutions as competent persons for the purpose of section 6 of the Factories Act, 1948. The said amendment has declared reputed engineering institutes viz PEC University of Technology, Chandigarh College of Engineering & Technology, Thapar Institute of Engineering & Technology, Patiala, Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College as ‘competent person’. With the amendment, certification done by these institutions would be accepted only when such certification is signed by the head of the Civil/Structural Engineer Department and Head of the institution.

In yet another amendment, the Cabinet has decided to change Rule 3 (A) to allow certain changes, like office construction, car shed, boundary wall etc, without the need for prior approval to be taken by the factory. At present, the industrial units are required to get the Building Plan approved again and again, which results in lot of harassment to the industry.

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PUNJAB CM SANCTIONS 300 AD-HOC POSTS IN MEDICAL EDUCATION DEPT TO HANDLE CRITICAL COVID PATIENTS

ASKS HEALTH DEPT ALSO TO EXPEDITE RECRUITMENT, ENSURE AVAILABILITY OF COVID TEST REPORTS IN 12 HOURS

Chandigarh, June 22:Amid escalating Covid cases in the state, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday sanctioned 300 ad-hoc posts in the Medical Education Department, 100 in each in the three government run Medial Colleges, to handle the critical patients, while directing expeditious recruitment of medical and technical staff against all vacant and sanctioned posts.

The Chief Minister’s directives came after Dr KK Talwar, the state government’s health advisor and former PGI director, said 100 staff members, mainly senior resident doctors and assistant professors, were required to be on-board by the Medical Education department in each Medical College on urgent basis to handle the critical Covid patients.

Responding to Dr Talwar’s submission on the staff requirement, the Chief Minister immediately sanctioned these 300 posts, directing the department to make ad hoc appointments by hiring graduating students as Senior Residents. These appointments could be subject to their clearance of exams later, he suggested, adding that for assistant professors, walk-in selections could be considered to overcome the immediate shortfall.

The Chief Minister issued the directives during a Video Conference meeting to review the Covid situation in the state.

Disclosing that approval had already been given to the Health Department to fill up 6000 vacancies at various positions, Captain Amarinder asked the department to expedite the recruitment process at all levels, including doctors, esp. anaesthetists, nurses, lab technicians and ward boys, among others.

Earlier, in his detailed presentation, Dr. Talwar said government medical colleges and district hospitals with Level III facility needed to be quickly filled up with Senior Residents/Junior Faculty in Anaesthesia/Medicine/any required discipline for Covid. He also suggested short exposure of all junior faculty in Covid ICU in PGI/AIIMS for hands-on experience, which the Chief Minister accepted. Captain Amarinder also accepted the suggestion that one faculty member from Anaesthesia/Critical Care should be on round-the-clock duty to give best possible care to sick patients in ICU.

With the pandemic peaking in the state and projections grim for the coming weeks, the Chief Minister also directed the Health and Medical education Departments to ensure that samples of symptomatic cases are taken on priority and all Covid tests reports are submitted within 12 hours. Pointing out that delay could prove costly in positive cases, he also urged people to dial 104 at the first sign of symptoms or concern. Expressing concern over reports of mortality rising due to delay in many cases, the Chief Minister asked the Health Department to take all steps to spread awareness among the citizens on the need for timely intervention.

Captain Amarinder further asked the Health Department to streamline the process of collecting and updating information on Covid patients, including from private hospitals. He also directed the department to engage closely with the private hospitals to bring them on board the state’s Covid fight more actively.

The Chief Minister was informed that as per an assessment of the Department of Medical Education and Research, 92 private hospitals in the state had already agreed to provide Covid Care facility. The department is scheduled to hold a meeting tomorrow with the private hospitals and clinics to discuss the way forward. The Chief Minister has already asked the department to work out the modalities for moderating the Covid treatment and care fee at the private hospitals and clinics.

The meeting also discussed strengthening the mechanism for controlling the pandemic in the the state’s 19 micro-containment areas, which are defined as specific areas within a village/ward with more than 5, and upto 15, Covid positive cases. Most of the micro-containment areas are currently in Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Sangrur and Ropar districts, with the first three contributing the maximum to the state’s viral load.

The Chief Minister asked the department to go in for aggressive testing, exhaustive contact tracing, treatment and active surveillance in the micro-containment areas. He also underlined the need to boost sample collection across the state, which had, till June 21, tested a total of 2,39,995 samples. As of June 21, Punjab had 1276 active cases, with five on ventilator support and 21 on Oxygen, and 99 lives lost to the Coronavirus.

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COMPRHENSIVE PUBLIC GRIEVANCE REDRESSAL POLICY TO BRING GRIEVANCE MECHANISMS OF ALL PUNJAB DEPTS UNDER ONE UMBRELLA

Chandigarh, June 22-The Punjab Cabinet on Monday approved a comprehensive Public Grievance Redressal Policy, paving the way for the creation and management of a Public Grievance Redressal System (PGRS) to bring the grievance mechanisms of all departments under one umbrella, within the ambit of `Digital Punjab’.

Led by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, the Cabinet decided to put in place a uniform system for redressal of the grievances of citizens in a time-bound, accessible and transparent manner.

There is currently no single interface for citizens to register their grievances with the Government, which necessitated the formulation of a comprehensive policy in this regard, according to an official spokesperson.

Aimed at further improvements in service delivery of citizen grievances redressal, the policy provides for establishment of a clear standardised workflow for grievance redressal, assigns timelines to each officer in the workflow for resolution of grievance, enables citizens to submit their feedback on the resolution provided, escalates grievances to higher authorities, and allows for analysis of the collected data for evidence-based decision making. Supported by an IVR system and a proposed call centre, PGRS shall enable collection of citizen feedback and sentiments on Government’s delivery of resolution in services.

The Department of Governance Reforms and Public Grievances has built an IT portal for PGRS as per the Punjab Grievance Redressal Policy, and proposes to onboard all the departments on it, and to conduct training of department officers and staff, as required, for the purpose.

In the absence of a clearly defined policy for citizen grievance resolution, various departments were so far operating and maintaining their individual systems to receive and redress grievances from citizens. PBGRAMS, a legacy system, is also being used by multiple departments for this purpose, but it lacks a standardised workflow for redressal and has no proper timelines for resolution of delivery and accountability to departments.

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CABINET APPROVES PUNJAB RIGHT TO BUSINESS RULES, 2020 FOR SETTING UP MSME UNITS ON FAST TRACK

ALSO AGREES TO WITHDRAW NOTIFICATION RELATING TO DEPLOYMENT OF WORKERS ON HOLIDAYS

Chandigarh, June 22: To further ease the regulatory burden on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), the Cabinet on Monday approved the Punjab Right to Business Rules, 2020, thus paving a way for setting up of MSME units on fast track across the state.

The Punjab Right to Business Rules, 2020, have been drafted under the provisions of Punjab Right to Business Act, 2020, which was notified on February 6, 2020, after approval by the State Legislative Assembly on January 17, 2020.

The Cabinet, at its meeting chaired by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, gave the go-ahead to the notification of the Rules, with a view to easing the process of approval/clearances for setting up of new MSME units.

Sanctions and approvals pertaining to building plan, completion certificate, trade license registration, land use change, Fire Department NOC, factory building plan approval (except for industries involving hazardous process), as well as registration of shops or establishments, would be granted by the District Level Nodal Agency headed by Deputy Commissioner under the new rules.

For units being set up in approved Industrial Park, the certificate of in-principle approval would be issued within three working days after the submission of declaration of intent by the applicant. For areas outside the Industrial Park, such certificate would be issued within 15 working days. The said certificate would be valid for a period of three and half years, and the concerned unit shall apply for regular approvals not later than three years on the Invest Punjab Business First portal from the date of issuance of certificate of in-principle approval.

These rules would help the MSMEs to start their building construction and commercial production quickly, said an official spokesperson, underlining the importance given by the state government to enhancing ease of doing business and improving the business environment to spur growth and generate employment.

The Cabinet took note of the crucial role played by the MSME sector in providing huge employment opportunities at comparatively lower capital cost. MSMEs also help in industrialization of rural & backward areas, thereby reducing regional imbalances, the cabinet noted, terming the MSME sector a vital engine for the state’s socio economic growth.

Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 notification withdrawn

Meanwhile, in another decision, the Cabinet gave approval to withdrawal of notification under the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946, exempting all MSME Industrial establishments in Punjab from mandatory certifying of standing orders and exempting industrial establishments engaged in continuous process to deploy their workers on holidays.

As per the provisions of The Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946, the employers have to get the standing orders certified if they employ 20 or more workers. To reduce the compliance burden on the employers this limit of 20 workers has been increased to 100 workers as originally envisaged in The Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946. The need for certification of standing orders has been done away with and model standing orders have been made applicable on them.

In Punjab, many factories are engaged in manufacturing processes which are continuous in nature. Sometimes workers seek holidays as per the provisions of ‘The Punjab Industrial Establishment (National and Festival Holiday and Casual and Sick Leave) Act, 1965’, which leads to disturbance in the manufacturing process To overcome such situation, powers have been exercised under Section 13(2) of The Punjab Industrial Establishment (National and Festival Holiday and Casual and Sick Leave) Act, 1965 to exempt the industry engaged in continuous process from the provisions of this Act.

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PUNJAB CABINET OKAYS EXTENSION OF OTS POLICY-2018 FOR PSIDC & PFC AMID COVID-19

Chandigarh, June 22:To provide further relief to entrepreneurs amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Captain Amarinder Singh led Punjab Cabinet on Monday decided to extend the One-Time Settlement of their dues with the Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation (PSIDC) and Punjab Financial Corporation till December 31, 2020.

The Chief Minister said the move was necessary as the industries needed support in these difficult times.

The policy will give the entrepreneurs of promoted and loanee companies one-time opportunity for settlement of their dues with PSIDC and PFC, and will help them recover Rs. 10 crore and Rs. 2 crore, respectively. The move help in releasing the blocked industrial investment and assets and enable the state to put the same to productive use for the revival of the existing industries, which had been shut down after the lockdown in March. It would also help in reducing litigation with respect to loans.

The decision to extend the OTS has been taken in view of the problems being faced by companies and collaborators on account of the lockdown and economic slowdown triggered by the pandemic. They were finding it difficult to pay the instalments due to PSIDC/PFC and had requested for extension in the outer date of repayment. The Union Ministry of Finance has already issued instructions to RBI to give deferment of six months in repayment of loan instalments. However, interest for the period of delay is being recovered.

Besides giving ex-post facto approval for the applications received for OTS of Equity and Loans after the expiry of OTS Policy-2018 on March 5, 2019, the Cabinet has extended the outer date of repayment from two years to two and half years, an official spokesperson said after the meeting.

It has also been decided that Clause IV (i) of other terms and conditions of the Policy, which states that "in case the default continues for more than six months then the OTS shall be cancelled" should be amended to "in case the default continues for more than nine months then the OTS shall be cancelled.” Further, no penal interest will be charged for default of one instalment, as per the Cabinet decision.

In case the Corporation has cancelled the OTS Policy due to default in payment, the OTS shall be revived after receipt of the total amount in arrears, along with overdue interest, with the approval of the Board of Directors. In case any change is required in the OTS Policy subsequently, the same may be made with the approval of the Chief Minister.

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CAPT AMARINDER LEADS PUNJAB CABINET IN PAYING HOMAGE TO GALWAN VALLEY BATTLE HEROES

Chandigarh, June 22:Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday led the Council of Ministers in paying homage to the 20 Indian soldiers killed while protecting India’s borders and territorial integrity.

All members of the Cabinet stood in silence for two-minute before passing a condolence resolution in honour and memory of those killed in action on June 15 in Ladakh.

CABINET SANCTIONS 12 POSTS FOR TRANSPARENCY COMMISSION

To provide administrative, technical and legal assistance to enable the Punjab Transparency and Accountability Commission to effective discharge its responsibility, the Cabinet today accorded its sanction for 12 posts across these functions. The Commission, it may be recalled, was constituted in accordance with the provisions of section 12 sub-section (1) of the Punjab Transparency and Accountability in Delivery of Public Service Act, 2018. The Punjab Transparency and Accountability Commission would be instrumental in developing a culture of delivering public service within stipulated time limit and monitor the same. It would also device mechanisms for evaluation and benchmarking the performance of the public authority in delivery of public services.

REGULAR FACULTY TO BE APPOINTED AT RAMPURA PHUL VETERINARY COLLEGE

In another decision, the Cabinet also approved full faculty strength as per the regulations of Veterinary Council of India (VCI) for Veterinary College, Rampura Phul, to ensure its optimal functioning. This initiative would lead to regular appointments of one Dean, 17 professors and 23 Associate Professors on full salary up to 2022-23. The Cabinet has taken this decision by allowing exemption in the notification dated January 1, 2015, as a special case as permitted for faculty positions in the Medical Institutes in Punjab.

NOD TO NEW CHEMICAL LAB AT JALANDHAR

To bring down the pendency of samples of viscera, blood alcohol and excise samples in the Chemical Examiner Laboratory, Kharar, the Cabinet has accorded approval to establish a new Chemical Laboratory at Jalandhar, with creation of 21 posts involving annual financial liability of Rs. 42.31 lakh. The new posts include one each of Medical Officer-cum-Assistant Chemical Examiner (Medical) and Assistant Chemical Examiner (Non-Medical), Six Analysts, one Senior Assistant, two clerks, five medical lab technician Grade-II, three lab attendants and two class-IV employees.

PUNJAB POLICE INVESTIGATION CADRE SUBORDINATE RANKS RULES APPROVED

The Council of Ministers has approved ‘the Punjab Police Investigation Cadre Subordinate Ranks (Appointment and Condition of Service) Rules, 2020’ to govern the recruitment/appointment and the conditions of service of subordinate ranks (constables to inspectors) of the Punjab Bureau of Investigation Cadre.

ANNUAL & 4-YEAR STRATEGIC ACTION PLANS APPROVED FOR 8 GOVT DEPARTMENTS

To ensure all-round development of the state in a result-oriented manner, the Cabinet has approved Four-Year Strategic Action Plan (4SAP)–2019 to 2023, to set Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Key Performance Parameters for the eight departments of Labour Welfare, Technical Education and Training, Science, Technology & Environment, Medical Education & Research, Defence Services Welfare, Employment Generation & Training, Jails and Housing & Urban Development. Notably, the Department of Planning will monitor and review the implementation of Four Year Strategic Action Plan 2019-23 and Annual Action Plan 2019-20 on quarterly basis.

GRANTS OKAYED FOR BEBE NANKI UNIVERSITY COLLEGE (GIRLS)

The Cabinet accorded approval for transferring the Regional Campus of Guru Nanak Dev University, Fattu Dhinga, to the Bebe Nanki University College (Girls) as constituent college of Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, as part of 550th birth anniversary of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji. The Cabinet also okayed provision of grant-in-aid by the state government to the tune of Rs. 1.25 crore during financial year 2019-20 (only for ten months) and subsequently, Rs. 1.50 crore per annum for subsequent years to the Guru Nanak Dev University for maintenance and salary expenditure of the college.

NOD TO AMEND STATE LOTTERIES RULES

The Council of Ministers has approved amendment to the Punjab State Lotteries Rules, 2015 by inserting the definition of ‘Discount’ and ‘Face Value’. This amendment would help in starting new weekly lottery schemes in the state to enhance its revenue. Accordingly, in the Punjab State Lotteries Rules, 2015, in rule, 2 after clause (i), the clauses of ‘discount’ and ‘face value’ would be inserted, wherein ‘discount’ means the amount of discount allowed for sale of tickets to a distributor, selling agents or other person, as may be determined by the State Government. ‘Face Value’ means the face value of the ticket as deemed for the purpose of computation of sale proceeds under these rules and printed on the reverse of the ticket and as arrived at after adjusting; Goods and Service Tax/other applicable taxes thereon, if any, and discount.

SPMU GETS EXTENSION UNDER POSHAN ABHIYAN

The Cabinet has granted extension for setting up of State Project Management Unit (SPMU) and engagement of staff at District/Block level under Poshan Abhiyaan (National Nutrition Mission) and making it co-terminus with the duration of the scheme. The scheme, having 80:20 centre-state share, is run by the Social Security and Development of Women & Children to achieve improvement in nutritional status of children age 0-6 years, pregnant women and lactating mothers. Notably, the Cabinet in its meeting on July 30, 2019 had approved 184 posts under the scheme till March 31, 2020. The same has now been extended and made co-terminus with the validity of the scheme.

ANNUAL ADMIN REPORTS OF PLANNING DEPT CLEARED

The Cabinet also approved the Annual Administrative Reports of the Planning Department for the year 2016-17 and 2017-18.

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MOHALI FORENSIC LAB TO GET 3 NEW UNITS FOR SPEEDY DISPOSAL OF POSCO & CRIME AGAINST WOMEN CASES

PUNJAB CABINET ALSO GIVES NOD TO CREATION OF 35 NEW POSTS FOR HANDLING NEW UNITS

CHANDIGARH, JUNE 22:To ensure expeditious disposal of cases related to POCSO Act and crime against the women, the Punjab Cabinet has okayed the creation of 35 posts for setting up of three new units of DNA, Cyber Forensic and Audio/Voice Analysis in the Forensic Science Laboratory, SAS Nagar (Mohali) ,with an annual outlay of Rs. 1.56 crore.

Disclosing this here today, a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office said that the amended Section 173 of CrPC requires that trial of sexual offences cases should be completed within two months. DNA sampling and testing has also been made mandatory for all cases of sexual offences.

To ensure the effective implementation of these mandates, the cabinet, under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, has cleared the proposal of Home Department to strengthen the DNA Unit in the State Forensic Lab by increasing the DNA units from one to two.

Also, at present, cases of Cyber Forensic and Audio/Voice Analysis are sent to other scientific laboratories for examination, since there is no facility for their examination in the State Forensic Lab. With the Cabinet nod, one unit each of Cyber Forensic and Audio/Voice Analysis will now be set up in the Forensic Science Lab at SAS Nagar (Mohali).

These three new units would involve creation of 35 new posts - from Computer Operators to Assistant Director level, and the annual financial liability for the same works out to Rs.1,55,95,932.

Giving the break-up of the posts, the spokesperson said the Cabinet has approved 17 posts for the DNA unit, including one Assistant Director, four each of Scientific Officers and Scientific Assistants, three Laboratory Assistant, four Laboratory Attendant and one computer operator. It has okayed 12 posts for the Cyber Forensics unit, including one Assistant Director, two each of Scientific Officers and Scientific Assistant, three each of Laboratory Assistants and Laboratory Attendants and a computer operator. The Cabinet has also approved six posts for the Audio/Voice Analysis unit, comprising one Scientific Officer, two Scientific Assistants, one Laboratory Assistant, one Laboratory Attendant and one computer operator.

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PUNJAB TO SET UP 4 NEW COVID TESTING LABS WITH 4 AD-HOC ASST PROFESSORS (MICROBIOLOGY) & 131 ESSENTIAL STAFF TO BOOST TESTING CAPACITY

CABINET ALSO OKAYS RE-EMPLOYMENT OF MEDICAL, AYURVEDIC & DENTAL FACULTY IN GOVT COLLEGES

Chandigarh, June 22:To strengthen its fight against Covid, the Punjab government has decided to set up four new testing laboratories, with priority appointment of the 131 essential staff needed for these labs.

The Cabinet also cleared the proposal of Medical Education & Research Department to create and fill up four posts of Assistant Professor (Microbiology) on adhoc basis in these four viral testing laboratories.

The state cabinet, at its meeting today under Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, gave the go-ahead to setting up the new labs in Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Mohali, to help scale up the testing capacity from the current 9000 a day, in the three Government Medical Colleges at Patiala, Amritsar and Faridkot, to 13000 tests per day.

The new laboratories would be established in Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Ludhiana; Punjab State Forensic Sciences Laboratory, Mohali; Northern Regional Diseases Diagnostic Laboratory, Jalandhar; and Punjab Biotechnology Incubator, Mohali.

All the appointments will be made through outsourcing from Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, said an official spokesperson. The expenditure of Rs 17.46 lakh per month to be incurred against the 131 staff appointments and Rs 3.06 lakh per month against the ad-hoc Assistant Professor posts would be met from the State Disaster Response Fund. The 131 staff positions positions would include Research Scientists (Non-Medical), Research Assistants, Lab Technicians, Data Entry Operators, Lab Attendants and Sweepers.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet has also given the nod to re-employment of the medical, ayurvedic and dental faculty at the Government Medical Colleges and the Government Dental Colleges in Patiala and Amritsar , as well as the Government Ayurvedic College, Patiala, after their retirement at 62 years. While re-employment will be up to the age of 70 years for Medical/Ayurvedic teachers, for Dental faculty, it will be till the age of 65.

The step would be helpful in meeting the scarcity of Medical, Dental, Ayurvedic teaching faculty, besides keeping the seats of PG courses intact as per the norms of Medical Council of India/Dental Council of India and the Central Council of Indian Medicine.