Chandigarh :The Punjab Cabinet led by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Tuesday approved summoning of the 2nd (Budget Session) of the 16th Punjab Vidhan Sabha from June 24th and recommended the same to Governor Banwari Lal Purohit, who is authorized to officially summon the State Legislature as per Article 174(1) of the Constitution of India.
A decision to this effect was taken in the meeting of the Cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann here at Chief Minister’s Office.
Divulging the details a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office said that the Cabinet gave nod for promulgation of the session from June 24th with Obituary references and motion of thanks on Governor Address followed by discussion on it. The Finance Minister will present the budget for the year 2022-23 on Monday June 27th and general discussion on Budget will take place thereafter. The Audit report of Comptroller and Auditor General of India for year 2018-19 and year 2019-20 along with Financial and Appropriation Accounts for year 2019-20 and 2020-21 will also be tabled during the session.
In order to save natural resources of the state in terms of precious ground water besides improving soil health and generating additional income for the farmers, the Cabinet also gave green signal for providing Minimum Support Price (MSP) on Summer Moong at Rs 7275 per quintal for the year 2022-23 by Markfed, the state nodal agency for the purchase of crop. It was also decided to provide viability gap funding to the agency @Rs 1875 per quintal amounting to nearly Rs 66.56 crore. It is worth mentioning that during the current season Summer Moong is being sown on about 95,000 acres of land with an expected yield of five quintal per acre. This will help in sowing short duration varieties of paddy which is expected to save 10-20% of underground water thereby conserving the natural resources.
To further strengthen the rural infrastructure in the state, the Punjab Cabinet approved the introduction of “Punjab Rural Development (Amendment) Bill-2022” by amending Section-7 of the Punjab Rural Development Act-1987 in the current session of the Vidhan Sabha. With the enactment of the new bill, the RDF shall be spent for the purposes/activities including; Construction or repair of approach roads to mandis/procurement centres and street lights thereon enabling farmers in transportation of their produce, Construction/development of new mandis/procurement centers and development of old/katcha mandis/procurement centres, For making arrangements for supply of drinking water and for improving sanitation in the mandis/procurement centres, for providing well equipped rest houses/night shelters/sheds for farmers and labour engaged in procurement operations.
Likewise, RDF would also be spent for augmenting storage facilities in mandies to store procured stocks so as to strengthen the procurement and marketing systems in the State, to provide relief to debt stressed farmers of the State to eliminate any possibility of distress sale, Development of hardware/software related to procurement/linking of land records, crop survey, bio- authentication of farmers at the mandi/State level which may improve transparency and facilitate the procurement activities, Installation/Purchase of computerized electronic weighbridge/weighment facilities/quality testing equipment’s/sieving facilities in the mandi/procurement centres and its integration with e-procurement module, For automation and mechanization of mandies with facility of cleaning, sorting, drying, analyzing quality of grains, small shipping silo, bag sacking and stitching and for carrying out such purposes which may lead to strengthening of mandies/procurement operations, added the spokesperson.
CABINET DECIDES TO WAIVE OFF STAMP DUTY LEVIED FOR STREET VENDORS
In a much needed succor to street vendors badly hit by COVID-19 pandemic, the Punjab Cabinet also decided to waive off stamp duty being levied on executing the Loan/hypothecation agreement up to Rs. 50,000 (third tranche loan) for the street vendors in the state under PM SVANidhi Scheme. Pertinently, the street vendors are the most vulnerable segment of the society and they have been hit badly by COVID-19 pandemic, so they needed special help to revive their business. Thus, the state government has decided to waive off the amount of Rs. 127 levied on a Loan/Hypothecation agreement up to Rs. 50,000 for street vendors.
The Cabinet also gave go ahead for amending clause 3(1) of “The Punjab State Legislature Members (Pension and Medical Facilities Regulation) Act, 1977” to give MLAs of Punjab Vidhan Sabha one pension (irrespective of the number of terms served) at new rate of Rs 60,000 per month plus Dearness Allowance as applicable to the pensioners of the Punjab government. This will replace the existing provision as per which a MLA is being paid a pension of Rs 15,000 per mensem plus dearness allowance thereon (as admissible to the Punjab government pensioners) for the first term and an additional pension of Rs 10,000 plus Dearness allowance thereon (as admissible to Punjab government pensioners) for every subsequent term. The Punjab government is expected to save around Rs 19.53 crore annually with this historic initiative, added the spokesperson.
NOD TO ANNUAL ADMINISTRATIVE REPORTS OF JAIL DEPARTMENT AND PUNJAB EX-SERVICEMEN CORPORATION
The Punjab Cabinet also gave green signal Annual Administrative Reports of the Jail Department for the year 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18 besides the Punjab Ex-Servicemen Corporation for 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20.
APPROVES AMENDMENT IN SERVICE RULES FOR GROUP-A AND FRAMING GROUP-B SERVICE RULES OF STATE ELECTION COMMISSION
The Cabinet also gave nod to amend Group-A, 2014 service rules and framing of Group-B service rules of State Election Commission, Punjab as per the orders passed by Punjab and Haryana High Court in Civil Writ Petition No. 20838 of 2016 to deal with the service matters and promotions of the staff. Notably, the State Election Commissioner and staff posts were created by the Government as per the approval of the Finance Department in view of the provisions made in State Election Commission Act, 1994. However, due to the non availability of departmental service rules for the employees of the office of the State Election Commission, there were difficulties in dealing wit