The Punjab Cabinet today approved the summoning of twelfth session of 14th Punjab Vidhan Sabha from March 8 for passing the annual budget for 2016-17.
A decision to this effect was taken by the Cabinet in its meeting chaired by the Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal here at his office, this morning. Disclosing this here today a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office said that the budget session would commence on March 8 afternoon at 2 pm with Governor’s address. The session would be adjourned sine die on March 22.
In order to provide affordable housing facility to Lower Middle Income group, the Punjab Cabinet today approved ‘Affordable Housing Policy 2015” under which incentives in the form of reduced Change of Land Use (CLU), External Development Charges (EDC) and License Fee would be given to promoters undertaking construction of affordable houses for economically backward strata of society. Maximum area under the affordable housing scheme would not exceed 10% of total gross area and minimum area proposed was five acre contiguous and compact chunk of land. All such projects would be necessarily required to be completed within five years from date of issue of license to avail these benefits. It would be mandatory on the part of promoter to provide the facility of one built up community hall not less than 3000 square feet for every five acre of land, besides one nursery school cum crèche of not less than 3000 square feet in the prescribed area of the scheme. Super area of the flats would range from 750 square feet to 900 square feet.
With a view to reconnect the future generation with the partition of India, the Cabinet also gave green signal to the proposal of Punjab Heritage Tourist Promotion Board regarding the re-use plan of Town Hall, Amritsar for constructing 1947 partition museum, city museum, cottage emporium of other states, Coffee shop, Light and sound show/ Laser show/ virtual reality and others activities on Public Private Partnership (PPP) Mode. The Town Hall building would become vacant after Municipal Office was shifted to new building.
In order to streamline the flow of funds for ‘Mukh Mantri Trath Yatra Scheme’ initiated for providing free pilgrimage to the people desirous of visiting holy places like Nanded Sahib, Ajmer Sharif, Varanasi, Mata Vaishno Devi and others, the Cabinet today gave nod for providing funds worth Rs 46.50 crore in the excess budget plan for year 2015-16.
The Cabinet also gave approval to accept the recommendations of Cabinet Sub Committee to form a uniform policy for creation of steel silos for storage of food grains in the state. As per the recommendations of the sub-committee, the Food and Civil Supplies department would make all the decisions regarding construction of Silos, PUNGRAIN would be the nodal agency and the government land available with the Food and Civil Supplies department would be utilised for the construction of Silos. If needed, land available with other departments like Cooperation, Rural Development & Panchayati Raj and Punjab Mandi Board would also be taken on lease by PUNGRAIN with mutual consent, for this purpose.
In a bid to further check illegal mining in the state, the Cabinet also gave approval to amend Punjab Minor Mineral Rules 2013 for constituting District Mineral Foundation and State Mineral Foundation. Now it would be the responsibility of land owner to inform the District Mining officer of any illegal Mining taking place from his land. The Cabinet also decided to impose a tax on export of Minor Minerals from the state @Rs 4000 per a trolley, Rs 7000 per truck and Rs 10000 per large truck carrying Minor Minerals outside the state. This has been decided to bring down the rates of Minor Minerals within the state. CCTV cameras would be installed at all exit points.
To ensure far more improvement in its operational and financial efficiency in the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited, the Cabinet also gave green signal to implement Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojna (UDAY) scheme, which has been notified by the Government of India (GoI) for financial turnaround of power distribution Companies (DISCOMS).
The Cabinet also gave nod for Amending Punjab Jails Department State Service (Class-III Executive), Rules 1963 thereby increasing the minimum qualification for post of Warden from 8th to 10+2 and fixing their age limit from 18 to 25 to ensure that only deserving and qualified candidates with proper physique and fitness were selected for these posts.
To overcome the situation arising out of pendency of court cases in the state, the Cabinet also gave approval for creating separate session division along with supporting staff each in SAS Nagar (Mohali) and Tarn Taran districts.
The Cabinet also accorded its concurrence to the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DFCCIL) for raising funds to the tune of Rs 92.25 crore as state share for constructing 17 Railway Over Bridges (ROBs)/ Railway Under Bridges (RUBs) to prevent any unsafe conditions and detention of the road users along with the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor alignment by making it free of Level crossings. The loan would be reimbursed/ repaid in instalments over a period of ten years along with interest thereof, including three years moratorium on repayments.
In a bid to impart quality health services to the people, the Cabinet also gave green signal for filling 200 posts of Medical Officers (MBBS) out of vacant 316 posts of Medical Officers (Specialists). These 200 posts would be adjusted against the posts of MBBS doctors who would be retiring in future or posts falling vacant due to any other reason.
In another significant decision, the Cabinet also gave approval to fill all the posts of Doctors and Teachers lying vacant in the government hospitals and schools. This decision has been taken to bring complete efficiency in the functioning of Health and Educational institutions in order to provide the best Healthcare and education facilities to the people especially in rural areas of the state.
In order to enhance the efficiency of routine administrative work in the Punjab Civil Secretariat, the Cabinet also gave go ahead for filling 120 vacant posts of Senior Assistants in Punjab Civil Secretariat through Direct Recruitment through a competitive test that would be conducted by the Thapar University, Patiala.
Likewise, in order to provide specialised staff for Special New Born Care Units being run by the state government to provide special care to infants, the Cabinet also decided to fill 61 posts of Staff Nurses group C, with candidates having special training certificate or fellowship in Neonatology through Baba Farid University of Medical Sciences, Faridkot by written examination.
In a move aimed at smooth and effective functioning of the offices of Divisional Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners in the larger public interest, the Cabinet also gave go ahead to fill vacant posts of 460 clerks and 25 posts of steno typists in these offices.
In order to ensure effective functioning of State Commission for Women, the Cabinet also approved amending of Punjab State Women Commission Act, 2001 and amendment Act 2014 to raise the strength of non official members of the Commission from existing five to 10.
The Cabinet also okayed to hire the services of an agency for conducting impact assessment study of the various schemes and programs of the state government. The agency would conduct an assessment study from April to December 2016 by randomly reaching out to 4.5 lakh people personally and contacting 15 lakh people. The data thus collected would provide direction to state government for bringing the gaps in programs/ schemes implementation besides helping to frame new schemes and policies for overall development of the state.
The Cabinet also gave nod to hire 100 video vans for creating awareness amongst the people regarding the policies and schemes of the state government besides informing them about the rich historical and cultural legacy of the state. These video vans would be equipped with all the modern mass media gadgets like LED screens, sound systems, video players, wi-fi connectivity and public address system. These vans would cover the entire state from April to December 2016 to screen the video films depicting the various development projects, schemes undertaken by the state and information regarding rich cultural heritage of the state.
The Cabinet also gave approval to dispose seven surplus sites of Irrigation Department selected by PUDA under the OUVGL scheme. The amount thus raised by sale of these properties would be utilised for repair/ renovation of canals in the state.
The Cabinet also gave green signal to sell 12.68 acres of land belonging to Sugarfed in Banur to Housefed, Punjab, which would be launching a housing scheme for welfare of the society. It has been decided that Rs 10 crore from the sale proceeds of this land would be utilised for expansion/ modernisation of Bhogpur Cooperative Sugar Mill, which was a long pending demand of the farmers of Doaba region. The modernisation of Bhogpur Sugar Mill would immensely benefit the farmers besides generating indirect employment potential.
The Cabinet also gave nod to framing of Punjab Cooperative (Group B) Service Rules 2016. Currently Punjab Cooperative Service (Class-II) Rules 1958, the Punjab Cooperative Department Services Ministerial (State Service Class-III) Rules 1966 and Punjab Cooperative Department (state services) class III rules 1978 were applicable in the department.
The Cabinet also gave nod for ‘The Punjab Forest (Group-A) Ministerial Services Rules, 2015.
The Cabinet also gave approval to enact new ‘Welfare department Group ‘A Ministerial and Group ‘A’ Non Ministerial Service Rules’ thereby repealing previous the ‘Punjab Schedule Castes and Backward Classes’ (Class II), Services Rules 1978, due to change in groups of employees following revision in pay scales.
The Cabinet also gave nod for framing Punjab Dental Education (Group A) Service Rules, 2016 which governs the services of teaching faculty working at Government Dental Colleges Amritsar and Patiala. These rules would enable the recruitment of faculty for these colleges speciality wise. Likewise, with the increase in number of posts of Dental faculty more teachers would be available thereby helping in imparting quality education to students in under graduate and post graduate courses.
Likewise, the Cabinet also gave approval for framing Punjab Medical Education Service (Group A) Service Rules, 2016 which governs the services of teaching faculty working at Government Medical Colleges Amritsar and Patiala. With the framing of these rules recruitment and promotions of the medical faculty would be streamlines and better health services would be available to the general public.
In a bid to ensure relevant education to the children with special needs in an environment best suited to them, the Cabinet also approved to give fixed monthly salary at applicable scale/ grade pay w.e.f April 1, 2015 to 440 Inclusive Education Resource Teachers working in the state.
In order to overcome the traffic congestion in Phagwara, the Cabinet also gave nod for transferring four kanals 11 marlas land of Revenue department to Local Government department and then to Municipal Corporation Phagwara for construction of multi-level parking.
The Cabinet also decided to constitute the ‘Punjab Bhaichara Taalmel Council’ to flourish Punjabi culture in India and abroad besides for exchange of cultural heritage. The board, which would consist of 10 members (both official and non official), would hold debates/ deliberations and interactive sessions of Punjabi theorists, thinkers and historians to promote multiple development of Punjabi language and Punjabi creations.
The Cabinet also approved allotment policy to allot sites for hospitals, multi speciality hospitals, medical colleges cum hospitals and medical research institute in the upcoming Medicity at New Chandigarh (Mullanpur).
The Cabinet also gave nod to the draft of Punjab Bovine Breeding Act 2016 to provide for better improvement of Bovine by regulating Bovine Breeding activities including use of bovine breeding bulls for production of Bovine semen, processing, storage, sale and distribution of Bovine semen and artificial insemination or any other breeding activity in Bovines.
The Cabinet also approved to amend Punjab Dairy Development Board Act 2002 in order to have five representatives from amongst Milk producers instead of earlier three on Board of Directors (BoD). Likewise, two representatives from milk consumers’ associations would be nominated as members of BoD instead of earlier one member. This decision has been taken to broad base the board so that all the representatives related to various activities of Dairy development could put forth their views forcefully. Likewise, Vice Chancellors of GADVASU instead of the VC PAU besides a Director Dairy would also be the members of BoD.
In order to ensure holistic development of the villages across the state, the Cabinet also approved the policy of purchasing land required for economic and social development in the villages, where the land was not available, besides ensuring that no section of strata was left behind in this pace of development. The Rural Development and Panchayats would be the Nodal department for this scheme. The scheme would also aim at providing land for giving plots to the landless people and their construction/ repair from discretionary grants, for graveyards, cremation grounds, playfields and community centres where suitable Pancahyat land was not available for such purposes.
The Cabinet also granted approval for extension of the outer date of One Time Settlement (OTS) policy for loan and equity-2015 in Punjab State Industries Development Corporation (PSIDC), Punjab Financial Corporation (PFC) and Punjab State Industries Export Corporation (PSIEC) for receiving applications up to 31 May, 2016.
The Cabinet also gave approval to establish Satellite Centre of PGIMER, Chandigarh at Ferozepur. The centre would provide the advanced treatment and health care facilities to the people in the region. This centre would be set up over an area of 21 acre two kanals land given free of cost by the state government.
The Cabinet also accorded approval to dispose of 1509 variety of Paddy, procured by the various procurement agencies in the state during Khariff season 2015-16 on the price based on all expenses inclusive of taxes through inviting tenders. If the Punjab state procurement agencies unable to fetch the amount equivalent to their cost, in such cases, the state government would compensate them for the difference of price. It may be recalled that the state government came to the rescue of Basmati growers when the prices fell down drastically in the market by purchasing it at MSP of Rs 1450 per quintal.
In a major relief to the urban residents, the Cabinet also gave approval to extend the date of depositing Property Tax for the year 2015-16 without penalty upto March 31, 2016 instead on December 31, 2015. Likewise, the
Cabinet also exempted The purchase centres, sub yards, principal yards, kisan sarais, office building and other properties of Market Committees and Mandi Board, which are owned and used by them, be exempted from property tax. The Cabinet also decided to make some provisions in the Punjab Municipal Act 1911 and Punjab Municipal Corporation Act 1976 for allotting land to open district offices for the registered political parties, which were available in Punjab Vidhan Sabha.
In order to curtail the procedural delay in granting necessary approvals to the Mega Projects and put these projects on fast track, the Cabinet also approved the delegation of all powers of the Empowered Committee for the Mega projects to the screening committee headed by the state Chief Secretary.
With a view to devising a methodology for disposal of shops owned by Municipal Corporations, Municipal Councils and Improvement Trusts in towns, the Cabinet constituted a sub-committee under the chairmanship of
Deputy Chief Minister for this purpose.
The Punjab Cabinet also approved the allotment of two acre land to set up Kisan Vikas Chamber Punjab at SAS Nagar (Mohali) besides sanctioning a sum of Rs 20 crore as a grant for construction of building and creating corpus to meet its day-to-day needs so as to make this upcoming ‘Think Tank’ organisation of agriculture economically viable and self sustaining. Pertinently, to provide affirmative say to peasantry in the policies and programmes related to agricultural and allied activities, the state government has recently decided to establish farmers’ advisory body Punjab Kisan Vikas Chamber (PKVC) on the pattern of industrial organizations like Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), PHD Chamber of Commerce, Associated Chambers of Commerce of India (Assocham) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI).