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Press release for Punjab Govt
Jan 30, 2008


CHANDIGARH, January 30: The Punjab Government today signed an agreement with HCL Infosystems to establish Punjab State Wide Area Network (PAWAN). Director Information Technology Department Mr. Rakesh Verma signed the agreement with Mr. S.K. Sharma, Associate Vice President, HCL Infosystems in the presence of Mr. Adesh Partap Singh Kairon, Information Technology Minister, Mr. Ajai Chaudhry Chairman HCL Infosystem & Mr. Narinderjeet Singh, Secretary Information Technology.

The Project PAWAN to be implemented at a total cost of Rs. 41.45 crores will connect 200 sites i.e., 20 districts, 179 Sub-Divisions & Blocks across in Punjab putting the state on the fast track towards IT proficiency and would be implemented in 26 weeks time. The Network for Punjab Government will be an Integrated, fully manageable network enabling Citizen Services and effective e-governance that is key for any State's development

Departments of Treasury & Accounts, Excise and Taxation, Land Records, Transport, Police, Municipal Corporations and DC Offices shall use this network immediately. This network shall provide seamless end-to-end connectivity for all Government offices across the state. Boards and Corporations will also use the connectivity and it will also allow horizontal connectivity to various offices across the state from each POP of PAWAN.

Project PAWAN will cater to the information communication requirements of the entire state government and its departments. It will help provide connectivity within the state administration thereby making the Government more adept by enabling electronic transactions and provide efficient service management by linking up operations at not just the State and District level but seeping deep into the Block level

Speaking on the occasion Mr. Kairon said "The Punjab State Wide Area Network shall act as "Information Super Highway" for data transfer between offices at State, District, Sub-Divisions and Block levels. This project shall establish the backbone network for data, voice and video communications throughout the state. The Network would be set up on Build, Own, Operate and Transfer model for five years, PAWAN would follow a 3 Tier structure through Point of Presence across the various levels."

Speaking on the occasion Mr. Ajai Chowdhry, Chairman & CEO, HCL Infosystems said, "With a strong focus on System integration as one of our core business areas, Project PAWAN is a strategic contract for HCL in the e-governance vertical. Our focus, as a pioneer in the industry is to make technology simpler and convenient by providing effective solutions and this project will help us doing just that by taking IT to the remotest corner of the State. We are glad to partner with Punjab Government for this initiative and are sure that this project will take the benefit of technology own to the grass root level."
It may be added that Punjab State Wide Area Network has been identified as one of the Mission Mode Projects under National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) by Ministry of IT, Government of India with the main objective to make all Government services accessible to the common man in his locality, through common service delivery outlets and ensure efficiency, transparency & reliability of such services at affordable costs to realize the basic needs of the common man. The project shall be an element of core infrastructure for supporting the e-Governance initiatives. The Central Government is funding the establishment of vertical backbone of the project up to block level.
This Wide Area Network (WAN), envisaged as the core network for data, voice and video communications throughout the State, will act as a catalyst for IT development in the state and supporting IT solutions for effective e-governance.

HCL as the pioneer in IT hardware technology and Systems Integration will provide solutions to enable seamless end to end connectivity for all government offices across Punjab and facilitate Converged Network Services (Data/Voice/video) and Security Services to the state government for effective e-governance.

The Network would be set up on Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) model for five years, PAWAN would follow a 3 Tier structure through Point of Presence (POP) across the various levels. The minimum bandwidth for PAWAN at each tier shall be of 2Mbps. 50 horizontal offices shall be connected to State Head Quarter (Tier I), 20 Horizontal offices shall be connected to District Head Quarter (Tier II) and 10 Horizontal offices shall be connected to Sub Divisional Head Quarters and block Head Quarters (Tier III).

Network Operating Center (NOC) of this PAWAN shall be connected to the State Data Centre (SDC) to provide dedicated access to applications hosted at State and Central Departments. Internet access will also be provided to PAWAN users through Internet Gateway at State Network Center. Point to Point and point to multipoint video conferencing through High Quality video equipments & Multimedia PC is also provisioned in the network. The SWAN shall be connected to the Common Service Centers (CSCs) for providing access to major e-governance services/applications at the village level


Chandigarh, January 30: Mr. Bikram Singh Majithia, Science Technology & Environment & Non Conventional Energy Minister today thanked Mr. Vilas Muttemwar Union Minister for New & Renewable Energy for announcing formulation of generation based incentive scheme for the solar photovoltaic and solar thermal power as financial assistance to the project developers, acceding to the request of Punjab Government.

In a letter written to the Union Minister, Mr. Majithia said that the viability gap incentive scheme is likely to give a big boost to the accelerated setting up of the solar power projects in the state as well as in the country.

A spokesman of the Government today stated that Mr. Majithia had earlier requested to Union Minister to revive the policy of 67% Capital Subsidy to solar power projects. He had requested that the state government was a receiving number of proposals from Pvt. Companies/developers for setting up of solar power plant. However a tariff of Rs. 7 per unit with annual escalation of 5% per annum were keeping these projects still unviable especially in view of higher capital cost on these projects. Mr. Majithia had requested that a Union Ministry should continue to provide 67% Capital Grant as was being provided earlier.

Mr. Majithia said that the new decision of the Union Ministry would give a strong boost to generation eco friendly solar power in the country.


Chandigarh, 30 January:
Sh. Bikram Singh Majithia, Science, Technology, Environment and Information and Public Relations Minister Punjab, today chaired the meeting of senior officers of PEDA to monitor the progress of various on going renewable energy projects in the State.

He asked the officer incharge of various programmes to prepare bar chart for close monitoring of implementation schedule of their respective projects to ensure timely completion. He emphasized the need for better coordination with other departments of the State for speedy clearances such as Power Purchase Agreement, Land lease Agreement and Environmental Clearances so that project implementation could be taken at fast pace.
The Minister also desired that awareness and publicity campaign must be launched in a big way for adoption of renewable energy devices and energy conservation to reduce the gap between demand and supply. Sh. A.S. Chhatwal, Secretary, Science, Technology, Environment and Non Conventional Energy Sources informed that they were holding meetings with Local Government Department and PWD to replace inefficient fixture with CFL and efficient tube lights to achieve energy efficiency in government offices and street lighting. He also informed that energy data of 47 government buildings have been collected which were being analyzed and some of the buildings would be taken up as demo projects in the current year energy conservation action plan.
Sh. T.P. Sidhu, Chief Executive, PEDA, was also present in the meeting.



Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal directed all the Deputy Commissioners of the state to identify the Shamlat (Panchayati) land in the villages within their jurisdiction for the allotment of dwelling units to the members of the 'Vimukat Jatis'.

An assurance to this effect was given by Mr. Badal to the confederation of Punjab Pradesh Vimukat Jatis led by its President Dr.Tarsem Singh Mahla during a meeting held at Chief Minister's residence late last evening. Mr.Badal also asked the Deputy Commissioners to find out the ways and means to allot land to the eligible beneficiaries belonging to the Vimukat Jatis who had already constructed houses on the Panchayati land over a past many years. He also asked the Vice Chancellor of Punjabi University Patiala to submit the final report with in a month relating to the case sent by the department of Welfare of SC/BC for reviewing the Vimukat Jatis so that the state government could further take up the matter with the GoI for inclusion of Vimukat Jatis in the list of scheduled tribes. Mr.Badal also asked the SC/BC welfare department to thoroughly examine the proposal to grant 5% reservation exclusively for 8 vimukat jatis viz. Sansi, Bazigar, Bauria, Bengali, Nat, Gadhila and Barar put forth by the confederation.

Responding to another demand for the constitution of a separate commission for Vimukat Jatis on the pattern of commissions for scheduled castes and backward classes, Mr.Badal asked the Chief Secretary to work out modalities for a separate board for the welfare of Vimukat jatis by giving due representations to their members. He also agreed to the demand of the confederation to increase the income limit of Rs.5000 to Rs.1 lakh per annum for the scholarship to the eligible beneficiaries of Vimukat Jatis on the pattern of SC families.

Mr.Badal also assured the representatives of the Vimukat Jatis that the state government would provide adequate funds for the construction of dharmshals and cremation grounds for their community provided they procure land on their own. He also asked the Principal Secretary Social Welfare to issue detailed instructions to all the deputy commissioners to include the word 'Vimukat Jati' while issuing a Caste Certificate and tie up with the Punjab SC Land Development & Finance Corporation to sanction loans to the members of the Vimukat Jatis at low interest on the terms and conditions for the scheduled castes. He also directed the Principal Secretary Rural Development & Panchayats to extend the benefit of the construction of flush latrines to the vimukat jatis on the pattern of scheduled castes and a provision of special grant for this purpose should also be earmarked.

Prominent amongst others who were present in the meeting included Advisor to Chief Minister Dr.DS Cheema, Chief Secretary RI Singh, Financial Commissioner Rural Development GS Sandhu, Principal Secretary Finance DS Kalha, Secretary SC/BC Narinderjit Singh, Executive Director Punjab SC Land Development & Finance Corporation Hussan Lal.



The Punjab government today decided to constitute a permanent committee to review the farm gate milk price periodically with reference to the cost of production which will be estimated on the basis of breed, region and season by the Guru Angad Dev Veterinary & Animal Sciences University (GADVASU).

A decision to this effect was taken here by Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal while chairing a joint meeting of progressive dairy, poultry and fish farmers. It was also decided in the meeting to vest powers for the prevention of adulteration in liquid milk to the dairy development department concurrently with the state health department.

The Chief Minister assured the dairy, poultry and fish farmers that he would soon take up their case of the exemption of income tax with the Ministry of Finance, GoI on the pattern of agriculture as the income accrued from allied farming should also be exempted from the income tax.

Mr.Badal agreed to the proposal of the progressive dairy farmers for the upgradation/construction of two cattle mandis every year with the financial assistance from cattle fair fund. He also desired that a uniform design/pattern should be adopted for the said purpose and suggested to utilize the services of a dairy consultant or an expert architect in the field to create infrastructure for dairy development in a meaningful manner. He also asked the board to regularly organize animal fairs and milk competitions to encourage dairy farming amongst the farmers of the state. Mr.Badal also asked the Chief Engineer Commercial, PSEB to ensure interrupted 24-hour power supply to the dairy units consisting of atleast 50 animals.

The Chief Minister also conceded to the demand of the dairy farmers to allow them to import semen of superior quality bulls directly from the reputed companies across the globe and said that he would soon take up the matter with the Ministry of Agriculture, department of Animal Husbandry, GoI to give permission to the dairy farmers in this regard. He also directed the Animal Husbandry department to tie up with internationally acclaimed firms for import of sufficient quantity of the best quality semen for the production of superior milk cattle to enhance the milk production both qualitatively and quantitatively.

The Chief Minister also directed the Principal Secretary Animal Husbandry for initiating a procedure to give due representation to the progressive dairy farmers on the Punjab Dairy Development Board to enable them to contribute immensely towards the development of dairy by way of their rich experience. He also directed to constitute a joint committee of milk producers and processors to discuss the modalities for levying cess on the milk production and processing.

Mr.Badal also directed the department of Fisheries to devise a self sustainable mechanism to fix minimum support price for fish. He also underscored the need for modernization of fish farms on the scientific lines to enhance the production of high quality fish seed. He also asked the State Pollution Control Board to ensure that the industrial and toxic effluents should only be allowed to release in the rivers after proper sewerage treatment. He also stressed the need for value addition of fish to supplement of the income of fish farmers. Mr. Badal also suggested the farmers of the water logged areas in Muktsar, Moga, Faridkot and Ferozepur districts to adopt fish farming in a big way and a pilot project for saline water is being commissioned soon after signing a memorandum of understanding between the Punjab and Australian governments.

Prominent amongst others who were present in the meeting included Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development & Fisheries Minister Gulzar Singh Ranike, Financial Commissioner Revenue Romilla Dubey, Principal Secretary Animal Husbandry DS Bains, Managing Director Milkfed VK Singh, Secretary Animal Husbandry Usha R.Sharma, Director Health & Family Welfare Sukhdev Singh, Director Animal Husbandry BS Sidhu, Director Dairy Development Anil Kaura and Director Fisheries DS Syal.



The Punjab Cabinet under the chairmanship of Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today approved the summoning of 4th session of 13th Punjab Vidhan Sabha from February 25 to March 19, 2008.

Disclosing this here today a spokesman of the Punjab Government said that the session would begin with Governor's Address on February 25 and the budget for the year 2008-09 would be presented on March 11.

The Cabinet also approved to grant exemption from levy of VAT on raw materials and consumables produced by or sold to Sri Durgiana Committee, Amritsar.

The Cabinet also gave approval to the state government to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of India and NABARD and to effect possible amendments in the provisions of Punjab Cooperative Societies Act, 1961 to become eligible for the relief package. This move was aimed to revive the short term credit structure.

The Cabinet also gave a green signal to revise the rate of tax on weekly lotteries from Rs.50,000 to Rs.75,000 per draw in order to raise additional resources for the development of the state. Likewise, it was also decided to raise tax on 2-digit weekly lottery from Rs.25,000 to Rs.50,000 per draw. It may be recalled that the existing rate of tax of Rs.25,000 per draw was very low as compared to other states like Karnataka, Kerala and Maharastra. The revision of rates would fetch additional revenue of Rs.86.80 crore.

In pursuance of the representations from trade and industry across the state, the Cabinet also decided to grant ex-post facto approval to reduce the rate of VAT on furnace oil from 12.5% to 4%.

In another significant decision the cabinet also approved to amend the Punjab Value Added Tax Act, 2005 regarding deemed assessment to enable the registered dealers to deposit a sum by way of composition money, @ Rs.300 per lac of the gross turnover with a minimum of Rs.1000 subject to fulfillment of eligibility criteria as laid down in rule 33 (B) of the repealed Punjab general sales tax rules, 1949 as per the procedure laid down in the repealed Act/Rules.

The Cabinet also granted approval to amend sub-section 5 of section 19 of the Punjab Value Added Tax, 2005 relating to Input Tax Credit on schedule 'H' goods.

The Cabinet also decided to grant ex-post facto approval for allowing subsidy to all categories of consumers for neutralizing the impact due to increase in electricity tariff for the year 2007-08.

The Cabinet also approved to amend section 10 and other relevant sections of the Punjab Panchayati Raj Act 1994 to provide for indirect election to the office of Sarpanches of Gram Panchayats.

The Cabinet also gave a go ahead for transferring the State Institute of Nursing & Paramedical Sciences (SINPS) at Village Badal in Muktsar district to Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot.

The Cabinet also approved the annual administrative report for the departments of Health & Family Welfare for the year 2003-04, Local Audit for the year 2004-05 and Town & Country Planning for the year 2005-06.