1. I welcome you to this 9th Session of the 13th Punjab Vidhan Sabha.
2. The Session is being held when our country and the world at large are still struggling with challenges on the economic and security fronts. Punjab is also naturally and directly affected by the general national and international climate in both these areas.
3. But I am pleased to say that with the full co-operation of the people of Punjab, my government has handled these challenges with clarity of vision, and steadfastness and maturity of approach. I am pleased to say that despite provocations of the gravest kind, My Government has maintained peace and communal harmony in the state. My Government acted with a combination of statesmanship and administrative firmness to safeguard these precious values. Preservation of peace, maintenance of law and order and strengthening the bonds of communal harmony are on the top of the list of priorities for the Government.
4. Before I proceed further, I wish to reiterate the government's commitment to the setting up of a genuinely federal structure in the country as it is the best means to making India a powerful political & economic force in the comity of nations. The state government has always opposed steps which chip away at this character. These steps have weakened the states and in the process inhibited our country’s potential for growth.
5. In the light of this, the government reiterates its demand for a restructuring of centre-state relations with a view to strengthening the economic growth and development of the states according to their specific needs. The present formula for distribution of resources and devolution of central funds to states needs a drastic recasting in favour of states. This government demands more powers for states and greater share for them in central taxes
6. There are certain issues which have been agitating the minds of the people of Punjab for a long time and which need to be addressed in right earnest. One of these relates to the transfer of our Capital City Chandigarh to Punjab without any further delay. Punjab presents the only instance in India where a parent state has been deprived of the capital city after re-organisation along linguistic lines. There is an urgent need to fulfill the commitments made to the people of Punjab in this regard by the centre and ratified by the highest legislative body of the country, the Parliament. Similarly, there are many other Punjabi speaking areas which were left out of the state at the time of reorganization. These must be restored to Punjab along with Chandigarh.
7. The emotional wounds caused by the traumatic events including unspeakable and inhuman massacre of innocent Sikhs in 1984 still cry for a healing touch. This government considers it a great travesty of justice that the main culprits, identified by various judicial commissions and independent judicial and civil rights Organizations and eminent persons, have been allowed to go Scott-free. In fact, many of them have been rewarded with high offices in the government. This continues to rub salt in the wounds of the victims as well as all right thinking people in the country. The government urges the Government of India to ensure speedy justice in the matter.
8. Waters is the be-all and end-all of Punjab predominantly agrarian society and economy. But our waters have been snatched away from us through systematic discrimination. This government reiterates its demand that the issue of river waters of Punjab be settled in accordance with the nationally and internationally accepted Riparian Principle. Once again, Punjab is the only state where this principle has been violated. This must be undone.
9. I also wish to draw the attention of the entire country to the shocking events of the past few weeks in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The kidnapping and killing of innocent members of the Sikh community by the Taliban has jolted the conscience of the entire mankind and rightly invited the severest possible international condemnation. But this is not an isolated incident. There have been systematic attacks of this nature on members of the minority communities living peacefully in Pakistan. The government has repeatedly urged the Government of India to take effective diplomatic measures at the international level to mobilize world opinion against such barbaric acts. The government wishes to reiterate its appeal to the Government of India to take up the matter with their Pakistan counterpart at the highest level. Similarly, the issues of racist’s attacks against Punjabis, especially the Sikhs in some other countries like Australia deserves to be taken up with utmost seriousness with the concerned governments.
10. The state Government is greatly perturbed over the continuing package of Industrial concessions to Uttrakhand, Himachal Pardesh and Jammu and Kashmir, without a similar package for Punjab. This has brought industry in the state to the brink of a grave crisis. Not only have new investments dried up, but even the existing industry has seen major flight of capital from Punjab to states where the Government of India has given these industrial concessions. All this has a disastrous effect on the economy of the state, especially on industrial growth, revenue generation and employment sectors.
11. This Government has repeatedly represented to the Government of India that while it is not opposed to concessions being given to any state including the above three, Punjab should not be made to suffer for this. We demand that either the package of concessions to our neighboring states should not be extended further, or Punjab should also be given a similar package. The government seeks no favours in this regard. It only seeks a level playing field for all states.
12. When the Government took over in 2007, it inherited a legacy of a shattered economy. Revenue generation was at a pathetic low, agriculture was stagnating and industry was in flight. The State Government took concrete, daring and visionary initiatives to put the economic infrastructure of the state back on a firm footing. The government set up a committee, comprising two of the senior most members of my Council of Ministers to go into the entire gamut of issues that ailed the state's economy. The Committee came up with tangible recommendations to restore the health of the economy without compromising on my government's basic commitment to social welfare. Almost all these recommendations have been accepted by my government and this is certain to bring a turnaround in the economic health of the state on a permanent basis.
13. There is widespread impression that the administrative system in the country is outdated and there is an urgent need to tailor it to the needs of the changing times. The system is widely seen to be insensitive to the problems and difficulties faced by the common people and too complex for their grasp. This becomes the primary cause of most of the harassment that people have to face in getting even their routine problems redressed in government offices. My government is among the first to realize that the whole system, including rules and procedures for ordinary official works, need to be made more transparent, less cumbersome and fully accountable.
14. With this in mind, my government set up a Governance Reforms Commission which studied the entire system through interaction with various layers of people, officers, officials and opinion makers. As a result, it came up with a set of path-breaking recommendations to simplify procedures, expedite delivery systems and link rewards to performance levels. Some of these recommendations, like dispensing with the affidavits and availability of many of the registration and certifications documents at the click of a button, are being implemented forthwith. The rest are being studied for implementation for gradual phasing out of the outdated rules and procedures. The goal of my government in this regard is to remove the grounds for unnecessary harassment of the people in the government offices and to ensure the dignity of each individual in dealings with the government. As a part of the same vision, my government introduced Commissionerate System for police in the three corporate towns of Amritsar, Ludhiana and Jalandhar.
15. I am also happy to share with this august House the government's success in removing political confrontation as an item on state's agenda. This unseemly trend had come to plague the glorious traditions of the state in recent years. But this government is firmly of the view that in a parliamentary democracy, the role of Opposition is as significant as that of the ruling party, as they are the two wheels on which our system runs. People elect both to perform specified roles and both have a responsibility towards the electorate to work constructively for the betterment of the state and its people. From the start, this government opened its doors for co-operation and friendly working together with the Opposition. I am sure that these efforts will continue to bear fruit in the days to come and the polity of the state would remain free from confrontationist and personalized posturing. Instead, the welfare and progress of the state would continue to determine the agenda of the political parties here. The government always welcomes healthy criticism as that is a part of the democratic system that we have adopted. It also seeks constructive co-operation from all sections of society and all political parties. Consensus, rather than confrontation, would remain the key component of the government's vision and agenda of governance.
16. I will now come to the performance of the government in different departments:
17. Agriculture is the most important sector of Punjab’s economy and about 65% of the population in the state depends upon it. Punjab has ensured country’s food security by contributing 50% to 70% of wheat and 40-50% of rice procured by the Government of India over the past three decades.
18. To make the country self-sufficient in food-grains, the State farmers have almost exhausted their valuable natural resources i.e. soil and groundwater. During 2009-10, the state had a record production of 157 lac MT of Wheat and 168 lac MT of Paddy. Despite State’s 6% area is under cotton it produced 12% of the country’s cotton which is the highest ever production in Punjab. Inspite of the drought conditions in the country, with the efforts of the state and the farmers, there was a record production of paddy. The farmers of the state incurred an additional expenditure of Rs 1,000 cr for deepening of tubewells, purchase of gensets, and additional expenditure on diesel. The state purchased additional power and diverted power from the other sectors to agriculture worth Rs 1420 Cr. The Government urges the Central Government to compensate Punjab as the state incurred these costs in the interest of National Food security but of no avail.
19. Price of inputs required for agriculture like diesel, fertilizers etc. besides the MSP of the foodgrain and agricultural commodities is also fixed by the Centre. Even the interest on loans is also determined by the Centre. In these circumstances our farmers have been driven to commit suicides due to heavy indebtedness of Rs.35,000 crores. It is an irony of fate that Punjab got only a notional relief of about 1.5% only out of the total Rs.71,000 crore Central debt relief for farmers. To bail out the families of these unfortunate farmers, the state government gave compensation of Rs.2 lac each from its own resources to the next of the kin of the farmer and Khet Majdoors who committed suicide. The state government has been vigorously pursuing with the GoI the case for the waiver of entire outstanding debt, fixation of MSP to provide a margin of 50% over the cost of production as recommended by the National Farmers Commission headed by an eminent agri expert Dr. MS Swaminathan & sanctioning of fresh loans to the farmers at an interest rate of 4% but Centre had not paid heed to these genuine demands raised by the state.
20. The state government has taken major initiatives to reduce the cost of agriculture production which included sanctioning of 1000 Agro Service Centres out of which 325 have been established. 33% capital assistance being provided on hi-tech agricultural implements, hike in subsidy from 50% to 75% in drip irrigation, establishing of 360 Net-Houses for cultivation of vegetables with subsidy component of Rs.40,000 each and five Citrus Estates with an investment of Rs.20 crores are amongst the few path breaking initiatives.
ANIMAL HUSBANDRY, DAIRY DEVELOPMENT AND FISHERIES
21. Livestock sector contributes about 1/3 of the State GDP from the agriculture sector. To promote commercial dairy farming, 1000 commercial dairy farming units of different herd sizes (20-50 milk animals) have been established. As many as 1000 more commercial diary farming units of different herd sizes (20-50 milk animals) will be established during 2010-2011. Financial assistance @ Rs. 1.5 lac per shed for construction of modern dairy sheds is being provided, 9 new Veterinary Polyclinics, 19 new buildings for Veterinary Hospital and 22 Mobile Veterinary Dispensaries are to be set up. 2 Regional Research and Training Centres at Talwara and Kaal Jharani will be set up. The state government has allowed setting up of private Veterinary Colleges in the state.
22. The department of fisheries ensures adequate fish seedlings for fish farmers through their 14 Fish seed farms. Pilot project is being undertaken in the Muktsar District for cultivation of fish in Saline and Brackish water. To ensure availability of qualified persons in Fisheries sectors, a dedicated Fisheries College is being run at GADVASU.
23. The Government has taken unprecedented steps to put Punjab on the global aviation map, with projects for two international airports at various stages of progress. One of these is being set up at SAS Nagar and is proposed to be named after Shaheed-e-Azam Sardar Bhagat Singh. The other will come up near Ludhiana, making Punjab the smallest state to have three international airports. Besides, the expansion of Amritsar International Airport, Sahnewal Domestic Airport has also been upgraded. Similarly, a new domestic airport is coming up at Bathinda for which the land has been acquired and the design of the airport has been approved.
24. Cooperatives in Punjab have played a significant role not only in ushering in green and white revolution but also in sustaining the same. During 2009-10 the target for the advance has been fixed Rs.6800 crores and a sum of Rs.5995.05 crore have been advanced.
25. Bhai Ghaniya Health Service Scheme has been launched for members of the cooperative societies. During 2008-09, 6.45 Lacs beneficiaries from 1,83,000 families became its members out of these members 29369 beneficiaries were provided treatment and a sum of Rs.39.37 Crore have been spent on their treatment. Approximately 3.00 Lacs beneficiaries out of 1.20 Lac families have become members under this Scheme.
26. Markfed has been declared as the biggest marketing Federation in Asia for producing and marketing eatable and non-eatable items in the country and abroad besides producing agriculture inputs like fertilizers, pesticides etc. Loan to the tune of Rs.750.65 Lacs for the construction of Houses have been given to 376 members by the Housefed upto 31.12.2009. During 2009-10, relief under Loanee Welfare Scheme to the tune of 135.40 Lacs have been given to the successors of 149 deceased loanee members.
27. Milkfed Punjab has a strong network of more than 6000 Milk Producers Cooperative Societies at village level having around 3.70 lacs Milk Producers as its members. Milkfed achieved Sales turnover of Rs.1149.65 Crores during the year 2008-09 with impressive growth of 23.5% over the previous year. It is expected that Milkfed and Milk Union’s combined turnover will be around Rs.1450 Crores in 2009-10.
28. Milkfed has signed a turn key agreement with National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) to increase the capacity of Mohali Milk Plant from 1 lakh to 5 lakh litre/day with an investment of Rs35 Crores and to expand the existing capacity of Cattle Feed plants from 300 MT to 500 MT per day at a cost of Rs.8 crore to meet the increasing demand of Verka Cattle Feed.
29. Milkfed is preparing a National Dairy Plan for meeting the long term demand of the Country This is being done in collaboration with NDDB. Milkfed is determined to be the first State to prepare State Dairy Plan under this Scheme. Milkfed is expecting financial outlay to the tune of Rs.1500.00 Crores under this Plan upto the year 2020. NDDB’s team of experts has already visited Chandigarh and various plants to identify exact works to undertaken in first phase.
30. Milkfed is in process of launching new products like Sugar Free Sweets, Juices based drinks Tetra Pack Lemon Juice etc. Milkfed has established arrangements for R&D with Central Food Technology Research Institute of Govt of India at Mysore. In order to revive Milk Unions under losses, Govt. of India has approved rehabilitation projects of 4 Milk Unions namely Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Bathinda and Amritsar with total outlay of Rs.36.64 Crores and has also released Rs.6.41 Crores to these Milk Unions as Govt. of India 50% share. Rehabilitation Project of Milk Union Gurdaspur with rehabilitation package of Rs.14.54 Crores has been submitted by NDDB to Govt. of India recently. Rehabilitation Project of Milk Union Sangrur has also been submitted to Govt. of India.
DEFENCE SERVICES AND FREEDOM FIGHTERS WELFARE
31. Defence Services Welfare Department has sanctioned a grant of Rs. One Crore for the maintenance of Sainik School, Kapurthala, Rs.45.09 lac for the construction of Aramgah at Pathankot, Rs.60 lac for additional ex-gratia to the parent of martyrs. Likewise, a sum of Rs.70 lakh was sanctioned towards the Vocational Training Courses for the wards of Soldiers/Ex-servicemen, Rs.30.06 lac for construction of Sainik Rest House at Naraina (Delhi) for the soldiers/Ex-servicemen, Rs.13.00 lac for Paraplegic Rehabilitation Home at Mohali and Kirkee (Pune).
32. Martyrs of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre and of Kuka movements and Kamagata Maru movement have been granted status of freedom fighter. Now, heirs of the martyrs of these incidents would be given same facilities at par with the heirs of the freedom fighters. Widows and un-married/un-employed daughters of freedom fighters (who are eligible for pension) would be provided the same medical treatment facilities as given to freedom fighters. These includes reimbursement of indoor medical treatment bills, not given earlier.
33. The Government is deeply concerned about the problem of unemployment in the State and is committed to enhance the employability of youth through vocational training, counseling and employment guidance. The government has set up State Institute of construction skills in collaboration with L&T, state institute of Driving and Automotive Skills with Tatas and with Bharti Wallmart at Amritsar to impart training in retailing, logistics and likewise, a project for imparting private security training to youth initiated in police recruitment in Jahankhelan. To ensure the placement of our youth in the defense services the state government is setting up a Maharaja Ranjit Singh preparatory institute for military training at Mohali at a cost of Rs.10 crore.
34. Punjab is all set for a major leap in the field of Higher Education with the setting up of the Central University at Guddha in Bathinda district over 500 acres at a cost of Rs.150 crore. World Class University would also be established soon at Amritsar. The state government had already signed a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding with the Indian School of Business (ISB) Hyderabad and six Founder Supporters-key players in Indian industry namely Max India Ltd., Bharti Enterprises Ltd., Hero Corporate Services Ltd., Punj Llyod Ltd., Hero Honda and Bharti Airtel to establish second campus of Indian School of Business at Knowledge City, Mohali. The campus will be constructed on 70 acres of land with an investment of Rs. 250 crore. Apart from this 13 new degree colleges are being setup at a cost of Rs.104 Crores.
35. The government had recruited 26,666 teachers and spent Rs. 142 crores for the upgradation of Infrastructure in 351 Senior Secondary Schools covering almost 3 schools in each Assembly constituency in a bid to encourage science and commerce stream amongst the rural students. Besides an Adarsh school scheme has also been launched to provide quality education to poor & meritorious children free of cost is in the advanced stage of implementation. Apart from this, 21 new model schools at a cost of Rs.63.42 Crore are being established in the different parts of the state and 590 primary schools have been upgraded to middle schools and 70 middle schools are being upgraded to senior secondary schools to impart quality education to the students. Punjab Edusat was a major initiative to impart distant quality education to the students through satellite in the far flung areas. An amount of Rs.739 crore has been spent under Sarv Sikhya Abhiyan. Apart from this Rs.634 crore has been spent on the upgradation of elementary schools. Safe drinking water and toilet facilities have been provided in schools.
36. The government has accorded top priority to the Technical Education & Industrial training in the state. A prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) is being established over an area of 513 acre at Rupnagar at a cost of Rs.1000 crores. Classes have already begun here. Major initiatives have been taken for expansion of Industrial Training to enable our youth for employment/self employment as per the requirement of the manufacturing/service sector. 35 government Industrial Training Institutes are being upgraded in various sectors under Centre of Excellence under Vocational training Improvement Project. Approximately 18000 students are getting training under this scheme every year and Rs. 120 crore is being incurred under this scheme. Seven hi-tech government polytechnics are being established at the cost of Rs.88 crore which would be made operational by the next year.
EXCISE & TAXATION
37. Prudent financial management has enabled the state government to ensure increase in the VAT & CST from Rs.5871 Crore in 2007-08 to Rs.7043 Crore in 2008-09. The government is confident to achieve the target of Rs.8000 Crore in 2009-10.
38. To ensure transparency and rationalization in the collection of VAT my government has initiated certain reforms including the introduction of e-filing, e-payment, slashing the time period of VAT refund in 60 days, online payment and direct refund of VAT in dealers account etc.
39. The Government approved the Excise Policy for the year 2010-11 to ensure the auction of liquor vends in an absolute, fair and transparent manner. The new excise policy is likely to generate revenue to the tune of Rs.2501.98 crore against Rs.2000 crore in the year 2009-10. The new excise policy is likely to generate an additional Rs.500 crore this year, which is a historic increase in the excise revenue. While formulating the Excise Policy, the Department of Excise & Taxation have tried to rationalize the duties, levies, application fee and most of all, the Department undertook a detailed exercise to re-determine the vend-wise potential for sale of each vend depending upon the actual sales made in the year 2009-10.
40. The State has been passing through times of fiscal stress mainly on account of the inadequacy of receipts in meeting growing committed expenditure. My Government has made consistent efforts to improve the financial position of State through improvement in collection of State’s own tax revenue, economy in non-plan expenditure, prudent debt management and bold measures for mobilization of additional resources. The growth rate of State’s own tax which was only 0.31% in 2006-07 improved to 9.78% in 2007-08 and 12.64% in 2008-09. The total outstanding debt of the State as percentage of GSDP (Gross State Domestic Product) which was at 39.88% in 2006-07 came down to 36.67% in 2007-08 and to 34.85% in 2008-09. However, the accumulated debt of the State and consequent higher interest payments puts the State Government in a position of fiscal stress. The Government will continue to follow the fiscal consolidation path to put the finances of the State on sound footing.
FOOD SUPPLIES & CONSUMER AFFAIRS
41. The government has ensured smooth procurement of food grains in the state. Consequently, 110.09 Lac MT Wheat during Rabi Marketing Season 2009-10 and 141.74 Lac MT of Paddy during Kharif Marketing Season 2009-10 was purchased for the Central & State Pool. The State Government has planned to procure 115 Lac MT wheat for the Central Pool during coming Rabi Season 2010-2011.
42. The State government has successfully implemented the prestigious Atta-Dal scheme meant for economically weaker sections for the past three years. Under the scheme approximately 14.5 lac beneficiaries are being supplied subsidized Wheat upto 25 Kg @ Rs.4 per kg and maximum 2.5 kg Dal per month @ Rs.20/- per kg.
43. This is the only instance the country of a state government providing a relief to the poor against nation-wide price rise.
44. Concerted efforts have been made by the Government to make Punjab clean and green through the conservation of forests & afforestation, both on public & private lands. During the current financial year, 5445 hectares had been brought under afforestation, 66 lac plants had been supplied to public under various schemes. A sum of Rs.4 crore has been earmarked for upgradation of Chhatbir Zoological Park and other wildlife sanctuaries by the Punjab Compensatory Afforestation Management and Planning Authority. To take care of damage to the crops of farmers by the wild animals in the Kandi Area, the rules for providing relief have been notified envisaging the grant of compensation to the farmers and permission to kill wild boar has been also simplified so that the farmers could protect their crops. The department is likely shift all its offices by June 2010 in its own ‘Forest Complex’, State-of-the-art Green Building, first of its kind in Sector 68, Mohali, being constructed at a cost of Rs. 54 crore.
HEALTH & FAMILY WELFARE
45. The Government accords a very high priority to health sector. To streamline medical services for the common man my government has recruited 420 medical officers, 430 paramedics and 480 staff nurses to ensure proper medical care and health facilities to the people. Strict enforcement of the PNDT Act has resulted in appreciable improvement in child sex ratio from 798 in 2001 to 838 in 2008. Special focus has been given to Maternal and Child Health Services in the State. As per the latest survey Punjab is at 3rd place in the coverage under immunization.
46. The government is conscious of its responsibility to provide health facilities at affordable rates to its people. Therefore, the health insurance cover upto Rs.30,000 to BPL families under Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna has been extended to all the 20 districts. Deliveries have been made free in the State in the year 2008-09. Jan Aushadhi Stores have been opened in all the 20 district hospitals to provide generic medicines introduced by public sector pharmaceutical companies at cheaper rates.
47. All school children are being screened under the School Health Programme. Students suffering from congenital heart disease and cancer are being treated at PGI and major private hospitals free of cost by the State Government. All the essential drugs are being supplied free of cost to the patients in Government hospitals.
48. The Ayurvedic and Homoeopathy services are also being upgraded. Panchkarma Unit has been set up in the Civil Hospital, Mohali. Ayurvedic Wings have been set up in the 14 districts hospitals. For the first time medicines worth Rs. 3.00 crore were purchased and supplied to the Ayurvedic dispensaries. The Department has recruited 181 Ayurvedic Medical Officers, 112 Homoeopathic Medical Officers and 293 Up-Vaids for efficient services. Strenuous efforts have been made to launch a vigorous campaign against spurious drugs and adulterated food items.
MEDICAL EDUCATION AND RESEARCH
49. Emphasis is being laid on the restructuring, strengthening and up-gradation of the Medical Dental and Ayurvedic Colleges in the state. Super Specialty Cancer Hospital for subsidized treatment is being set up at Guru Nanak Dev Hospital, Amritsar. Two Super Specialty Cancer Hospitals are being setup at Bathinda and Mohali in collaboration with MAX Health Care Ltd. at cost of Rs.300 Crore besides another cancer treatment Centre at Guru Gobind Singh Medical College, Faridkot. The work on up-gradation of Amritsar Medical College at a cost of over Rs.150 crore is in full swing. The State Govt. is committed to give due encouragement and growth to Indian System of Medicine-AYUSH. Government has already passed an act to establish Guru Ravidas Ayurvedic University at Hoshiarpur. To meet the requirement of qualified Nurses, 21 Nursing Schools have been given permission to start ANM course and 12 Nursing Colleges have been given permission to start M.Sc Nursing Course in various specialties. De-addiction Centres have been set up in all three Government Medical Colleges at Amritsar, Patiala and Faridkot. A sum of Rs.30 crores has been earmarked for the up-gradation and strengthening of Government Medical College, Patiala. Projects worth Rs. 68 crore in Guru Gobind Singh Medical College in the complex of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot are nearing completion.
50. The government has accorded the highest priority to the maintenance of law & order in the state. To achieve this end, emphasis is being laid on the modernization and strengthening of police force. The Police Commissionerate System has been introduced in Corporation Cities of Amritsar, Jalandhar and Ludhiana. Experienced DIG Rank officers have been posted as Commissioners of Police. To ensure a sense of security amongst the public, Community Police Resource Centers are being established at Sub Divisional level to improve the policing and delivery mechanism. To curb the malpractices of illegal travel agents to lure the youth to go overseas for employment, the state government has moved for concurrence of the President of India for promulgation of the Punjab Prevention of Human Trafficking Ordinance. As many as 2262 constables including 500 lady constables have been recruited and 1300 more would be recruited soon.
51. In addition , two more India Reserve Battalions (IRBs) with a total strength of 1958 personnel are also being set up.
52. To streamline judicial infrastructure, 11 judicial complexes have been completed and nine were under construction at a total cost of Rs.146 crore. Modern Jails at Kapurthala and Faridkot are likely to be completed by 2010 at a cost of Rs.210 crore. New Jails at Mansa and Nabha are under construction. To instill a feeling of socialization and sense of belongingness amongst the inmates, a telephone facility has been extended to them. Video conferencing linkage to five jails and 25 courts has been installed to avoid undue harassment and curtail government expenditure to ensure fair trial of the convicts. Likewise, this facility would also be extended to five more jails and 12 courts in the next phase.
HOUSING & URBAN DEVELOPMENT
53. The government has given first priority to the preparation of master plan of different cities and towns in the state to provide better physical environment and infrastructure in the urban areas. The state government has approved and notified master plan of 9 cities/towns namely Ludhiana, SAS Nagar, Zirakpur, Mullanpur, Derabassi, Banur, Kharar, Srihargobindpur and Abohar. The Regional Plan of Greater Mohali Area has also been notified. Besides, the government is in the process of finalizing master plans of Jalandhar, Amritsar, Patiala, Bathinda, Gobindgarh, Khanna, Gurdaspur, Batala and Hoshiarpur. The department has already initiated preparation of master plan of Local Planning Areas of 26 cities/towns notified under Punjab Regional and Town Planning and Development (Amendment) Act-2006 and the same shall be completed during the next financial year 2010-2011. Government has also decided to prepare Master Plans of religious towns including Chamkaur Sahib, Fatehgarh Sahib, Goindwal, Anandpur Sahib and Talwandi Sabo.
54. Sector 81 of SAS Nagar has been designated as Knowledge City wherein institutes of international repute such as Indian Institute of Science Education & Research (IISER), Indian School of Business, Biotechnology Park, Institute of nano technology etc. will be developed. As of now IISER has already started construction for their campus. Site measuring 7 acres in Phase-VI Sector 57, Mohali has been handed over to M/s C&C Constructions Private Limited on BoT basis for the construction of the State of Art Bus Stand cum Commercial Complex. The company has already started the construction work. Mullanpur urban estate of 450 acres as a part of GMADA is being setup near Chandigarh.
INDUSTRIES & COMMERCE
55. In order to accelerate the pace of Industrial Development in the State, My Government has notified New Industrial Policy, 2009. Under this Policy special package of concessions has been provided for Information Technology & Knowledge based Industry and for Agro based Industry. A dedicated fund of Rs.150 crore per annum is to be provided under the Policy for creation and upgradation of Industrial Infrastructure and for contribution as State’s share in the Government of India’s schemes. Rs.19,000 crore Guru Gobind Singh Refinery re-launched in collaboration with LN Mittal Group to develop India’s major Petro Chemical Hub is expected to start commercial production by March 2011, much ahead of schedule.
56. To ensure focused industrial growth in specific areas, a Machine Tools Cluster at Batala at a cost of Rs.59.06 and another Cluster for Hand Tools at Jalandhar worth Rs.90 crore has been approved. Likewise, another Cluster for Steel Re-rolling Mills at Mandi Gobindgarh is also being proposed. Besides, 22 Cluster projects have been submitted to Government of India under Micro & Small Enterprises Cluster Development Scheme. Out of these 13 projects have already been approved.
57. In order to tackle the problem of effluent disposal, State Government is assisting the Dyeing Industry of Ludhiana in setting up of two Common Effluent Treatment Plants. Scattered Dyeing units in Ludhiana are also being assisted to relocate themselves so that they can use the facility of proposed CETPs. Second module of Common Effluent Treatment Plant of 5 MLD capacity is being installed for the facility of leather industry at Jalandhar. Branches of Northern India Institute of Fashion Technology being run by State Government at Mohali have also been started at Ludhiana and Jalandhar. National Institute of Fashion Technology, Government of India, Delhi has agreed to treat this Institute as their branch which will enable award of degree instead of diploma certificate to the students of Institute.
58. In order to make developed land available for new industrial investment, an Integrated Industrial Mixed Land Use Park is being developed on 226 acres of land at Village Jhall, Thikriwal in District Kapurthala. Another Mixed Land Use Integrated Industrial Park is proposed to be developed on about 1276 acres of land at Rajpura.
59. Industry in Punjab has suffered a major setback due to long years of militancy. The second blow to the Industry has been due to the concessions given by Government of India to Industry in the neighbouring hill States. My Government is not against giving concessions by Government of India to any State but the concessions should not be given at the expense of other State.
INFORMATION & PUBLIC RELATIONS
60. The state government has taken initiatives to strengthen the Information and Public Relations Department which acts as a bridge between the Government and the masses for the dissemination of Government's policies and programmes at one hand and to evaluate the feedback from the people. To revitalize the functioning of department in a meaningful manner a PUNMEDIA society would be soon made functional.
61. For the effective PR at the grass-root level, 11 Public Relations Officers and 21 Assistant Public Relations Officers are likely to be recruited soon. To infuse enthusiasm and motivation amongst the staff 3 Deputy Directors were promoted as Joint Directors, 5 Public Relations Officers were promoted as Deputy Directors, 25 Assistant Public Relations Officers were promoted as Public Relations Officers and 7 Senior Assistants were promoted as Assistant Public Relations Officers during the current fiscal. Apart from this 10 new vehicles have been provided to the field officers to enable them to discharge their professional duties far more efficiently. The digitalization of Research and Reference Section is being carried out and the Department is also launching its website shortly.
62. In order to facilitate media persons new accreditation rules have been framed. Consequently, an accreditation committee is being constituted shortly to grant accreditation to the media persons for two years. The amount of free traveling facility in state owned buses is being doubled and extended to AC buses too. A media welfare fund has been created to implement various welfare schemes meant for the media persons.
63. The State Government has assigned great emphasis to build service delivery infrastructure aimed at giving impetus to e-Governance projects under State Mission Mode Projects
64. In line with the national strategy, a high-speed State Wide Area Network is being leveraged by the key departments for data, e-mail, voice, video and image traffic and Internet. There has been remarkable progress in terms of horizontal expansion of this backbone. In year 2010, the Government has decided to inter-link about 500 horizontal offices under different mission mode departments in order to improve the delivery of citizen services.
65. To leverage the strengths of private sector in terms of financial, technical and managerial, the Government will encourage Public Private Partnership model for minimizing the Government-citizen interface while implementation various e-Governance projects. Such initiatives include Land Records, Registration of Property Document, Transport, Agriculture, Excise & Taxation, etc., where horizontal replication is in progress. The land owners, farmers, business community and general public will be immensely benefited from these e-governance programs.
66. Irrigation plays a significant role in sustaining the growth of state’s predominantly agrarian economy. The state has undertaken an ambitious Irrigation Infrastructure Development Programme at a cost of Rs.3468.76 crore which includes works of rehabilitation and strengthening of major canal system in Punjab, development of new minors/distributaries, rehabilitation/remodeling of existing minors/ distributaries, construction of field channels, construction of Dams and digging of tubewells etc.
67. A project for Canalization of Sakki/Kiran Nallah in Amritsar and Gurdaspur Districts at a cost of Rs. 118 crores had already been initiated by the Government besides another project of strengthening and embankment of river Ghaggar at a cost of Rs.138 crore to save the life and property of the people from the fury of floods.
68. With the concerted efforts of the State Government, Shahpur Kandi Dam project, with an outlay of Rs. 2339 crores, has been declared as a "National Project". With this the project is expected to be implemented with greater speed and vigour.
69. A sum of Rs.150 crore has been approved for constructing/remodeling of distributaries/minors which have been further enhanced to Rs. 225 crore. The work on 36 schemes, out of an approved 64 schemes has been completed and the work on 24 schemes is in progress.
70. The state government has converted the existing Labour Courts into Industrial Tribunals, thus, imparting justice at door steps.
71. Powers of referring cases to Labour Courts and publishing awards thereof earlier vested in Labour Commissioner, Punjab, now conferred on Assistant Labour Commissioners/ Labour-cum-Conciliation Officers. Minimum rates of wages which are required to be revised after every five years have been revised now w.e.f. September, 2008.
72. Rules notified under Building and other Construction Workers Act and Cess Collectors appointed under the Building and other Construction Workers (RE&CS) Welfare Cess Act, 1996. Both Acts now stand implemented. Board collected Rs.26 crore upto Dec.2009 as cess and started new welfare schemes for construction workers which includes many interest free loan schemes, Janshree Bima Yojna and Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojnas. Premium of Janshree Bima Yojna and Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna schemes will be paid by Board.
73. New contribution scheme started under the Punjab Labour Welfare Fund Act, 1965 and Punjab Labour Welfare Board has started new Welfare schemes for Industrial workers which includes interest free loan for purchase of bi-cycle, Computer, wheat etc.; Rs.40,000/- ex-gratia grant for widows and shagun scheme. With a view to eliminate 'Inspector Raj' and to avoid the hassle of repeated inspections, the Govt. has already notified the self certification scheme.
74. The government is committed to providing basic amenities including potable drinking water, sewerage system, sewerage treatment plants, roads and street lighting to the urban areas of the state.
75. The State Government has initiated several projects for improving civic amenities like water supply, sewerage, solid waste management, roads and street lights. To achieve the above purpose projects worth Rs. 588.00 cr in Amrirtsar, Rs. 495.38 cr in Ludhiana, Rs 153.50 cr in Jalandhar, Rs 142 cr in Bathinda and Rs 129.53 cr in Patiala are under progress. The elevated road project in Amritsar worth Rs. 210 cr for has been taken up to facilitate hassle free traffic to Golden Temple. Sewerage project worth Rs. 360 cr for Amritsar shall be executed with assistance of JBIC.
76. Apart from this projects worth 1044.65 cr for water supply and sewerage and other development works are under progress in other municipal towns. Also 13 STPs have already been commissioned and 25 more have been approved
77. An ambitious plan to develop solid waste management system for the 5 corporation cities and 134 municipal towns on Public Private Partnership mode has also been carved out. This system shall entail collection, handling, transportation, segregation, treatment, and ultimate disposal of waste. After short listing of applications, the processes of bidding and signing of Concessionaire Agreement and Request for Proposal formalities are being completed.
78. The state government also proposes to spend Rs.178.10 crores on upgradation of slums in Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Rajpura. 5120 dwelling units are to be constructed under Basic Services to Urban Poor (BSUP) scheme in Amritsar and Ludhiana. Construction of 2475 dwelling units has been approved in cities of Jalandhar & Rajpura under the Integrated Housing and Slum Development Programme (IHSDP)
79. 33 railway over bridges and railway under bridges worth Rs.368 Crores are under construction and 27 are in pipeline at the cost of Rs.408 crore in the Muncipal areas of thye state.
80. A sum of Rs.101 Crore has been earmarked for the purchase of 300 buses in Amritsar and Ludhiana. Modern city bus service has been launched in Jalandhar.
81. The Government has already taken path breaking initiatives for welfare of NRIs comprising setting up of NRI Police Stations in six districts of Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala, Nawanshahar, Moga and Ludhiana for the quick disposal of cases involving NRIs and constituting a high powered committee headed by the director general of Police to review the cases of NRIs who had been declared proclaimed offenders or absconders. The State Government has also decided to enhance its share from 50% to 75% thereby now revising it as 75:25 basis instead of the existing 50:50 for the implementation of development schemes in the native villages of NRIs. Two Fast Track Courts at Jalandhar and Ludhiana would be set up to settle dispute of civil matters of NRIs. The State government has also set up an NRI Facilitation Centre at Punjab Bhawan, New Delhi for facilitating and coordinating the matters relating to NRIs. An office would be opened near Amritsar International Airport for NRIs for assistance and another office would also be opened at Jalandhar for NRIs Guidance.
82. This government is well aware of the fact that economy as well as growth of the State is fully dependent on Power and the Govt. is making all out efforts to achieve the targeted goals for the development of the power sector, to ensure reliable, affordable & round the clock availability of Electric Power Supply to the people of the State.
83. Punjab State Electricity Board with an installed capacity of 6860 MW could meet a Peak demand of 7407 MW during 2009-10 against unrestricted peak demand of 9700 MW.
84. The state government has put on anvil an ambitious plan for capacity generation in the State to make it a power surplus state in near future. Three major thermal power projects are coming up in the state wherein power Purchase Agreements have been signed and work is in progress at the site. These three power projects are: 1980MW Talwandi Sabo Thermal Power Project, 1320MW Rajpura Thermal Power Project, 540 MW Goindwal Sahib Thermal Power Project. State has also been able to get Shahpur Kandi Hydel project declared as a national project. Besides this, PPAs of 2303 MW from Ultra Mega Projects and 5908 MW from Central as well as Private Power Projects have been signed.
85. Further, the state government is also endeavoring to harness capacity of about 700 MW in and outside the state from New and Renewable sources of energy such as Mini hydel, Bio-mass, Agro waste, Municipal waste, Solar and Wind projects.
86. For ensuring reliable power supply to the consumers, minimizing technical losses and evacuation of power from new projects a major expansion of Transmission and Distribution System is required. Keeping this in view the Govt. is going to spend about Rs.1765 crores in next two years in Transmission Works.
87. T&D losses have been brought down to 19.91% during 2008-09 from 30.82% during 1999-2000 and for further reduction of T&D losses to around 15%, a comprehensive T&D loss reduction scheme has been framed during the 11th Five Year Plan. This scheme provides to convert existing LVDS (Low Voltage Distribution System) feeding A.P. consumers to HVDS (High Voltage Distribution System) by providing independent transformers for each tubewell. 81,000 tubewells have already been provided with independent transformers and further 67,600 tubewells will be covered under this scheme by 31 December 2010.
88. 2391 Villages have been connected to urban pattern supply system. Work to connect about 991 Rural Water Works for improving drinking water supply in rural areas to the nearest UPS feeder is in progress.
89. With a view to promoting energy efficiency measures, Govt. has made it mandatory for the provision of energy efficient lighting i.e. compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), T-8 36W Fluorescent tubes and H.P.S.V. lamps in all its buildings and offices. PSEB has made it compulsory for replacement of about 24 lac incandescent lamps installed at the premises of about 12 lac A.P. consumers with energy efficient CFLs. My Govt. would be replacing 1.92 crores ordinary lamps with CFLs by 31 March 2011, which will save 500 MW of power.
PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT (PWD)
90. Sidhwan Canal Expresway Ludhiana at a cost of Rs.400 crore is likely to be completed in 18 months. Six laning of Shambu-Jalandhar road will be completed in two years. On going work of four laning highways worth Rs.2225 crore would be completed with in next 6 months. These roads include Kurali – Kiratpur Sahib, Amritsar – Wagha road, Jalandhar – Dhilwan, Dhilwan – Amritsar, Ludhiana – Malerkotla, Kharar – Landran, Desu Majra – Kharar, Pathankot – Amritsar, Jalandhar – Pathankot. Apart from these work on five new 4 lane roads at a cost of Rs.2515 crores including Kharar – Ludhiana, Ludhiana – Talwandi Bhai, Zirakpur – Patiala, Patiala – Sangrur – Bathinda would be taken up soon. Two high level bridges at a cost of Rs.100 crores at Sarai ka Pattan over Satluj and Gidderpindi near Makhu over Satluj would be completed within this year.
91. 1370 Km of new link roads out of 1792 Km had been completed at a cost of Rs.300 crore and likewise, 9611 KM of link roads had been repaired out of total 11842 KM at a cost of Rs.1922 crore. The department has also carried out the widening and strengthening of 500 KM roads in border areas. Under the Punjab state road project of Rs.2700 Crore, length of 700 KM under 1st phase is nearing completion and work on 950 KM in 2nd phase is being taken up this year.
REVENUE AND REHABILITATION
92. For the facilitation of the general public, the government has made an endavour to bring all the field offices of various departments under the one roof. For this purpose work on construction of a new District Administrative Complex at Ferozepur and expansion of DAC Bathinda (2nd Block) has been started in first phase during the year 2009-10. Further, the construction of DACs at Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar (Mohali), Tarn Taran, Kapurthala and Barnala will also be taken up shortly. Funds to the tune of Rs.249.00 lacs have been sanctioned for purchase of land for the construction of Sub Divisional Complex at Shahkot (Jalandhar) and the construction of Sub Divisional Complex Kharar and Tehsil Complex Chamkaur Sahib is being started with funds more than 110.00 lac.
93. New Sub Tehsils at Mehatpur (Jalandhar) and Lohian (Jalandhar) have been formed for the facility of the people during the year 2009-10. Likewise, keeping in view the demand of the villagers and their convenience, 28 villages of Banur (Patiala) area which were falling near the Sahabzada Ajit Singh Nagar, have been included in District Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar.
94. The state government has enhanced the rate of relief for the damaged crops from the natural calamities to the farmers from Rs.2000 to Rs.5000 per acre. The government has also extended relief measures to riot affected persons. In year 2009-10 Budget provision of Rs.105.56 Crore for assistance to 1984 Riot victims. 434 Riot affected families given grant of Rs.8.64 Cr. at the rate of Rs.2 lacs per family. Remaining riot affected families being identified work will be completed by 31.3.2010. Reservation in Govt. jobs for the next of kin of the riot/terrorists affected. Employment given to 4500 members so far. 236 families who have migrated from Jammu & Kashmir are being given ration money at the rate of Rs.2000/- p.m. The Riot/Terrorist (303+6075) affected persons are being given subsistence allowance at the rate of Rs.2500/- per month. Marriage grant to dependent daughters/sisters of those killed in terrorist activities/riots at the rate of Rs.25,000/-. Rs.81.00 Cr. released for allotment of 2017 houses and 727 booths to the riot affected families.
95. Revenue Department plans to set up 153 Fard Kendras (One at each tehsil and sub tehsil). Computerized copy of jamabandi will be available at each Fard Kendra. Till date 22 Fard Kendras have been made functional.
96. Under the ambitious programme of computerization of land records, the Revenue Department has planned to set up 153 Fard Kendras (One at each tehsil and sub tehsil). Computerized copy of jamabandi will be available at each Fard Kendra. Till date 22 Fard Kendras have been made operational. As on today, 93% of the data of all the jamabandis in the State has fed into the computers. The remaining data of jamabandis as well as mutations, roznamhas etc. is also being computerized on priority basis.
97. A sum of Rs. 11.50 Crore has been allocated for construction of 99 Fard Kendras in the state and a sum of Rs. 12.25 crore has been allocated for construction of 49 Sub – tehsils.
98. Work of Digitization of Mussavis is under progress, 3034 out of 62757 Mussavis have been digitized and 15000 more Mussavis are expected to be digitized by 31st March, 2010. Further, Mussavis will be automatically updated from GIS / Mutation Module.
99. With the help of High Resolution Satellite Imagery, a Land Survey Project is being undertaken in two districts of Bathinda and Jalandhar by establishing Ground Control Points and super imposing the digitized Mussavis.
RURAL DEVELOPMENT & PANCHAYATS
100. The State Government has transferred 1193 Rural Health Dispensaries, 582 Rural Veterinary Hospitals and 5752 Primary Schools to the Zila Parishads.
101. I would also like to add here that ownership rights have been accorded to more than 7000 Bazigars and persons belonging to other 'Vimukt' Jatis.
102. This year National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (NREGA) has been extended to all the 20 districts of the State. During the year 2008-09 Rs.7177.68 lac has been utilized under the scheme and 40.14 lac mandays employment had been provided to the rural people. For the year 2008-09 Rs. 3000 lac has been proposed as State Share. /p>
103. Special stress is being laid to find a solution to the 3 major needs of the rural areas. We are provisioning Rs. 50 Crore for cleaning of ponds, Rs. 25 Crores for Brick-paving of kacha roads to Dhanis and Rs. 30 Crore for SC housing.
SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY, ENVIRONMENT AND NON CONVENTIONAL ENERGY
104. My government has laid special emphasis on the cleaning of all river waters in the state, including Satluj, Beas and Ghaggar and prepared a massive plan at a cost of Rs.1388 crore. Punjab Pollution Control Board has developed 4 common bio-medical waste treatment facilities at Mohali, Ludhiana, Amritsar and Gurdaspur for proper treatment and disposal of bio-medical waste generated in whole of the State. Treatment, storage and disposal facility set up in Vill. Nimbuan, Tehsil Dera Bassi, Distt. Mohali for the storage of hazardous waste commissioned. Rs.17.19 Crore (first in this part of India). Life span 15 years. 42907 MT of hazardous waste disposed off till now.
105. Special measures being undertaken to clean waters of Holy Bein (Kali Bein) and Budha Nallah.
106. 3 sewage treatment plants already commissioned at Vill. Bhattian, Jamalpur and Vill. Balloke in Ludhiana district are being expanded. CETP installed at Focal Point, Phase-VIII, Ludhiana for the treatment of effluent generated by electroplating industries has been commissioned and zero discharge of effluents has been achieved. For dyeing industy also, a major initiatives has been started as two CETPs are being set up for the purpose. As many as 5000 eco-clubs have been set up in rural & urban schools to promote environment awareness and education.
SOCIAL SECURITY AND WOMEN & CHILD DEVELOPMENT
107. The State Govt. has taken steps to ensure timely release and disbursement of pension/financial assistance to Old Age, Widows and Destitute Women, Dependent Children and Handicapped Persons. A "Dedicated Social Security Fund" had been set up for this purpose. More than 17 lac beneficiaries were being covered under the scheme. The Govt. has simplified the procedure for sanction of pension/financial assistance to deserving beneficiaries by empowering the Panchayati Raj Institutions and the disbursement of pension/financial assistance has been made through Panchayati Raj Institutions in rural areas and through banks in urban areas. 6487 new Anganwadi centres have been made operational under this scheme and 6487 anganwadi workers and 5267 helpers have been recruited. Budget amounting to Rs. 50.00 lacs has been earmarked for the year 2009-10 for awareness regarding the ill effects of adverse sex ratio.
108. Nanni Chhan Scheme is being implemented in the state for upliftment of social status of the girls. Under the Kishori Shakti Yojna Scheme 53281 beneficiaries have been covered upto 31.12.2009. Under the Kanya Jagrit Jyoti Scheme, provision of Rs. 400.00 lacs have been made for the year 2009-10 for covering 8000 beneficiaries.
YOUTH SERVICES & SPORTS DEPARTMENT
109. The government has sanctioned Rs.60.00 lacs during the year 2009-10 for implementation of various youth activities. It is proposed to confer Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh State Youth Award to 40 Youth of Punjab.
110. With a view to channelise the energy of the youth, my government has framed a new sports policy, under which 250 sports wings have been set up in various schools and colleges to enroll about 3500 sports persons to encourage participation of youth in the various sports activities. A world class state sports complex is coming up at SAS Nagar Mohali. To encourage the temper of sports amongst the youth, my government has formulated a sports award policy also to honour the outstanding sports persons with the cash award of Rs.1 crore.
111. As many as 75 eminent sports persons would be honoured with the Maharaja Ranjit Singh awards for their outstanding performance in different sports with an amount of Rs. 1 crore approximately during 2009-10. Traditional game ‘Kabaddi Circle Style’ has been recognized and it has been decided to hold a world cup kabaddi tournament in Punjab. Besides, 1233 villages has been provided sports, infrastructure @ Rs.1 lac each village. Similar amount would be provided to the more 1233 village in the next year.
112. In order to provide better and affordable transport facilities to the masses the government has initiated the most radical reforms on the fiscal as well as the administrative side. 144 ordinary buses and 49 AC buses has been purchased by the PUNBUS and Pepsu Road Transport Corporation during the year 2008-09. There is proposal to purchase 300 ordinary and 60 HVAC buses by the PUNBUS by raising the loan during the year 2009-10.
113. The AC Radio Cab Taxi Service are being provided in the 4 cities of Punjab, Mohali, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar and the matter is under consideration. This facility will be catered to other cities after its success. A city bus service has been introduced in Jalandhar City.
114. During the current financial year the incomplete building of Bus Stand, Hoshiarpur is being completed by the PUNBUS. This bus stand is to be constructed in 4.5 Acres, which have covered area of 55000 Square Feet and having daily capacity of 1500 buses, with the estimated cost of Rs.5.00 Crores. Ultra modern facilities will be provided in this bus stand. There is also proposal to construct Modern Bus Stands at Patiala and Bathinda shortly. Operation and Maintenance contract of Bus Terminal, Jagraon has been given to a private player for a management contract fees @ 45.20 lacs per annum. The Department also introduced auction of fancy numbers which has resulted in significant revenue realization.
115. In order to provide best service to the Rural folk, a new Mini Bus Scheme 2008 has been introduced in the year 2008 and permit will be issued in the ratio of 20:80. A new Tempo Permit scheme has also been published. To make AC bus travel affordable to the common man the fare of AC bus has been reduced and is being charged only 10% more than the fare of non-AC bus.
116. The government is keen to eradicate corruption from all government offices. As a result of sustained drive launched by the Vigilance Bureau, 116 trap cases were registered, in which 14 Gazetted Officers, 116 Non-gazetted Officials and 7 private persons were nabbed red handed while demanding and accepting illegal gratification during the year 2009. Besides, 32 criminal cases involving 23 Gazetted Officers, 62 Non-gazetted officials and 50 private persons were registered, 5 cases pertaining to disproportionate assets involving five non-gazetted officials were also registered. 13 vigilance enquiries were registered against 8 Gazetted Officer, 6 Non-gazetted officials and 4 private persons. Special attention was paid towards completion of pending inquiries, and as a result, 33 pending enquiries were finalized. The services of 3 gazetted officers and 49 non-gazetted Officials have been terminated by their respective Heads of Departments/Administrative Departments in such cases where cases registered by the Vigilance Bureau have ended into convictions by various courts.
WATER SUPPLY & SANITATION
117. The state government is committed to provide potable drinking water and sanitation facilities to the people. Punjab Water Supply & Sanitation Department is primarily entrusted with the responsibility of providing safe drinking water to the Rural Population, execution of Sanitation works apart from the Water Supply, Sewerage , Sanitation, Air Conditioning & Fire Fighting in Govt. Institutions & four Historical towns namely Anandpur Sahib, Fatehgarh Sahib, Faridkot & Muktsar.
118. During 2009-10 a total of 1224 NC/ PC habitations (338 NC, 658 PC and 228 Other Habitations) have been covered with an expenditure of Rs. 15152.67 lacs upto 31.12.09 under various State Sponsored and Centrally Sponsored Schemes. This coverage is more than the coverage achieved during any year in last five years during this period. A total of 2.91 lacs rural population has been benefited during the year 2009-10. It is proposed that a total of 2228 NC/ PC habitations will be covered by the end of this financial year, leaving a balance of 3959 habitations which will be covered during the balance period of 11th Five Year Plan.
119. During 2010-11, it is proposed to cover 1075 NC and 825 PC Main/ Other Habitations with potable water at an annual outlay of Rs. 63507.00 lacs to give benefit to 9.25 lacs rural population.
120. In order to provide water testing facilities nearest to the water supply schemes, water testing laboratories are being set up at all the 20 district headquarters as well as at seven other divisional head quarters i.e. Pathankot, Rajpura, Anandpur Sahib, Abohar, Fazilka, Malout & Batala.
121. Upper ceiling of household share of capital cost has been reduced from Rs.1500/- to Rs. 800/- for general category & from Rs. 750/ to Rs. 400/- per household in difficult area villages i.e. notified villages along the International border, kandi area, ‘bet’ area & water-logged areas.
122. Reverse Osmosis (RO) system and water purification schemes would be installed in 396 villages during this fiscal and 596 would be covered in next year. As many as 400 schools have been provided with the standalone RO system to provide clean and safe drinking water to students. The department has also envisaged a massive plan to provide about 1 lac latrines in the rural areas at cost of Rs.124 crore in next year.
123. The State Govt. has accorded priority for the coverage of all habitations particularly inhabited by SC and BC population, in the villages of State by allocating additional funds.
WELFARE OF SC &BC
124. The government is implementing various welfare schemes for the overall development of Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes. As per census of 2001, the total population of Punjab State is 2.43 crore and out of which SC population is 70.28 lac, which constitute about 28.85% of the State population, which is the highest Scheduled Caste percentage in the country. The State Govt. is committed to safeguard the interests of SCs, BCs and Minorities in the State. Total budget allocation of welfare schemes for the year 2009-10 is Rs. 297.84 crores out of which Rs. 149.25 crores (50%) are to be spent under educational schemes for Promotion of Education among Educationally Backward Classes and Rs. 148.59 crores (50%) for other socio-economic and development schemes.
125. The State Govt. has since created a Social Security Fund and a sum of Rs. 144.35 crore will be utilized for the purpose of implementation of various social and educational welfare schemes like Shagun Scheme, Free Books to Scheduled Castes students studying in 1st to 10th classes, Attendance Scholarship to primary girl students and scholarship to the students under the schemes of Post Matric Scholarship, Pre matric Scholarship to those children whose parents are engaged in unclean occupations and Promotion of Education among educationally Backward Classes.
126. Financial assistance @ Rs. 15,000/- per beneficiary is given as Shagun to Scheduled Castes/Christian girls at the time of their marriage and widows/divorcees at the time of their re-marriage and daughters of widows of any caste at the time of their marriage. During the year 2009-10, an amount of Rs. 3499.80 lac have been spent to cover 23332 beneficiaries. An amount of Rs. 7524.00 lac has been proposed to cover 50160 beneficiaries during the year 2010-11.
127. A provision of Rs. 20.00 crore has been made during 2009-10 under scheme Houses to Houseless of SC families whose annual income is less than One lac. Under this scheme 4000 SC families will be covered @ 50,000/- per beneficiaries. An amount of Rs. 25.00 crore has been proposed to cover 5000 SC families during the year 2010-11.
128. Under PCR Act 1955-Removal of untouchability scheme, inter-caste marriages (where one of the spouse belongs to Scheduled Caste) are encouraged by providing financial assistance of Rs. 25,000/- to each couple. From the current financial year this amount has been enhanced to Rs. 50,000/- each couple. During the year 2009-10, a sum of Rs. 200.00 lac will be spent to cover 252 inter-caste married couples, 141 panchayats who have done commendable work towards upliftment of SCs and organizing seminars & Mass Lunch at block level.
129. The Punjab Govt. proposed to implement new scheme namely Award to Village Panchayats for Promoting Education & Socio-economic development of SCs under which a sum of Rs. 50,000/- is to be provided to each panchayat who will work for the education and socio-economic development of SCs.
130. The government stands committed to construct Dr. B.R.Ambedkar Bhawans at all district headquarters. These Bhawans have been completed in 13 districts in the State and construction work in 4 districts is in progress. An amount of Rs. 500.00 lac has been earmarked for the year 2009-10. Land is being acquired in three newly created districts namely Barnala, SAS Nagar and Taran Tarn.
131. During the current financial year, there is a target to extend loans for self employment of Rs. 46.63 crores on easy terms to 12300 poor Scheduled Caste families and Rs. 3.76 crores to 2456 Backward Class families by the Punjab State Scheduled Castes Land Development and Finance Corporation and the Punjab Backward Classes Land Development and Finance Corporation respectively. For the year 2010-11, a sum of Rs. 45.25 crore and 26.13 crore has been proposed for advancing loans to 12000 and 3075 persons of these classes by these corporations respectively.
132. In the end, I re-iterate my government's firm resolve to take Punjab to new heights of development, progress and prosperity. In the fulfillment of this vision, my government seeks co-operation from one and all, especially from the Opposition. The doors of the government are always open for any constructive suggestion for the welfare of the state. It believes in a policy of maximum consensus on issues concerning the state and its people, and will continue to work towards that consensus. Confrontation has no place in a civilized society, and in fact runs contrary to the mandate which the people have given to all the worthy members present here. The government is deeply committed to that mandate. I would like to repeat what the Chief Minister of my government has often said: Punjab belongs to all of us and so does my government.
133. With this, I am sure that all the worthy members will contribute in a very fruitful and constructive manner to the proceedings of the House, and will cut across political lines to address the issues concerning the state and its people. I wish you all a very happy and fruitful period ahead.
ROTATIONAL IRRIGATION PROGRAMME FOR RABI SEASON ANNOUNCED
Chandigarh, March 4:
The Irrigation Department, Punjab has announced the Rotational Programme for irrigation for the Khariff Season through Canal water from 08-03-2009 to 15-03-2009. The channels of Sirhind Canal System would run on the priority basis from Sidhwan Branch, Bathinda Branch, Bist Doab, Abohar Branch and Patiala feeder, respectively.
Disclosing this here today a spokesman of the irrigation department said that direct distributaries of Bhakra Main Line in group 'A' being in the channels of first preference will run to their indent and balance water supplies available will be utilized in Ghaggar Branch and its off taking channels i.e Ghaggar Branch and Patiala Minor in Group 'B' respectively.
The spokesman further said that all the direct distributaries of Sirhind Feeder in group 'A' being in the First preference will run to their indent and balance water supplies available would be utilised in Abohar Branch off-taking from Sirhind Feeder and its distributaries/Minors in Group 'B'.
The spokesman also said that the channels off taking from upper Bari Doab Canal i.e. Lahore Branch with its distributaries being in the channels of first Preference would run to their indent and balance water would be supplies water available in Main Branch Lower, Kasur Branch Lower, Sabraon Branch with their distributaries respectively.