AS COVID CASES IN PUNJAB SURGE, CAPT AMARINDER SEEKS LIBERAL FISCAL PACKAGE FROM PM

ALSO ASKS FOR FLEXIBILITY IN SDRF COVID-RELATED EXPENSES TERMS & INCREASED TESTING CAPACITIES IN CENTRAL GOVT LABS

URGES MODI TO REVIEW UGC DECISION ON MANDATORY EXAMS FOR EXIT CLASSES AS PUNJAB LIKELY TO HIT PEAK IN SEPTEMBER

Chandigarh, August 11:Amid surge in Covid cases and 50% revenue decline for the first quarter of this fiscal in Punjab, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday sought from Prime Minister Narendra Modi a liberal financial package for states to fill the collection gap caused by the pandemic, and also flexibility on Covid-related terms of expenditure in SDRF.

During a Video Conference meet of the Prime Minister with chief ministers of some states to review the Covid situation, Captain Amarinder said the current cap of 35% in State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF) for Covid related expenditure, as per MHA guidelines, is not sufficient to meet the current requirements. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan also participated in the meeting.

The Chief Minister thanked the Government for India for accepting Punjab’s proposal to set up a National Institute of Virology for the North Zone and said the state government will soon give 25 acres of land for the Institute for ICMR for the purpose.

Citing the state’s rising cases of Covid , which have gone up to 24891 with 604 deaths, the Chief Minister urged the Prime Minister to review the UGC decision on mandatory exams for exit classes to be held by September 30. Punjab may not be in a position to conduct exams in September as it may be facing its peak at that time, he said, suggesting promoting these students promoted on past performance and internal assessment, with option to take exams later for those wanting to improve their performance. He also sought central government assistance for online school education, especially for poor children of Classes X and XII. More money was needed for creating the infrastructure needed to support online education, he added.

Though Punjab was conducting 23,000 tests per million for Covid (higher than the national average), and planned to increase RT-PCR tests from 12000 to 20000 in the next 15 days, it needed to scale up the testing capacity further, the Chief Minister stressed. He requested the Prime Minister to direct Government of India institutions in Chandigarh & Punjab to increase testing capacity, as already written to him earlier.

Expressing concern over the state’s mortality rate of 2.4%, Captain Amarinder said though it was lower than the all India deaths per million and 91% of the fatality cases were with co-morbidity, it was still higher than neighbouring Haryana. Patients were coming to hospitals late and 86% deaths were occurring in tertiary hospitals, he added.

Captain Amarinder also requested immediate operationalisation of Covid testing and treatment at AIIMS Bathinda, where OPDs are already functional, and said this will be useful for the people of southern Punjab. Noting that PGI Chandigarh is a premier tertiary care facility for Punjab, he also sought increase in the bed capacity at the hospital and strengthening of the existing PGI Satellite Centre at Sangrur, especially for COVID treatment. The Chief Minister further urged the Centre for immediate commencement of work on the newly sanctioned PGI Satellite Centre at Ferozepur.

While of the three already sanctioned need medical colleges, Mohali Medical College will start classes this year, more such institutions were needed, said the Chief Minister, requesting for new

colleges in the aspirational districts of Gurdaspur, Sangrur/ Malerkotla, as well as Moga. COVID has shown that we need to strengthen public facilities in health, he added.

Giving an update on the Covid situation in the state, Captain Amarinder Singh said it had seen cases go up from 500 to 1000 in 2 weeks, with positivity rate of the last 5 days at 8.73%. The majority of cases were coming from Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Patiala cities, though cases were increasing in all districts, he added. The number of micro-containment zones were being increased in high incidence districts like Ludhiana, Patiala and Jalandhar, he said.

To augment its fight against Covid, the state has opened two Plasma Banks (in Patiala and Amritsar), with another set to open soon at GMC Faridkot, the Chief Minister informed the meeting.

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COMMITTED TO MAKING PUNJAB INDUSTRIAL POWERHOUSE AS WELL AS LEADER IN AGRICULTURE, SAYS CAPT AMARINDER

BUT WARNS AGAINST PUNJABIS’ `KOYI GAL NAHIN’ SPIRIT AMID COVID AS DELAYED TESTING & TREATMENT PUSHING UP MORTALITY

Chandigarh, August 11:Asserting his commitment to making Punjab an industrial powerhouse, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday said he wanted the state to lead in both, industry and agriculture, to put it on the path to future progress.

He was addressing a Virtual Meeting with top industry leaders across the country as part of a day-long brainstorming conference, steered by Chandigarh University Chancellor Satnam Singh Sandhu. The Chief Minister thanked Chandigarh University for being among the first to come forward during the pandemic crisis to offer their premises for conversion into a 1000-bed Covid Care Centre, and to distribute sanitisers, masks and other essentials.

Underlining his commitment to taking Punjab on the trajectory of industrial growth, the Chief Minister desired to kickstart the process of the transformation within his lifetime so that the future generations in the state could be secure.

The concern at present, however, was the rising number of Covid cases in the state, with the Punjabi spirit of `koyi gal nahin’ (no worries) causing people to delay going for testing and treatment, said Captain Amarinder. While this was a nice spirit, it could prove to be detrimental in certain instances, as amid the pandemic, he said, adding that he had conveyed as much earlier in the day to the Prime Minister too. The higher than Haryana mortality rate of Punjab was due to this attitude, which led people to delay going to the hospital till it became inevitable, he added.

Inviting the industry stalwarts to visit Punjab and gauge for themselves the conducive industrial climate created by his government, Captain Amarinder cited the state’s business friendly policies, seamless connectivity, high-end infrastructure, skilled labour, along with reputed educational institutions offering excellent placement opportunities with focus on skill development as some of the key factors making it an ideal investment destination.

Captain Amarinder lamented that the Akali politics had cost Punjab its industrial belt by pushing for state’s reorganization in their bid to create a Sikh dominated state through the Punjab Suba Movement. Further, he said the water crisis had impacted agriculture too, putting the state in a difficult situation. With agriculture not sustainable any longer due to the depleting ground water table, his government had gone into an over-drive to boost industrial development, he said, adding that the new rules allowing deferred clearance for industry would facilitate growth in this area.

There is a lot of interest in Punjab, with the various incentives and policies, including power at Rs 5/unit, attractive potential investment, said the Chief Minister. With investments worth Rs 65000 crore secured on ground in the past 3+ years, and with four mega industrial parks coming up, Punjab has already proved itself as offering attractive investment potential for large corporates, he added.

Even during Covid, the state has received investment of about Rs 2500 crore, he disclosed, adding that migrants were returning in large numbers since the lifting of the lockdown and 2.34 lakh units in Ludhiana were already operational. This, he said, showed that the state and its industry had always looked after the migrant labourers and the absence of strikes, truck unions etc were further encouraging industry to come in large numbers.

To revive industrial growth and economy in the post-Covid era, the state government had appointed a high-level expert committee headed by leading economist Montek Singh Ahluwalia to formulate short and medium term action plans, the Chief Minister informed the meeting.

The meeting saw various leading industry leaders come out with recommendations/suggestions and concerns on the way forward. Sanjeev Mehta of Hindustan Unilever requested for 12-hour shifts to be allowed for workers and one designated person in the district administration to coordinate with the industry in the eventuality of spike in Covid cases among the employees. He also sought a nodal officer in the government to coordinate for the company’s proposed Rs 500 crore investment in the state. He offered partnership with the Punjab government for a women empowerment (Shakti) programme.

Biocon’s Kiran Mazumdar Shah said Punjab had immense opportunity for investing in digital healthcare and systems to create jobs. Punjab has the ecosystem available, which she said her company could leverage to create jobs for youth in the state. The Chief Minister said healthcare infrastructure development was a key priority area for his government too and he had sought central government’s support for the same.

CP Gurnani of Tech Mahindra, whose company is set to start the Plaksha University in the state next year, requested for innovation hubs in Patiala, Ludhiana and Mohali, for development and collaboration with the state government, especially given the opportunity that had opened up to decreased dependence on China. Captain Amarinder pointed out that Mohali had been developed as an IT hub and the potential for industrial expansion and growth in the state was huge.

Volvo company’s Vinod Aggarwal sought a clear state policy for the automotive industry, for which Punjab still had huge untapped potential. His company was certainly looking at Punjab as its next investment destination, he said, suggesting the creation of training centres to reduce drop-outs by youth. Auto labs could be set up for training the youth and giving them employment once their training is complete, he added.

The Chief Minister agreed to the point raised by Rajeev Talvar of DLF Developers Ltd that affordable rental housing was essential for urbanisation.

Uber’s Pawan Vaish called for early adoption of electric three-wheelers, and said his company offered great opportunity for transformation of informal to formal economy.

Rahul Sharma of the Amazon Web Service expressed his pleasure at the ease of doing business in Punjab, as promoted by the Captain Amarinder government.

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Vijay Inder Singla congratulates people on the occasion of Janamashtami

Chandigarh, August 11

Punjab School Education and Public Works Minister Mr. Vijay Inder Singla has extended warm greetings to the people on the auspicious occasion of Janamashtami.

On the occasion of Sri Krishna Janamashtami, Mr. Singla said that Lord Krishna has conveyed the message of mutual brotherhood, harmony, love and cooperation and his teachings are fully relevant in today's materialistic society. He appealed to follow the teachings of Lord Krishna and called for celebrating this festival with full devotion and rising above the religion, caste and creed.

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Education minister directs removal of transfer certificate restriction for admission in government schools

Also order not to compel students regarding birth certificate

Chandigarh, August 11-Taking serious note of the difficulty faced by the students for obtaining the transfer certificates for admission in government schools, Punjab School Education Minister Mr. Vijay Inder Singla has directed to remove the restriction on transfer certificates for admission in government schools so that students don't face any difficulty regarding admission.

Disclosing this here today a spokesperson of the school education department said that following the instructions of Mr. Singla, the department has issued a letter to the district education officers in this regard. According to the spokesperson, the restriction of transfer certificate for admission in government schools has been lifted and school heads have been asked to admit such students at their own level. At the same time the school heads have been directed to take in written from the parents of the students who do not have the transfer certificate. According to the spokesperson, instructions have also been issued to the district authorities to send the names of the schools to headquarter which have not issuing transfer certificates to the students.

At the same time, instructions have been issued not to compel the students who do not have the birth certificate but want to take admission in the government schools. The school heads have been directed to admit these students on provisional basis.

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ARUNA CHAUDHARY GREETS PEOPLE ON JANAMASHTAMI

Chandigarh, August 11:Punjab Social Security, Women and Child Development Minister Mrs. Aruna Chaudhary has extended greetings to the people of Punjab on the auspicious occasion of Sri Krishna Janamashtami.

Urging people to celebrate the birth of Sri Krishna in a spirit of oneness and harmony, the minister said, we should come together, rising above all considerations of caste, colour and creed, to celebrate the festival, keeping in mind the essence of Dharma and truthfulness, adding that the teachings of Sri Krishna had serious relevance in today’s materialistic society that is divided by divisiveness and hatred.

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MOHALI TO EMERGE AS EDUCATION HUB AS GOVERNMENT ISSUES LETTER OF INTENT FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF PLAKSHA UNIVERSITY

MOVE COMES AS MAJOR INVESTMENT IN THE FIELD OF EDUCATION IN PUNJAB

Chandigarh, August 11- Moving ahead towards the commitment to bringing investments in Punjab and generating ample employment opportunities for the youth, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh led state government on Tuesday issued letter of intent (approval) for setting up Plaksha University. The letter was issued by the higher education department which will scale up the educational infrastructure of the state to the next level.

Giving more details, Higher Education Minister Punjab Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa said that despite Covid-19 pandemic, many international companies keeping in view the Captain governments pro industry policies have expressed their interest to invest in the state.

He further added that because of the policies like Invest Punjab and single window clearance for industries, the investment has become business-friendly in the state.

He said that the Plaksha University would start 2021-22 academic session at Alfa IT city, Mohali as university management has started the construction at 50.12 acre land in Alfa IT city, Mohali which was allotted by the Punjab government.

The Minister further added that the establishment of this university would open up avenues of employment for thousands of people besides imparting world class education to the students.

Notably, the Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh was making concerted efforts to bring investments across the globe to Punjab as a part of which Higher Education Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa constantly talking with private universities so that Punjab becomes next 'Takshila' from education point of view.

Higher Education Secretary Rahul Bhandari said Reimaging Higher Education Foundation, New Delhi and Manav Rachna International Institute, Haryana has been opening this university jointly. He said that the Punjab Government has issued letter of intent to the sponsoring body under Punjab Private Universities Policy-2010.

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SPEAKER GREETS PEOPLE ON THE EVE OF JANAMASHTMI

CHANDIGARH AUGUST 11: Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker Rana K.P. Singh today greeted the people of Punjab on the sacred occasion of Janamashtmi - the Birthday of Lord Krishana.

In a message on the eve of this auspicious occasion, Rana K.P. said that Lord Krishna was an apostle of peace, saviour of dharma and symbol of truthfulness and righteousness. His long philosophical sermon contained in 'Srimad Bhagwat Geeta' has a profound impact on the present materialistic society as it was far more relevant in the present times to attain eternal peace on one hand and strengthen the bonds of communal harmony and universal brotherhood on the other.

Speaker appealed the people to celebrate the sacred day in unison and with religious fervour and gaiety rising above the petty considerations of caste, creed and religion. He exhorted the people to follow the path shown by Lord Krishana to attain eternal bliss and prosperity in life.

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‘VAN-MITRA’ TO UPKEEP 400 SAPLINGS TO BE PLANTED AS A TRIBUTE TO 400TH PARKASH PURAB OF SRI GURU TEG BAHADUR JI

FOREST DEPARTMENT PREPARES PROPOSAL OF PLANTING 400 SAPLINGS IN EACH VILLAGE OF THE STATE

  • FOREST MINISTER SADHU SINGH DHARMSOT HOLD MEETING WITH RURAL DEVELOPMENT & PANCHAYAT MINISTER AND EDUCATION MINISTER

Chandigarh, August 11: Dedicated to the auspicious 400th Parkash Purab of Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Ji, the Forest Department has prepared a proposal for planting 400 saplings in each village of the state and comprehensive program to ensure the upkeep and growth of the saplings under which two ‘Van Mitras’ would be deployed.

Punjab Forest Minister Mr. Sadhu Singh Dharmsot brainstormed with Rural Development and Panchayat Minister Mr. Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa and School Education Minister Mr. Vijay Inder Singla in this regard at Punjab Bhawan.

Mr. Dharmsot said that the work of planting the saplings would be carried out under Mahatma Gandhi-National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. He said that for ensuring the success of the program, the departments of Forest, Rural Development and Panchayat and School Education would develop synergy and orders would be issued soon.

The Cabinet Minister told that 400 saplings would be planted on one-acre panchayat land in each village and one van Mitra would be kept for every 200 saplings and would ensure proper growth of the saplings for three years.

He said that new saplings would be planted on the places where the saplings do not flourish properly.

Minister further said that around 85 lakh saplings are ready in the nurseries of the forest department in the state and preference would be given to plant the sapling having with a height of 5-ft. He said that the saplings would be planted on the vacant land, roadside, schools and other suitable locations.

Prominent among present included Additional Chief Secretary Forest Mrs. Ravneet Kaur, Director Rural Development and Panchayat Mr. Vipul Ujjwal, DGSE Mohammad Tayyab, Additional Secretary Mr. Ravinder Singh, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) Mr. Jatinder Sharma and others

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