Punjab Cabinet Approves Recommendations Of High Powered Committee To Resolve Sugarcane Crisis


Punjab Chief Minister Mr.Parkash Singh Badal presiding over a Cabinet meeting at Punjab Bhawan, Chandigarh on Thursday.

Chandigarh, September 10, 2015: In a bid to resolve the prevailing sugarcane crisis in the state, the Punjab Cabinet today approved the report of committee headed by the Chief Secretary regarding the problems of payment of cane arrears to the farmers and ensuring crushing of cane in the ensuing season.
A decision to this effect was taken by the Cabinet in its meeting held under the Chairmanship of Punjab Chief Minister Mr.Parkash Singh Badal here at Punjab Bhawan this evening. 
Disclosing this here today Advisor to Chief Minister on National Affairs and Media Mr.Harcharan Bains said that the state government would arrange Rs 200 crore loan with state guarantee and interest subvention for three and half years. There would be two years moratorium and the sugar mills would repay the loan within five years. This loan would be used exclusively for payment of cane arrears due to farmers. It was worth mentioning that the state cooperative mils have already paid the entire amount for purchase of sugarcane.
In view of the sugar mills where the cost of production was higher than the whole sale price of sugar, the government would be paying about Rs 50 per quintal of sugarcane and the sugar mills would provide Rs 245 per quintal to the cane growers. The payment of Rs 50 would reduce with the increase in whole sale sugar price in the country.
In view of Housing for all (HFA) Urban Mission/ Pradhan Mantri Aavaas Yojna (PMAY) of the Government of India (GoI), the Cabinet approved the “Housing for all Policy for the state of Punjab (Urban)” formulated to provide affordable housing to Economically Weaker sections and slum dwellers of the state.
In a bid to provide sand and gravel to the general public at affordable prices, the Cabinet also decided to grant contract of quarries through reverse bidding process of pit head selling price. This move would enable the state government to sell sand at reduced prices and enhance its supply to consumers besides helping in containing the price of sand/ gravel in the market.
As a part of the state government’s recruitment drive aimed at providing jobs to the youth of state on one hand and putting the implementation of governance reforms on fast track on the other, the Cabinet also gave a go ahead for filling 1330 posts in the departments of Revenue and Irrigation. The Cabinet has given nod for filling 1230 posts of Revenue Patwaris in the year 2015-16 to ensure smooth functioning of Revenue Department. Likewise, approval has been given to revive 100 Posts of Sub Divisional Officers of Irrigation department to conduct recruitment on these posts through two stage examination to be conducted by Punjab University, Chandigarh and IIT.
In another significant decision, the Cabinet also gave green signal to Punjab State Grain Procurement Corporation (PUNGRAIN) to create modern scientific storage infrastructure as steel silos with capacity of 10 lakh metric ton at various locations in the state with financial assistance of NABARD.  The Silos were the best warehousing technology for storage of food grains especially Wheat but at present except for a capacity of 2.5 lakh MT as silos, the storage infra structure in state was in form of open plinths or the conventional godowns where food grains could not be maintained for long. Pertinently, steel silos could store the food grains for upto three years and its land requirement was one third of the conventional godowns.
Likewise, in order to promote silos/ godowns for storage of food grains and agriculture produce in the state, the Cabinet also decided to exempt them from External Development Charges (EDC) as well.
With a view to implementing the National Food Security Act, 2013 in the right earnest, the Cabinet also gave nod for constituting State Food Commission under the provision 16 of National Food Security Act 2013. The Commission, mandated with the monitoring and review of implementation of this act, would comprise a Chairperson, five members and a Member Secretary.
The Cabinet also approved the summoning of eleventh session of 14th Punjab Vidhan Sabha fromSeptember 18- 24, 2015. The monsoon session would commence on September 18 afternoon at 2 pm with obituary references and legislative business would be transacted on September 21-24 and it would be adjourned sine die on September 24.
In a bid to encourage sports in the state, the Cabinet also gave ex-post facto approval to honour the players with cash awards who bagged medals in Commonwealth and Asian games 2014. The decision benefits the players who were from central services and natives of the state but were not covered under the cash award policy of the state. The decision of the Cabinet also benefits the specially abled players who excelled in Commonwealth/ Asian games 2014 and got the cash prize equivalent to those from the other awardees.
The Cabinet also gave nod to introduce e-court system, for charging the court fees through e-court fees instead of existing stamps and tickets, by amending Court fees Act 1870.
In order to expedite the work of construction of Central Sudhar Ghar Amritsar, the Cabinet also gave ex-post facto approval for inter transfer of nine Kanal 11 marla land of Gurdwara Sahib falling in the premises of the Central Sudhar Ghar.
As a part of state government’s endeavour to stamp out menace of cancer from Punjab, the Cabinet also okayed the transfer of one third share i.e. 10% of the revenue collected from sale of Cigarettes and Cigar to the Cancer Relief Fund. It was also decided that the 10% of share amounting to Rs 21.40 crore collected from October 1, 2014 to May 31, 2015 would also be transferred to Cancer Relief fund.
In compliance with the directions of Punjab and Haryana High Court the Cabinet also gave nod to release Rs 6.97 crore to the Jalandhar cantonment Board.
In order to implement the Right to Service (RTS) Act more efficiently, the Cabinet also gave permission for promulgating an Ordinance by amending section 13 (1) of the Right to Service Act- 2011 thereby increasing the members of Right to Service Commission from existing four to 10.
The Cabinet also gave approval to enhance the Monthly Maintenance Grant of ‘Operation Blue Star’ affected soldiers (Dharmi Faujis) from Rs 3000 to Rs 6000 for soldiers and Rs 5000 to Rs 10,000 for widows/ dependents. The Cabinet also decided to pay Rs 10,000 per year as fee for their children and grand children studying in upto class 12th, Rs 20,000 per year for students pursuing graduate courses/ polytechnic/ nursing or any other technical course and Rs 50000 for students of MBBS/ BDS. In case the fee was already paid by the students then it would be reimbursed to them on verification of District Defence Services Welfare Officer.
In order to give much needed push to education in the Kandi region of the state, the Cabinet also gave nod for creation of 82 various posts in Amarjit Singh Sahi Government Polytechnic College, Talwara.
The Cabinet also approved the transfer of the 34 revenue villages from Kanugo Circle Kathunangal to Sub Tehsil Majitha and 44 villages of Jasraur and Jastarwal Kanugo circle of Tehsil Ajanala to Sub Tehsil Lopoke in Amritsar.
The Cabinet also reviewed the arrangements for the paddy procurement during the Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) 2015-16 to begin from October 1 and to be completed by December 15. Five state procurement agencies viz. PUNGRAIN, MARKFED, PUNSUP, Punjab State Warehousing Corporation, Punjab, Punjab Agro Food Grains Corporation besides FCI would procure paddy on MSP as per the specifications laid down by the GoI. The state government has made elaborate arrangements for procuring 137 lakh MT Paddy during the ensuing Kharif season. During KMS 2014-15 118.40 LMT paddy was procured. As many as 1817 purchase centers have been notified by the state government for sale/ purchase of Paddy. Monitoring and Review of Procurement process was being closely done on regular basis by state Cabinet Ministers in their district and senior officers from head quarter.
In a bid to tap the maximum potential of solar energy in the state, the Cabinet also approved the scheme for allocation of power projects to land owning farmers. The said scheme would offer benefits including: to promote solar energy projects by land owning farmers with a minimum capacity of 2.5 MWp.  This would add additional 500 Mega Watt power in the state besides promoting the concept of clean, green and environment friendly source of energy in the state.
To further boost industrialization in a big way across the state, the Cabinet gave approval to amend the ‘policy for financial concessions (revised), 2013’ by allowing a slew of incentives to the industrialists and entrepreneurs. Under the revised policy, incentives for waving off stamp duty and electricity duty on the individual purchase of land/lease of units to be established in the food parks, textile parks and industrial parks which have been approved under any of the scheme/guidelines of the Government of India have also been incorporated. Likewise, VAT/CST retention has also been clarified by which it has been incorporated that retention of VAT/CST admissible under this policy for the industries/units would not be taken back. Similarly, some non-financial incentives have been struck off and the concerned administrative departments have been mandated to issue separate guidelines regarding these. In the same manner, for the convenience of industrialists, definitions and abbreviations have also been incorporated besides inclusion of separate chapter explaining the procedure to claim financial incentives under this policy. 
Thursday, September 10, 2015