Chandigarh, August 16:
As the government led by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann completes five months in office, five cabinet ministers holding key ministries,held a joint press conference to present a record of their performance.
Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema, Education Minister Harjot Singh Bains, Health Minister Chetan Singh Jodemajra, Agriculture Minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal, and Power & PWD Minister Harbhajan Singh ETO listed out a string of achievements and promises fulfilled so far.
Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema said that among the main achievements of the Chief Minister Bhagwant Man led government is the earmarking of a lion’s share, that is 35.06 percent of total budget for 9 major key departments of Health and Family Welfare, Medical Education and Research, Education (School and Higher), Technical Education, Home Affairs, Cooperation, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, and Social Security, Women and Child Development for this financial year.
Stating that Punjab Government is putting in honest efforts to improve the fiscal health of the state, Cheema said that the government has returned the loan amounting to Rs. 12339 crore including the principal amount of Rs. 6349 crore and interest on loan Rs 5989 Crore, while the loan of Rs. 10729 crore rupees was availed during this period.
Cheema further added that Mann Government has paid Rs 525 Crore to bailout Punjab State Agriculture Cooperative Bank (PSACB), 188.01 crore for payment to pensioner of PSACB, Rs. 200 crore for payment to sugarcane farmer, Rs. 100 crore out of total Rs. 350 crore to Food and Civil Supplies to bailout PUNSUP, Rs. 66.56 crore out of Rs. 100 crore to the Agricultural and farmers welfare department for Moong Dal cultivation (Gap funding to MARKFED) and Rs. 5341.34 crore out of Rs. 15843.63 crore to the Power department for power subsidy payment to PSPCL.
Finance Minister said that Punjab Government has focused on improving the state revenue while making its maximum utilization for the welfare of the people of the state only. A target of 27 percent of the growth in GST collection was set for FY 2022-23, during the first four months the state achieved 24.15 percent growth with a collection of 7243 crores of GST, said Cheema while adding that the collection of GST will increase during the festive season.
Sharing the success story of the new excise police, Finance Minister said that with the new excise policy the Mann government collected Rs. 3108.17 crore whereas the previous government collected Rs 2166.48 for the same period during FY 2021-22. He said that the Aam Aadmi government registered excise growth of 43.47 percent by putting a full stop on the liquor mafia.
Agriculture, Rural Development and NRI Affairs Minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal, while presenting the five-month report card of the Bhagwant Mann government said that the Punjab government has ordered the audit of the private Sugar Mills to find out sugarcane arrival and production of Sugar. He said that it has been decided to conduct an audit of private sugar mills to gather complete details about the sugar mills. He said that NRI Punjabis are contacting him to contribute to the development of the state for which a new policy will be introduced next week, a special trust is being established by the Punjab government, in which NRIs will be able to contribute and the money from this trust will be spent on improving health and education facilities in the state.
The Agriculture Minister said that the state government will not allow the sale of duplicate insecticides in the state at all. To stop such ill practices raids have been conducted at 6 big stores so far. He also said that the state government has banned 10 pesticides that were adversely affecting the quality of basmati, which were a major obstacle in the export quality.
Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal said that the government led by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann has launched a comprehensive campaign to get rid of illegal encroachment from panchayat land across the state, so far 9053 acres of panchayat land has been freed from ileagal encroachments including prime land near Mohali and other cities. He said that the Rural Development Department has so far located 7000 acres of panchayat land, the owner of which is the panchayat department, but this land was not known for many years. He said that the most historic step of the state government is that for the first time gram sabhas have been held in 12000 villages. He further said that 4500 crore rupees will be spent on the repair and strengthening of the link roads under the Mandi Board and the renovation and modernization of cattle markets will also be done.
Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal said that on the personal initiative of Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, 1760 crore rupees RDF have been released by the central government. The state government has already taken a decision that this money should be spent only for the overall development of villages.
He also said that Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann led government is taking various steps to bring the farmers out of the traditional wheat and paddy crop cycle and save water, the state government has given MSP for the first time on moong dal as a result of which about 1.29 lakh acres of moong dal was sown this year double the area swon last year. The Minister also disclosed that the state government has released 200 crore rupees to the sugarcane farmers, all the pendencies of sugarcane farmers will be cleared by September 7.
The Agriculture Minister said that 300 family members of the farmers who lost their lives during the farmers’ agitation have been given jobs by the government and compensation of Rs 5 lakh each.
The Power and PWD Minister Harbhajan Singh ETO said that the State Government led by the Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann has started free power to the consumers at the rate of 300 units per month from July 1, 2022. This would cost Rs. 5629 crores to the state exchequer. He said that the State Government has decided to continue the scheme pertaining to Rs. 3 per unit charges with 8 KW load which would cost state exchequer Rs. 1278 crore. The government has also waived off the bills of industrial consumers till December 31, 2021 thus accruing a subsidy of Rs. 2996 crore to the PSPCL. The total subsidy thus amounts to Rs. 18137 crore. For the farming community, the State Government has reduced the per horse power load from Rs. 4750 to Rs. 2500 under the BDS scheme which would benefit 1.59 lakh farmers. During the paddy season, the uninterrupted power was ensured to the farmers. On July 29th, 2022, the demand for power supply to the tune of 14, 207 MW was met which is a record. The Power Department has tendered for installing 1000 MW solar power plant. As regarding the employment, as many as 284 youth have been given jobs by the PSPCL during these 5 months. Also, 86 Beldars and 727 JEs have been given jobs on the compassionate grounds.
Elaborating on the achievements of the PWD, the Minister said that Punjab has a road network of 76500 Km. He also said that 38890 Km road network falls under the jurisdiction of the Public Works Department where as 32000 Km roads come under the Mandi Board which are repaired and taken care off at regular intervals. During the last 4 months, as many as 13 roads have been completed whereas 124 Km of roads have been repaired. The in principle approval for constructing a medical college at Sangrur at a cost of Rs. 345 crore has been given whereas the tenders worth Rs. 7.75 crore have been called for the nursing college. On the recruitment front, 22 Sub Divisional Engineers (SDE) have been given jobs in the jobs whereas the number of JEs recruited stands at 210.
Under the commitment of the Punjab government led by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann to provide better health facilities to the people of the state, the Health Department has taken a big step forward and fulfilled the promise of opening 75 Aam Aadmi clinics on Independence Day. Now, 25 more such clinics have been opened. This brings the total number of Aam Aadmi clinics to 100.
This Punjab Health and Medical Education Minister Chetan Singh Jouramajra was giving details of the work done by the State Government in a period of five months.
The Health Minister said that it was launched by the Chief Minister at Ludhiana. These clinics have been opened all over the state and would provide the best health services free of cost to people across the state. Every Aam Aadmi Clinic would have MBBS doctors to treat patients and diagnose diseases. There will be 4-5 staff members including doctors, pharmacists, nurses and others.
Mr. Jouramajra reiterated that health sector is the priority of the State Government. The De-addiction centers have been set up every five kilometers in the state. Similarly, the number of OOAT Clinics has been increased from 208 to 537. About 7.05 lakh patients have been registered in these centers.
Giving information about the recruitment, the Health Minister said that 253 community health officers, specialist doctors and others have been recruited and 296 staff have been empaneled for Mohalla clinics.
The Health Department is working continuously against Covid. The target regarding 96 percent of the first dose and 83 percent of the second dose to children above 12 years of age has been met. Testing is going on regularly and Health infrastructure is being strengthened under which initiatives such as 3 Mother Child Hospitals, Radio Therapy Center at Amritsar, installation of fire fighting system at Nabha, Setting up of ETPs at 31 Community Health Centres, Repair and renovation work in three district and 10 sub-division hospitals are in progress.
Mr. Jouramajra, who also has the charge of the Department of Medical Education and Research, said that in the next five years there will be a medical college in every district because there are 11 districts which do not have any medical college. Approval has been received from the Government of India for medical colleges at Hoshiarpur and Kapurthala and tenders are being floated. The foundation stone of the medical college was laid by the Chief Minister at Mastuana Sahib (Sangrur). A medical college at Malerkotla is under the consideration of the Ministry of Minorities.
The medical education budget was increased from Rs 659.66 crore to Rs. 1033.06 crore. The proposal to increase the remuneration of resident doctors has been approved. The remuneration of junior residents is being increased from 52 thousand to 67968 rupees and that of the senior resident is being increased from 65 thousand to 81562 rupees. During the last five months, 842 staff nurses and 81 posts of paramedics of 8 specialties were recruited and 52 posts of paramedics and 184 posts of medical faculty are also in the process of being recruited.