Capt Amarinder seeks Special Debt Relief Package to revive Punjab’s Fiscal Health

  • Asks 15th Finance Commission for one-time debt relief for farmers
  • Urges greater share with centre in devolution, funds for solving water & drugs problems

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh submitting a copy of memorandum to the 15th Finance Commission Chairman N K Singh in Chandigarh on Wednesday.

Underscoring the tight financial situation faced by the state, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh sought from the 15th Finance Commission a Special Debt Relief Package to support his government’s efforts to revive fiscal health, along with a one-time package to enable payment of the entire debt of the distressed farmers of Punjab.

At a meeting of the 15th Finance Commission here, the Chief Minister noted with concern the permanent loss of revenue suffered by the state post GST implementation, whose compensation from the Centre will also end from July 1, 2022, resulting in a drastic fall in revenue in the range of Rs. 10,000-12,000 crore per annum. In view of the loss, the Chief Minister urged the Commission to recommend a graded compensation tapering formula to the Government of India for states like Punjab beyond June 30, 2022, so that they do not simply ‘fall off the cliff’.

Highlighting the special problems of the state, with its highest SC population in percentage terms, its long and thickly populated border with Pakistan, its riverine and sub-mountainous areas and flight of industry due to concessions to neighbouring states, Captain Amarinder Singh shared his government’s wish list with the Commission, underlining the need for a special package for Punjab, citing the various roadblocks to its development despite his government’s numerous programmes and persistent efforts.

The Chief Minister, while submitting a formal memorandum to the Commission, pointed out that Punjab had the highest Interest Payments to Total Revenue Receipts ratio and Outstanding Debt to GSDP ratio amongst the GCS. The package, he said, could be provided under the General Debt Relief Scheme, linking it to the fiscal performance of the states as previously done by successive Finance Commissions.

With a debt of Rs. 2.10 lakh crore, which his government had inherited from the erstwhile SAD-BJP regime, Punjab was a revenue deficit state, the Chief Minister noted, adding that the last Finance Commission had omitted the state from revenue deficit grant states, though it was included by the 12th Finance Commission.

Even as he listed out Punjab’s strengths as a land of the brave and the food bowl of the nation, the Chief Minister said the internal security threat arising out of a hostile neighbour and threat of spillover of J&K militancy, along with the problem of drugs further made the state a fit case for a special package.

On the issue of agricultural debt relief, while his government had already announced a package of Rs. 8000 crores for over 10 lakh small & marginal farming households, there was need for a comprehensive package and assistance from the Centre, said Captain Amarinder Singh, urging for a one-time debt waiver to help out the farming community. Further, to give relief to the farmers, promote agriculture diversification and realize Government of India’s vision of doubling of the farm income, he requested the Commission to provide for deficiency price support in maize and cane production to the extent of Rs. 12,350 crore and Rs. 300 crore, in order to give a boost to the allied activities in the farm sector.

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Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh delivering his opening remarks during the meeting with 15th Finance Commission.

Referring to the Rs. 31,000 crore Food Account which the Akali government had taken over in its last days, the Chief Minister said the Government of India should take over the debt or Punjab should be given matching revenue deficit grant to offset the committed annual interest payment liability of Rs. 3240 crores.

Mooting increase in devolution to states to allow greater flexibility to use devolved funds qua relevant Centrally sponsored schemes, the Chief Minister also sought an increase in Punjab’s share in devolution from 1.5% to 2%, noting that the same had been reduced from 2.45% to 1.57% in the last 40 years. He suggested addition of certain new elements within the existing parameters like SC/ST to facilitate equitable distribution of resources among the states.

The Chief Minister also requested the Commission to consider the contribution of the State to the nation’s economy while distributing the resources amongst the states by giving a weightage of 10% to contribution by the State economy in the aggregate GSDP. In order to encourage and incentivize sustainable development, he also proposed a weightage of 1% to Renewable Energy Source (RES) Power Generation, as a supplement to the already existing parameter of Forest Cover and redefining the composite parameter as ‘Sustainability Index’.

Expressing grave concern about the critical water situation in the state, Captain Amarinder Singh sought a Rs. 12000 crore grant for complete water cycle management in both rural and urban areas. On its part, his government was making considerable efforts to resolve the problem and had recently signed an MoU with Israel’s National Water Agency Mekorot, he pointed out. A pilot project of Direct Benefit Transfer of Electricity (DBTE) for agriculture consumers under the banner of “Paani Bachao Paise Kamao” scheme had been initiated with the intent of saving ground water and motivating farmers to cultivate diversified crops. The Government of Punjab had also initiated a programme to provide piped potable drinking water to every household in rural areas by December, 2019, he informed the Commission.

In line with the commitment of the State for sustainable development, he also asked the Commission to provide a financial assistance of Rs. 500 crore for river cleaning programme, and Rs. 3,682 crore for ground water improvement by river augmentation through afforestation.

Referring to the problem of drug abuse, which he said was directly attributable to the location of the State, the Chief Minister said Punjab shared its borders with Pakistan, which itself was well-connected with one of world’s largest opium-producing regions that enable narcotics to enter Punjab more easily than other parts of India. He brought to the Commission’s notice that the drug epidemic in Punjab also had strong correlation with rising unemployment among the youth. Punjab has a high youth unemployment rate at 16.60% compared to the national average of 10.20% due to slowdown in agricultural productivity, lack of industrialization, mismatch between educational qualifications, etc. He requested the Commission to provide Rs. 300 crore for expansion and strengthening of OOAT clinics to rehabilitate patients of drug abuse,

Captain Amarinder Singh further urged the Commission to provide support of Rs. 5,500 crore and Rs. 6,719 crore to its power infra and road infra, respectively, which the State had created majorly from its own resources, much ahead of the others, and was now neither getting the capital grant nor the maintenance expenditure for same under the various Central Government schemes. He also sought Rs. 100 crore for strengthening the cancer infrastructure and Rs. 505 crore for providing sewerage facilities in the villages on periphery of our towns.

The Chief Minister told the Commission that despite the financial crunch, his government was making the best of efforts to boost development and improve the quality of living on all fronts. Punjab was the second best performing large state in terms of Health as per the Health Index 2018, and had achieved 100% rural electrification way back in 1976 and every town and village stands electrified, with one of the lowest Transmission & Distribution Losses (T&D) in the country, he noted. What is more, the state is ranked 2nd in the country in terms of road connectivity and our rail density is better than the national average. It ranked 2nd in Logistics Ease Across Different States (LEADS) Index, on account of our excellent performance on various parameters, namely, infrastructure, service, timeliness, safety & tracking and competitive pricing.

The State led the country in abolishing the practices of affidavit in citizen services as also shunning the VIP culture by abolishing the red beacon culture, much ahead of others, the Chief Minister noted. His government had, in the last two years, signed 305 MOUs with an investment potential of Rs 42,905 crore and an employment potential of about 1 Lakh in the last 20 months, he further disclosed. To ensure transparency and accountability, his government had also enacted the Punjab Transparency and Accountability in Delivery of Public Services (including electronic service delivery) Act in 2018 with an objective to provide citizen/ centric services to its people in digital mode in next three years.

The Chief Minister said he was saddened by the fact that the necessary development expenditure in Punjab has starved for want of funds against the backdrop of lack of adequate support from the Centre and the already stressed financial position of the State. He requested the Commission to pay special attention to the financial position of the State so that it comes out of the clutches of the vicious debt trap and work with utmost sincerity and integrity towards realizing its vision of a prosperous Punjab and prosperous India.

Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal raised objections to the industrial concessions given to the neighbouring states, asserting that the central government had no right to destabilize industrial set-up in any state by offering concessions to neighbouring states.

The Finance Commission was represented by Chairman N.K. Singh, Chairman, along with members Dr. Anoop Singh, Dr. Ashok Lahiri and Dr. Ramesh Chand, as well as Arvind Mehta, Secretary to the Commission and other officers of the Commission.

The state government was represented, besides the Chief Minister, by Cabinet Ministers Brahm Mohindra, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Charanjit Singh Channi, OP Soni, and senior officers.


120 decisions; Punjab Government’s work programme for the next five years

Just two days after taking over Punjab’s reins, the Captain Amarinder Singh government kicked off the state’s development agenda by taking more than 100 important decisions in its first cabinet meeting as its work programme for the next five years.

The key decisions taken by the cabinet in its maiden meeting included a major crackdown on the drugs mafia and corruption, abolition of Inspector Raj, abolition of VIP culture, time-bound waiver of farm loans, constitution of various high-level committees to bring agriculture and industry on track, reforms in education and health, extension of various benefits to Dalits and other backwards, employment generation, etc.

Important decisions taken/resolutions passed at maiden meeting of Punjab Cabinet held on 18th march, 2017 are as follows:

1.    The Council of Ministers expressed its sincere gratitude to the people of Punjab for voting Indian National       Congress to power for its commitment to establish a rule of law in the state. It was decided that the Government led by Captain Amarinder Singh would implement the Manifesto of Punjab Pradesh Congress as its work programme for five years, 2017-22. All Administrative Secretaries would ensure implementation of each of the commitments in the manifesto concerning their respective departments in a time bound manner.

2.  The Council of Ministers also decided that all administrative departments would review the decisions taken by the previous government during the last six months and a report thereon would be submitted by the Chief Secretary in the next meeting. Till such time these decisions were reviewed, further action thereon would remain stayed except in cases where it was not feasible to do so owing to some legal or administrative implications. Such cases would be put to the Chief Minister through the Chief Secretary.It was decided to abolish the posts of District Transport Officers in the State and reassign and distribute the work of their offices to the Sub Divisional Magistrates/ SDO(c) for their respective territorial Jurisdiction.

         It was decided to abolish the posts of District Transport Officers in the State and reassign and distribute the  work of their offices to the Sub Divisional Magistrates/ SDO(c) for their respective territorial Jurisdiction.

3. The Council of Ministers after due consideration further decided to implement the following commitments in the Congress Manifesto forthwith

3.1       Red Beacon Light on all vehicles in Punjab, except emergency hospital /ambulance/ fire brigade vehicles, the vehicles of CM, the Chief Justice and Judges of Punjab and Haryana High Court, would be abolished.

3.2       Foreign travel of all Ministers, MLAs and officials at state government expense would be banned for two years except in cases where it so mandated or provided under any bilateral arrangement or agreement.

3.3       Reimbursement of Medical expenses including foreign medical bills of all MLAs, Ministers, ex-Ministers and the Chief Minister would henceforth be ensured through Medical /Health Insurance, minimizing the financial burden on Government.

3.4       Salary/allowances/reimbursements received by all MLAs would be updated every month on official website and would be made available to the public.

3.5       All MLAs and MPs would declare their immoveable properties on 1st January every year and for the year 2017-18; they would do so by 1 July 2017.

3.6       The protocol of laying foundation stones and inaugurations by Legislators and Ministers would be clearly defined and laid down, ensuring respect for all citizens. Foundation/ Inauguration stones would henceforth be laid only by the President of India, Vice-President of India, Speaker of Lok Sabha, Union Cabinet Ministers, Chief Minister, Speaker of Punjab Vidhan Sabha and the State Cabinet Ministers.

3.7       No State Banquets or Dinners would be held (at government expense) except in the honor of the President of India, Vice-President of India, the Prime Minister of India, Speaker of Lok Sabha, State Governors and the visiting foreign dignitaries.

3.8       The District Administration would function as normal even on the visit of CM / Ministers.  Any official required by the VIPs, would make himself available with the prior written permission of the appropriate authority. The Government officials would not seek resolution of their grievances, if any directly at the political level except with the prior appointment and permission of the competent authority.

3.9       A vigorous campaign to educate young people and to treat and rehabilitate drug users with compassion would be initiated immediately.

3.10     The Confiscation of Drug Dealers Property Act would be enacted by issuing an ordinance. The State Home Department would prepare and submit a proposal in this regard in the next meeting.

3.11     Anyone who registers himself at the District De-addiction Centers would be treated with compassion free of cost and no case would be registered against such persons. Instead the State Police would take stringent action against drug dealers/peddlers to ensure that the drugs were obliterated from the state forthwith.

3.12     Further a Special Task Force would be set up in the office of CM for day-to-day monitoring of the measures taken or to be taken to check supply and consumption of drugs in the state. The Task Force would prepare and implement a comprehensive programme to eliminate drugs from Punjab.

3.13     It was decided to set up a Group of Experts to assess and analyze agriculture debt of farmers and propose ways and means to waive the debt in a time bound manner. The members of the Group would be nominated by the Chief Minister. The Department of Agriculture would follow up and ensure that the report of the group was submitted within 60 days.

3.14     Further it was also decided to constitute a Cabinet sub-Committee headed by the Chief Minister with State Ministers for Finance, Agriculture, Irrigation and Power Departments as members to consider and finalize the proposal to waive agriculture loans of the farmers. CPSCM, CS, PSF and FCD would assist the committee, which would be facilitated by the Department of Agriculture.

3.15     It was decided to enact a new legislation to prohibit sale and Kurki of farmers’ land by the lending agencies. The Department of Agriculture would put up the draft bill for consideration in the next meeting.

3.16     It was decided to omit the existing section 67 (a) of the Punjab Cooperative Societies Act 1961. The Department of Cooperation would have an ordinance issued in this behalf at the earliest.

3.17     It was decided to continue with the supply of Free Power to the Farmers.

3.18     It was decided to establish the Punjab State Agricultural Insurance Corporation to promote agriculture sector insurance schemes with the seed capital from the government. The Department of Agriculture would formulate and submit a complete proposal for consideration in the next meeting.

3.19     It was decided to rigorously pursue the Agricultural Sustainability Programme with greater focus on:

  1. Free Regular Soil Health Testing;
  2. 80 per cent subsidy on Intelligent Irrigation System including Drip and Sprinkler Irrigation;
  3. Farmer Education and Skill Development through digital technology (ICT)
  4. Precision farming in at least 2k for every holding of 5 Acres or less;
  5. Greater incentives on alternative crops including free seeds, interest subvention and marketing support by establishing a Price Stabilization Fund and adopting the deficiency pricing support systems;
  6. Promotion of Next Generation Agriculture Extension Reforms; and
  7. 80 per cent subsidy on use of solar energy for agriculture;

The Department of Agriculture would pursue these measures in a time bound manner and report progress to the Chief Minister through the Chief Secretary.

3.20     It was decided that subsidy to the farmers would be defrayed through direct bank transfers excluding the government from purchase of any agricultural inputs.

3.21     It was decided to strengthen and reorganise the Punjab Farmers Commission as a statutory body to provide for farmers rights and frame the State Agriculture Policy. The Commission would also be empowered for planning agriculture production. It would study and survey international markets to assess the export potential and national demand for different agriculture produce to aid and assist the Directorate of Agriculture in preparation of district and block level agriculture production plans according to local agro-climatic conditions. The Department of Agriculture would prepare and submit a complete proposal in this regard for consideration in the next meeting.

3.22     It was decided to establish an Agriculture Production Board (APB) under PAU for supervision of agriculture production process in the state to improve the quality of production. The Board would be responsible for contract farming and would supervise and guide production process from seeding to post harvesting operations in tandem with Agriculture Production plans. The Department of Agriculture would ensure timely implementation of the proposal.

3.23     It was decided to bring out a ‘White Paper’ exposing false claims of the SAD-BJP regime on development, governance reforms and the financial position of the State, clearly apprising the common man of the present inherited by the Government. The Departments of Governance Reforms and Finance would prepare the paper and submit the same to the Chief Minister through the Chief Secretary.

3.24     It was decided to reconstitute Governance Reforms Commission as Governance Reforms and Ethics Commission (GREC). It would be manned by professionals who are experienced in governance processes and procedures. The Department of Governance Reforms would issue the requisite notification after approval of the Chief Minister.

3.25     It was decided to establish Employment Bureaus (EBs) in all districts of the State. These would be manned by qualified professionals and specialists including the Employment Counselors. They would carry out fresh surveys of both educated and uneducated unemployed in the State and prepare annual district employment plans, clearly setting targets for self and wage employment. Wage employment through skilled and unskilled jobs would be segregated for government and private sectors. Guidance and other facilities would also be provided for overseas education, training and employment. The Bureaus would pursue time bound implementation of the district plans to achieve the goal to provide employment to at least one person per family. It was further decided the till such time a youth registered with the EB was provided a job, he would be paid an Unemployment Allowance at the rate of Rs 2500 pm. The Department of Employment would implement these decisions after appropriate provisions in the budget.

3.26     It was decided that regular periodic inspections of government offices and staff at the block/ tehsil/ district and State level would be compulsory. The Chief Secretary and FCR would issue necessary instructions in this regard and submit a monthly report thereon to the Chief Minister.

3.27     The Department of Governance Reforms would revisit the processes to deliver various citizen services, ensuring reengineering thereof to ensure their effective, easy and timely delivery at village, block, district and state level.

3.28     It was decided to repeal the existing Punjab Lok Act and enact a new more comprehensive legislation, which would be applicable to all persons occupying public offices including the Chief Minister, Ministers, non-officials and the officials/employees.

3.29     It was decided to establish Unified Service Delivery Centers for online delivery of services amalgamating all the existing centers such as Suvidha Centers, Saanjh Kendras, Fard Kendras, etc. with complete backend computerization and digitization of records and data of all government departments/agencies. The work done in this regard ealrier would be reviewed to make necessary amends wherever required. The Chief Secretary would monitor its timely implementation and submit a report to the Chief Minister.

3.30     It was decided to establish Staff Inspection and Assessment Organization (SIAO) for regular periodic assessment of staffing requirements of various government departments and organization. The staffing requirements of all government departments and organizations would be assessed separately for regular, permanent and contractual appointments. Critical core staff would be recruited annually on a regular basis.

3.31     It was decided to recast the Punjab Right to Service Act to make it more comprehensive and to ensure that it was executed and implemented by regular permanent staff with full accountability. The Department of Genenral Administration would prepare and submit an amendment Bill in this behalf for consideration in the next meeting.

3.32     It was decided that all subsidies, pensions, and other pro-poor schemes such as Ashirwad and Atta Dal would be better targeted towards genuine beneficiaries through Direct Benefit Transfers, wherever possible. The concerned departments would make necessary amendments in the schemes and ensure their immediate implementation.

3.33     It was decided to establish a separate authority for effective management and processing of domestic, industrial and agriculture waste, both in urban and rural areas. Such an authority would work to generate ‘Wealth Out Of Waste’. The Departments of Water Supply and Sanitation/Local Government would prepare and submit a proposal in this regard for consideration in the next meeting.

3.34     It was decided that all educational institutions of the State would be provided free Internet connectivity. The Departments of School and Higher Education would take immediate steps to carry out the task.

3.35     It was decided to provide Free Legal Aid to all SCs, OBCs and other BPL families who seek to achieve their rights or intend to get ‘wrongs’ done to them redressed through the judicial process. Separate Legal Advisers/Law Officers would be engaged in the office of Advocate General Punjab, in this regard.

3.36     It was decided that details of assets of all IAS/IPS/PCS and other class-1 officers of the State Government would be tabled in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha every year.

3.37     It was decided to establish a Commission of Enquiry to review all false cases and FIRs registered during the last decade of the SAD-BJP Government with a view to ensure justice to innocent people and fix accountability of the guilty so that such things were not repeated in future. The Department of Home would put up a draft notification in this regard for the approval of Chief Minister.

3.38     It was decided to enact the following legislation to ensure rule of law and easy and quick delivery of justice in the State:

  1. NRI Property Safeguards Act – for safeguarding the property of NRIs (eg. Summary eviction of Tenant at 90 Days Notice);
  2. Cable Authority Act – De-politicization of all news channels in Punjab would be ensured. No monopolization or cartelization would be allowed in cable TV networks and a statewide statutory cable authority would be constituted comprising of senior media persons and professionals.
  3. Confiscation of Drug Dealers’ Property Act: to enable confiscation of the properties of Drug Paddlers and suppliers; and
  4. The Conflict of Interest Act to ensure that the MLAs / Ministers were unseated if found to have business interest in their official capacity.

The concerned departments would prepare the requisite legislation for immediate enactment through an ordinance.

3.39     It was decided that the Department of Home would prepare a detailed proposal for Police Reforms keeping in view the directives of the Apex Court as laid down in the matter of Parkash Singh and others.

3.40     It was decided that in order to increase functional/operational efficiency, territorial restructuring of police stations done by SAD-BJP government with a view to politicize the Police, would be undone, withdrawing the notifications issued in this regard and ensuring status-quo-ante. With this Halqa In-charge system introduced by SAD_BJP Government, making police sub-divisions and assembly constituencies coterminous, would be abolished.

3.41     It was decided that the Department Police would follow schedule of fixed duty hours, except in the case of emergency duties.

3.42     It was decided to establish a zonal headquarters of PAP at Bathinda. The Department of Police would submit a detailed proposal for the approval of Chief Minister.

3.43     It was decided to establish an Employment Commission along the lines of Central Employment and Skills Commission. The Commission would facilitate major job and entrepreneurship ventures, and bring employers and employees together. Greater emphasis would be given on creation of more jobs and entrepreneurs.  The commission would also coordinate and monitor the work of Employment Bureaus. The Department of Employment Generation would submit a draft notification in this regard for the approval of Chief Minister through Chief Secretary.

3.44     It was decided to establish an Expenditure Reforms Commission to examine all government expenditures to ensure prudence and efficiency in spending by various department and other organizations funded by the government. The Department of Finance would submit a draft notification in this regard for the approval of Chief Minister through Chief Secretary.

3.45     It was decided that all contracts above Rs 50 crore would be scrutinized by the GERC before these were awarded.

3.46     It was decided that Third Party Audit (TPA) of all government expenditures including the expenditures of ULBs and PRIs above Rs 10 crore for a project or scheme during the last three years, would be carried out in next six months. Pending such an audit, unspent funds lying with any Government Department or agency would be refunded to the State Finance Department. Further the TPA of government expenditures would thereafter be carried out on an annual basis.

3.47     It was decided that a Comprehensive Digital Education Programme would be launched in the State to improve access to quality School and Higher Education.

3.48     It was decided to provide Free Transportation facility to all students in government schools.

3.49     It was decided to provide free textbooks to all students in government schools. Further all school textbooks would be posted online, enabling the students/ parents to download the same free of any cost.

3.50     It was decided that all Government Schools and colleges would be provided Wi-Fi and Internet connectivity with adequate infrastructure and hardware.

3.51     It was decided to establish a Regulatory Authority to supervise and regulate the functioning of the Private Schools. The Department of Education would submit draft legislation in this regard for consideration in the next meeting.

3.52     It was decided to establish three academies on the lines of Maharaja Ranjit Singh Armed Forces Preparatory Academy in Malwa, Majha and Doaba regions. The Department of Defense Welfare would puruse it for immediate implementation.

3.53     It was decided to set up two more Sainik Schools (One each in Malwa and Majha). The Department of Defence Welfare would puruse it with the Government of India for immediate implementation.

3.54     It was decided to establish at least one-degree college at each sub-division in the State. The Department of Higher Education would submit a detailed proposal for the approval of Chief Minister, ensuring that these colleges start functioning from the next academic session.

3.55     It was decided to establish a Regulatory Authority to supervise and regulate functioning of Private Universities and Colleges in the state. The Department of Higher Education would submit draft legislation for consideration in the next meeting.

3.56     It was decided to establish referral mohalla clinics for every 1000 population, both in rural and urban areas. Each of these clinics would not only be manned adequately but would also be attached with a multi-specialty hospital for further follow up treatment. The Department of Health would prepare a complete proposal for its early implementation after the approval of Chief Minister.

3.57     It was decided that doctors would be recruited regularly on an annual basis to ensure adequate availability of quality services in all government hospitals and dispensaries/clinics. The Department of Health would also take necessary measures to improve and upgrade infrastructure in all these hospitals/dispensaries/clinics.

3.58     It was decided that yearly preventive health check-up for those above the age of 55 years would be conducted across the State so as to screen them for diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancers etc., thus ensuring a disease-free population of the elderly and also to reduce their financial burden for the future. The Department of Health would launch this programme immediately.

3.59     It was decided that a new Industrial Policy of the State would be formulated by the Department of Industries. The Policy would among other things aim to revive the existing Industrial units by resolving their problems. The new policy would also address all the issues and requirements of different industries such as textiles, yarn, hosiery, hand tools, light engineering, pharmaceuticals, cycles, garment making, sports goods, and paper, etc differently and effectively. It would further encourage IT, ITES, BT and Pharmaceuticals and other sunrise industrial businesses and services to take the State on high trajectory of industrial growth. The policy would be notified within 90 days.

3.60     It was decided that no NOC and CLU would be required for new electric connection and enhancement of electrical Power Load.

3.61     1It was decided to waive the condition of procuring CLUs (Change of Land Use) for duly notified Industrial Zones.

3.62     It was decided that ICC at inter-state borders would be fully mechanized with no manual interjections at all. This task would be completed in 180 days.

3.63     It was decided that the Department of Transport would evolve an efficient, safe and reliable Public Transportation System connecting Industrial areas of Mohali with the Tricity. The system shall become operative w.e.f 1 July 2017.

3.64     It was decided that Market Fee, RDF, VAT and other charges on ‘Narma’ would be levied at par with Haryana and Rajasthan.

3.65     It was decided to establish Special Grievances’ Cell for redressal of Beoparis’ grievances in a time bound manner. The Department of Industry would issue necessary notification after the approval of Chief Minister.

3.66     It was decided that the Reservation Policy of the State for SCs would also be applicable to the contractual / outsourced appointments.

3.67     It was decided that the Reservation Policy of the State for SCs would also be applicable for the posts of Chairman, Vice-chairman, members and directors of the Trusts, Boards and Corporations in the state.

3.68     It was decided that Special Component Plan would be prepared separately and presented to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha for approval along with the Annual State Budget.

3.69     It was decided that 30 percent reservation would be made for SCs in allotment of houses, residential plots and commercial plots by the State Government or any of its agencies/department.

3.70     It was decided that 30 per cent reservation would be made for SCs in leasing of land both residential, commercial or agriculture, by the State Government or any agency or organization set up under any of the State Laws.

3.71     It was decided that free built up houses (living accommodation) or 5 Marla plots would be provided to all homeless SC/OBC families with an annual income of less than Rs. 5 lacs. Further a new Mukhmantri Awas Yojana would be also introduced to provide free residential houses to houseless rural and urban poor.

3.72     It was decided to increase reservation for OBCs in government jobs from the present 12 percent to 15 percent.

3.73     It was decided to increase reservation for OBCs in educational institutions from the present 5 percent to 10 percent.

3.74     It was decided that the benefits under the schemes and programmes such as Ashirwaad, Housing for Houseless, Waiver of loan for self employment activities and reservation in educational institutions would also be provided to Christians, Muslims and other minorities at par with other economically weaker sections in the State.

3.75     It was decided that due representation would be given to Christians, Muslims and other minorities in all State Boards and Corporations.

3.76     It was decided that suitable land would be allocated for burial grounds for Muslims and Christians.

3.77     It was decided to ensure potable piped drinking water supplies and durable arrangement of sanitation with a toilet to each and every rural household in the next two years.

3.78     It was decided that a special package would worked out for border areas by the Department of Planning for notification within 30 days. The package would include creation of new social and industrial infrastructure in the region, grant of reservation in government jobs and select educational institutions and fixing a suitable monthly compensation of land that has been destroyed/rendered unfit for use for defense/strategic reasons.

3.79     It was decided to PROVIDE proper and adequate basic civic services, ensuring 100 coverage of urban population with potable piped drinking water supplies, sewerage, sewage treatment and waste management within next two years.

3.80     It was decided to establish a site selection committee headed by FCR with PSF, FCRDP and PSLG as members to review and relocate the Solid Waste Dumps at Amritsar, Jalandhar, Patiala and Bathinda.

3.81     It was decided to open up the transport sector and ensure free and fair grant of licenses for buses, mini buses & other commercial vehicles in a transparent way. The Department of Transport would review and reformulate its existing policy and submit the new policy for consideration in next meeting.

3.82     It was decided to introduce a comprehensive job creation scheme entitled the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Employment Generation scheme which would include;

  1. Apni Gaddi Apna Rozgar: One-lac taxies, commercial LCV’s and other vehicles per annum would be provided to the unemployed youth at subsidized rates. The State Government would stand guarantee and no collateral would be required.  They would be expected to repay the loan in 5 years.  The Department of Employment would tie-up with major taxi operators’ like OLA, UBER etc. to ensure success of this scheme;
  2. ‘Harra (Green) Tractor Scheme (35 to 50 HP)’ At least 25 thousand tractors along with other agricultural implements would be given at subsidized rates to the unemployed youth enabling them to start their own venture for agriculture services. The State Government would stand guarantee and no collateral would be required.  They would be expected to repay the loan in five years;
  3. Yaari Enterprises:  Small Enterprises promoted by two or more young entrepreneurs, termed as Yaari Enterprises would also be subsidized and incentivized to create employment for the youth. Such enterprises would receive a subsidy of 30 percent up to a maximum investment of Rs 5 lacs. Nearly one lakh such enterprises would be set up every year for the next five years, 2017-22.

3.83     It was decided to give free Smart Mobile Phones to the youth in order to encourage andincentivize them to use digital technology in day-to-day life. The Department of Youth Affairs would take necessary steps to achieve this at the earliest.

3.84     It was decided that SPORTS AWARDS AND INCENTIVES would be disbursed to the beneficiaries annually as per details given in the statement attached as Annexure.

3.85     It was decided that a special portal would be designed for NRIs to give their feedback.

3.86     It was decided to appoint an Ombudsman for NRIs to monitor the actions on their complaints.

3.87     It was decided to set up a special section in the Department of NRIs to deal with emigration and related issues, thus preventing their large scale Loot by Unauthorized Travel Agents.

3.88     It was decided to set up Special Courts to clear the backlog and ensure speedier justice in the cases pertaining to: –

  1. Drug peddling and narcotics;
  2. Corruption in public life;
  3. NRIs; and
  4. Serving soldiers.

The Department of Home and Justice would put up a final proposal in consultation with the Punjab and Haryana High Court for the approval of Chief Minister.

3.89   It was decided to establish a Real Estate Regulatory Authority in keeping with the Central Legislation to ensure justice and fair treatment to the common man in transactions concerning sale and purchase of land and buildings.  The Department of Housing and Urban Development would submit the requisite notifications for the approval of Chief Minister through Chief Secretary.

3.90   It was decided that operations of PowerCom for the last 5 years would be investigated through third party professional auditors.

3.91   It was decided to enforce the Street Vendors Act, 2014 enacted by the UPA government and provide full opportunity to every person above the age of 18 years to work uninterruptedly at the designated places.

3.92   It was decided that the Department of Mining would take necessary steps for decartelizing mining of sand and stone/gravel in the State. The existing rules and policy in this regard would be reviewed to achieve the objective of transparency in mining operations in the state.

3.93   It was decided to establish a Board for Welfare of Laborers and Safai Karamcharis to provide them a say in formulation of government policies and programmes concerning them. The Department of Labour would submit a draft notification for the approval of CM through Chief Secretary.

3.94   It was decided to provide Senior Citizens a priority in dealings with all government offices.

3.95     It was decided to set up geriatric centers in all government hospitals.

3.96     It was decided to simplify the procedure for getting retirement benefits.

3.97     It was decided to establish a grievances redressal mechanism i.e., Board for Welfare of Pensioners, including both the civil and police pensioners.

3.98     It was decided to establish a National Institute for Promotion and Development of Punjabi Language at Talwandi Sabo, Bathinda. The Department of Higher Education would pursue the proposal with the Government of India for its early finalisation.

3.99     It was decided to establish an ESM Cell in CMO directly under the control of Chief Minister for immediate direct attention to complaints and welfare of ex-ESM in the state.

3.100  In pursuit of government’s objective to improve governance at the grassroots, it was decided to reach out to the distinguished ex-servicemen at local level. They would be trained and appointed as Guardians of Governance. They would oversee proper implementation of government schemes and programmes at village level. Their participation would ensure that government’s relief and assistance reaches the needy, and is not dissipated due to corruption and favoritism.  It was also decided to create the posts of Guardians of Governance at the village, cluster and block level. The Department of Defense Welfare would prepare a complete scheme to execute this decision w.e f. from Ist July 2017.

3.101  It was decided that Third Party Professional audit of rural and urban infrastructure would be carried out in three months to identify the existing inadequacies and deficiencies for remedial measures. Infrastructure Renewal Plans would be prepared for each block and municipalities in the state to ensure time bound action to provide for the identified requirements.

3.102  It was decided that Department of Irrigation would formulate a proposal for Canalization of major rivers of the state, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej and construction of high speed economic corridors on bunds (Dhusis) not only to secure livelihood of a large number of farmers but also to secure new possibilities of jobs and businesses for the local populations in and around these areas.

3.103  It was decided to establish the Punjab Road Safety Authority to study the causes of road accidents and deaths in the State with a view to minimize the same through effective planning.

3.104  It was decided to provide for 33% reservation for women in all Government Jobs including the contractual appointments.

3.105  It was decided to increase representation of women in PRIs and ULBs form the present 33 percent to 50 percent.

3.106 It was decided to adopt and implement Excise Policy qua Marriage palaces at par with the neighboring States.

3.107  It was decided to honor Freedom fighters, the pride of the State, in their respective districts on the Independence Day on 15th August and on the Republic Day on 26th January.

3.108  It was decided to provide One house to every freedom fighter at the village or town where he resides ordinarily

3.109 It was decided to provide 300 units of Electricity to the freedom fighters free of cost every month.

3.110  It was decided to provide one out of turn tube well connection for the families of the Freedom fighters.

3.111  It was decided to exempt freedom fighters from payment of toll tax on the State highways.

3.112  It was decided to set up a Press Accreditation Committee comprising of representatives of the registered journalist unions/associations with an over 10- years standing.

3.113` It was decided to exempt media-persons from the payment of toll tax on the state highways; and

3.114  It was decided to review the existing rules for allotment of government accommodation to journalists to ensure provision of a fair quota for them.

3.115  It was decided not to allow recruitment of contractual staff against the regular sanctioned posts in various departments of the Government.

3.116  It was decided that the Department of Personnel would submit a complete proposal to regularize all adhoc and contractual employees recruited through transparent systems and procedures.

3.117  It was decided to discourage transfers of employees unless these were warranted because of any disciplinary actions/proceedings or hardship of employees.

3.118  It was decided that “Sasti Roti’, the Community Kitchens would be set up in every district and sub-divisional HQs. The District Red Cross Societies would run and manage these on no-profit-no-loss-basis to provide meals to poor and homeless persons at Rs. 5/- per meal.