Punjab Villages All Set to Undergo Facelift

Development of villages of Punjab is something that people of the state look up to as more than 60 percent of the population resides in rural areas. Time to time the government has come up with various rural development schemes to uplift living standards in villages and provide them with adequate facilities as required by them. The 14th Finance Commission is expected to completely change the face of rural Punjab with new schemes and greater investment than before.

In a move to develop the rural Punjab, the State Government shall soon receive a sum of Rs. 4091 crore from the Government of India in the 14th Finance Commission. This amounts to over 140% increase in the total money sanctioned for the purpose in 13th Finance Commission. The money allotted for rural development in 13th Finance Commission was Rs. 1700 crore. Also, for the current fiscal, additional Rs. 700 crore is soon expected to be disbursed to the state.

On his visit to Singhpura village in Ropar district, the Union Minister of State for Panchayati Raj Mr. Nihal Chand was acquainted with the current development projects in the state by the Chief Minister Mr. Prakash Singh Badal. Calling the state a ‘torch bearer’ for rural development in the country, Mr. Chand lauded Mr. Badal for the efforts made by his government and ensured that NDA shall extend full support and cooperation to them for such endeavors in future.

Mr. Badal also explained to him state’s plan to tackle the issue of cleaning the village ponds across Punjab using a new proven technology. As a matter of fact, dirty ponds pose a major threat to health of the residents. He said that the government was well aware about the issue and was keen to resolve the issue as soon as possible. Mr. Badal also asked the Union Minister for relaxation in NREGA norms so that Panchayats and other public representatives could contribute to the funds in the development works as the funds currently allocated for the purpose were insufficient.

If the move is approved by the Center and norms are relaxed, the State will easily overcome the scarcity of funds that the NREGA scheme in Punjab currently faces. The Union Minister has assured that a team will be constituted which will look into the various schemes in the state and resolve the pertaining issues, if any.

With coming of the next Finance Commission, the State is expected to undergo major reforms and it will not be wrong to say that rural Punjab will see an upliftment that will totally transform its’ face. Punjab, at present, is one of the rapidly developing states of the nation and in the coming years it is expected to rise as a model of rural development that other states will want to follow.

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Campaign To Motivate People For Organ Donation

organ donation punjabDid you know that there has been a rising case of loss of life due to absence of eligible organ donors in our country? Vital organs which could have been life saving go waste due to ignorance and lack of awareness about the very concept of organ donation. In order to counter such life losses and to motivate people to strive for organ donation, Government of Punjab has launched one of its kind campaign. 

From now on, registering for a driving licence will be much easier if you pledge to donate your vital body organs irrespective of your religious belief. This novel initiative was earlier taken by Government of Tamil Nadu and was successfully implemented in their state. 

The Government of Punjab has launched a state-wide campaign in order to motivate people and the driving license holder particularly to pledge donation of their eyes and other body parts. This move will benefit lakhs of visually impaired people of the country and also other patients who are in dire need of organ transplantation but cannot find a suitable donor due to lack of organ donation awareness.

Ms. Vini Mahajan,  Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Punjab informed  that lakhs of people in our country suffer from corneal blindness every year and voluntary eye donation would enable these visually impaired people to get vision if enough corneas are available for transplantation. She also pointed out that the biggest concern which the state is facing is the absence of proper awareness about organ/eye donation among the common masses. According to her, this can be tackled to a good extent by asking the applicants of driving licenses to pledge their eyesight at the time of filing application.

The present model is a replica of Government of Tamil Nadu’s Transport Department. Every aspirant for a driver’s license gets a form for eye donation along with the form of application of driving license. The Government of Tamil Nadu has a system of mentioning the donor status of the applicant on form and the driving license, and based on this in case of accidental/natural death; his/her eyes or organ can be donated to the needy patient. Ms. Mahajan said a circular had been issued to all districts in this regard. Transport Minister Mr. Ajit Singh Kohar has also issued the required guidelines to all district level transport officers.

The transport officers are supposed to initiate the process of getting a proforma for pledging organs/eye donation filled from applicants driving licenses. The online proforma is also available at www.pbhealth.gov.in. Any person wishing to be a donor will get a hard copy of donor card by post. The same kind of proforma will also be given to the applicant of driving license at the time of application. The name and location of the nearest eye bank available can be easily found out by calling on a toll free Number 104.

With these steps, Government of Punjab aims to launch a mass movement for creating awareness for organ/eye donation. This will go a long way in saving precious lives and giving new hopes to those who have suffered major health losses.

Punjab Strengthens Its Healthcare Amenities

India is facing a serious challenge in matching the supply of healthcare resources with the growing demand on account of population growth, improving socio-economic drivers and increasing diseases due to people’s lifestyle.

healthcare punjabUniversal health treatment is a term that is catching up fast in our country and Punjab has already taken a step forward in this initiative. Government of Punjab is taking all necessary steps to ensure it is able to provide basic amenities to its citizens in the best possible way. The aim of the entire exercise is to ensure that every individual has equal access to all health services.

Over the last few years, there has been a tremendous improvement in the quality of healthcare services in Punjab. To provide quality healthcare, education and modern medical facilities, the Punjab government has decided to set up multi-specialty hospitals, medical colleges and medical research institutes across the state.  This is illustrated by the recent significant increase in the number of government hospitals in the state.

Punjab Government has granted consent for setting up of Multi Super Specialty Indraprastha Apollo Hospital in Amritsar over an area of 6 hectares. The hospital would be constructed along the Amritsar – Pathankot highway opposite to Verka Milk Plant. The hospital would be a big boon for citizens of Punjab as they would be able to avail world class health facilities in their respective region.

Another initiative in the same field is establishment of an AIIMS institution in Bathinda. This institute would be a boon for the entire Malwa region as it would be able to deal with cases of cancer, hepatitis and type two diabetes. Till now scores of cancer patients have to trudge to Bikaner to get affordable cancer treatment. Various other super specialities associated with an AIIMS like institute would be a benefit for the entire Malwa region.

The need of the hour is to cure diseases and problems of the people within a minimum time period using modern technology.  With such initiatives, Government of Punjab aims to ensure quality healthcare facilities to the general masses by providing them with top-notch hospitals and services. This would not only enhance the medical facilities in the region but would also increase the life expectancy and quality living of the people in the state of Punjab.

Punjab Implements Food Security Act

food security punjabPunjab is a state that has always stood tall when it comes to farming capabilities. Figures assert that the state is presently the richest source of production nationwide and has been successful in implementing the Food Security Act. The National Food Security Act 2013 was implemented to provide subsidized food to needy people in the country so that the entire population has access to supply of food.

In a recent meeting of the State Food Ministers held at New Delhi, Punjab was praised by Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan, the Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, for making food security a reality in the state and becoming the first state in the country to achieve the same. He said in the meeting that Punjab has truly understood the spirit of the Food Security Act. Further he asserted that Punjab is one state that can guide other states for systematic implementation of this act.

As a matter of fact, Punjab has been able to deliver food to the people in every corner of the state including those in the remote areas. What makes Punjab a torch-bearer state in this category is the fact that it has successfully implemented the online and systematic monitoring of the Act. This has been achieved by linking the beneficiaries with Aadhaar card and guaranteeing complete quality control. No other state in the country has been able to achieve this status yet.

History suggests that food security has always remained an issue. Evidence states that granaries existed even over 10,000 years ago. In World Food Conference 1974, Food Security was defined as “availability at all times of adequate world food supplies of basic foodstuffs to sustain a steady expansion of food consumption and to offset fluctuations in production and prices”. With time two other issues were added to it and these were demand and access.

In India several schemes including Midday Meal Scheme, Integrated Child Development Services Scheme and the Public Distribution System have been implemented with an idea of achieving food security. Punjab has proved to be one of the most successful states in achieving the target. In fact, Punjab was the first state in the country to issue e-ration cards to the beneficiaries, making the process extremely efficient and effective. E-ration card program was designed to ensure that only the deserving and genuine beneficiaries get access to subsidized ration.

Farmers of Punjab have access to fertilizer subsidy, improved irrigation facilities, agriculture tools at subsidized rates and agriculture development program. Punjab Agricultural University runs special programs and organizes annual get-together under the guidance of the State government  to help farmers by giving them training in use of new tools and provide them improved seeds. It is all due to relentless support of the government that the state is prosperous in its farming capabilities and has achieved one of a kind status by implementing Food Security Act completely.

Punjab To Generate Clean And Green Power

Driven by the success stories of solar power projects in the last three years, Punjab Government has decided to set-up Mega Solar PV Projects of 500 MW capacities. Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) has been assigned with the responsibility to invite bids from the developers. The bids will range from minimum 50 MW to maximum 150 MW, under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) of 25 years with the State Power Utility (PSPCL).

The New and Renewable Energy Minister, Sardar Bikram Singh Majithia has disclosed that the developers will be given an option to put up their allocated capacity at single location or maximum of 10 locations with minimum capacity being 5MW. In order to ensure a streamlined execution, PEDA has identified 6000 acres of land belonging to village Panchayat, private landowners who are open to lease their land to the developers.

The Government of Punjab has been actively working to increase the solar power generation capacity from 9 MW in 2012 to 206 MW in 2015. This giant leap is credited to the active participation from the private solar power developers. To add to this, in Phase-II, 282 MW capacity solar power projects have been allocated and power purchase agreements have been signed, which comprises of 229 MR ground mount and 53 MW rooftop projects. These projects will get commissioned in March, 2016.

Mr. Majithia gave credits to the facilitation and single point clearance given by PEDA and Punjab Bureau of Investment & Promotion, for the higher capacity addition in the solar power generation sector. PSPCL also provides a 25 year bankable power purchase agreement. Major players like Punj Lloyd, Welspun, Azure Power, Essel, Acme, Lanco, Luminous, and investors from USA, France, Israel and Slovakia are investing more than Rs.1400 crore in order to set up solar power projects in the state.

PSPCL is a B+ rating and is a profit making utility for the Government of Punjab. The power from these energy sources will be evacuated to the PSPCL/PSTCL sub-stations. The NRSE Policy 2012 will ensure that the applicable incentives/benefits are given to solar power project developers.

These initiatives will accelerate the rate and pace of development and growth in the state. Punjab Government plans to utilize the renewable source of energy in a manner that empowers and safeguards the interest of its people and their surroundings.

Punjab To Cover Entire State With 100% Basic Amenities

It is every citizen’s right to have access to basic amenities like pot hole free roads, street lights and sewerage system. Government of Punjab understands that very need of every citizen and is attempting to cover the entire state with 100% basic amenities.

Recently, Deputy CM of Punjab, Sukhbir Singh Badal finalized a blueprint to improve the quality of life in the state’s urban and rural areas. All major, small cities, towns and villages will see a facelift with the development of basic amenities on scientific lines. This initiative will also build world class infrastructure in Punjab and pave the  to its progress as well.

As per this plan, the state’s cities and villages will feature 100 percent sewerage, water supply, sewerage treatment plant, cemented streets, street lights and mechanised cleanliness system. The idea is to implement the state’s infrastructure to improve the quality of life and offer convenience to the citizens.

The state has dedicated Rs. 8,086 crores to execute these changes and advance its infrastructure on the whole. To make this vision a reality, the state government is working in coordination with various ministries to implement the crucial changes on expeditious mode. This infrastructural makeover is a part of a bigger government initiative that aims to bring convenience and comfort in the life of its citizens. With a proper blueprint, the state is all set to complete the works in time.

As per the government, no city, town and village of the state should be without adequate supply of potable water, sewerage and sewerage treatment plant (STP) facilities.

To begin with, zone wise clusters will be formed in the state for cleanliness and sanitation purpose. This visionary project features construction of roads and streets, installation of water supply and sewerage pipes and sewerage treatment plants.

The aim is to empower each household with a proper water and sewerage connection within one year. The next level would be to install water meter in all the state’s houses and bring the collection of bill cycle on track.

The government will also hire technical experts on contract basis to head two clusters each. These experts will act as quality analysts and oversee the quality and progress of all works. The focus this time is to bring third party audits in practice to oversee the ideal progress of the works. These will also keep a check on material quality and ensure uniformity of the project.

The project will not take years as the state is already in the advanced stage of completion for water supply and sewerage projects. In many towns the water supply set-ups are complete, whereas sewerage and STP works are still under progress. The timeline of September 2016 will give ample room to set-up STP infrastructure in tune with state’s progressive goals.

All these government initiatives will bring a new dawn for Punjab and its citizens. Till date, the state was known for its intense farming capabilities. But now, the state is leaving no stone unturned to become ‘Progressive Punjab’.

Punjab Gets Its Own IIM In Amritsar

Indian Institute of Management (IIM) holds a reputable spot among the best professional education institutions in the world. Over the years, the institute has established a name in producing large number of successful business leaders and marketing professionals. Such is the popularity that IIM’s success is already being replicated in different states of India. Many of these B-schools are branching out in such locations and delivering high quality management education to the local diaspora. 

With these developments, Punjab is also set to host its own IIM campus in Amritsar. The state government’s consistent efforts brought this highly prestigious institute into reality. After representing the proposal ahead of the Union Government along with constant follow-ups, Punjab Government finally succeeded in setting up this premier institute. 

In June 2015, IIM-Amritsar project received a great impetus from the encouragement and support of the Union Government. As per plans, the institute will be set-up on the 60 acres area pertaining to villages Nijjarpura and Rakh Jhita in Amritsar District.

The location has ample space to accommodate this world class institution. Even Floor Area Ratio (FAR) can be used to increase the space for future expansion.

The Amritsar Development Authority (ADA) has offered to construct approach road to the proposed campus. For this purpose, the authority will transfer the required land to IIM within two weeks.

Establishment of IIM in the holy city of Amritsar has generated a lot of enthusiasm among youngsters in Punjab. The academic sessions will start from the upcoming session from July, 2015 in a temporary campus.

Classes to the Post Graduate Program in Management for the session 2015-17 will be initially conducted at Punjab Institute of Technology (PIT) Amritsar. The admission procedure in this institute would be strictly as per CAT exam rankings. Only those who have cleared the CAT exam would be eligible to take admissions here.

The establishment of IIM in Punjab found its first mention in the budget speech of Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley in 2014-15. Within the year, the plans have brought benefit to Punjab’s youngsters. This asserts the government’s commitment towards the state and its future.

The establishment of this reputed institute would not just benefit the students of Punjab, but will also prove to be beneficial for the neighbouring states. Students from Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and other neighbouring states can take admissions on the basis of merit here and make a bright career in management. 

IIM Amritsar is being set-up under the mentorship of IIM Kozhikode, the 5th oldest IIM and one of the premier management institutes in the country. Their guidance during the founding years will surely stalwart the presence of Punjab’s first IIM. 

Touted as the breakthrough in the education sector of Punjab, this institute will train the youth to achieve better career prospects without moving out of their state. Also, it will give impetus to the youngsters to adopt new and promising career options. 

This is just a beginning of transforming Punjab with a better and brighter future. The state has started to move with the times and change its destiny.  The time is not too far when the state would lead the education sector with quality and expertise.