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.

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Pb Govt coming to rescue of farmers facing damage to crops

With the farmers facing the wrath of weather gods or man-made calamity one after another season in Punjab, the state government has come up with new measures and a host of compensation packages for the farmers all over the state.

The basic objective of new measures which have been announced by the SAD-BJP government is to ensure that no section of farmers is left out.

Pb Govt coming to rescue of farmers facing damage to crops.pngIt was a result of holistic approach of Punjab government that after announcing relief to the cotton growers who suffered badly due to whitefly attack and the use of spurious seeds last year that the Chief Minister directed the revenue department to cover other crops like guar and vegetables too on a similar pattern as was being done in the case of damaged cotton crop. Badal had directed that after disposing of the objections raised by farmers, the revenue officials would release the compensation amount to the affected farmers as per the assessment. Clear instructions were given that the payment of compensation should be made directly to the cultivators in case the land was given on contract farming to the cultivators so as to mitigate hardships caused to them.

Relief to farmers for damage to crops

Last year as the government faced almost 60% loss to cotton crop in the Malwa region and in a bid to compensate the loss the state government cleared a compensation to the tune of Rs 600-crore to the affected farmers. The government first ordered a special girdawri and it came out that 6.75 lakh acres of land was affected in a whitefly attack. Out of this Cotton alone was sown on 11.25 lakh acres in the Malwa region. Farmers have ploughed back crop on 11,800 acres because of the pest attack.

Soon after the loss, the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal also ordered to give immediate compensation of Rs 10 crore to cotton growers whose crop was extensively damaged by whitefly attack.

The compensation was announced to those growers who have uprooted their crop because of the pest attack. Badal made the announcement in the wake of extensive damage to the crops. Out of 11,780 acres area ploughed back by the farmers, 5,000 acres fell in Muktsar, 3,727 acres in Fazilka, 2,090 acres in Bathinda, 539 acres in Mansa, 398 acres in Faridkot and 26 acres in Barnala districts. Badal had also assured farmers that the state government had already taken a decision to bail out farmers who had ploughed back their fields due to whitefly attack.

Other farmers who suffered loss not left behind

Besides taking serious view of sale of spurious pesticides and insecticides, Badal also issued directions to take strict action against those found involved in such illegal activities. It was part of this swoop down against such miscreants that the police officials had taken more than 200 samples of such substandard pesticides from the dealers in the Malwa belt and taken action subsequently. “Such dealers who had created havoc with the cotton and other crops nurtured with their blood, sweat and tears would be dealt with severely,” Badal has said.

Agriculture and Power departments were also asked to issue requisite notifications to initiate procedure for the release of new tube well connections to the farmers which would fulfil their need of irrigation and water requirement.

More tubewell connections bring cheer to farmers in Punjab

Realising the growing need of irrigation amongst the small and marginal farmers in the state, Punjab government has decided to give over 1.5 lakh tubewell connections to farmers after notifying a new agriculture policy. The process to release the new connections has already begun.

More tubewell connections bring cheer to farmers in Punjab.png

The decision comes in the backdrop of National Green Tribunal allowing Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) to process applications of farmers who had applied for power connections to set up new tubewell power connections.  While allowing the release of new connections, the National Green Tribunal had directed the state government to first formulate a policy for release of connections in an organised and systematic way.

In fact the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal had earlier too had maintained that the small and marginal farmers would be given new tubewell power connections all over the state on priority.

“With the passionate efforts of Punjab government, the National Green Tribunal has lifted the ban on release of tubewell connections in Punjab. I appeal to all tubewell applicant farmers of Punjab whose demand notices have already been issued, to deposit the requisite amount in the concerned Sub Division Office of PSPCL and avail this golden opportunity to get their tubewell connections and be part of the progress in Punjab and contribute to the development of the state,” deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said, while making this announcement.

Keeping in view the concerns regarding depleting ground water in many parts of the state, the government has ensured that the new connections were released while keeping in consideration over-exploited and the safe areas with regard to groundwater levels.

The availability is being backed with the adequate power supply for irrigation so that the farmers can avail benefits.

Who are eligible

The applicants having land between 1 to 2.5 acre who have registered their applications from January 1,2014 to March 15, 2016 would be eligible for new tubewell power connections.

The eligible applicants have to submit their option for priority tubewell power connection to the concerned Sub Division Office of PSPCL on a plain paper by April 30,2016.

Earlier Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had asked power utility Punjab State Power Corporation (PSPCL) to formulate a new policy to grant fresh tubewell power connections to the marginal and small farmers for the current fiscal, realising that they would require facility in a major way.

Badal has been reiterating that the Punjab government was committed for the welfare of farmers, who were already facing a lot of hardships due to squeezed margins on account of non-remunerative MSP and have been finding it hard to pay their debts.
Giving much needed relief to the farmers, the state government earlier has also reimbursed PSPCL the pending arrears of Rs 357 crore on account of tubewell bills, concerning the period when tariff was imposed on farm sector. PSPCL had taken off these arrears from the accounts of the farmers concerned.

Dalits and poor coming to forefront thanks to welfare schemes of Badal govt

Dalits and poor coming to forefront thanks to welfare schemes of Badal govt.png

Punjab Government under the leadership of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has been leading in providing benefits to poorest of poor in the state by launching several pro-poor and pro-Dalit schemes in the state.  Recent array of schemes which were announced during the budget of state government in March early this year bear testimony to the fact that the SAD-BJP government is committed to the cause of Dalits and other poor sections in the state.

The announcement of allocation of Rs 100 crore corpus as SC scholarship fund to be given to the universities and institutes on behalf of the SC students and doling out of interest-free study loan of upto Rs 5 lakh for the youth from economically weaker section were some of the new initiatives which will go a long way in benefiting the poor sections in all over the state. Akali Chief Parliamentary Secretary and SC leader Pawan Tinu, says this announcement meant that the Punjab government would now be able to disburse funds to the colleges from the corpus till the time centre releases its grants. After the funds reach colleges, this amount would be withdrawn. According to him, till now the state contribution for Centre’s Post Matric Scholarship Scheme stood at Rs 68 crore for six years even as the number of beneficiaries under the scheme had risen from 35,000 to 3.75 lakh. He mentions that the starting of interest-free loan scheme for poor students would also help aspiring students with limited means and resources in a major way to pursue their dreams.

Biggest every employment scheme

In fact it was during the Parkash Singh Badal led government that Punjab witnessed the launch of the biggest ever employment drive in history and more than 1.14 lakh government jobs are being offered to youth in the state. Besides, Punjab has become the  the first state to launch Atta Dal Scheme, making eldest women of the family as head and by far helping 1.42 crore beneficiaries.

Health schemes

A Health Insurance Card has also been issued to every poor, while Bhagat Puran Singh Sehat Beema Yojana offering free treatment up to Rs 50,000 and Rs 5 lakh compensation for accidental death for incapacitation of head of family is also being given. Already more than  28.05 lakh people have benefitted from the initiative.

Apart from this, Rs 50,000 insurance cover for families of construction workers, regular medical examination of construction workers/families on construction sites toilets for labourers at construction sites and their colonies and is being ensured by the government. It has also been provisioned that the teams of medical experts would visit construction sites with Mobile Van fitted with X-ray machine and medical lab to diagnose diseases.

Special focus on girls

Focussing on the welfare of girls from the poor sections, Shagun scheme has been launched for the girls from SC/BC,Christians and economically weaker sections. The government has also introduced Bebe Nanaki Ladli Beti Kalyan Scheme to provide financial assistance to poor families to bring up girl child and to curb the menace of female foeticide. Free Punjabi Stenography training is provided to SC candidates. Punjab provides free power to farmers and spends approximately Rs 6,000 per year for it.

“We believe in ‘Sarbat da Bhala’ and have launched schemes for every section of Punjab. Various pro-poor welfare programmes – insurance cover, free medical treatment to blue card holders, 200 units of free power, Atta-Dal scheme for BPL card holders besides 5 marla plots for free housing are being implemented by Punjab Government, which are going to help Dalits and poor all over the state.

At present total Dalit population in Punjab 32%. Of the total cultivable land of 168910 acres, land reserved for Dalits about 56303 acres which is about 33%  of the total land.

Kisan Helplines: Bridging Gap between Farmers & Govt.

With an aim of providing the farmers the best of facilities available in the state, the government of the state decided to start a ‘Kisan Helpline’. Under the guidance of the Punjab agriculture university and the department of agriculture in state it has been decided to revive the ‘farmer’s service centres’.

Kisan Helpline - Bridging Gap between Farmers & Govt..png

Punjab is an agriculture state and to protect its farmers the step to start a ‘kisan helpline’ is beyond doubt a great one. The agriculture product of the state has been diminishing overall, in such a scenario providing expert help to the farmers from the Punjab agriculture university and the agriculture department gives the farmers a little edge.

Staff that is prepared to help the farmers on any issue be it related to sowing, harvesting and preserving the product will be readily available in these service centres. Punjab state chief minister also declared that these service centres would run awareness programmes to make the farmers aware about the various threats that prevail over their crop and also suggest solutions. Keeping the crop away from any disease will lead to successful product by the farmers.

The agriculture picture of the state and nation is on a dip with farmers giving up their lives due to problems of crop production or low value in the market. In such a case the Shiromani Akali Dal and BJP led government in the state of Punjab has stepped up to help its farmers. Department of agriculture with the Punjab Agriculture University and even krishi vigyan kendras will join hands this year to help the farmers in their tough times. Setting up ‘kisan helplines’ will maintain the interest of the farmers and attract the youth to the agrarian community.

Earlier this year the state Agriculture Department had set up a call centre to help the farmers protect their crop from the ‘yellow rust’ that destroys the wheat crop. Any farmers who wanted to know more about the infectious disease that eats up the crop could call the helpline from 6 AM to 10PM. Scientists and farm researchers were to be made available to assist the farmers on what they should do to get rid of the yellow rust.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal while informing the farmers of the state about the service centres, even asked the people handling the helplines that the work done should be on the ‘grass root level’ which would help the scientists analyse the actual problem faced by the farmers.

Organisations like IFFCO Kisan are handling the services for the state government, in order to help the farmers of the state. A helpline number has been set up which according to website of IFFCO KISAN is dedicated towards giving high quality information to the farmers of the rural areas.

The subscribers of the Green sim card given by the IFFCO Kisan can call a sic digit number 534351 to avail the services. Expert opinion is given on the matter and dedicated help is provided.

New bill for returning land acquired for SYL, raises hopes for Punjab farmers

New bill for returning land acquired for SYL, raises hopes for Punjab farmers.png

The Punjab Satluj-Yamuna Link Canal Land (Transfer of Property Rights) Bill, 2016, which the government passed in Assembly in March early this year, has revived the hopes of farming community in Punjab.

The legislation seeks to transfer 3,928 acres of land to the original landowners free of cost. The legislation is the second most significant move by the Punjab Assembly on the issue, after “Punjab Termination of Agreement Act 2004”, which nullified the agreement for sharing of water between Punjab and other states primarily Haryana.

Though following a plea by the neighbouring Haryana government, the Supreme Court has ordered a status quo on its implementation, the new legislation passed on March 14 has won affection of farmer community for ruling SAD-BJP government. Farmers have been in deep distress and the pro- farmers initiatives of Badal government have now raised hopes amongst them.
IMAGE SOURCE: WIKIPEDIA

The relevance of development can be gauged by the figures of debt on farmers which portray a dismal picture. A recent survey, ‘Indebtedness among Farmers and Agricultural Labourers in Rural Punjab‘, done for the Indian Council for Social Science Research shown the debt on the state’s farmers to the tune of Rs 69,355 crore. Of this, Rs 56,481 crore was borrowed from institutions.

Conducted under Gian Singh of Punjabi University in Patiala, the study blamed the financial distress of farmers on ever-decreasing minimum support prices (MSP) for crops, coupled with escalating costs of inputs such as fertiliser, diesel, seeds, pesticides and insecticides.

Other figures related to farmers’ debt in Punjab too are startling. The average debt per farming household in Punjab is Rs 5,52,064. While marginal farmers with up to 2.5 acre land have a debt of Rs 2,76,83, small farmers with up to 5 acre of land owe average debt of Rs 5,57,338. For semi-medium farmers who have land up to 10 acres, the debt is Rs 6,84,649, while for medium farmers (up to 15 acres) the amount is to the tune of Rs 9,35,608. Similarly for large farmers the average amount of debt is Rs 16,37,473.

Therefore it’s in the light of these mind boggling figures of debt of farmers that the new bill is likely to bring a major relief to many farmers in Punjab while underlining the pro farmer approach of SAD-BJP government.

The move directly affects the interest of Haryana which expectedly has moved the Supreme Court challenging it on the ground that it was against the spirit of riparian law and not constitutional. However Punjab government has reiterated that it does not have a single drop of water to spare and farmers’ interest in state were of supreme importance to the government.

Though the Supreme Court has ordered a status quo the Punjab government is hell bent on providing relief to the farmers by giving back this land which was acquired for constructing 212 km long canal in Punjab and Haryana more than three decades ago.

Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal while making an appeal to the farmers to be prepared to fight for their cause has reiterated that the government has done the right thing by introducing the bill, which was a step in the right direction to save farmers in Punjab.

Milking machine scheme – An initiative towards enhancing the quality of milk in Punjab

The Punjab Dairy Development Board, which was started through the Punjab Dairy Dev. Board Ordinance, 2000 was replaced by the Punjab Dairy Development Board Act, 2000. These acts aim at developing the dairy industry by replacing the conventional and traditional techniques from modern and scientific lines.

Milking machine scheme.png

In contrast to it, the objectives of The Punjab Dairy Development Board include –

  1. To secure cooperation among different functionaries, which are now amended for providing milk producers with the opportunities of getting a fair return for their labour & investment.
  2. To improve the profitability of milk industry.
  3. To safeguard the interests of milk producers, milk processors, dairy marketers and the consumers.

Serial no.

Pre – conditions of the scheme

Required documents

1

Unit Initiated on 01.01.2009

Filing of application

2

Minimum ownership of 10 cows, which yield 50 litres of milk.

Seva koshana letter

3

Must have acquired education from The Punjab Dairy Development Board

Certificate of acquired education

4

Purchase of milk machine from bank

Related documents

5

Machine to be purchased from the short listed companies

2 photos

The Punjab Dairy Development Board, initiated the subsidy scheme 2 only for the sponsored cases, as stated in the above table. The milking machine scheme shall provide 50% subsidy to the milk producers of the Punjab state. The government of Punjab even provided the helpline numbers 0172 – 270228, 2700055 for avoiding any sort of inconvenience on the part of the dairy earners. In contrast to it, the state government provides 4.5 lakhs of subsidy to the general category, and lakhs of subsidy to the scheduled castes and the scheduled tribes under the Milking Machine Bulk Miller Cooler scheme.

Apart from The Punjab Dairy Development Board, The Punjab State Cooperative Milk Producer’s Federation Limited i.e. Milkfed has also contributed towards enhancing the milk production in the state. With a view to upgrade the milking technology, Milkfed has been providing milking machines and milking parlours to the progressive dairy farmers and the various cooperative societies at 50 % and 25 % rate of subsidy. Following the statistics, there are about 859 milking machines and 4 milking parlours operating efficiently and effectively in the state.

Needless to say, the concentrated efforts of the Shiromani Akali Dal – BJP led state government and The Punjab Dairy Development Board, the growth trajectory of the dairy sector in the state has moved up, and there is no doubt about this anymore. With the initiation of the milking machine scheme, the bacteriological quality of the milk has been enhanced in the state owing to the hygienic condition of teats of animals and reduction in stress to animals or milkers and the somatic cell counts. The provision of the milking machine subsidy scheme to the milk producers has contributed fathomlessly towards accelerating the milk production thereby developing the dairy sector in Punjab. After all, the dairy sector has been marching towards a positive trend.