Right to Services Act, a great step towards Citizen Empowerment

SAD – BJP (Shiromani Akali Dal- Bhartiya Janta Party), the state government of Punjab has been making its sincere efforts to fulfill the motive of Right to Service Act, which was implemented in the year 2011. The state government has always been focused on the agenda to put service beyond duty.

On 19th October, 2011, the state government of Punjab gave its agreement on the RTS Act (Right to Service Act). The primary motive of RTS Act is to make the delivery of government services to the people of Punjab in the easiest and smooth manner. Also, it was enacted to make sure that the services are delivered within specified set of time span to Punjab’s people. The Punjab RTS Act also ensures the proper and better execution of the services.

Following are the steps/procedure that is followed in the Punjab RTS Act, (as stated in the Information Handbook, under the RTS Act)–

  • Commission will arrange meetings after specified intervals of time to take important decisions.
  • The functioning of Commission will be monitored/supervised by the directions of the Chief Commissioner.
  • Any revision or complaint can be considered or decided by the commission from time to time.
  • Though, the final decision making authority lies in the hands of the Chief Commissioner.

Efficiently providing the effective services within the specified time frame, this Punjab Right to Service Act has been proved to be highly beneficial for the promotion of transparency and accountability in the operation of the government departments, which provide the services to the people of Punjab.

To make sure the timely delivery of services and making suggestions to Punjab government, a Punjab Right to Service Commission has been set up. It also ensures the accurate execution of the Punjab Right to Service Act. Apart from being the leading state to implement this Act, 7.21 Crore people have been benefited from the same. As per the official spokesperson’s claim, around 28, 37,866 applicants have taken the advantage of the notified services during the month of February under the mentioned Act. Also, only 14,160 are the pending applications which are to be cleared as soon as possible.

In addition to this, we can say that the implementation of The Punjab Right to Service Act has been successful in gaining the trust of citizens and it has also empowered the people of Punjab in the most efficient manner possible.

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Its time to make the citizens feel safe – ‘Amritsar Speaks’

Rising rates of crime in any state is a sign of destruction and disturbance for the citizens. Punjab has recently seen an increase in the crime rates in different parts of the state because of some unruly elements of the society. The government is trying its best to curb such negative activities and help citizens lead a peaceful life. Amritsar is one of those states that are facing a high rate of increase in the crime scene and therefore various Non-Government Organizations of the city have come together to raise their voices against the same.

Naming their banner as ‘Amritsar Speaks’, they are trying to raise their voice against the crime and spread awareness amidst the citizens to help the government and the authorities in the best possible way to curb the nuisances. An NGO by the name of Mission Aagaaz was also a part of this group and one of their members mentioned that the crime rate has been increasing in the state since last many years and it is the need of the hour to curb the same.

Amidst the discussions, various people were of the view that it is the easy access of money to the youngsters and the issue of drug addiction that is resulting in the increase of these unruly activities. Various anti-social elements are influencing the youth of the state to get into such activities and destroying their future the government is coming up various inspirational campaigns and laws and regulations to inspire the young guns of the society to get back on the right track and stop destroying the decorum of the society.

Along with the government and the authorities, it is also the responsibility of the residents to help them in solving out the cases and provide with the required information. It is the terror of such anti-social groups due to which the residents don’t speak out much and are living in a constant state of fear and terror. Various surveillance plans have been worked out by the government to help in keeping a check on the theft accidents happening around various cities of Punjab. The surveillance department can help in creating a feeling of security amongst the residents and catch the thieves around the area.

Government’s stamp duty waiver and e-stamp duty brings path breaking reforms in Punjab

On a move to bring prosperity through governance reforms in Punjab, the state government has brought in major changes in the provisions related to land deals and transactions in addition to streamlining the records through digitalisation.

Government’s stamp duty waiver and e-stamp duty brings path breaking reforms in Punjab - Progressive Punjab, Bikram Singh Majithia,

 

Zero fee transfer of property between spouses and blood relations

Carrying forward its people friendly reforms the government has waived off registration fee charged for transfer of property between spouses and blood relations in urban and rural areas.

The initiative announced in May 2014, has helped curtailing the shady land deals and encouraging families to legally transfer property between blood relations and spouses. This would include father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, grandson and granddaughter.

Besides, the government also decided to do away with the social security fund, social infrastructure cess and stamp duty on such transfers, through a notification. Earlier, a person desirous of transferring his property directly to his grandsons was liable to pay 5 per cent stamp duty. In case of women the duty was 3 per cent of the cost.

According to the State Revenue Minister Bikram Singh Majithia, the decision is in accordance with the government’s desire to encourage people to go in for legal registration of property instead of adopting ultra vires measures which had only led to intra-family disputes.

“This decision fulfils the long-pending promise of the SAD-BJP government regarding zero transfer fees on such transfers. We have been working to simplify revenue acts, reduce legal disputes while encouraging people to adopt legal and not the extra constitutional means in the transfer of land and properties,” he said.

People have been refraining from effecting legal transfer of properties between blood relation in view of registration fee and stamp fee in the past leading to disputes in the family.

“I am happy that this zero fee transfer of property has been approved by special efforts of Chief Minister, who took care to follow up this issue at every level clearing all legal hurdles leading to its fructification,” he said.

Other waivers

Carrying forward its reforms spree, the state government has also remitted the stamp duty for purchasing land to set up a project duly approved by the Punjab Energy Development Authority, under New and Renewable Sources of Energy Policy, 2012. Under the provisions, no registration fee is to be charged when executed by or in favour of any person or company or firm or society.

E-stamping system

In a bid to make the process of land dealing more people friendly and avoid frauds in the transactions the government has introduced e-stamping system. Effective from October 2015, the user friendly and cost effective initiative of state government will help in online registration of lands in a transparent and secure manner apart from making the process hassle free mean. As per the new initiative all mutations of deeds and registrations of land above Rs 50,000 are to be done under e-stamping system. The move has helped in making the revenue transactions citizen-centric and speedy, thus giving a fillip to the governance reforms.

Land/property records computerised

Before launching the system the government issued instructions to all the district to take measures to computerise the revenue, land and property records. The government had initially launched the system on experimental basis in three districts of SAS Nagar (Mohali), Jalandhar, and Bathinda. After it was found feasible and effective, it was decided to launch the system in the entire state.

With the introduction of e stamping Punjab has joined 10 other states and Union Territories. The system is already being implemented in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh Gujarat, Karnataka, NCR Delhi, Maharashtra, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and the union territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, and Puducherry.

Benefits of e stamping

The implementation of e-stamping policy would benefit residents in a number of ways making procedure of land deals and related transactions hassle free. Under the new system, e-stamp certificates can be generated immediately, which would have a unique identification number. One would be able to check the authenticity of these certificates from anywhere with the help of inquiry module. Besides no specific denomination would be required for e-stamping.

Central agency to monitor

The state government has signed an agreement with Stock Holding Corporation of India (SHCIL), a central agency responsible for record keeping, for implementation and monitoring of e-stamping system. The agency would be responsible for overall e-stamping application operations, maintenance user registration. It has also been assigned the task of setting up authorised collection centres for issuing certificates.

Other measures for real estate in budget 2016

In order to give some breather to the real estate sector, the government has announced 50% rebate on EDC, CLU and licence fee for affordable housing projects. It has also announced a rebate of 25% on all new housing sector projects, 20% cut in stamp duty on the first purchase conveyance deed of all new flats and reduction of 15% in collector rates for assessing stamp duty.

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) comes to Punjab

IIT Ropar established at Rupnagar

IIT Ropar established at Rupnagar - Progressive Punjab, Punjab Government

Indian Institutes of Technology or as we commonly know them, the IITs are the most respected and well known educational institutions in our country. Not only have the students of IITs been instrumental in the development of India with strong leadership and innovation, but they have also left their mark on the International community, representing Indian talent. The Punjab government has always maintained a keen focus on the progress and development of education in the state. It was therefore naturally one of the top agendas of the government of Punjab to pool every resource necessary for the successful implementation of an IIT on Punjab soil.

In 2008, the Government of India cleared the proposal to allow for the formation of eight new IITs all over India under ‘The Institutes of Technology (Amendment) Act, 2011’. The Punjab government rallied for the cause of an IIT in Punjab citing strong need for reforms in various sectors through a focused path for the development of new technologies to propel the state towards progress. The establishment of IIT Ropar has the expectation of revitalising old industrial technologies by sharing knowledge and introduction of new technologies which the government realises is the need of the hour.

IIT Ropar is currently operating from a transit campus located at former Women’s Polytechnic College, where under the guidance and mentorship of IIT Delhi the infrastructure has been renovated to suit the academic needs of the IIT students. The labs have been equipped with latest instruments, the classes have been revamped and access to all the latest technologies as demanded by the curriculum has been made available to the students. The Punjab government has left no stone unturned to provide assistance to the development of IIT Ropar, whether it be the comfort of students or the actualisation of the permanent campus which is underway.

This commitment of Punjab government towards IIT Ropar is evident by the allotment of 501 acres of land at Birla Seed Farms, Rupnagar for the establishment of a permanent campus. The foundation stone for the permanent campus was laid by former Union HRD Minister Mr. Arjun Singh on 24 February, 2009.

The 2008-2009 session classes of IIT Ropar were held at IIT Delhi. The Punjab government on priority completed the transit campus, which has been specially designed by IIT Delhi, to provide a stable and stimulating environment to the students. Rupnagar has been chosen to house the IIT due to its vast landscape, strategic location next to the tri-city, road connection via NH-21, Delhi-Ambala-Una railway line and airport access through Chandigarh.

IIT fosters world class education facilities to provide technical knowledge and skills pertaining to science and engineering streams, with ample opportunity and encouragement for the pupils to pursue independent research and studies. The government of Punjab lauds such initiatives by talented youth will benefit Punjab as well as the nation, and thus stands to offer all support to help IIT prosper.

Indian Institute of Management commences in Amritsar

Punjab government succeeds in setting up an IIM in Punjab

The much awaited IIM Amritsar was given a nod by the Government of India in 2015 after the relentless efforts by the Punjab Government to establish this prestigious management institute in Punjab. IIM Amritsar is the fifteenth Indian institute of management to be established and is under the guidance of the fifth oldest IIM Kozhikode, Kerala. IIMs are public business institutions of higher learning which provide world class education, training and placements. The Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) has set up the institute with support from Punjab government that had been vying for the actualisation of an IIM on Punjab soil for a long time.

Indian Institute of Management commences in Amritsar.png

The campus for the IIM Amritsar has been approved to be developed on a 60 acres site which is at Manawala on the Amritsar-Jalandhar GT Road, that has been allocated by the district administration. The core team that gave final approval for this site comprised of Mr. Shailender Kumar from HRD Ministry, IIM Kozhikode Director Mr. Kulbhushan Balooni, Mr. C Raul from Punjab government, and Mr. PL Gupta as a representative from Central Public Works Department.

It was a crucial moment when this team gave the final go ahead for the Manawala site, as earlier rejection of prospective sites had delayed the project. After the clearance for the site, the Punjab government bought the land at the rate of 1.25 crore per acre from its owner. The Punjab government then transferred this land to the IIM society without delay so that the 900 crore project of building the IIM campus could begin post-haste.

The IIM Amritsar campus was inaugurated by Minister for Higher Education and Languages of Punjab, Sardar Surjit Singh Rakhra in August 2015. During his inaugural speech he commended the meritorious endeavour of the Punjab government for bringing an institution of such repute in the state, and lauded the Punjab government for setting an example for other states in its approach. Also present during the ceremony were Prof. Kulbhushan Balooni, director of IIM Kozhikode and mentor director IIM Amritsar, Deans, Faculties and Senior Administrative staff of IIM Kozhikode.

IIM Amritsar began its journey from a temporary campus allotted to it inside the Punjab Institute of Technology, Government Polytechnic Compound. The first batch consisted of sixty five students who enrolled in the flagship programme offered by IIM Amritsar, that is Postgraduate Programme for Management. The aim of this program is to prepare the qualifying graduates for high placements in the industry where they may lead from senior level positions. It is considered equivalent to a MBA and despite IIM Amritsar being located in a transit campus, it is much sought after. While the IIM Amritsar permanent campus and its infrastructure is under development, the government has striven to give the students at the temporary campus most of the basic necessities. The permanent campus is expected to finish within two- three years with the full backing of the Punjab government.

Punjab government infuses development with rural link roads

Punjab government has taken a slew of measures for improving the link roads in the state. Though centre has been funding for upgradation and construction of highways the state government has effectively been utilizing the funds collected from the levy of market fee and rural development. It’s to the credit of ruling SAD-BJP government today that every village in Punjab has at least one link road. All the villages of the State are linked with the Mandis through this vast network of rural link roads which are carpeted every six years with the premix.In fact the success of agricultural marketing operations all over the state today is primarily due to the vast road network.

Punjab government infuses development with rural link roads - Bikram Singh Majithia, Progressive Punjab, sukhbir singh badal, Developing Punjab, Punjab Government Development Projects

Link Roads

There is an extensive network of about 55000 kms of link roads in Punjab, out of which 22341 Km link roads have been either upgraded or repaired with an estimated cost of Rs.2581 crore. Apart from them about 7966 Km long new link roads have been constructed with an estimated cost of Rs. 1174 crores recently.  Also the new link roads with length of 2319 Km are under construction with an estimated cost of Rs.387 crore. Besides, 6533 Km long link roads are being repaired with an estimated cost of Rs.682 crore.

Under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna (PMGSY) scheme 4135 kms long link roads have been upgraded with an investment of Rs. 1660 crores. Also 1230 kms of rural roads are now being upgraded with an estimated cost of Rs. 585.00 crores under PMGSY Phase IX and X. The work on these roads has already started and is expected to be completed during the next few years.

Projects already taken up

In June 2002, the rural length of link roads was about 42000Km. Since then about 6000 KM of link roads have been constructed under various schemes. Under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna more than 1500 km of link roads have been constructed. Under other projects which have been approved by chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and Chairman of Punjab Mandi Board, 3000 Km of roads have been constructed. As of now the total length of link roads in Punjab is more than 48000 KM. Besides new construction, link roads are being repaired from time to time.

It’s only due to the improvement of these lifelines the basic infrastructure for agricultural, economic, industrial, commercial, social and cultural development has improved magnificently for Punjab. In fact apart from developing link roads, the state government has taken key initiatives for improving overall road infrastructure in the State. These link roads have also helped in addressing the problem of traffic congestion in the villages and towns and by providing alternative routes.
There is an extensive network of 7373 Kms of Plan roads in Punjab. It includes 1462 kms. of State Highways, 1797 Kms of Major District Roads and 4114 kms of Other District roads.
Overall the government has plans to spend Rs 1,700 crore on up-gradation and expansion of rural link roads. According to Punjab Rural Development and Panchayat Minister Surjit Singh Rakhra, training would be imparted to Sarpanches and Panchs at the block-level and Zila Parishad and Block Samiti members would be trained at the district or state-level to facelift of the villages with rural roads, sewerage facilities and supply of potable water. He informs that that a digital map of the villages has been prepared to plan and work for their overall development in a strategic way.

A few other related projects

In fact travel by rivers, which is being taken by the union government in a big way too will help improving the road infrastructure in the state. “I have asked the Punjab Government to work out removal of canals on Satluj and Beas for waterways involving hovercrafts. There are 101 waterway projects under consideration to ease road and rail travel in the country,” said Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of Road Transport, Highways and Shipping, during his visit to Punjab in 2015.

Punjab Supports a Sporting Look

In an effort to encourage sports in the state a 100 crore project of State Institute of Sports (PIS) at Mohali promises to produce national and international players from Punjab.

The institute has been set up with an objective to provide specialised training to sportspersons and is unique since it offers hostel facilities to those promising players who can make it to prominent sporting events like Asian, Commonwealth and Olympic games.

Punjab Supports a Sporting Look

Youth being encouraged to participate in Sporting Activities

The effort has paid its dividends and this is creating a large number of sportsmen from the state, who are further making the state proud by participating in several national and international players. Officials say the purpose of setting up sports institute is to groom those who are seriously into sports and have the will to compete for all kinds of events.

The best part of the institute is that those undergoing training are being trained by some famous coaches, both international and Indian. Those availing services at PIS are ensured the best and nutritional diet besides accommodation in the best quality hostels. This kind of exposure is important for getting the right kind training which goes a long way in getting the push to compete at international sporting events.

The facility is provided free of cost and this further makes it more exciting, but we also introspect how sports budget of the state has also been going up. Further, besides ongoing construction of different stadiums across the state, there are 6 hockey stadiums spread all over Punjab.

The state government has also kept a provision for encouraging upcoming players in the state by earmarking Rs 16.5 crore budget for sports scholarships while another scheme promises to pay Rs 10,000 per annum per player to 1100 sportspersons excelling in recognized sports while Rs 5000 per annum player.

The government in an effort to assist sportsmen in getting employment has a provision of keeping some posts reserved for sportspersons.

Meanwhile the government is focusing on encouraging sports in the state and has even made an allocation of Rs 200 crore besides creating jobs to 125 persons. Kabaddi is also being promoted by the state through Kabaddi world cups.

Youth is being encouraged to come forward and form youth clubs and over 3000 sportspersons in several sporting activities.

The state government had last month organised games in seven cities across the state which got a tremendous response especially in Ludhiana where 1850 sportspersons participated. The government gave away prizes to the tune of Rs 3 crore to winners while a sum of Rs 7.5 crore was spent on organizing the event.

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