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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Bathinda, ready to avoid Dengue this year

Dengue has been spreading across the state of Punjab since a long time and it has affected the people of the state at a large scale. This year the Health Department is trying its best to avoid the state from being affected with this dangerous disease. For the same, they are taking the required precautions and even checking in every possible place, where Dengue could have set its mark.

They have been carrying out door-to-door campaigns in most of the places of Punjab, so that people are well aware of the precautions and symptoms of Dengue, so that it can be avoided from spreading around the whole place. The Gambusia fish is one such specie that eats up the larva spread around by the dengue mosquitoes and other such vector-borne mosquitoes. The Health Department of Punjab is multiplying the number of these fishes in all parts of the state, so that even if the larva is born, the fishes can eat it up and avoid from spreading. The department has dispersed these fishes in areas like ponds and other water areas where the water remains stagnant; it has significantly been placed on the outskirts of the Civil Hospital. Carrying out its awareness drive, the department has covered almost all the areas of Bathinda, which includes more than 60, 000 households in 50 wards of the city.

Fridays in Bathinda are known as Dry Days for the occasion to spread awareness amongst the residents to keep their surroundings clean and to make it a point to keep their refrigerators, Air Conditioners, Coolers clean and dry. This is an interesting way to make the residents wash and dry up their house once every week, so that the mosquitoes don’t get an opportunity to create larva and breed. Bathinda was one of those places of Punjab where Dengue was reported in the highest number last year. This is the reason why the health department is focusing most on this part of Punjab, so that what happened earlier, shouldn’t happen again. A number of people lost their lives due to this disease and they are now more than ready to create a healthy environment around them, so that Dengue doesn’t spread around the place this year or anytime further. There were around 2, 017 cases reported in Bathinda last year. The hospitals are also now more aware and equipped as compared to last year to handle the patients, if Dengue affects the city.

Punjab selling High-powered tractors in huge numbers

The base of Punjab’s culture and heritage is farming; this is so because it has the highest amount of agriculture land. People in Punjab have been in the industry of farming since several generations and are carrying it forward today as well. In terms of technology, farming has come a long way in India, from what it used to be. With better technology, farmers in India can now irrigate large amount of land and get huge quantity of crops in less time and by putting in lesser efforts.

When it comes to farming, another thing that Punjab relates to, are its tractors. It has been using tractors since decades and has the best technology available in the country. The farmers have recently started using high-powered tractors and they are sold in the largest numbers in the state. On an average, in the whole country they are sold only 7-8 percent of the total number of tractors sold. But when we talk about Punjab alone, it sells around 30 percent of High-powered tractors, out of the total number of tractors sold.

These tractors are expensive, as they are priced at Rs. 6 lakh and above, still the state and its farmers are capable enough to afford this high technology and useful tractors, so that they can reap better produce. When the sale of these tractors is seen, Punjab has been topping the list since the year 2014 and it is followed by states like Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. The difference of number of tractors sold in Punjab in comparison to Uttar Pradesh and Haryana was around 2, 000 tractors in the year 2014-15. In the year 2015-16, the difference has lowered down to around 1, 000 in Uttar Pradesh and 2, 000 in Haryana.

There are various factors behind the increasing sale of these tractors in Punjab, but the major reasons is the possibility of multiple usages that these tractors are capable of. Also, the progressive farmers are doing so good that they can easily afford these tractors at this rate, so they would definitely prefer to go for better technology. These tractors help in completing the land operations in much lesser time in comparison to others, so the farmers can make full use of the small amount of time between two crops. Owning these tractors is also a sign of high standards for the farmers in the state, so to maintain they high status, they prefer going for these tractors in comparison to others.

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.

Punjab – up for better connectivity

Whether it is the roads, railways or the air connectivity, Punjab has always been working hard to connect its various cities to other parts of the country and the world, so that the people can travel uninterrupted. Chandigarh and Ludhiana are two of those cities of Punjab where people regularly travel to and fro, for business as well as leisure. To increase the connectivity between the two cities, the Punjab government recently approved a highway project between the two cities, for smoother transportation. The project approved costs around Rs. 2, 070 crores.

This laid down plan will be between Kharar and Ludhiana, which is a part of the Chandigarh-Ludhiana section. A six/four lane highway will be built between Kharar and Ludhiana, which will help in reducing the travel time between the two places. This highway stretches to around 76 kilometers and is currently a two-lane road. The authorities says that it would take around 30 months to complete this entire project as they are yet to acquire 145 hectares of the required 383.2 hectares of land.

On the other hand, when it comes to the Railways, the train travelling between Ferozepur and Jammu is being planned to be extended till Katra. This decision has been taken, keeping in mind the high numbers of people travelling on this route till the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine. Along with this, the Union Minister of State for Railways has also promised the travellers that he will soon be starting a new train to Haridwar. A train is currently running from Punjab to Haridwar, but it was supposed to be a special holiday season train. Now, the authorities are planning to include it in the schedule and make it a regular train for people travelling to this highly visited pilgrimage.

This train to Haridwar from Ferozepur, if made permanent, will not only benefit the tourists but will also help the Railways authorities to generate revenue as there are a lot of business transactions carried out between Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. This can act as a good mode of transportation for goods too. Many more changes were proposed during the meeting, out of which some like, the light and sound show were considered by the ministry and will be worked upon very soon.

An effort to stop the Wildlife Trade

Witnessing the struggling state of its biodiversity, The Punjab Government made sure that The World Environment Day was observed and celebrated with enthusiasm and vigour. Keeping in mind the global theme for 2016 as “Go Wild for Life – Zero Tolerance for Illegal Wildlife Trade”, a green ceremony was conducted all over Punjab.

The most impressive job was done by Amritsar, where the Local Bodies Minister, Anil Joshi, started the day by leading a cycle rally, originating from Novelty Chowk to Company Bagh, where he, along with other participants, planted tree saplings and distributed them among morning walkers and joggers, motivating them to replicate the thoughtful act.

Also, NGOs all over Punjab,organised and encouraged citizens to indulge in green activities like green walks, plantation drives and conducted awareness seminars.

Looking at the ignorance and neglect faced by the environment, BIG FM in collaboration with WWF India-Punjab, organised a painting competition for school children, on the theme ‘Save Water’, at 45 locations, all over India. With an aim to sensitize and educate children about the deteriorating situation of nature, and what they can do to prevent it and further decrease the seriousness of the crisis, the competition’s objective was to also make the students aware about issues like global warming and the depletion of native flora and fauna.

The government has really stepped up in taking an initiative to extend their efforts towards the saving and protecting of biodiversity.

Highlighting the importance of protecting wildlife in their natural habitat, the organisations also focused on the prohibition of deforestation.

In Punjab, where the state bird, the Northern Goshawk of Guru Gobind Singh, has become extinct, the state animal is visible primarily in a couple of zoos, and the state tree has dwindled manifold, the problems stare us in the eye. And yet we are blind to reality, and are moving towards catastrophe.

Kapsons, in association with citizen activists, also held a nature walk from the Mall Road to the Company Bagh which was joined by Jagjit Singh Walia, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime), Amritsar, who planted saplings along the roadside and at the Company Bagh and emphasized on saving environment for the future generations by adopting a healthy lifestyle.

Its time for up-gradation of schools

With the passing years, the education has come a long way in the state of Punjab, from what it was to what it is today; there is a lot of improvement in the same. The people of the state also now very well understand the meaning and essence of education in their lives, and hence want their kids to go to school.

To facilitate the same, the chief minister of the state, Parkash Singh Badal has recently agreed to approve the up-gradation of around 372 government high schools to the status of senior secondary schools and 162 government middle schools to the level of high schools. With this announcement, further up-gradation of facilities at the school will also be made to take them up to these levels.

Schools will be upgraded in different states of Punjab. Parminder Singh Dhindsa promised the Finance Minister of the state the upgrade during the budget speech this year. There are around 34 schools in Ludhiana that will be upgraded and on the other hand, Amritsar and Barnala have 25 and 11 schools respectively as a part of this up-gradation plan. 24 schools each in Jalandhar and Patiala will also be upgraded to the next level. Pathankot, Ferozepur, Tarn Taran, Fatehgarh Sahib, SAS Nagar, Ropar and Muktsar are a few more places amongst others where schools have been chosen to be upgraded.

On the other hand, the colleges have also got their share of up-gradation as a new boys hostel has been recently inaugurated at the Guru Nanak Dev University. Smriti Zubin Irani, the minister of Human Resource Development, inaugurated it digitally. The hostel has been constructed at a cost of around Rs. 3.5 crores under the Rashtriya Ucch Shiksha Abhiyan. During her video conferencing, Smriti Irani also mentioned about the education plans in the state, which focused on the issues of excellence in education in all parts of Punjab and equality as well as access to education in all parts of the state.

The hostel was very much required at the university, as more and more students from different parts of the country are coming for their higher studies to various universities of Punjab, specifically the Guru Nanak Dev University. It will help the university in providing better facilities to students coming from other states for their education. The government should take up such steps of up-gradation and providing better facilities regularly, to offer better education to the students.