Bakhtwar launches his second poetic compilations

Known as the promoter of Punjabi culture, folk and one of the most-loved poets of the state, Bakhtwar Singh is lovingly called as Bakhtwar Mian by the literary society and the preservers and lovers of culture of Punjab. With a spiritual touch, he has recently launched his second book consisting of a compilation of his poetry. The book is titled as ‘Jogi Raavi Kinare Rehnda’, it was launched at the Punjab Naatshala.

This poet has a huge fan following, not only in Punjab, but all around the world. It is the kind of ease he has in his poetry that people can relate themselves to the same. Also, his efforts in promoting Punjab around the world are in itself commendable. He has even been giving platforms to various young artists and talented enthusiasts. Yakoob and Nooran Sisters are also one of those who have been selected by Bakhtwar Mian to be given a national-level platform.

The evening of the book launch also included the performances of the immensely talented sufi artists, Yakoob and Nooran Sisters. They performed different versions of the poetry of Bakhtwar, which further became a great attraction and the highlight of the evening for the guests. Bakhtwar is a believer of Sufi, so the 70 poetic verses of this book, which have been inspired by his present as well as the past, are very well put together with a theme of Sufism.

He says that his journey of writing and poetry has changed him in and out. His mystic nature and his love for Sufism has come up with time and his inclination has been increasing manifold since then. He has learnt the art of meditation and with the help of the same he gets closer to his thoughts and inner self but in this process he gets away from his family, friends and everyone around him. His first book with compilations of his poetry was titled as, ‘Paar Chenab De UsdaDera’. The names of both the books tell us very firmly that he tries to keep Punjab a part of his compilations and promote his state, his land. He was given the title, ‘Mian’ by the famous singer Barkat Sidhu, who is an inspiration as well for all his poetic compilations.

He says that the poets and writers should understand that they need to connect with the audience, and that too connect strongly. If they start building the connection of their verse with the audience, people will start picking up Punjabi literature and appreciate the same once again.


Water and Sanitation projects based on Punjab’s effective policy proving a boon for rural areas

The success of various projects and initiatives in providing water and sanitation in different areas of Punjab can be attributed to the holistic approach of state government which finds reflection in its policy on Water and Sanitation.

With its Water and Sanitation policy, the government has set up an agenda to provide optimum quantity and acceptable quality of water and sanitation for all on sustainable basis. The Punjab Drinking Water Policy was approved in May 2011 and certain modifications were made to evolve to the growing needs. The policy has been drafted keeping in view the significance of sanitation, with uniformity in providing the facilities, remaining the key area of focus.

The policy aims at providing a broad framework and guidelines to provincial institutions, district administration and Tehsil Municipal Administration for improving sanitation coverage and services in the areas. A holistic approach ensuring fair distribution of resources is the basic objective of the policy, which revolves around improving the sanitation coverage and disparities in the rural areas.

Water and Sanitation projects based on Punjab's effective policy proving a boon for rural areas

On a larger scale the primary focus of water supply and sanitation policy is to improve socio economic condition and to raise living standard of the community by providing quality drinking water and improved sanitation services all over the state.

The long term strategy of Punjab government has a vision to reform water and sanitation in all the 12248 villages with 11,930 gram panchayats in 20 districts of state. The objective is to improve the living conditions of its 166 million population by 100% water supply coverage with better service standards and private service connections to most households.

With a purpose to improve environmental sanitation a provision has been made in the policy to encourage projects which initiate work on pilot basis in about 100 villages for providing modern underground waste water collection and disposal systems. The government has also chosen a sector wide approach to implement medium term sector programme for all new investments, irrespective of the source of funding.

Punjab Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (PRWSS) Project

The project is a remarkable initiative of state government in collaboration with the union government and IDA(world Bank) which is aimed at reforming the Water supply and sanitation sector in the rural areas of Punjab.

In fact the Department of Water Supply and Sanitation (DWSS) has developed certain key features in its policy draft which work as a guideline to carry forward the objectives of the project. As per it the rural local government along with the user groups have been made responsible for upgradation and management of intra-village Rural Water supply and Sanitation (RWSS) facilities and services. It also has introduced partial capital cost sharing by users.

Workable and low cost Sewerage and Sanitation

The government has taken fresh initiative for developing workable and low cost sewerage system in the form of small bore sewerage system and cost effective sewage treatment technologies. The prime reason for adopting small boring sewerage system was the high capital cost of conventional sewerage system and availability of less quantity of waste water in rural areas for effective functioning of conventional sewerage system.

Initially Punjab government executed small bore drainage system in three villages of state in 2004-05. Besides conventional sewerage system was also commissioned in four villages. The project has a provision to finance on pilot basis construction of small bore sewers and sewerage schemes in about 100 villages which already have good house hold sanitation coverage.

More projects in offing

Besides a number of other development initiatives are being taken by the government in the current financial year of 2015-16. For instance under Saaf Pani initiative a sum  of Rs 11,000 million was allocated by the government.

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Punjab Industry gets a fresh doze of incentives from Government

With an aim to give boost to the industrial sector in Punjab, the government is laying stress on formulating and evolving fresh industrial policy, with a central theme of Make in Punjab. The basic objective is to encourage local industry with growth incentives besides attracting new entrepreneurs for investment in Punjab.

New Measures for Industrialists

In order to avoid unnecessary hassles to the industrialists it has been decided that the excise department would scrutinize tax assessment cases for only last three years instead of five.The industrialists have been provided with the online facilities and query platform and have been asked to upload their email IDs on the department portal.

Punjab industry gets a fresh doze of incentives from government

Besides in order to help industrialists provide a level playing field, provisions of the VAT (value-added tax) retention and power incentives have been given even for the expansion of existing units.The government has also excluded steel industry from the negative list.

SPVs for focal points

It was with this purpose that the idea of having special purpose vehicles (SPVs) in each industrial area has been mooted. After collecting taxes from industrialists, the SPVs would spend this money on the development of industrial areas and help solving the problem of the requirement of basic amenities at the focal points.

Rahat scheme 

The small scale entrepreneurs have been given relief with the scheme in which they can pay lump-sum taxes,that have already implemented. Apart from helping small scale industrialists in getting their dues cleared, the scheme aims at ending ‘Inspector Raj’, by simplifying the procedure of trade and business.

Fiscal incentive to small and medium scale industries
Earlier the government has also approved fiscal incentives for those units which were located in industrial zones as per master plans with an investment of Rs 1 to 10 crore.
The move was aimed at giving fillip to small and medium scale industries.

Low power tariff   

In another major decision, the government has also approved supply power at the effective rate of Electricity per unit (with utilisation factor of 50% or more) @ less than Rs 5 per unit (FCA extra) to the entrepreneurs who had plans to set up their units during Invest Punjab or who have already installed their units to avail ‘Fiscal Incentives for Industrial Promotion (revised), 2013’. These prospective investors would be eligible to the incentive for five years from coming into commercial operations while those who have already begun such operations could avail this benefit for five years with effect from October 28, 2015.

New ordinance approved

The government has also approved the ‘The Punjab Development of Trade and Industries Ordinance, 2015’ for the creation of fund to be used for the purpose of development of trade, industrial estates, focal points and industrial clusters. For this government gave a go ahead to impose entry tax on the goods brought into the state.

Rehabilitation of units in MLU

The government has also made a plan to rehabilitate 47 industrial units operating in a mix land use zone/ residential area falling in villages of Balongi, Daon, Badmajra, Ballomajra, Landran and Saneta within the jurisdiction of GMADA.

Approvals under Right to Service Act 
In a bid to provide relief to the existing industrial units in various day to day approvals from various departments and offices, the government has decided to bring the important approvals under the Right to Service Act. These approvals would be time bound.

Plug and Play industrial park
The government has also proposed a plug and play industrial park adjoining the international airport, SAS Nagar with a purpose to facilitate prospective South Korean investors who are keen to set up their ventures in the something to say? Post your comment

Wood park
A 200-acre “Wood Park” at Anandpur Sahib has been proposed with a purpose to promote plywood and timber industry in the Kandi (sub-mountainous) area.

There is much hope for the industry sector in the coming days as Punjab Industries Minister Madan Mohan Mittal says that the state is witnessing rapid and phenomenal strides in industrial sectors. “The days are not far when Punjab will witness a massive industrial revolution since as it has sealed 374 MoUs worth Rs. 1.12 lakh crore investments,” he claimed.

In fact, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal’s views on elaborating the government’s plans to promote industries in the state sum up the policy well.

“Our aim is to provide entrepreneurs with congenial atmosphere, liberal policies, and online facilities for overall progress and job opportunities in Punjab,” he says.

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Punjab Paves Way into Road to Excellence in Vegetable Cultivation

In a state majorly dependent on agriculture, the state government has left no stone unturned to ensure they are well trained and made aware about the latest advancements in the agriculture techniques.

The Centre for Excellence for Vegetables at Kartarpur, Jalandhar-Amritsar road, spread over 15 acres, on which the government spent over Rs 9.73 crore is today a major attraction for farmers where they are not only educated about the latest technology but also to encourage them to opt for diversification.

Punjab Paves Way into Road to Excellence in Vegetable Cultivation

In addition to keeping them acquainted with the latest in the farming sector besides also helping them know how to produce vegetable seeds which are free from disease. Several thousand farmers have benefited from the centre for excellence and over 16 lakh saplings have been given away to the farmers.

As regards protected cultivation of vegetables are concerned training programmes are held time and again which is helping the farmers community to a great extent. Besides they are also informed about several other measures for crops like the green houses etc.

It doesn’t end at training as last year the government had given hybrid seedlings of different vegetables. These had included capsicum, brinjal, tomatoes and cucumber and the best part of this was that it had been ensured these seedlings were free from any kind of disease.

At par with international standards

The centre for excellence is an outcome of the Indo-Israel agreement. The centre provides for the best available infrastructure and other facilities and the intent of the government to give the farmers best is evident from the fact that 13 acres of land is reserved for cultivation, while the remaining goes in development of infrastructure.

While some cultivation has been done in open spaces, there is a lot in poly houses as well. In addition farmers are also given lessons on how to improve their yield by a proper mix of water, fertilizers and pesticides. Technical support is being rendered by experts from Israel.

The Unique Poly Houses

There are two kinds of poly houses, which include a high-tech one which has come up on 2000 square yards and is being used to produce those vegetable seedlings which are in great demand for exports while the naturally ventilated poly house on 6000 square yards is being used for producing seedlings of new varieties of capsicum, small corn, and other vegetables.

The distinct feature of this centre for excellence is 6 units of net house, 8 walk-in-tunnels which have a controlled temperature and humidity levels for different vegetable seedlings.

There are about 30 such centres of excellence across the country, which are practicing Israeli technology, which has brought about extraordinary results to farmers. The centre also strengthens the ties between two countries India and Israel.

This is also helping the farmers in not only using the best and latest technology in the farm sector but also to export to Europe, US and Middle East countries.

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Pig Farming brings new hope for diversification in Punjab

Pig farming is turning out to be a good alternative for the farmers in Punjab with the state government giving a boost by a number of measures and incentives.

Recently the government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the British Pig Association (BPA) with an objective to develop and promote piggery on scientific lines. As per the MoU, which was signed by the chief minister Parkash Singh Badal with the BPA export manager Chris Jackson, the BPA would provide pigs and frozen semen to farmers and livestock breeders of Punjab through state’s animal husbandry department.

Pig farming brings new hope for diversification in Punjab.png

Badal after the tie up has expressed hope that this tie-up would give a boost and turn around the stagnant economy of farmers and livestock breeders by promoting state’s diversification programme.In fact it’s due to encouragement of Punjab government and the bigger scope of profitability that an increasing number of farmers have begun rearing pigs and have started importing good-quality sperm to raise yields in Punjab.

Free Training and Subsidy 

To encourage farmers, the department of animal husbandry has been giving free 2-3 week training for willing piggery farmers and piglets have been given to them by the department. Besides Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (Gadvasu)’s Department of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Extension Education Ludhiana has also started pig farming training for farmers of Punjab. The government has also helped them get bank loans for new piggery farms. In November 2014, Punjab Government doubled the amount of subsidy from 25 to 50 %, to the farmers for setting up new piggery farms. Animal Husbandry Minister Gulzar Singh Ranike, concedes that the initiative has been taken to help the poor people especially in the waterlogged Malwa region where the land is not cultivable.

Role Model Village

In a bid to promote piggery farming in Punjab, village Ratta Khera of District Sri Mukatsar Sahib has been adopted as Model Village. Encouraged by the rise in subsidy the villagers have set up 10 units of piggery in the village. The initiative is setting a new precedent for farmers looking towards diversification in other districts all over the state.

Ultra-modern facilities

Earlier with the consent of government in 2013, Polar Genetics India Private limited in collaboration with Alberta, Canada based Polar Genetics had announced setting up of Asia’s first Ultra-Modern Pig Farm at Grewal Farm village Khassi Kalan, Chandigarh road, Ludhiana. As per the agreement, the Canadian company has been asked to supply high quality frozen genetically improved boar semen. It has also been decided that the firm would share latest technology and the management skills with the farmers. This would help making the entire process of the breeding and slaughter of pigs, and processing and marketing of high quality pork meats hygienic and scientific. The ultra-modern Ludhiana farm has a capacity of 50 sows (female pigs).

Bright future for farmers

It’s due to this holistic approach of the government that venturing into pig farming has started giving benefits to farmers. Substantiating the success, Secretary of the Piggery Farmers’ Association, Dalwinder Singh says that the benefits and profit margin is much higher, “There is just no comparison of piggery with what one would have earned from traditional cultivation.While Rs 1.2 lakh per year from two acres is the wheat-paddy cycle potential, with piggery done at full scale, a one-kanal pig farm can give an income equal to 42 acres of traditional farming,” he adds.

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Punjab on a mission to encourage rearing of Sahiwal and other Dairy Animals

Punjab government has taken a slew of new measures to improve milk production and encourage farmers for rearing and buying dairy animals. As a part of its initiative the government has launched a project to develop pure breed of ‘Sahiwal’ cattle under Gokul Gram Yojna. Not only would this initiative help in developing pure breed but is also expected to increase the production of milk in the state. Under ‘Gokul Gram Yojna’ about 600 high-genetic breed of Sahiwal cows would be housed and it would be developed with the help of highly scientific techniques with an emphasis on increasing the milk production. The Animal Husbandry Department has started identifying and buying the Sahiwal Cows producing more milk.

Punjab on a mission to encourage rearing of Sahiwal and other dairy animals.png

A hi-tech Bull Mother Farm has also been set up under the Rashtriya Krishi Scientific Yojna at Village Rauni in district Patiala, to ensure good quality of breed.

Sahiwal breed was considered one of the best breeds of cattle in Punjab prior to Indo-Pak partition. According livestock census of 2012, there are about 38,446 Sahiwal breed cows left in Punjab.

State Animal Husbandry Minister Gulzar Singh Ranike says the government is committed to protect the indigenous cow breed of Sahiwal and increase the number of pure breed dairy animals.

“Punjab government is determined not only to protect this indigenous cow breed but also raise the number of high yielding cows,” he said. He also added that the cattle farmers who are rearing Sahiwal Cows, would be honoured with a cash award and certificates.

In another such move the government has started registration of high-breed cattle under its ‘herd registration programme’. The programme aims at identifying elite milk producing cattle by registering them online and crate a reliable database for people, who rear and buy dairy animals.

According to deputy director animal husbandry Jatinder Kumar Chopra, those who get their cattle registered online would be awarded incentive from Rs 500 to 1,500 in accordance with the quality.  For registration the high breed cattle are to be identified from five different categories- Sahiwal, Exotic Holstein Friesian (HF), Exotic/CB Jersey, Murrah and Nili-Ravi.

According to officials in the department of animal husbandry, HF breeds cows producing around 5,000 to 6,000 litre, Jersey 3,000 to 4,000 litre, Murrah 3,000 to 3,500 litre, Nili Ravi 2,000 to 3,000 litre and Sahiwal 2,000 to 2,500 litre milk during 292 days of the lactation period will be included in the elite production category.

The department has also decided that the veterinary inspectors will carry out door-to-door survey to identify high-breed cattle. The animals will be selected primarily within first month of calving on third and 14th days. Recording of milk produced in 292 days will be registered on Punjab animal husbandry website, along with the daily milk production, and the owner’s detail, including mobile number.

Dr Harjinderjit Singh Sandhu, director, animal husbandry, mentions that the department has already identified about 10,000 high-breed cows and buffalos under the category. The department has set a target of registering about 40,000 to 50,000 cattle every year.

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Investment flows to Punjab thanks to Progressive Punjab Invest Summit

Investment is flowing to Punjab in a big way all thanks to subsequent Progressive Punjab Invest Summits. In order to give a clear message to industrialists that Invest Punjab was really a “single window” and not a window which opened into hundreds of other windows the Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab, Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal gave the slogan “One man, One phone, One e mail, One office”. That man – the CEO of Invest Punjab is Mr. Anirudh Tewari. The officer, who sits in Chandigarh, is easily approachable and has become a one stop man for all entrepreneurs seeking to invest in Punjab.

Progressive Punjab Invest Summits

While Invest Punjab has a major role in the transformation of the investment scenario in Punjab, the story behind its creation is the reason for its success. The vision for this department and how it would be established and function was spelt out by Deputy Chief Minister Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal.

In his own words, Sukhbir Badal says “when I was strategizing how to best kick start investment the creation of a special department for this purpose was a natural corollary. However what was not natural was the manner in which I visualized the department. I realised from day one that the department would be successful in case its CEO could deliver. This was only possible if he had complete power to offer quick clearances to industries wishing to set up shop in Punjab”.

It was then that the Deputy CM decided on a “revolutionary” step. This translated into transferring the powers of more than a dozen departments to the CEO of Invest Punjab and empowering him to grant all regulatory and fiscal incentives. As Mr Badal says, “There were a lot of doubts. People felt how you can take away powers from the heads of various departments, all of whom were IAS officers. My logic was simple. I asked, do all these IAS officers receive the same training or not? If yes, as is the case, I asked then why can’t one officer handle this work. Why should an investor have to go to multiple government departments to secure clearances to invest in the State? None had any answer to this logic.”

How Punjab attracted investment? Besides power, Punjab realized it had to counter balance the fact that it was situated away from a port and was a landlocked State. As the Deputy Chief Minister puts it “I realized the issue was one of connectivity. We decided to make the State the best connected State in the country. Besides the Amritsar international airport, we have a new international airport in Mohali besides four domestic airports. This means an investor can access an airport within one hour driving time anywhere in the State”. Besides air connectivity, the Punjab government has also focused on providing the best road connectivity in the country. Current work which has already started will ensure that every town of Punjab will be connected with four to six lane expressways in around two years. This is being done at a mammoth cost of Rs 22,000 crore.

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