Empowering Youth with Skill Development

With the advent of newer MNC’s and companies setting up shop in the State, there are several opportunities for employment but there is unavailability of professionally qualified candidates due to the mismatch in the education and skill requirement set. Vocational skills like communication, soft skills, IT, customer handling skills have been missing in the education system. To bridge the gap, no stone is being left unturned to provide the youth with all the basic skills and empower them for a stronger future.  300 Crore has been allocated to the cause in the Budget 2015 for the development of youth-centric initiatives.  A multitude of training programs & schemes are being been introduced by the Department of Technical Educational and Industrial Training Modular Employable Skill (MES).

To open up vistas of employment for the youth of Punjab, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal gave the nod for setting up a state-of-the art ‘Integrated Skill Development Centre’ in the Ferozepur district. This centre, being established under the Punjab State Skill Development Mission, would also have a C-Pyte centre to train the youth for recruitment in the Armed forces and Para-Military forces. The Chief Minister has also approved the construction of separate sheds in the existing ITI for imparting skill training to women – thereby ensuring comfort & ease of female students and enabling more and more women to come forward and claim their right to education and live a life of pride & dignity.

Not only IT or traditional vocational training is being provided to the youth, but also the main industrial demands as ATHM, HMCT, Multi-media technologies, Medical trainings and vocational skills required in the modern job scenario at different levels of programs (foundation, skill formation and up-gradation) to meet demands of various target groups of industry and commerce have been started free of cost or at a minimal fee.

Courses are available for persons having completed 5th standard and onwards. To make it cost effective, infrastructure of the present institutes and the man power is being utilized – services of existing or retired faculty or guest faculty are being enlisted so that there is no delay in the imparting of education and even youth below the poverty line can afford such training and education programs.

Skill development programs have been drafted to not only make the youth industry oriented, but also empower them to be self employed. Some of the programs started are Basic Communication Skills- Soft Skills; Basic IT/ Computer Skills; Customer Care Services; Guest Handling; Corporate Etiquettes and Manners ; Art of Public Speaking; Front Office Management; Telephone skills; Interview Skills; Skills to work overseas; Inter-personnel skills development; Team Building Exercises; Job / Employment Scenario; Domain Knowledge etc. with a flexible delivery mechanism (part time, weekends, full time, on-site) to suit needs of various target groups. Much focus is being paid to design programs for the youth on the Earn While Learn concept.

Punjab lauds in the occasion of the vibrant Baisakhi

The popular seasonal festival of Punjab, BAISAKHI, is observed on the First day of the solar month of Baisakh of the Indian calendar. The festival traditionally portrays the heralds of happiness and is closely connected to the harvest season of the farmers. Punjab enthrals and engages in the bhangra beats to ward off malicious spirits who are thought to ruin the harvest. This lively festival marks the Sikh’s New Year and its celebrations dates back to the year 1699. The day was first celebrated by Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru for the formation of Khalsa community- the Khalsa Panth.

Baisakhi commemorates the harvest time of Rabi (winter) crops in the agriculturally rich state of Punjab and Haryana, therefore it is of utmost importance for Punjab. The festival of Baisakhi also celebrates the Thanksgiving Day in these states. Farmers visit temples and Gurudwaras in early morning dressing in a new attire to express their obligation to God for better fruition and a thriving agricultural season. Enthusistic bhangra and gidda is an integral part of this buoyant festival and Baisakhi fairs are fabricated everywhere to add on to the high spirits. 

This jubilant festival brings a lot of charm and verve in the virile state of Punjab. Established customs and traditions exclusive to Baisakhi are performed by the people with sincerity and devotion. The day commences with performing all major activitites in Gurudwara to celebrate the birth of Guru Gobind Singh and the foundation of Khalsa Panth. The harvest season is then welcomed in the agricultural soils through bhangra and gidda performances by the flamboyantly dressed men and women of Punjab. Basisakhi processions are carried out later during the day which is attended by men, women and children alike with faith and enthusiasm.

On the eve of this bright festival, the Punjab and Haryana Governor and Administrator, Union Territory, Chandigarh, Prof. Kaptan Singh Solanki extended his greetings to all Punjabis living in country and abroad.

Prof. Solanki established the multifarious importance of the festival of Baisakhi and its significance in the life of the farmers. The Governor urged the people of Punjab to celebrate this festival together irrespective of the caste, creed and religion. The spirit of this day should be promoted high with harmony, social cohesion and national unity in our Country.

Punjab throbs in the eve of Baisakhi!

For The Motherland… A Tribute to Martyrs

Jang-E-Azaadi Memorial


India’s freedom struggle saw many ups and downs and has been dotted with countless martyrdoms. Undoubtedly the Punjabis excelled in making supreme sacrifices and it is a matter of immense pride and honour for the State that all the watershed movements associated with the country’s freedom struggle like the Kuka, the Ghadar movement, Kamagata Maru, the Gurdwara Reforms and the Babbar Akali were spearheaded by Punjabis.

The spirit of bravery and sacrifice is imbibed in the blood of Punjabis. Initiatives that propagate a spirit of patriotism and self sacrifice amongst the people, especially the younger generation, must be made to sensitize our younger generations as most of them are quite unaware of our rich cultural heritage.

It has been in the fitness of things to embark on a memorial to pay respect to all those who laid down their lives in the freedom struggle. The Chief Minister laid the foundation stone of the Jang-e-Azaadi memorial near Kartarpur sprawling over an area of 25 acres at an estimated cost of Rs 200 Crore. He said it was a humble tribute to numerous Punjabi unsung heroes of the national freedom struggle, who made enormous contribution at the altar of the motherland. Recalling the unparalleled and unique sacrifices made by the Punjabis in the Indian freedom struggle, he said though the Punjabis comprised 2 per cent of the country’s population, yet more than 80 per cent sacrifices had been made by the Punjabis alone. Highlighting the role of Punjabis in the freedom struggle, CM Badal said that more than 80 per cent of prisoners of ‘Kalepani’ were from Punjab. He said all the countries of world have created grand memorials for their martyrs and it hurts him the most that our country did little in this direction.

He said he bowed in reverence to the martyrs for their supreme contribution to the freedom struggle and said that the Jang-e-Azaadi memorial was a real tribute in recognition to their unprecedented sacrifices and would always act as a beacon to guide the destiny of our future generations as well as showcase the unparalleled contribution of Punjabis in the national independence movement.

Punjabis have always followed the teachings of the great Gurus who taught us to fight for right. Those who sacrificed their present to secure a better tomorrow for the nation had never died for any reward, but it is our prime duty to convey their message of selfless service for the motherland to our next generation.


Punjab played host to the prestigious 88th Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan from 3rd to 5th April 2015 in Ghuman. The three-day Sahitya Sammelan indeed has been a step towards strengthening national integration. The age old spiritual ties between the people of Punjab and Maharashtra is evident from the fact that Bhagat Namdev Ji who originally was a Marathi, spent over two decades of his life in Ghuman.

Baba Namdev Ji Government Degree College will be set up over an area of 10 acres at a cost of Rs 18 crore to impart quality education in science and arts to the students of this border belt of the state.

Mr. Nitin Gadkari and Mr. Sharad Pawar in the presence of Chief Minister laid the foundation stone of Bhagat Namdev Government Degree College and released the souvenir on the life and philosophy of Bhagat Namdev Ji.

Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and other eminent personalities like Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, writer Sadanand More, Former Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar attended the function.

It was proposed during the festival that a special train between Ghuman and Maharashtra should be started, which will boost the religious and cultural tourism between both the states.

A Cancer Free Punjab

To ensure health prosperity and enhance the State’s level in the health index of the world, along with other immunisation programmes, a Cancer Free State is enlisted as one of the priorities.

Cancer eradication has been a long time goal in health & public welfare initiatives in Punjab and proactive measures are being undertaken to make the State cancer free. An adequate sum has been allotted to hospitals for dedicated infrastructure facilities for the treatment Cancer patients in the State and installation of the latest technology and equipments necessary in the treatment of Cancer.

Taking a step towards realising the dream of a cancer free Punjab, the Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital (HBCH) is being set up at Sangrur post signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) recently with Tata Memorial Centre (TMC), Mumbai. The aim is to impart quality diagnosis and facilitate treatment of patients in the Malwa region of the state. This treatment centre will preserve the facilities related to high-end cancer diagnostic and treatment including RT treatment requirements like 3D-CRT, SRS, IMRT, IGRT etc. along with chemotherapy and surgical facility.

181 Helpline at Your Assistance!

Shreya, a victim of domestic violence in Punjab, strives hard to take a step to save self from the brutal assaults at the hands of her husband. But poor she, who does not even know where to go!

There was not just one Shreya, but hundreds of them, who were being victimised every day. They were being molested by some eve-teasers on roadside, beaten up for the demand of dowry, traumatised for delivering female children or mistreated just because they had a drunkard husband.

We just couldn’t tolerate crime against women in our state and hence, launched 181 Helpline to empower women, senior citizens and children.

Now, if there was a Shreya wanting to free herself from her husband’s assaults had an option to go for, from where she could expect guaranteed help. With high hopes, she now dials 181 Helpline number and shares her story with the caller on the other side and in no time, she is rescued from her house and her husband is sent to police custody.

All thanks to the prompt action of the call centre and police authorities. There have been many success stories of women and senior citizens in Punjab, who’ve been rescued via 181 Helpline, with 80% satisfied complainants.

While there are people who do not feel comfortable to share their concerns with the police officers so, Punjab Government got the helpline work outsourced to a private company, Ziqitza. The company runs a 20-seater call centre for 181 Helpline with a dedicated clinical psychologist as a counsellor to ensure that the aggrieved party is heard patiently and right suggestions are made to resolve their complaints.

181 is a round-the-clock helpline which has multiple contact modes and one can reach out either through phone, SMS, email, fax or web-portal. All calls made to 181 are recorded to ensure quality assistance and discourage misuse.

The best part of this helpline is that complete confidentiality of the complainants is maintained. The customer care executives and police officials dealing with the cases ensure that no information has been leaked out during the process.

As the Government of Punjab wishes to curb crime against women and senior citizens, every complaint to the helpline is bound for timely response and persistent follow-ups are made by case coordinators to ensure complete satisfaction.

While the response rate of 181 Helpline has been good enough, but to further ensure that no laxity is observed in implementation of promised assistance and services, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal scans the performance of all the Commissioners of Police and SSPs across the state.

So, now if you observe any ill-treatment of women and senior citizens, just dial 181 and raise your voice against the mishappening!

A Revolution is About to Begin – Solar Power

Punjab Government will be setting up the largest solar power generation in the country with the help of three companies and a religious dera.

Punjab Government is all set to take a leap that will make Punjab the largest solar power generation in the country. It is looking at generating 100 MW of rooftop solar power in the next one year. Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) allotted rooftop projects to three companies and a religious dera. The companies together will generate 65 MW; commercial generation will start in March next year.

PEDA officials have hovered the largest tender for rooftop solar power generation (100 MW) receiving bid for 65 MW. The officials finished scrutinising the proposals last month and the final letters of award to the solar power companies and religious sect Radha Soami Satsang has been given. Power purchase agreements will be signed with the successful bidders. Solar power can be bought at Rs. 7.72 per unit whereas power will be bought from the companies at a cost of Rs 7.50 to Rs 7.70 per unit.

The companies that have been awarded contracts are Azure Urja (10 MW) and Acme Solar (30 MW), besides the dera (12 MW) of rooftop power for gross metering (where they will sell the power generated to state power utility) and another 12 MW for net metering (self-consumption). A third company has been awarded contract for producing 1 MW of rooftop solar power.

“Our rooftop solar power project in Punjab (30 MW) would be the largest in the country. We are in the final stages of deciding where to set up the plant”, said Manoj Kumar Upadhyay, Chairman and Founder, ACME.

ACME would be hiring agricultural land and setting up roof over the land. The land will be used to cultivate exotic vegetables while the roof would be used for solar power production. The other two companies would be hiring rooftops of government buildings and large private buildings for setting up their projects.

Punjab Sewa Kendras

The Government of Punjab is setting up ‘Sewa Kendras’ kiosks in villages across the state to reach out to common man and enable easy and direct communication with them.

Common Service Centre (CSC) or Sewa Kendras is one of the core ICT enabled Initiatives of the Government of India (GoI) under its National E-Governance Plan. The Sewa Kendras scheme is predicted to be a bottom-up model for delivery of content, services, information and knowledge to people and organizations for achieving rapid socio-economic change in rural and urban areas of Punjab.

To make life more comfortable, Punjab State Government aims for establishing and operating 2174 rural CSCs under the state’s brand name ‘Gram Suwidha Kendra’ in rural, as well as urban areas by July 2015. These Sewa Kendras will be set up in 10 segregate zones to provide transparent, time-bound and affordable Government to Citizen (G2C) Services to the citizens Centres (CSCs) at the rate of one centre per a cluster of six villages.

A spokesman of Punjab Government said in an interview that the construction work on more than 1500 e-sewa kendras in villages and municipal wards in urban areas has been started and is in full swing. Deputy Chief Minister Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, who also holds Governance Reforms portfolio, has instructed all Deputy Commissioners to identify plots for construction of remaining new kiosks at the earliest and send consolidated monthly progress reports to governance reforms department. He said that the Punjab state e-Governance Society has been entrusted to accomplish and administer this prestigious project in the state.

After implementation of this service delivery mechanism across the state as envisioned by the Deputy CM, Punjab will be the first state in the country to provide all government to citizen (G2C) centric services online. “This online provisioning of citizen centric services would certainly minimize public contacts with various offices, eliminate corruption, and enhance efficiency of administration and delivery of services”, he said.

With the total number of 2174 e-sewa kendras to be set up in rural as well as urban areas, 1750 centres would be established in rural areas and 424 in urban areas to provide 249 public services effectively and efficiently. Sewa Kendras in rural areas would cater to cluster of three-four villages. This system will provide citizen centric services connected with various departments in an integrated manner across the counter under one roof.

With an aim to bring transparency in the system and establish citizen centric governance, the  purpose of these e-sewa kendras besides collecting water and electricity bills would be to provide single window service for all citizen services including birth and death certificates, application of new power/water/sewerage connections, payment of property tax, request for various forms, license for Rickshaw, rehri, mule cart, slaughter house, atta chakki, issuance of NoC for commercial power, sanction of building plans, issuance of public certificates, issuance of NOC for fire safety, sweeping and lifting of garbage, request for spray and fogging, penalty for stray cattle etc.

This initiative by GoP will bring people and enterprises together to work in tandem with government policies.

Punjab Government’s e-Stamping Project

In order to digitize the revenue system in Punjab, so as to remove revenue-related malpractices in the state, Punjab Government launched an e-stamping project.

This initiative was aimed to remove malpractices in registrations and also make revenue transactions safe and secure, in the long run. This could possibly bring down the rate of corruption and ultimately bring efficiency and transparency in the day-to-day affairs of the revenue department, since there will now be an online record of all the transactions.

Inaugurated by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and Revenue Minister Bikram Singh Majithia in January 2015, this unique e-stamping and e-registration project is a people-friendly initiative to remove malpractices in the process of land buying/selling. It will put a stop on the unnecessary hassles and harassment faced by the applicants. This surely is a step towards safe and secure revenue transactions in the state. Initially, this e-stamping project was initiated as a pilot project in five districts of Mohali, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Bathinda and will soon cover all districts by the new financial year 2015-16.

This initiative has been conceived and customized to meet the requirements of Revenue Department of Punjab under the guidance of Revenue Minister Bikram Singh Majithia. As per him, the government will soon introduce e-registration process in the next six months to compliment this measure.

Hence, e-registration along with e-stamping will result in complete computerisation of the Revenue Department. Adding to this, the Deputy CM has also announced that, all government-to-government (G2G) interactions and government-to-citizen (G2C) services will go online and Punjab will be the first state to do this.

This pro- people initiative is a strong step taken by the government to make it easy for the common man to buy or sell property. Also, people will now be able to deposit the exact fee, as opposed to the earlier situation when they were being forced to buy stamps for a higher denomination than required, due to lack of availability and creation of artificial scarcity. The stamp papers, which were earlier available through one bank, would now be available through all 22 recognised banks and thousands of their branches in the state.

There are added advantages to this positive transformation with the launch of this e-stamping project. There will be no more lines for the procuring of stamp papers or any middlemen involved in the process, as the common man can deposit the stamp fee through a wire transfer, a draft or even a cheque too, without any hidden/extra cost. This surely brings relief to a lot of people, as they will no longer have to pay commission charges to the bank, which is responsible for issuing stamp papers and will now be able to deposit the stamp paper fee at thousands of branches of various banks near their place of work or residence.

This is a welcome change amidst endless procedure of procuring safe and secure stamp papers. Now with e-stamping, each stamp paper will have a unique ID which will be generated for that stamp paper only and its verification can be done too. Various safety features including ultra violet, micro film and thermal fixtures besides an encrypted 2D bar code have also been incorporated, making the new paper a permanent record. Hence, the secure electronic system to stamp documents besides electronic payment of stamp duty will end leakage of government revenue.

Padma Vibhushan Shri Parkash Singh Badal

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has become the first CM to receive the second highest civilian award, Padma Vibhushan. On the occasion, the Chief Minister was accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal and Union Food Processing Minister Mrs. Harsimrat Kaur Badal.

The award was conferred to Mr.Parkash Singh Badal by the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee at a Civil Investiture Ceremony held in Rashtrapati Bhavan. The award ceremony also saw the presence of Vice President Dr. Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Padma Vibhushan Shri Parkash Singh Badal
Padma Vibhushan Shri Parkash Singh Badal

Shri Parkash Singh Badal is a seasoned politician who has been the Chief Minister of Punjab for four terms previously – from 1969-71, 1977-80, 1997-2002, 2007-2012 and is currently the Chief Minister of the state for the fifth term. Shri Parkash Singh Badal has been in the forefront of public life for almost the entire period of the post-Independence India. And this is one of the reasons Shri Parkash Badal is also considered as the grand patriarch on the Indian political scene. Very few in the Indian political domain can even claim to have achieved this feat.

Shri Parkash Singh Badal has a political history that dates back to 1947; that is the year he entered politics and became the Sarpanch of his village. He was elected to the state legislative assembly first in 1957. He was re-elected to Vidhan Sabha in 1969. He served as the Minister for Community Development, Panchayati Raj, Dairy, Fisheries and Animal Husbandry. He was the Chief Minister of Punjab for four terms previously – from 1969-71, 1977-80, 1997-2002, 2007-2012 and is currently the Chief Minister of the state for fifth term. He has been a Member of Parliament and has served the position of the Union Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation in the Union Government headed by late Shri Morarji Desai in 1977.

Shri Parkash Singh Badal’s contribution towards the well-being and the welfare of people of Punjab has been mammoth. He has worked tirelessly towards the upliftment of the society in large. His dedication and sincerity has been the major force for the introduction of various welfare schemes that aims at the betterment of common people.

His entire life has been a saga of struggle for ensuring human rights and ensuring that the poorest of the poor has access to basic amenities. He has spent the better part of his life in prison, fighting for popular causes in independent India. He has advocated the cause of the poor and the underprivileged people.

He is also the torch bearer of peace, harmony and brotherhood and has time again emerged as a strong voice of unity. Even at the age of 86 he holds Sangat Darshans across the state. That is one of the reasons he is well known as the “Man of the Masses” and a true grass-root leader.

Shri Parkash Singh Badal has been conferred with prestigious awards in the past. One of them being the legendary title of ‘Panth Rattan Faqhr-e-Quam’ from Sri Akal Takhat Sahib in recognition of his outstanding contribution and glorious services.

On the occasion, Shri Parkash Singh Badal dedicated the Padam Vibhushna bestowed on him to the “sacrifices and hard work of every patriotic Punjabi” and to the role played by Punjab as the sword-arm and the granary of the nation. He also said that the ward will inspire even further to devote his life to peace and communal harmony in Punjab and the rest of the country. He has dedicated the award to the farmers who have toiled selflessly to ensure that their countrymen do not sleep hungry, the soldiers and Punjabis living on the border who have braved the deadliest odds so that the country’s defence, unity and integrity are never compromised.

He further dedicated the honour to the youth, brave mothers, daughters and million other Punjabis who have been a core element in the state’s progress.