PATIALA: Punjab Chief Minister on Friday launched the release of Benefits under a unique scheme aimed at the inclusive growth of the distressed sections of the society, even as he appealed to the state’s farmers not to resort to suicide since his government was committed to the total implementation of its farm debt waiver programme by November 2018.
In his brief speech after taking the salute and unfurling the national flag at the Republic Day parade at the YPS Stadium here, the Chief Minister assured the beleaguered farmers of the state that each of the 10.25 lakh farmers covered by the debt waiver scheme would receive its benefit by November this year.
Underlining his government’s commitment to the development of Patiala, which had been sidelined by the erstwhile SAD-BJP government completely during its 10-year misrule, the Chief Minister announced a development grant of Rs 45 crore for rural areas and Rs 5 crore for urban areas over and above Rs 100 crore already announced by him for the upgradation of infrastructure in both urban and rural segments of the district.
Launching the benefits under the`Mahatama Gandhi Sarbat Vikas Yojana’, with the aim to "Wipe every tear from every eye" as envisioned by Mahatma Gandhiji, Amarinder said the programme’s objective was to give the distressed sections the help they need, socially or economically or psychologically. The government had identified a large number of such needy people who had so far been deprived of the pro-poor initiatives, he said, adding that of these, 2 lakh people shall start getting the benefits of 20 different schemes of the Government from today onwards.
Extending his Republic Day greetings to the people, Captain Amarinder recalled the historic moment in 1950 when India adopted its Constitution to empower millions of people to exercise their franchise. He expressed pride and satisfaction at the contribution of Punjabis in strengthening the ethos of democracy by reposing full faith in the Constitution of India.
Stressing his government’s commitment to ensuring overall development and prosperity in the state in line with the aspirations of its people, Captain said what his government had achieved in just 10 months was beyond anyone's imagination as even the SAD-BJP alliance could not come up to the expectations of people during their decade long regime.
Holding the Akalis solely responsible for the ruin of the state's economy, Captain Amarinder Singh pointed out that when his government demitted office in 2007, the total debt burden on state was Rs. 46000 crore, which had now mounted to Rs. 208000 crore due to the misrule and ill- conceived policies of the SAD-BJP government.
Listing out the various initiatives taken by his government to bring the development of the state, which had been totally ruined by the Akalis, Captain Amarinder inaugurated a Rs 2000 crore project to repair 16000 kms rural link roads. This was the first time that the state government was investing such a huge amount for the development of rural link roads, he added.
The government, said the Chief Minister, had also decided to waive off loans up to Rs 50000 of Punjab Backward Classes Land Development and Finance Corporation (Backfinco) given to the beneficiaries.
Captain Amarinder also launched the e-POS scheme to cover the state’s fair price shops on this occasion to replace the earlier blue card system for distribution of Atta-Dal. The new system was aimed at bringing transparency and accountability in the Public Distribution System (PDS), he said, adding that this would ensure that the real beneficiaries get the benefit of the Atta-Dal scheme.
Talking about his government’s efforts on the industrial development front, the Chief Minister expressed confidence that the new industrial policy, with its investor-friendly incentives like power at Rs 5 per unit, would boost investment in the state. He observed that the power tariff for industry in Punjab was the least among all states. Pointing out that he had personally visited Mumbai twice to woo the country’s top industrial honchos, he said industrialization was the only solution to revive the state's sagging economy since its agriculture growth had already reached a plateau. Industrial development, he stressed, was important for generating the much-needed employment for Punjab’s youth.
The Chief Minister lauded the visually and hearing & speech impaired students who participated in the parade and also presented an excellent taekwondo show. He also announced Rs 1 lakh per school/college which participated in the cultural function from CM’s fund.
In conclusion, the Chief Minister recalled the words of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar – "We are Indians, firstly and lastly” and called upon the people to promise, as Indians first and last, to work together for the collective good of every citizen of Punjab in particular and the nation as a whole in a spirit of harmony and brotherhood.
Earlier, the Chief Minister took a salute during an impressive march past by the contingents of Punjab Armed Police, Jalandhar, Punjab Armed Police, Jalandhar (Women Wing), District Police Patiala (Women Wing), District Police Patiala and Punjab Home Guard led by parade commanders DSP Gursher Singh Sandhu and DSP Simarjeet Singh. On his arrival, the Chief Minster inspected the parade escorted by Deputy Commissioner Kumar Amit and SSP Dr. S. Boopathi.
On the occasion, the Chief Minister honoured freedom fighters and their families with shawls and sweets. He also honoured 67 eminent personalities from different walks of life, in recognition of their outstanding contributions in their respective fields, with mementos and commendation certificates. Captain Amarinder also awarded Chief Minister’s Medals to six police officers/officials for outstanding devotion to duty.
A key attraction of the celebration was the 14 tableaus that highlighted the development activities of Sarv Sikhya Abhiyan, Agriculture, Health, Horticulture, Forests, Milkfed, Animal Husbandry, Sports, Fisheries, Traffic Police, Saanjh Kendras, PSPCL and Ajivka Mission. Cultural performances, including Bhangra and Gidda, also energized the audience.
The Chief Minister was accompanied by his wife and former Union Minister Preneet Kaur. Others present at the event were Media Advisor to CM Raveen Thukral, Advisor to CM Bharat Inder Singh Chahal, MLAs Hardyal Singh Kamboj, Madam Lal Jalalpur, Rajinder Singh and Harinder Pal Chandumajra. Chairman PRTC K.K. Sharma, Patiala Mayor Sanjiv Bittu, Senior Deputy Mayor Yoginder Singh Yogi, Deputy Mayor Vinti Sangar, OSD to CM Amrit Pratap Singh Honey Sekhon and PPSC Chairman Lt. General NPS Hira were also present.
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