PUNJAB CM DEMANDS UNCONDITIONAL APOLOGY FROM UNION MINISTER DANVE FOR MISLEADING STATEMENT ON FARM ORDINANCES

· TERMS DANVE’S REMARKS A VIOLATION OF PARLIAMENTARY PROPRIETY & BID TO DEFAME CONGRESS GOVT IN PUNJAB

· SHARES DETAILS OF HIS GOVT’S RESPONSE TO HIGH-POWERED COMMITTEE REPORT, WHICH NOWHERE MENTIONED ORDINANCES

Chandigarh, September 15: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has demanded an unconditional apology from Union Minister Raosaheb Patil Danve for misleading the nation on the farm ordinances issue from the floor of the House in a clear and complete breach of Parliamentary principles and propriety.

Rejecting as totally incorrect Danve’s statement in the Lok Sabha yesterday about Punjab being on board the anti-farmer ordinances, the Chief Minister said the remarks of the Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution were aimed at defaming the Congress and its government in the state. PPCC chief Sunil Jakhar also slammed the Union Minister for violating the sanctity of Parliament with his false statement on the issue in the House on Monday, and termed it an attempt to denigrate the Congress government in Punjab with misleading information.

The Chief Minister said, in a statement, that at no point did the high-powered committee make any suggestion about bringing these anti-farmers ordinances, which the Centre introduced on the sly amid the pandemic and has now placed in Parliament for enactment through false pretensions.

The minister should apologise immediately and unequivocally for presenting false facts in the Lok Sabha, said Captain Amarinder, describing the statement in Lok Sabha as undemocratic and unethical, and a violation of the parliamentary principles. The Parliament is the shrine for upholding the ideals of democracy and any attempt to defy these principles is dangerous for the nation’s Constitutional foundations, he added.

The Chief Minister said his government has consistently and persistently opposed any move to dilute the rights and interests of the farmers, not only in the high-powered committee on agricultural reforms but in the state Assembly and on all public forums. It was his government which had initiated the resolution in the Vidhan Sabha rejecting the ordinances, he pointed out, adding that he personally had written twice to the Prime Minister seeking the withdrawal of the anti-farmer and anti-farmer legislations that would spell the death-knell of the farming community in Punjab.

The report of the high-powered committee, of which Punjab was made a member weeks after it was constituted, nowhere suggested any ordinance or central law to be enacted by the Government of India, said the Chief Minister, emphatically rejecting any claim to the contrary.

In fact, said Captain Amarinder, the focus of the report was largely on market reforms wherein the implementation of APMC Act 2003/APLM Act, 2017, had been emphasised. Similarly, adoption of Model Contract Farming Act or its variants depending upon the state requirements had been stressed upon in the draft report.

In its response to the draft report, the Punjab government had clearly stated that 86% of the state’s farmers are small holders cultivating less than 2 ha with little bargaining power in the market. They are illiterate or less educated and cannot be left at the mercy of market forces for determination of commodity prices, the state government had further said.

Pointing out that some states like Punjab are dependent on the market fee, his government had further underlined that “the market needs to be monitored/regulated to save the farmers from exploitative private trade.” The farmers must receive reasonable prices for their produce (MSP) which covers their cost of production and a fair level of profit for their living, it had commented.

The state government’s response further stated that “majority of the farmers are fearful of entering into contracts with large corporate houses…they feel that they may not be able to compete with them in case of any litigation.”

Going further, his government, said the Chief Minister, had categorically and unambiguously that with a view to safeguard the interest of farmers and to ensure the food security in the country, “it is emphasised that SYSTEM OF MININUM SUPPORT PRICE AND THE ASSURED PROCUREMENT OF CROPS BY GOVT. OF INDIA MUST CONTINUE.” It had gone ahead to recommend that other MSP crops where full and assured procurement is not being undertaken by Govt of India such as cotton, maize, oilseeds and pulses should be procured fully at MSP fixed by Govt of India to encourage farmers to diversify away from paddy which is water intensive.

Captain Amarinder pointed out that the state government had, in its written response, also said that “the EC Act must be continued for those crops in which India is deficient in order to prevent the exploitative action of the private sector by hoarding and black marketeering.” The price trigger suggested in the report for any action on stock limits are required to be lowered from 100% increase in case of horticulture produce and 50% increase in case of non-perishables, it had further stated.

The sharing pattern of most of schemes is 60:40 (Centre:State) and this needs to be changed to 90:10 for Punjab state, as the state, while pioneering the green revolution in the country, played a major role in making the nation self-reliant in foodgrain production, the Punjab government had submitted, adding that it was now the Centre’s turn to support the farmers.

The state government had also made several suggestions in its response on Agricultural R&D, including reduction in technological gaps in various crops/cultivated areas of the country by strengthening agriculture extension services and substantial enhancement in allocation of funds for research by the Centre, as well as dedicated funds for capacity building of agricultural scientists in new areas of research in advanced labs of foreign countries.

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PRESENTATION OF FARM ORDINANCES IN PARLIAMENT HAVE EXPOSED SAD FARCE ON ISSUE, SAYS CAPT AMARINDER

SAYS SUKHBIR’S DECISION TO STAY AWAY FROM HOUSE YESTERDAY SHOWED HE KNEW ABOUT ORDINANCES BEING TABLED

ALSO LASHES OUT AT AAP OVER ATROCIOUS ACCUSATIONS, ASKS HARPAL CHEEMA & AMAN ARORA TO CHECK THEIR FACTS BEFORE SHOOTING THEIR MOUTHS OFF

Chandigarh, September 15-Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday said the presentation of the farm ordinances in Parliament yesterday by the Centre had totally exposed the farce of Shiromani Akali Dal’s pretense of protecting the interests of the farmers of the state.

With the BJP-led NDA government going ahead with laying the ordinances on the table of the House on the very first day of the Parliament session, instead of accepting SAD’s so-called plea to defer the same, the Akali charade on the issue had been laid bare, said the Chief Minister.

The fact that Sukhbir Singh Badal had stayed away from the House on Monday, when the ordinances were presented for legislation, showed that the entire drama of seeking postponement of their enactment was played out by the SAD president to appease the farmer organisations, which have been up in arms against the ordinances, Captain Amarinder said.

There is clearly a conspiracy to undermine the farmers’ interests and that of the states, which are Constitutionally mandated to be responsible for Agriculture, said the Chief Minister, asking “why else would Sukhbir conveniently remain away from Parliament on the opening day itself?” The SAD president knew all along that the ordinances, which had the explicit stamp of Akali approval, would be brought to the House for legislation, he added.

This is what the Akalis had done in the Vidhan Sabha during the 1-day session too, he pointed out, adding that even then the SAD had chosen not to attend to avoid having to vote the anti-ordinances resolution.

Captain Amarinder said the SAD, which had endorsed the anti-farmer and anti-federal ordinances as part of the ruling coalition at the Centre, was now indulging in the drama of seeking clarifications and amendments to the ordinances for the consumption of the farmer organisations and unions, which had seen through their gimmickry.

“You think the people of Punjab, and the farmers, are fools? They are not going to be taken in by your theatrics and pretensions of shedding crocodile tears,” the Chief Minister said to Sukhbir. These pathetic attempts to woo the farmer vote-bank ahead of the 2022 Assembly elections would backfire on the Akalis, as they had done in 2017, he added.

“You cannot take a U-turn and change your stance on every major issue of Punjab’s interest as an after-thought and expect people to believe that you are sincere,” said Captain Amarinder, citing the double standards of the Akalis on the CAA, which also they had supported as part of the central government but had later indulged in public drama of opposing the controversial unconstitutional legislation.

From selling Punjab’s water rights by clearing the SYL to now selling off the rights and welfare of the farmers, who have fed the nation for decades, SAD has done nothing but bartered away the state’s interests to promote their petty political interests through the years, the Chief Minister said.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister has ridiculed the statements of Harpal Singh Cheema and Aman Arora alleging Congress-SAD/BJP connivance in the farm ordinances, asking the AAP leaders to check their facts before shooting their mouths off. In its haste to criticise the state government, AAP has become habituated of making unsubstantiated statements without a grain of truth in them, he said.

AAP has been making a mockery of itself in Punjab, said Captain Amarinder, citing the recent utterances of the party leaders on a host of issues, including Covid. Their latest remarks accusing him (Captain Amarinder) of being hand in glove with SAD-BJP were not only atrocious but clearly aimed at misleading the people of Punjab, said the Chief Minister, adding that the party seems to be bent on spreading misinformation in the state to further its own petty interests.

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MORE THAN 90% OF MSME UNITS HAVE RESUMED FUNCTIONING, SAYS SUNDER SHAM ARORA

ASSURING PROACTIVE COOPERATION TO INDUSTRY TO MITIGATE COVID STRESS

CHANDIGARH, SEPTEMBER 15: Owing to several key initiatives taken by Captain Amarinder Singh Government, 2,34,072 units of total 2.6 lac involving 15.78 lac workers have resumed their operations and economic activity, Industries Minister Sunder Sham Arora said here today.

Over 90% of units have already started functioning, Arora said, assuring all aggressive assistance from the state to manage and alleviate Covid induced stress.

Referring to various initiatives taken by the Government during Covid, Arora said in order to give relief to the industries PSIEC had announced extension in time period of Amnesty Scheme besides announcing an OTS Schemes of PSIDC and PFC.

To provide relief to the loanee/promoted companies of PSIDC and PFC and facilitate overall development of industry in the State of Punjab, State Govt has extended the One Time Settlement Policy (OTS) for equity and loans-2018 approved by CMM in its meeting held on 3.12.2018 up to 31.12.2020, he added.

Further, Fiscal incentives under various policies: including the IBDP-2017, 56 Large and MSME Industrial Units with an investment of Rs. 5844.87 Cr. were considered and granted fiscal Incentives amounting to Rs. 1090.41 Cr.

The Minister further said that similarly, under the 2013 Industrial policy 12 Industrial Units with an investment of Rs. 468.02 Cr. have been given fiscal incentives of Rs. 478.91 Cr. Under old policies of 1989, 1992, 1996 and 2003 168 units have been given incentives of Rs 26.01 Cr. Industrial power subsidy amounting to Rs. 3522.41 Cr. has been released to PSPCL.

We have also brought One-Time Amnesty Scheme for boilers for users which are operating without following the provisions contained in the Boilers Act, 1923 and the Indian Boiler Regulations, 1950, and without due approval of the state to get their boilers which are at present running to get regularized with the department.

Referring to various labour reforms announced by the Labour Department, Arora said that Fixed Term Employment was allowed for the benefit of Industry as well as labour besides exemption for all MSMEs and industrial units employing up to 100 workers from the applicability of Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946.

Amendments in Factory Rules was done to do away with the requirements of ambulance room for units employing up to one thousand workers and to exempt any factory from the requirement of ambulance room, if there is empanelment of hospital or nursing home of minimum beds at travel distance not more than 2 km from the factory and also there is a provision of ambulance van in the premises of factory.

After the creation of congenial atmosphere for investment in state, Punjab Government has been able to persuade new investment to the tune of Rs. 67,985 crore in the period of 2017-2020 as compared to 31,323 crore in 2012-2017. The Cabinet Minister said that incentive of Rs 1090 crore has been provided to industrial units under the policy of 2017. He further divulged that power subsidy in tune of Rs 2920 crore has also been provided to industrial units, besides Rs 525 Crores have been spent on improvement of industrial infrastructure.

Mr. Sunder Sham Arora informed that state government also approved 6 industrial clusters in state with the investment of Rs. 89.16 crore as previous government had set up only one cluster with 14.07 crore.

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Punjab school education department issues date sheet for Punjab Achievement Survey

Also decided to take help of the Guardian of Governance to make the survey a success

Chandigarh, September 15-Punjab school education department has released the date sheet for Punjab Achievement Survey (PAS). The survey is being conducted from September 21 to October 3. Meanwhile, the education department has decided to take the help of the Guardian of Governance for the success of the survey.

Disclosing this here today a spokesperson of the school education department said that the survey would be conducted for class I to XII. For first class students there will be 10 questions for each subject while for second to fifth class there will be 15 questions for each subject. Each question will be of 2 marks. According to the spokesperson, for students of class VI to X, each paper will have 20 questions and one paper will have 40 marks. The primary school survey examination will start on September 21 and end on September 25 while the survey of students from class VI to X will start on September 21 and end on September 26. Surveys for the XI and XII will begin on September 21 and end on October 3.

Meanwhile, the Punjab School Education Department has directed the District Education Officers and School Heads to take the help of Guardian of Governance (GOG) for the survey. From the directions given by the Punjab Education Minister Mr. Vijay Inder Singla education department has decided to seek the help of the Guardian of Governance. Punjab Achievement Survey (PAS) being conducted for the evaluation of the learning outcomes of the students of government and government aided schools.

According to the spokesperson, Director SCERT has issued a letter to the district education officers and school heads in this regard and asked them to involve Guardian of Governance in this task. He said that the Guardian of Governance could play a pivotal role in the activities of the Punjab Achievement Survey in schools and in the community beside ensuring the participation of children in this survey.

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PUNJAB POLICE BUSTS ANOTHER PRO-KHALISTAN TERROR MODULE WITH ARREST OF 2

DUO’S LINKS WITH JAILED KZF OPERATIVE UNEARTHED, MAJOR TERROR ATTACK AVERTED, SAYS DGP

Chandigarh, September 15-Averting a major terror incident in the state, the Punjab Police has busted yet another pro-Khalistan terrorist module, with the arrest of two persons allegedly operating in connivance with five criminals, including a KZF operative currently languishing in Amritsar jail.

The Pakistan-backed module was busted on the basis of inputs about the nefarious designs of certain pro-Khalistan elements trying to disturb peace and harmony in the state by launching terror attacks, said DGP Dinkar Gupta.

Gupta said following the inputs, the Punjab Police had launched a drive to ensure thorough frisking and checking of all those entering the state from various parts of the country, thus leading to the arrest of Harjeet Singh @ Raju and Shamsher Singh @ Shera, both residents of village Mianpur, District Tarn Taran.

Six sophisticated weapons (one 9mm pistol, four .32 calibre pistols and one .32 revolver), 8 live rounds of ammunition, several mobile phones and an internet dongle were seized from the duo, who were nabbed at the checkpost near Hotel Jashan on Rajpura-Sirhind road by a police party comprising ASI Gurdarshan Singh, Head Constable Jora Singh and Punjab Home Guard Pritpal Singh.

A case FIR no. 116 dated 15.09.2020 under sections 212, 216, 120 B IPC, 25/ 54/ 59 Arms Act, 1959 r/w sections 13, 16, 18, 20 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2019 has been registered at PS Sadar

During preliminary investigation, the accused revealed that they received 4 weapons from Burhanpur, Madhya Pradesh, and 2 were received from Safidon, Dist Jind, Haryana, according to the DGP. Gupta disclosed that the duo is also wanted in an attempt to murder and Arms Act case registered in Police Station Sarai Amanat Khan, District Tarn Taran.

Initial investigations have further revealed that the two men were planning a major terror attack in Punjab in connivance with five criminals, namely Shubhdeep Singh @ Shubh r/o Cheecha, district Amritsar, now lodged in Amritsar Jail; Amritpal Singh Baath r/o Mianpur, District Tarn Taran, wanted in as many as 12 different cases of murder, attempt to murder, Arms Act in Tarn Taran and Amritsar Rural districts; Randeep Singh @ Romi r/o Chheharta, Amritsar, wanted in drug cases in Amritsar, along with Goldy and Ashu, both from District Karnal, Haryana.

Sharing details about Shubhdeep Singh, the DGP said he was an active militant of Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF), who was arrested by Punjab Police in September 2019 with the recovery of a China-made drone from village Mahawa, Amritsar Rural District. In April last year, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had filed a chargesheet against him along with 8 others, including Akashdeep Singh, Balwant Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Balbir Singh, Maan Singh, Gurdev Singh, Sajanpreet Singh and Romandeep Singh before the special NIA court in Mohali. This case related to information that Pakistan based Chief of KZF, Ranjeet Singh @ Neeta in connivance with Gurmeet Singh @ Bagga, a Germany based KZF operative, had smuggled arms, ammunition, explosives and Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) into India via drones from Pakistan.

As regards Randeep Singh @ Romi, Gupta disclosed that he is wanted in by the SSOC Amritsar in a case of attempt to murder, drug smuggling and Arms Act vide FIR No. 17, dated 16.12.2014.