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On the historic occasion of India's 62nd Republic Day


Parkash Singh Badal Chief Minister Punjab On the historic occasion of India's 62nd Republic Day, I extend my warm greetings to all Punjabis at home and abroad and wish them a very peaceful and prosperous future. Achieving the sovereign democratic Republic status on 26th January 1950 was the first milestone of independent India in realizing the dreams of our countrymen as our Constitution on this day gave expression to the goals, ideals and values that had guided our long freedom struggle. Constitution laid the foundations of equitable national life and solid edifice of responsive governance for securing justice, liberty, equality and dignity for all the citizens.

I am reminded of the unparalleled contributions of Punjab in bringing about the historic moment of Independence of this great nation. This paved way for the framing of our own Constitution with a right to vote and elect the government of our choice. Punjab has special reasons to remember this day with reverence. Over 80% of the great warriors, who made supreme sacrifices for attaining freedom, belonged to Punjab. Punjabis' immense contribution in bolstering the national freedom movement ultimately led to the culmination of British rule. The great martyrs Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Lala Lajpat Rai, Shaheed Udham Singh, Kartar Singh Sarabha, Dewan Singh Kalepani, Namdhari Baba Ram Singh, Sohan Singh Bhakna and many more who shed every drop of their blood and had languished in jails, have left a rich legacy for all of us which demands constant love for our motherland and firm commitment to preserve India’s glory. It is a matter of great pride and honour for me that as a nation, we have triumphed over numerous odds and obstacles, thanks to our commitment to democracy, secularism, unity and integrity. It is, indeed, an occasion for celebration and rejoicing. At the same time it is a day of calm introspection about our successes and our failures in realizing the goals set in the Constitution and the dreams of the stalwarts of India 's freedom struggle. Notwithstanding over six decades of planned development, we have not been able to ensure basic minimal services to our people as inequalities between states and people continue to grow. Large sections of our rural population and those residing in urban slums are still to partake of the fruits of growth and development. Our SAD-BJP government during the past four years have turned a new leaf in revenue generation, infrastructure development, employment & skill development, power generation, governance reforms international air connectivity, education, health care, rural and urban development. We have declared 2011 – as the year of Transformation for Punjab in which the state would enter the decisive phase of the era of new age-development. The path breaking initiatives undertaken by the state government would be taken to their logical climax in this year. However, the last four years proved to be the most satisfied period of my political career in terms of service to the state. We have been successfully able to create excellent environment for good governance, responsive administration and efficient service delivery system.
On the power front, our government has focused its attention on making Punjab a power surplus state by generating additional capacity of 12000 MWs. To fulfill this commitment, work had already commenced at Thermal Plants near Talwandi Sabo (2640 MW), Goindwal Sahib (540 MW) and Rajpura Thermal Project (2100 MW). A MoU and Power Purchase Agreement for Thermal Plant at Gidderbaha (2640 MW) had been signed with NTPC for execution as Regional Power Station. Four Thermal Plants would entail an investment of Rs. 50,000 crore. Likewise, another MoU had also been signed with Indiabulls Group for 1350 MW Thermal Project in Mansa district, besides 1000 MW Gas based Power Plant near Ropar has been planned. Punjab is all set to reduce peak demand by 500 MW by installing 1.92 crore CFLs in 48 lac households under Bachat Lamp Yojna. Another 500 MWs of additional power would be saved by initiating steps on demand side management projects.
An ambitious programme of Rs.2111 crore for the cleaning of river Satluj (Rs.1376 crore), river Beas (Rs.222 crore) and river Ghaggar (Rs. 513 crore) has been initiated to clean these rivers and made pollution free within a year. As a part of this programme, all the cities and towns would be provided with the facilities of sewerage and safe drinking water by November 2011.

Infrastructure development is another thrust area in which major initiatives have been taken to revamp the network of roads, flyovers, railway over bridges and high level bridges involving an investment of over Rs.17000 crore. A sum of Rs. 4214 crore had been spent on upgradation of National Highways to four and six lane expressways besides, Rs. 1854 crore on the upgradation of 4742 Km rural roads under NABARD and Pardhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yozana. 5775 KMs of new rural link roads had been constructed at a cost of Rs.811 crore and Rs.1026 crore spent on the repair of 12530 KM of these roads. Rs. 1430 crore had been spent on the 4-laning, upgradation & maintenance of State Highways & Plan roads.

Our government has successfully achieved another milestone in the field of Civil Aviation with the setting up of new International Civil Air Terminal at Mohali. Sri Guru Ram Dass ji International Airport Amritsar had been upgraded and the Domestic Civil Airport at Bathinda would be made operational shortly. Similarly, the Civil Airport at Sahnewal near Ludhiana had also been upgraded and made functional. Another Rs.17000 crore Greenfield International Airport near Ludhiana in collaboration with world class Changi International Airport Singapore had also been planned. Two flying training academies at Talwandi Sabo and Faridkot were also being set up.

Our government is conscious of the fact that the administrative structure must not only respond to the changing needs of society but also command the confidence of our people. In order to achieve these objectives for the first time since Independence, a concrete initiative has been taken for administrative reforms to make day-to-day governance more responsive, accountable and transparent. The state government would soon provide all the 70 Citizen Centric services to the people within next three months in a hassle free manner thereby eliminating the various outdated and cumbersome procedures causing inordinate delay and harassment to them.

On the Industrial front, we worked day & night to restart the most prestigious project of Guru Gobind Singh Refinery at Bathinda, which had been put on hold for more than five years by the previous government. World acclaimed Mittal Group of industries have joined hands with HPCL to implement this project with an investment of about Rs.19,000 crore and is expected to start commercial production by June, 2011 much before its schedule. New Industrial Policy-2009 (included IT and agro industries) has been implemented with an objective to push the state’s economy and ensure level playing field to all investors and entrepreneurs being the stake holders in the economic process of development and growth in Punjab.

We are attempting to make radical transformation of our economy and it has made impressive headway in past four years. Prudent economic policies and financial management has resulted in whopping increase in VAT collection, almost 100% from Rs.5136 core to Rs.10500 crore during the current fiscal which is likely to cross the mark of Rs. 14000 crore by March 2012. Likewise, there has been a hike of 75% in the Excise revenue from Rs.1548 crore to Rs.2500 crore in 2010-11. It is also matter of satisfaction that Punjab 's growth rate of 8.8% is higher than the national average of 7.4% in terms of advance estimates for 2009-10 as per the study of GoI's Central Statistical Organization.

As a major initiative to revamp the century old canal network in the state the SAD-BJP government had undertaken a massive irrigation infrastructure development programme at a cost of Rs.3769 crore for rehabilitating/strengthening of main canal system/minors and distributaries, construction of minors/distributaries. Construction work on the Rs.2285 crore prestigious Shahpur Kandi Dam project had been started. Relining of Rajasthan feeder and Sirhind feeder project at a cost of Rs.1441 crore had also been sanctioned.

Strenuous efforts have been made to revamp the education infrastructure at all levels be it school, college and university. Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) at Ropar, Indian School of Business (ISB) at Mohali, Central University at Bathinda besides had already been established and classes were on. World Class University at Amritsar was being also set up besides two private universities one DAV University at Jalandhar and another Chitkara University at Banur had been established. As many as 17 degree colleges, 7 hi- tech govt. polytechnic colleges, 21 model schools, 21 girl hostels and 118 Adarsh Schools were being set up in the state to provide quality education to the students. Record recruitment of 45000 school teachers have been undertaken in a transparent and fair manner. Even the technical, medical education & research have been restructured and modernized according to the felt needs of the society. A sum of Rs.400 crore is being spent on the upgradation of infrastructure in the medical colleges of Amritsar, Patiala, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences Faridkot and its constituent Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital. A plan of Rs 346 crore for upgradation of infrastructure and equipment in the hospitals to provide the best medical and health care facilities to the people is under implementation.

Skill Development programme is another priority sector of the government to generate employment potential for our unemployed youth. We have tied up with Bharti Wal Mart to impart training in retailing, logistics and supply chain management, L&T for construction skills and Tata Motors for driving and automotive skill. Maharaja Ranjit Singh Preparatory Institute for Military Training at Mohali besides two NCC academies at Ropar & Malout have been planned to secure the placement of our youth in the deference services. A Naval academy is also being set up at Ropar to impart training in merchant navy.

Our government’s commitment to the welfare of the poor is reflected in the novel 'atta-dal scheme'. Punjab is probably the first state in the country to launch Atta-Dal Scheme to provide Wheat at Rs.4 per kg and Dal at Rs.20 per kg to approximately 16 lac families at a cost of Rs.400 crore per annum. Initially criticized by our opponents as impracticable, this scheme is now replicated by the Government of India.

We have recently come up with a new Sports Policy- 2010 aimed at achieving excellence in the sports and giving incentives to sportspersons, who win laurels for the state at national as well as international level.

Three historic memorials at Chapparchiri (SAS Nagar), Kup Ruhira (Malerkotla) and Chhamb Kahnuwan (Gurdaspur) at a cost of Rs.44 were being constructed to commemorate the victory of Sirhind by Baba Banda Singh Bahadur and in the memory of Chotta and Wadda Ghallughara martyrs respectively. I appeal to the Punjabis to continue their efforts to ensure an era of overall development and prosperity and bring lasting peace to the state by strengthening traditional secular bonds and helping the people to pursue their vocations fearlessly and diligently in their pursuit of prosperity. I whole-heartedly urge all of you to come forward and play an active role in the process of development and growth of Punjab to emerge it once again as a front runner state on the national map.
Let us rededicate ourselves to work collectively to build a strong and prosperous Punjab besides strengthening the bonds of communal harmony and peace.


Chandigarh January 24:-

The NRI Cell setup by the Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal in his office to sort out the issues and grievances of Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) on priority basis started its functioning with first meeting held under the Chairmanship of Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Mr. Darbara Singh Guru here today. Secretary Revenue Mr. Sanjay Kumar, Commissioner NRI Affairs Mr. Vikas Partap Singh, Inspector General of Police Ms. Gurpreet Deo and Secretary NRI Cell Mr. D.S. Mangat attended the meeting.

The Cell had received eleven complaints from NRIs mainly relating to property disputes. The meeting examined the complaints and in the process, four complaints were sent to concerned Deputy Commissioners and four to different Police Commissionerates for their speedy disposal with directions to submit the report within 15 days to the Cell. The remaining three complaints which were with incomplete facts had been kept pending and more information has been sought from the concerned NRI complainants.

It is worthwhile to maintain that the Chief Minister had indicated that he will personally monitor the functioning of the Cell and directed the concerned officers to make it fully responsive and transparent. The Deputy Chief Minister had also announced that Ms. Gurpreet Deo, Inspector General NRI will inquire into the various complaints.

The NRI Cell meeting discussed various strategies and modalities for speedy redressal of the grievances of NRIs and expedite the issues within a time bound frame work as per law. It was also resolved that Commissioner NRI Affairs and the Police Department will work together in complete coordination to find appropriate solution to the problems of NRIs.

It may be recalled that the Punjab Government has set in motion the process of drastically reforming the system through governance reforms to check the harassment of common people in government offices especially the NRIs. This newly introduced concept will improve the delivery systems in the state. He said that the government had already taken revolutionary steps for protecting the properties of NRIs and introducing online system for securing revenue documents & farads, copies of the FIRs. Dedicated police-stations for NRIs have been established and Exclusive and fast track courts have been set up to resolve their disputes. He said that the government has already done away with the unnecessary but cumbersome practice of filing affidavits in many spheres.


Chandigarh January 24:
The Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal toady expressed profound grief at the death of legendary classical singer Bharat Ratna Pandit Bhim Sen Joshi, who passed away today at Pune, after brief illness.

In a condolence message Mr. Badal said that Pandit Bhim Sen Johsi would be remembered as a musical marvel, who lifted the listeners to a divine experience with his singing. He said that the demise of Pandit Bhim Sen Joshi was simply irreplaceable.

Mr. Badal expressed heartfelt sympathies with the bereaved family and prayed to God to give peace to the departed soul and strength to the family to bear this irreparable loss.


Chandigarh January 24:

National Voters Day State level function which was scheduled to be held at S.B.S. Nagar (Nawan Shahr) on January 25, 2011 at 3.00 PM, now would be held at Red Cross Bhawan, Jalandhar at 4.00 pm on January 25, 2011. H.E. the Governor of Punjab Shri Shivraj V Patil will be the Chief Guest and Mr. S.C.Agrawal, Chief Secretary, Punjab will be the Guest of Honour on the occasion.Disclosing this here today a spokesman of Election Department Punjab said that the venue of function had been changed due to some administrative reasons.


Press Note

A state level function which was scheduled to be held at of SBS Nagar (Nawashaher ) to honour 100 Panchayats to achieve better sex-ratio, now would be held at State Institute of Health and Family Welfare, Phase VI, nearby Civil Hospital SAS Nagar, Mohali on January 25,2011 at 10.30 am.
Disclosing this here today a spokesman of Health & Family Welfare Department said that H.E.Governor of Punjab, Shivraj V Patil would be the chief guest and Prof. Laxmi Kanta Chawla, Health and Family Welfare Minister, Punjab would preside over the function.
He said that the venue of function had been changed due to some administrative reasons.



Chandigarh January 24:

The Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal toady expressed profound grief at the death of legendary classical singer Bharat Ratna Pandit Bhim Sen Joshi, who passed away today at Pune, after brief illness.

In a condolence message Mr. Badal said that Pandit Bhim Sen Johsi would be remembered as a musical marvel, who lifted the listeners to a divine experience with his singing. He said that the demise of Pandit Bhim Sen Joshi was simply irreplaceable.

Mr. Badal expressed heartfelt sympathies with the bereaved family and prayed to God to give peace to the departed soul and strength to the family to bear this irreparable loss.


Chandigarh, January 22:

The State level Republic Day Celebration would be held at Jalandhar where the Governor of Punjab would unfurl the national flag and take the solute on January 26th.. S. Sukhbir Singh Badal, Deputy Chief Minister, Punjab would unfurl the flag at Ferozpur where as Mr. Nirmal Singh Kahlon, Speaker Punjab Vidhan Sabha would unfurl the flag at Hoshiarpur.

Stating this her today a spokesman of the Punjab Government said that all the Cabinet Minister namely Mr. Manoranjan Kalia at Ludhiana, Mr. Ranjit Singh Brahmpura at Gurdaspur, Mr. Tikshan Sud-at Patiala, Smt. Upinderjit Kaur at Sangrur, S. Adesh Partap Singh-at Amritsar, Smt. Laxmi Kanta Chawla-Bathinda, Mr. Ajit Singh Kohar-Moga, Master Mohan Lal-Pathankot, Mr. Gulzar Singh Ranike- Kapurthala, Mr.Parminder Singh Dhindsa-Roopnagar, Mr. Swarna Ram-Tarantaran, Mr. Sucha Singh Langah-Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar, Mr. Janmeja Singh Sekhon-Faridkot, Mr. Hira Singh Gabria- Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, S. Sewa Singh Sekhwan-Fathegarh Sahib and Capt. Balbir Singh Bath at Muktsar.

He further said that the Chief Parliamentary Secretaries Mrs. Mohinder Kaur Josh-Barnala, Mr. Harish Rai Dhanda-Mansa, Ch. Nand Lal-Phagwara, Mr.Desh Raj Dhugga-Mukarian, Mr. Sheetal Singh –Nihal Singh Wala, Mr. Jagdeep Singh Nakai- Abohar, Mr. Bikramjit Singh Khalsa-Khana, Mr. Avinash Chander-Sri Anandpur Sahib, Mr. Arunesh Shakar-Dasuya, Mr. Sukhpal Singh-Zira, Mr. Raj Kumar Khurana-Rajpura and Mr. Sohan Singh Thandal- Nikodar would unfurl the National Flag on Republic Day.


The Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today from US, telephonically expressed shock at the sudden demise of Lt. Col. Hira Singh Sandhu (Retd.) the son of MLA (Nawanshahar) Mr. Jatinder Singh Kariha.

Lt. Col. Sandhu was 40 and survived by his wife, a son and a daughter. Presently he was working as Commandant, C-PYTE Nawanshahar.

In a condolence message Mr. Badal expressed heartfelt sympathies with the bereaved family and prayed to the Almighty to grant peace to the departed soul and strength to family members to bear this irreparable loss
Punjab’s Health and Family Welfare Minister, Prof Laxmi Kanta Chawla

Chandigarh, 21st Jan:

Punjab’s Health and Family Welfare Minister, Prof Laxmi Kanta Chawla told that 70000 officials have been deputed across 15338 booths to administer Polio Vaccine to 40 Lakh children in the state.
Pulse Polio Campaign is being held from 23-25 January 2011. To administer drops to the children below age of 5 years, pulse polio booths have been formed at prime locations like bus stands, railway stations, temples, gurudwaras, factories and remote locations and residential places of migratory populations etc all across the state. She added that on Sunday, 23rd January drops will be given at these booths. House to house visits will be undertaken on 24th & 25th January to cover the children that remained uncovered on sunday. The entire exercise will be personally supervised by the senior officers of the department who have already been assigned different districts of Punjab.

Prof Laxmi Kanta Chawla appealed people of the state to reach the nearest polio booth on Sunday and get their children less than 5 years age, administered the polio drops. She urged all political leaders of Punjab, from Member Panchayats’ to Member Parliaments’ to extend a whole hearted support to the Pulse Polio campaign by visiting each and every household of their area and motivating people to get their children administered polio drops so as to ensure that not even a single child is left uncovered.
Punjab State

23rd January 2011- Booth Day
24th & 25th Jan 2011- House to House Visits.
Children to be covered – 40 Lacs
Total no of Teams- 15338
No. of Polio Booths on 23rd Jan Sunday – 15338
No. of staff on Pulse Polio duty – 70,000
Polio Vaccine supply Control Room - 98159-40417

Districts allocated to top officers of head quarter
(Overall Supervision by Prof Laxmi Kanta Chawla, Health Minister)
Sh Satish Chandra, IAS,
Principal Secretary, HealthJalandhar & Kapurthala
Smt Raji P. Srivastava, IAS
MD-Punjab Health Systems CorporationPatiala & Sangrur
Sh B. Purushartha, IAS,
MD-National Rural Health MissionMansa & Bathinda
Sh Gurdeep Singh, Addl Secretary HealthRopar & SAS Nagar
Sh Vinod Bhalla, Addl Secretary HealthFerozepur & Faridkot
Dr J.P Singh, Director Health ServicesGurdaspur & Hoshiarpur
Dr Ashok Nayyar, Director Family WelfareAmritsar & Tarn Taran
Dr Lehmber Singh, Director PHSCSBS Nagar
Other officers - Remaining Districts
All Civil Surgeons to monitor their districts
All Programme Officers of headquarter to visit districts


JANUARY 21:Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal and Deputy Chief Minister Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal today felicitated the eminent playwright Dr. Atamjit Singh who had been conferred with the most coveted Bhartiya Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for the year 2010 in playwright Punjabi category.Lauding the spectacular achievement of Dr. Atamjit who had been given this prestigious honour for his enormous contribution in the promotion of Punjabi theater, language and literature, the Chief Minister said that Dr. Atamjit Singh had not only done proud to Punjab but also the country through this rare feat. "Honouring Dr. Atamjit Singh, the noted playwright, dedicated teacher and an academician of repute by the Sahitya Akademi would go a long way to encourage the younger lot of litterateurs to excel in the field of Punjabi literature, language and culture", complimented Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal.


Chandigarh January 21:

National Voters Day State level function will be held on January 25, 2011 at Shivalik Public School, S.B.S. Nagar (Nawan Shahr) in the afternoon at 3.00 PM. H.E. the Governor of Punjab Shri Shivraj V Patil will be the Chief Guest and Mr. S.C.Agrawal, Chief Secretary, Punjab will be the Guest of Honour on the occasion.

Disclosing this here today Chief Electoral Officer Punjab Ms Kushumjuit Sidhu said that all the newly registered voters would be given their Elector Photo Identity Cards (EPICs) at the respective Polling Booths on this occasion. She said that Election Department Punjab would also hold small functions at polling stations to distribute the EPICs and Deputy Commissioners would be the Nodal Officers for arranging such functions to facilitate the new voters.

Madam Sidhu further said that Election Commission had conducted a special revision campaign to enroll all eligible voters especially those who have attained the age of 18 years upto 1.1.2011. She appealed to all the citizens who have not yet registered themselves as voters to contact their local Booth Level Officers for registration as voters.




With a view to honour 100 Gram Panchayts of the Punjab which have achieve better sex-ratio, a state level function is being organized at Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar (Nawan Shehar) on January 25, 2011..
Disclosing this here today a spokesman of Health & Family Welfare Department Punjab said that Governor of Punjab, HE Shivraj V Patil would be the Chief Guest and Health and Family Welfare Minister Punjab Prof. Laxmi Kanta Chawla would preside over the function.

The spokesman further said that women athletes of Punjab who had won medals in Common Wealth Games, 2010 and Asian Games 2010 would also be honoured on the occasion.



Chandigarh January 21: The Punjab Government has demanded a minimum 50 per cent share in the central taxes pointing out that the state governments bears most of the burden of providing the basic needs of the public.

Presenting state demands during the pre-budget conference of Finance Ministers at New Delhi Dr Upinderjit Kaur Finance Minister Punjab said that state governments are closer to people and provide most of the basic services. "Hence there is a clear case for increasing the share of states in central taxes", she endorsed.

The Finance Minister added that the States in their joint memorandum has requested the thirteenth Finance Commission to devolve atleast 50% of the Central taxes to the States. But the commission has enhanced the share of the States from 29.5% to 32% only. "This was gross injustice to all the States. With the successive Finance Commissions focussing attention only towards the backward states, Punjab has consistently been denied its due share in Central taxes as compared to many states, Upinderjit Kaur said.

Dr Upinderjit Kaur rued that the fifth Finance Commission (1970-75) had recommended share of Punjab at 2.450%, but consecutive Finance Commissions thereby reduced the share to state and the twelfth Finance Commission (2005-10) further reduced it at 1.299%. Adding further she alleged that it was unfair that the Union Government was taking away 70 per cent of the Central taxes collected in the state and returning only 1.3 per cent.

The Minister argued that by implementing recommendations of fifth Pay Commission for its employees and pensioners it involves additional expenditure of Rs. 7200 crore and the State alone unable bear such a huge burden. "The thirteenth Finance Commission had also not given any grant to the State for payment of arrears hence Central Government should provide non-plan grant of atleast Rs.3600 crore (50% of total liability) to the State in 2011-12. Besides, there should be an increase of at least 30% in central assistance for Annual Plan 2011-12 of the State.

Dr Upinderjit Kaur emphasized that Government of India has fixed net borrowing limit of the State for 2011-12 at Rs.8,923 crore which should be 3.5% of projected GSDP of the State as per recommendations of the thirteenth Finance Commission. The Punjab Government has requested the Center that the GSDP of the State for the current fiscal should be worked out by applying at least 20% growth rate on quick estimates of 2009-10. Adding further she demanded that while working out the gross borrowings of the State, the entire repayment of loans by State during the year should be accounted for. Hence the State requires to repay loans of Rs.2,347 crore in 2011-12, she added.
Arguing on the state borrowing limits the Finance Minister advised that the Government of India must consult the State Governments before giving small savings loans to the States. "States should have freedom to choose between small savings loans and market borrowing within their borrowing limits", she said. Adding further Dr Upinderjit Kaur said that the thirteenth Finance Commission has recommended that the loans to the States from national small savings fund contracted till 2006-07 and outstanding at the end of 2009-10 have to be reset at 9% rate of interest. In this case Punjab is eligible for interest relief of Rs. 703.34 crore for the period of 2010-11 to 2014-15. She claimed that the interest relief of Rs. 158.87 crore recommended for the year 2010-11 should be given to the State immediately. Similarly, interest relief of Rs. 150.22 crore recommended for the year 2011-12 should be given to the State during April or May, 2011.

Dr Upinderjit Kaur demanded that the States should be allowed to use atleast 10% of the amounts in Calamity Relief Fund (CRF) for preventive measures. She called for more allocation to the state from the CRF, considering the frequent natural calamities affecting crops, properties and public. "The compensation, especially for crop loss, needed to be substantially increased", the Finance Minister said. Adding further she sought that Center should implement eleventh and twelfth Finance Commission’s recommendations and the balance of the fund at the end of 31.03.2010 should be made available to States for using it as plan resource or may be written off.

The Finance Minister regretted that the Central policy of providing tax holiday for industrial units in Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttarakhand had caused de-industrialization in the Punjab with large number of manufacturing units migrating to these “tax havens”. "Center should not extend the present policy of tax holiday in any form and tax holiday to new units in these States should not be continued from April 2011, she added.

To retain and uphold fiscal autonomy, she has made it clear to the Centre that overlooking the proposals of various states while introducing Goods and Services Tax (GST) would affect their fiscal autonomy to lower or increase taxes and potentially bleed their exchequers dry.

The Finance Minister clarified that States concerns were basically for preserving and defending fiscal autonomy and also retaining some flexibility in the system so that if there was any natural calamity, states would have to take recourse to additional tax measures. She said that Punjab had demanded that states be given the authority to decide on the quantum of service tax. "Punjab and some others states wanted that legislature of states to be given primacy, which was there currently," she emphasized.
The Finance Minister informed that Punjab earns between Rs 1,200 crore in taxes per annum i.e. nearly 15% of the total VAT revenue, from foodgrain purchase alone which was meant for other states. "The Central government would need to first adequately compensate Punjab for the loss of more than Rs 1,400 crore per year on account of abolition of purchase tax after the introduction of GST", she stressed.

Dr Upinderjit Kaur said that if purchase tax was to be subsumed, the agrarian States would lose this revenue on a continuous basis. "Punjab has made huge investments in the agriculture sector over a period and in the process, even natural resources like soil and water were getting depleted", she said. Adding further she informed that Punjab is contributing about 50% of the total foodgrains to the Central pool and thereby playing a major role in the food security of the Nation. Hence in the proposed GST regime, the purchase tax must be kept out of GST, she argued.

She also demanded that the Government of India should release the various grants on schemes like Local Bodies and JNNURM to the States without any pre-conditions. Besides this, Punjab has also asked the Center to rationalize Excise Duty structure in Union Territory of Chandigarh, to bring it at par with the neighbouring States because the Excise Duty on liquor was on lower side in UT Chandigarh comparison to the State of Punjab resulting into smuggling of liquor to neighbouring States. She asserted that Punjab was not only losing the revenue but the other related activities pertaining to crime were also increasing.

The Finance Minister suggested to the Union Government that if threshold limit for Central GST was to be kept at the level of State GST i.e. Rs. 10 lakh instead of Rs. 1.50 Crore at present under Central Excise Act, then the management of such dealer having turnover up to Rs. 1.50 Crore should be entrusted to States, otherwise such small dealer would be exposed to two different authorities which would not be acceptable to small scale enterprises and it would be the difficult to sell the idea of GST.
She further informed that apart from this, Punjab is known for small scale industries (SSIs), especially in the field of hosiery, manufacturing of sports goods and cycle parts. "If threshold level is reduced from the present Rs.1.5 crore to Rs.10 lakh then the SSIs would become non-competitive and over a period would be forced to close down their operations. "This would not only affect the economy of the Punjab State but would also create unemployment problems in the State. So this issue might be re-examined by the Center, she cautioned.



Chandigarh January 21:-
The Punjab government would be setting up four ultra-modern cattle mandis across the state to promote livestock business.
S. Gulzar Singh Ranike, Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development and Fisheries Minister Punjab said that the state government would spent Rs. 2.25 crore on four new cattle mandis in Amritsar, Kalianwali (Muktsar), Jagraon (Ludhiana) and Swarnpur (Kapurthala) in the state.
S. Ranike said that the mandis would have quality veterinary care and facilities such as canteens, rest house and internet. The Minister said that under the dynamic leadership of Punjab Chief Minister S. Parkash Singh Badal, SAD-BJP government was fully committed to provide more facilites to the dairy farmers for their live stock.


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