Finance Minister says, any attempt to harm the interests of farmers to be opposed tooth and nail

· “Union government is dragging its feet from giving MSP to farmers”

CHANDIGARH,24.09.20- Assails SAD for always being part and parcel of BJP’s anti-Punjab tirade Chandigarh, September 24:-Assuring the farmers of the state that Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh led Punjab government remains committed and duty-bound to safeguard their interests; the Finance Minister Mr. Manpreet Singh Badal today said that the fight against anti-farmers Agriculture Bills will continue till our last breath.

Interacting with the media persons here, the Finance Minister said that the farm ordinances, which have been recently passed by the parliament, were primarily aimed at lifting the safety cover in the form of Minimum Support Price (MSP), thereby ruining the food growers of the country. He said that as a fact of the matter, the bills will severely affect not only farmers but every Punjabi.

Urging all the Punjabis to act wisely in this hour of crisis, Mr. Manpreet Singh Badal stated that Punjabis are blessed with an indomitable spirit of hard work and indefatigable attitude against tyranny, oppression and injustice. Punjabis will not accept any such move that aims to harm farmers’ interests, and the Punjab Government will vehemently oppose these malicious attempts of BJP led Union Government. He categorically said that no one will be allowed to harm the interests of farmers at any cost.

The agriculture bills will deprive the farmers of a safety cover in the form of MSP, stressed Mr. Badal, adding that the Rs.50 increase in MSP of wheat announced by the Modi government recently was the least in the previous decade (only 2.6 %). He said that this is despite the fact that the Commission for Agriculture Cost and Prices (CACP) had recommended an MSP increase of 6% in the wake of 8.4% food inflation. “This is a pointer that the Union government is dragging its feet from giving due MSP to farmers,” Manpreet Singh Badal said.

Highlighting the significance of MSP to farmers, the Finance Minister said that besides ensuring well being of food growers, it also acts as a catalyst in the state’s development. He said in Punjab, procurement of food grains worth Rs 70,000 crore takes place every year. Mr. Badal said that the state receives Rs 3900 crore mandi fees annually, which is used for maintenance, repair, and upkeep of 65,000 kilometres of link roads, bridges, culverts, mandis, and other infrastructure.

Citing three examples of the BJP government’s anti-Punjab stance, the Finance Minister said that Punjab has always borne this attitude's brunt. He said that special tax concessions to hill states, the GST regime, and now this agriculture bills have broken the backbone of Punjab’s economy. Mr. Badal said that the worst part is that Shiromani Akali Dal has always been part and parcel of BJP’s anti-Punjab tirade.

Slamming the Shiromani Akali Dal Chief Sukhbir Singh Badal for shedding crocodile tears over the issue, the Finance Minister said that they are answerable to people as to why they were hand in glove with every anti-Punjab decision of the BJP. He said that Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who had recently resigned from the Union Cabinet, has not even uttered a single word against BJP and its Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Mr. Badal said that Sukhbir must remember that their hands can be either on the PM's feet or the neck, adding that Akali Dal is presently trying to run both with rabbit and hunter, which is not feasible.

The Finance Minister said that Congress has always stood for protecting the interests of Punjab and Punjabis. He said that Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has saved the waters of the state during his last tenure, adding that every step will be taken to secure the farmers' interests. Mr. Badal said that the state government will soon challenge the draconian agriculture bills in the Apex court.

The Finance Minister said that while Congress has been the harbinger of a green and white revolution in the state, the SAD-BJP alliance has always scuttled peace, prosperity, and state progress. He said that Congress will not leave any stone unturned for the well-being of farmers of the state. Mr. Badal said that the high time that Punjabis must realise the difference between pro-Punjabi and anti-Punjabi forces.

Releasing the minutes of the high powered committee constituted by the Union government, the Finance Minister made it clear that the committee was set up by the Union government for doubling the farmers’ income. He said that while Punjab was not invited in the first meeting, after Punjab opposed this step of keeping them out of committee the state was included in committee. However, Mr. Badal said that in the second and third meeting no agenda except that of enhancing farm income was discussed.


90962 volunteers of Youth services department caution people against rumours of corona pandemic, says Rana Sodhi

Awareness programs conducted during week long campaign in 9355 villages and towns of the state

4488 Youth Clubs, NSS Units and Red Ribbon Clubs participated

Chandigarh, September 24:Punjab Sports and Youth Services Minister Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi today said that awareness programs were conducted in 9355 villages and towns of the state under the week long campaign against rumours of Corona pandemic to stop the misleading propaganda of the anti-social elements.

The Sports Minister said that 4488 youth clubs, NSS Units and Red Ribbon Clubs of the state participated in this campaign. Carried out this awareness campaign as a mission of true service to humanity and sensitized the people, 90962 volunteers of these clubs and units urged people to immediately go to the government hospitals for testing in case they found any symptoms of the disease. People have also been sensitized to wear masks, wash or sanitize hands and maintain social distancing. Volunteers have distributed pamphlets and posters among the people and made them aware of the health department's guidelines to deal with the deadly Coronavirus. He informed that the Assistant Director Youth Services and other district officers conducted regular online meetings with the volunteers to ensure their active participation in the campaign.

Rana Sodhi further said that volunteers covered every household and shop in the villages and explained the ways to prevent the disease and the precautions to be taken in case of symptoms. The Minister urged the people that in case of any symptoms, people should immediately contact the nearby hospital for testing and if found positive then treatment can be done at home. He also asked for home isolation during the illness to prevent the spread of the disease and cautioned the people to beware of the rumour-mongers and follow the instructions of the health department in letter and spirit.


Committee constituted by Punjab government to review new pension scheme holds fourth meeting

· Next meeting to be convened soon, in which representatives of various associations would also be invited: DP Reddy

Chandigarh, September 24: A three-member committee constituted by the Punjab Government under the chairmanship of Mr. DP Reddy, IAS (Retd.) to review the new pension scheme held its meeting via video conference.

Disclosing this here today a spokesperson of the Punjab government said that in the meeting the provisions of the new pension scheme and the old pension scheme, their comparison, the possibility of fixing the minimum annuity pension, the late submission of NPS funds etc and various agenda items were discussed. The representatives of PFRDA, New Delhi and NSDL Mumbai participated in the meeting, apart from them the Secretary Personnel, Secretary Expenditure (Member Secretary), Director Treasury and Accounts and other officials participated.

The spokesperson further said that even before this the committee has held three meetings on 26.03.2017, 12.09.2019 and 01.11.2019. The spokesperson refuted the reports in the newspapers that the committee had not held any meeting since its formation. He also said that the next meeting would be convened soon in which representatives of various associations would also be invited.





Chandigarh, September 24:The Cabinet Minister and senior Congress leader S. Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa today took on the Union Government over the issue of farm bills and said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar are hell bent upon bringing the farmers from Punjab to devastation through black laws and don’t have even the remotest of connection with farming.

Presenting as proof the affidavits of both the leaders, the Congress leader said that the PM and the Agriculture Minister don’t possess even an inch of cultivable hence they are completely oblivious of the trials and tribulations the farming sector is going through. It would be first time in the annals of the country that the minister holding the Agriculture portfolio doesn’t have agricultural land. Till date, eminent leaders such as Gurdial Singh Dhillon, Balram Jakhar, Chaudhary Devi Lal and Surjit Singh Barnala have been the Agriculture Ministers of the country who were both politicians as well as deeply connected with farming occupation.

Pointing out further, S. Randhawa said that more than the PM and the Agriculture Minister, it is the Akali leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal who is more to blame as she signed on the ‘Death Warrant’ of the farmers despite hailing from the family which every now and then so loudly professes to champion the cause of farmers. At the time of passing of the ordinances, Harsimrat Kaur Badal was a member of the Union Cabinet and the anti-farmer ordinances were given the go ahead with her consent only.

The Badal family before mouthing statements about protesting in New Delhi at Talwandi Sabo, owes an answer to the people as to whether they are partners in the Union Government or not? They have put the black spot on the history of Akali Dal by stabbing the farming community in the back, said S. Randhawa.

Quoting the ‘Financial Inclusion Survey 2016-17’ conducted by the NABARD, the Congress leader said that the average monthly income of a family engaged in Agriculture is placed at Rs. 23,133 in Punjab which is the highest. In Haryana, this income stands at Rs. 18,496. Both these States operate on mandi system. On the other side, the sorry state of affairs in the States operating without mandi system can be gauged from the fact that in Bihar, this income stands at Rs. 7175 and Rs. 6668 in Uttar Pradesh which is the lowest in the country. Sounding a warning note, S. Randhawa said that the conditions of Punjab farmers would be as pitiable as those of Bihar and U.P. with the coming into force of these black laws.

Divulging more, the Congress leader said that with the mandi board becoming a thing of the past, the condition of link roads of the villages would be rendered deplorable. Apart from this, the compensation of Rs. 2 lakh given by the mandi board to the farmers and labourers affected by mishaps, would also fade into oblivion. These black laws would sound death knell not only for the farmers but for the commission agents, labourers, traders, sheller, tractor, transport industry as well as the small shopkeepers too. The Congress Party would take every step to get the laws rolled back and all the avenues would be resorted to including the protests at roads to knocking at the doors of Supreme Court.


Punjab’s NSS officer and two volunteers get National NSS Awards

•Sports and Youth Service Minister Rana Sodhi pats national awardees to bring laurels to the state

Chandigarh, September 24:Acknowledging the serving spirit of Punjab, the President of India Sh. Ram Nath Kovind has today bestowed upon three National Awards to the state under National Service Scheme (NSS) for the year 2018-19. While out of ten national level NSS awards under the program officer category, one is given to Punjab officer; other two NSS volunteers have clinched national awards under NSS volunteer category out of total 30 awardees.

Patting the national awardees for their spectacular performances in the field of social service, Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, Minister for Sports and Youth Service Department said that these awards were given through Virtual Mode at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi today. He said that NSS Programme Officer Mr. Angrej Singh of Mata Sundri Girls College, Dadhe, district Bathinda has been given Rs.70,000 Cash Awards, a Silver Medal and a Certificate under NSS Units and their Programme Officers’ category, while cash awards of Rs.1,00,000 and a Trophy was given to NSS Unit of Mata Sundri Girls College for NSS Programme Development.

He said that similarly, under the NSS Volunteers category, Ms. Sukhdeep Kaur of Mata Sundri Girls College, Dadhe (Bathinda) and Mr. Gourav Singhal of Lovely Professional University, Phagwara (Kapurthala) were awarded with Rs.50,000 cash award, a Silver Medal and a certificate each.

Rana Sodhi said that it is a great moment for the state of Punjab as its NSS officers and volunteers are working selflessly and tirelessly for the mankind during the unanticipated and unprecedented times of COVID-19. He said that officer and volunteer, who brought laurels to the state, would become inspiration for the faculty members of the other institutions.


Aruna chaudhary launches statewide ‘Digital Parent Margdarshak Program’

Animated videos and guiding text messages will engage stressful Anganwadi going tiny-tots and guide their parents in a creative way

Chandigarh, September 24:Punjab Social Security, Women and Child Development Minister Mrs. Aruna Chaudhary formally launched ‘Digital Parent Margdarshak Program’ to build up the learning ability of the anganwadi going toddlers, stuck at home and guiding their parents during these unprecedented times of COVID-19 pandemic.

Mrs. Chaudhary sent the first activity message to the Principal Secretary Mrs. Raji P. Shrivastava, who further forwarded the same to margdarshaks-Anganwadi Workers to cover each and all children of the Anganwadi Centres. The Minister said that Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh led state government is working tirelessly to impart education through distance learning to the students of all classes during this perilous time. “In order to help tiny-tots of anganwadi centres, the mode of distance learning is being implemented in the social security, women and Child development department”, she said, adding that the department, in collaboration with the Meraki Foundation, has developed the ‘Digital Parent Margdarshak Program’ as the COVID situation has brought about in-person dis-engagement resulting in more reliance on distance learning.

She said that margdarshaks and functionaries of this specialized program, which will be implemented in two phases and each phase will cover 11 districts, have been given fortnight training to make this initiate a huge success.

Mrs. Chaudhary, divulging further, said that customized messages in Punjabi coupled with attractive animated videos are being sent to Anganwadi workers, who forwarded these activity messages to the parents of the Anganwadi going children using various social media platforms to provide fascinating knowledgeable content to anganwadi children in amusing Way. Besides this, guiding instructions is Punjab Language are being shared of their parents, she added.


Weeklong 6th State Level Rozgar Job Fair kick starts, Employment Generation Minister Channi inaugurates through Video Conference

· 1.40 lakh applications received against 90000 offered jobs

· 50,000 Government jobs to be advertised soon

Chandigarh, September 24: The 6th State Level Job Fair kick started today under the Ghar Ghar Rozgar and Karobar Mission, the flagship program of the Punjab Government. The Punjab Technical Education and Employment Generation Minister Mr. Charanjit Singh Channi inaugurated this week long State level Mega Job Fair through video conference. On the opening day, the job fair started in six districts of the state which included Patiala, Faridkot, Sangrur, Fatehgarh Sahib, Hoshiarpur and Gurdaspur. The Deputy Commissioners/ ADCs of these districts participated in the inaugural function of the Job Fair through video conferencing.

Employment Generation Minister Channi said that as there are limited job opportunities in Public Sector and in private sector due to Covid-19 pandemic across the globe, the facilitation offered by Punjab government will help to provide the much-needed job opportunities to the youth of Punjab during these desperate times. The Minister said that during this year's state level job fair despite of Covid-19 pandemic restrictions and limitations the Punjab Government under the leadership of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh is committed to provide maximum job opportunities to the Youth of the state. He said that about 1.40 lakh applications have been received seeking employment against 90,000 vacancies which would be offered in the private sector during these Job fairs. The Minister said that in this year State Level Rozgar Mela, facilitations are being done through Virtual Platforms in addition to this Physical Melas are also being organized pan Punjab following all Covid-19 protocols at 69 places.

Minister Channi also announced that Punjab Government will fill one lac government job vacancies during this year, out of which 50,000 Government jobs to be advertised soon for which paper work is almost completed and paper work for advertising other 50 thousand government vacancies is at full swing. 'The Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh is reviewing the whole progress of filling one lac government jobs from time to time', the minister added.

The Minister also announced that the department is planning a special drive for facilitating self employment loans to youth interested in opening their own businesses/ enterprises.

The Deputy Commissioners participating in the video conference assured the Minister that they have made adequate arrangements to conduct the 6th State Level Job Fair successfully following all the Covid-19 safety guidelines.

Mr. Rahul Tewari Secretary Employment Generation, Punjab said that the jobs that are made available for the job seekers in this event range from below 10th to the Post graduates/ doctorates and from ITI/Diploma pass to B.Tech Engineers. Salary range in this event from 1 lac to 43 lacs per annum and major employers participating in the event include HDFC Bank, Havells India Ltd, Reliance Industries, ICICI Bank, Flipkart, Tech Mahindra, Vardhman Yarn & Threads Ltd, Trident Group, Microsoft etc and many other local employers.

Mr. Harpreet Singh Sudan Director Employment Generation appealed to the Youth to utilise this opportunity to the maximum and thanked the employers for associating with the Government on a common platform and providing livelihood opportunities to the youth.


Punjab Government instructs not to deny admission to students in government schools under any situation

Chandigarh, September 24-The Punjab Government has issued instructions to the authorities not to deny admission to students in government schools under any situation. So far this year, the enrollment in government schools has increased by 15.61 per cent (3,44,986 students) and this is the highest increase in a single year till date.

Disclosing this here today a spokesperson of the Punjab School Education Department said that some complaints have received from the parents of the children that their wards have been denied admission in pretext of high enrollment and lack of infrastructure. In this context the Secretary School Education Mr. Krishan Kumar directed all the DEOs (secondary and elementary) of the state to give admission to the aspirants in the government schools in any case. He also directed to make appropriate arrangements at the local level in the matter of lack of infrastructure. Schools have also been asked to send proposals to start double shifts where the strength of students is very high.

Earlier, the education department had also directed the school heads not to force the students for transfer certificates in connection with their admission in government schools and asked the school heads to admit such students at their own level. At the same time the school principals have been directed to get a written request from the parents of the students who do not have the transfer certificate.