Chandigarh, August 12:Punjab on Wednesday took a major digital leap forward with the state-wide launch of its Rs 92 crore `Punjab Smart Connect Scheme’ by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, who personally handed over smart phones to six Class XII students in a symbolic gesture.

Simultaneous distribution of phones was done at 26 places by various ministers, MLAs and others across the state to kickstart the scheme. Each minister today personally handed over 20 phones each in various districts to mark the launch of the scheme, which marked the fulfilment of another major poll promise of the Congress government in the state.

The scheme, for which Rs 100 crore was allocated in the state budget for 2017-18, is benefitting a total of 174015 Class XII students of government schools in the first phase, to be completed by November 2020.

Of these, 87395 are boys and 86620 girls, with majority in the OBC and SC/ST categories – thus bridging a major divide that was obstructing these students from affordable access to online/digital education. While 36555 beneficiaries are OBC students, 94832 are SC and 13 ST students. The bulk of the students – 111857, are from rural areas, and the remaining in urban government schools.

Captain Amarinder Singh, who launched the scheme on the auspicious occasion of Janmashtami and International Youth Day through video conferencing at the Secretariat this afternoon, said people believe in the promises listed in the election manifesto and it was, thus, his duty to ensure the implementation of each one of them.

When the Congress listed Smart Phones as a poll promise, it was to provide global connectivity and empower the poor youth who could not afford them, said Captain Amarinder, adding that in the present pandemic situation, these phones had assumed a bigger importance as they had become a necessity for education continuity. It was the money of the people of Punjab which his government was spending on advancement of the youth, he said, adding that the phones were planned to be distribute in March but the process got delayed due to the Covid crisis.

The Chief Minister said he wanted Punjab’s students to be abreast with the latest technology which they can use effectively for their education, which leverages technology in a big way today. Gone are the days of chalks and boards, he said, adding that the Government schools, which had seen a major transformation over the past couple of years, needed to be supported through technological initiatives by the state government.

The smart phone being distributed under the scheme was a good functional phone, which also looks smart, he said, adding that it will become a major tool for the education of the students. Captain Amarinder congratulated the students on this occasion and also greeted them on the occasion of the International Youth Day and Janmashtami.

Arshdeep Kaur, Satinder Kaur, Sukhbir Kaur, Amanjot Singh, Ram Singh and Amanveer Singh from various Government Senior Secondary Schools of Mohali district said the smart phones they received from the Chief Minister today would provide them with the much-needed access to online education in these difficult Covid times.

Gagandeep, a girl student and a labourer’s daughter from Hoshiarpur, told the Chief Minister on video that though she had got 85% in Class XI she had lost out severely in studies over the past few months due to lack of smart phone. With this phone, she said she would now be able to fulfill her dreams. The Chief Minister assured her of all help to pursue her dreams.

Pointing out that the Smart Connect scheme was in line with the vision of the Chief Minister, as manifest in the party’s poll manifesto, Education Minister Vijay Inder Singla said it would help government school students download course material and old papers etc to prepare for their Board exams.

Industry Minister Sunder Sham Arora said his department, which was entrusted with the task of purchase, had bought one of the best smart phones in the market. The scheme would prove to be a boon to the needy students, in particular, in government schools which were at a disadvantage viz a viz private schools in terms of access to technology, specially amid the Covid pandemic, which had necessitated a shift to online education.

Youth Affairs Minister Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi said after farm loan waiver and seamless procurement, among other things, the Chief Minister had now fulfilled another major promise of the state government. The government had done this despite the acute financial crisis in the state, he said, ridiculing the Opposition’s criticism on this count. He asserted that the Captain Amarinder led government will successfully implement every single promise made to the people of Punjab.

Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Sunil Jakhar said the scheme would break the barriers of poverty, with even SC/ST and OBC students getting access to online education. The smart phones had become a necessity in these pandemic times, he said, adding that making youngsters tech-savvy was also a major step towards making them employable. The SAD-BJP government of the past had promised computers, laptops, tablets etc but had failed to deliver on its promise, as had the BJP-led government at the Centre, he said.

Punjab Youth Congress (PYC) president Birender Dhillon said the fulfilment of this promise inspite of the prevailing economic crisis in the state had once again shown that Captain Amarinder believed in delivering on what he says – a characteristic which distinguishes him from other politicians.

Going forward, the Industry department would be procuring more phones, through Punjab Infotech, and the distribution will be undertaken through M/s Lava, which has been selected as implementation Partner to deliver and distribute smart phones to Youth in the State. The department of Sports & Youth Services is the administrative department.


Health Minister bans transfers & leave until September 30, 2020

Chandigarh, August 12:In view of the rising cases of Corona virus in Punjab, Health & Family Welfare Minister Mr. Balbir Singh Sidhu has issued orders for complete ban on departmental transfers and leave till September 30, 2020 with immediate effect.

Giving information about this Mr. Balbir Singh Sidhu said that this decision has been taken keeping in view the present situation of COVID-19. He said that it has been observed that all the officers/medical-staff/para-medical staff have to be remained present at their stations to deal with the fight against Corona in a more efficient manner. No leave will be given to any officer/employee during this period and leave will be given only in case of maternity leave and child care leave due to urgent reasons.

Mr. Sidhu said that apart from the regular officers/employees, this order would be applicable to all the employees working on contract/outsourcing basis in various wings/institutions of Health and Family Welfare Department.


Online painting and essay competition of schools on August 13

Chandigarh, August 12-The School Education Department under the leadership of Punjab School Education Minister Mr. Vijay Inder Singla is continuously taking new initiatives. Now the department has decided to conduct painting competition for 6th to 8th class and essay competition for 9th to 12th class.

Disclosing this here today a spokesperson of the school education department said that these competitions will be held on August 13 under the ' Gandgi Muket Mera Bharat' campaign. All these competitions will be online in view of Covid-19. According to the spokesperson, the district education officers have been directed to send the information of the first three entries in the painting and essay competitions to the head office besides the best three paintings and three articles.


COVA Mobile App, helping citizens and government agencies during COVID-19 pandemic, reaches to more than 50 Lac users: Vini Mahajan

Chandigarh, August 12: With the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, it becomes important to digitally manage the data collected at various points in this ecosystem and derive a meaningful information and accordingly take decisions.

Punjab Government had been front runner in COVID-19 data management and had its IT system ready in the month of February 2020. The citizen Mobile App named “COVA Punjab” was formally launched on 9th March 2020 by then Chief Secretary to Government of Punjab. The App was aimed to provide citizens with various protective care measures, information on prevention products and information of manufacturers in Punjab, Corona Hospitals with Nodal officer’s contact number, FAQs, Chat-bot based services, Check Health Status and information on various government orders. The dashboard of the App provides authentic and real time information on the COVID cases in state. The Connect to Doctor feature allows the citizen to speak to doctor and have basic help taken.

The Chief Secretary, Ms Vini Mahajan shared that the application kept evolving with time and during the curfew time in the State and lockdown throughout the country, the Technical Team of Department of Governance Reforms had been working relentlessly and kept introducing the features required at very moment. Integration was done with e-Sanjeevani for online OPD in the Government Hospitals of Punjabwhere more than 1300 consultations have been done so far. COVA also had option for the migrant workers to register for food, travel to their home town and book train ticket. Citizens were shared information on Grocery/essential service provider’s information in their area. They were able to book the grocery online as well. Ms Mahajan shared that option to generate Online Curfew Pass was introduced on COVA during the curfew time which was basis approval from respective Nodal Officers. This has been now changed to self-registration to enter the State of Punjab so that Traveller’s quarantine protocol may be monitored.

She further shared that Citizens can check out their nearest COVID patient/suspect/hotspot using the App. Mission Fateh, the flagship program of Hon’ble Chief Minister of Punjab has seen 7 Lac registrations and its increasing. People are very much following the three advices of the campaign i.e. Maintaining Social Distance, washing your hands regularly and wearing the mask. Due to this, the number of COVID cases in Punjab are far less that other states.

Ms Mahajan shared that the citizens can install the app and keep their Bluetooth ON. The App will notify the citizen in case they come in close contact with any COVID suspect. This service has proved very beneficial. Also, citizens can check their Health Status from App and App will suggest them if they are healthy or need to get the COVID-19 Test done. It will also share the information on COVID-19 test centers near to you. The COVA Platform is integrated with ICMR platform which helps to deliver the test report to individuals to test Negative or Positive daily in state of Punjab.

Citizens can use the App to report any mass gathering in their locality, report any inter-state Traveller in their locality, book appointment before you visit Sewa Kendras and participate in Mission Fateh contest.

Besides various services to citizens, the platform provides decision making reports to the Administrative departments like Health, Police, District Administration and State COVID Control Room. Real time dashboards are available for Patients Management, Quarantine Management, Health Infrastructure, Incoming Travelers Management, Contact Tracing/Tracking etc. The COVA platform is integrated to AarogyaSetuand ITIHAS platformsalso and data is shared to take administrative decisions. The system is helping State police to manage the Travellers moving into Punjab or Transiting through Punjab. More than 11 Lac registrations of Travellers has been registered and monitored online. Ms Mahajan shared that total 50 lac registrations on COVA has happened till date and increasing daily.

The upcoming feature of App will allow citizens to check the availability of COVID Beds in various government and private hospitals in state of Punjab. The recovered patients will also be able to submit request for Volunteer to donate Plasma and help others.





Chandigarh, August 12: Giving a clarion call for the strict adherence to the health and safety protocols in view of COVID-19 pandemic, the Deputy Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Gurinder Singh Sodhi today exhorted the participants of an upcoming cycle rally dedicated to Independence Day and Mission Fateh on August 15, 2020 to take the message of observing safety measures to the grassroots level.

The Deputy Principal Secretary was addressing the participants of a cycle rally to be organized courtesy Jugni Cultural and Youth Welfare Club, S.A.S. Nagar and Heritage Cultural and Welfare Society, S.A.S. Nagar on Independence Day from Nayagaon (Starting 5 AM) till Chapparchiri.

While distributing T-Shirts and Masks among the participants at Sector-42 lake here today, Mr. Sodhi termed them as true ‘Mission Fateh Warriors’ and said that the true homage to the martyrs of freedom movement would be to strive for creating a healthy and robust society and that goal can be achieved by sensitizing people to be safe from health hazards by wearing masks whenever venturing out of their homes, maintaining social distancing, washing hands for minimum 20 seconds with sanitizer and desisting from handshaking.

On the occasion, the President of the Jugni Cultural and Youth Welfare Club, S.A.S. Nagar Devinder Singh Jugni and President, Heritage Cultural and Welfare Society, S.A.S. Nagar Harpreet Singh informed that the cycle rally would see limited number of participants in accordance with the safety protocols.

Among the participants present on the occasion included Bhagwant Singh Bedi, Naresh Kumar Sharma, Baljeet Singh Fiddian Wale, Jaswant Singh Randhawa, Paramdeep Bhabat and Bhupinder Singh Jhajj.




CHANDIGARH, AUGUST 12: For his role in solving several sensational cases including those of targetted killings which had rocked the state during 2015-17, Punjab Police DSP Bikramjit Singh Brar has been chosen for the Home Minister’s Medal for Excellence in Investigation.

Brar, currently posted as DSP Detective in SAS Nagar with the additional charge in the Organized Crime Control Unit (OCCU), has also been instrumental in busting of Billa Mandiala cross-border terror module leading to recovery of one of biggest caches of highly sophisticated weapons.

Disclosing this here today, the DGP Dinkar Gupta said the officer had also played a key role in arrest of gangster Sukhpreet Singh @ Budha, besides solving sensational murder of Amritsar ex-sarpanch Gurdeep Singh. Brar had also busted a racket of illegal diversion of 160 firearms from gun houses to terrorists and gangsters, the DGP added.

Gupta further said that Brar was also the pivot of a major police operation which led to arrest of 23 persons involved in the racket, the DGP said, including two gangsters and gun house owners, and recovery of 36 illegally diverted weapons. This racket had supplied the illegal weapons used in the targeted killings between 2015 and 2017.

Congratulating the DSP for his achievement, DGP Dinkar Gupta termed it as an honour for the whole force in acknowledgement of its professional integrity, sense of service and scientific ethos in service of state and country. Gupta hoped the honour would act as inspiration and motivation to always put in our best to ensure safety and security of our people.

The Award was instituted in 2018 for promoting high professional standards of investigation of crime, and, to recognize such investigations by the investigating officers of various police organizations in the country.

DGP further said that Bikramjit Singh Brar was the lead investigator in arresting Gangster Billa Mandiala and six of his associates who had links with Pakistan-based smugglers and terrorists and 06 others were arrested. The biggest cache of highly sophisticated weapons, including two 0.3 caliber drum machine guns, 03 China made pistols, 05 Austria made Glock 9 mm pistols and 03 German made 9 mm Sig Sauer pistols was recovered from them. The Sig Sauer pistols are being used by the US Secret Service, which protects the US President.

Gupta further recalled that In the case of gangster Sukhpreet Singh @ Budha as the accused had fled from India, Brar in quick coordination with central agencies had ensured detention and subsequent deportation of the wanted criminal from the Republic of Armenia.

Bikramjit Singh Brar had also led the investigations into the sensational killing of Gurdeep Singh, ex-Sarpanch of village Umrapur in Amritsar in January 2020. A seven-member group of desperate gangsters led by Harman Bhullar and operated by US-based Pavitar Singh were identified and linked with the crime. A manhunt stretching across four states (Punjab, Uttrakhand, Utter Pradesh and Rajasthan) led to the tracking and arrest of the seven gangsters from Sojat in Rajasthan in February 2020.