Winding up the discussion on governor’s address, Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann also termed the Emergency a “big blot” on India’s democracy, lambasting it as a period when people’s voice was suppressed. Saturday marked the 47th year since Emergency was first imposed in the country.
Listing out the achievements of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government during the first 100 days in office, chief minister (CM) Punjab Bhagwant Mann on Saturday announced multipronged improvements in the education sector, which he termed the bedrock for building a new society.
Winding up the discussion on governor’s address, he also termed the Emergency a “big blot” on India’s democracy, lambasting it as a period when people’s voice was suppressed. Saturday marked the 47th year since Emergency was first imposed in the country.
“….Today, there was such a day in India’s history, which was a big blot on India’s democracy. On this day in 1975, Emergency was imposed in the country when people’s voice was suppressed,” said the Punjab CM.
‘Private school fee to be regulated’
Addressing the assembly, Mann said government schools in the state will be transformed into ‘schools of eminence’. He said the government is committed not only to building state-of-the-art government schools but also regulating fees in private schools. “The NoC (no-objection certificate) of schools found violating the Fee Act, 2016, will be cancelled and a fine of ₹1 lakh will be imposed,” he said.
“The state government has already started the process of recruiting 5,994 ETT and 8,393 pre-primary teachers,” he announced, adding that advertisement to fill 25,000 vacant posts in various state departments, boards and corporations will be issued within a month.
He also informed the House of a state government’s collaboration with regional English language office of the US embassy, New Delhi, where the education department will get around 50 mentors trained to further train the teachers.
On law and order
In view of the increasing incidents of gangwars and the recent killing of Punjab singer and politician Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu, popularly known as Sidhu Moosewala, Mann also assured to eliminate gangster culture and bring in a ‘witness protection bill’ and turn jails of the state into high security jails.
“The special task force (STF), in coordination with the district police, intelligence, BSF, NCB and other agencies, is launching operations to check cross-border smuggling of narcotics and weapons,” he announced and sought the support of all members of the house.
“The SSPs and commissioners of police have been asked to coordinate with STF to nab drug traffickers and police officers will be held accountable for any laxity,” he said.
To rehabilitate drug addicts, Mann said that the state government has increased the number of outpatient opioid assisted treatment (OOAT) clinics from 280 to 500 for better accessibility.
Coining the slogan ‘Tandarust Mann te Tandarust Vichaar’, the CM said that 75 mohalla clinics in urban areas and rural areas are being set up for affordable treatment.
He also proposed to open seven new maternal and child health wings at Gurdaspur, Nabha, Patti, Raikot, Muktsar, Talwandi Sabo and Derabassi and announced to upgrade 2,950 health sub-centers to Tandarust Punjab Sehat Kendras.
“In agriculture, the government has already promoted a third crop moong (green gram), being procured at MSP of ₹7,275 a quintal, offering an additional income of ₹30,000 per acre. Diversification of more crops will be encouraged and area under pulses, maize, cotton and oilseeds will be increased to also help conserve groundwater,” he informed, adding that an incentive of ₹1,500 per acre is being given to farmers sowing paddy with direct seeding of rice method and 25,985 farmers have adopted the new method.
Reiterating his government’s promise for door-to-door delivery of wheat or wheat flour, the CM said there are 1.57 crore beneficiaries who have been enrolled under National Food Security Act and for that, the state agency in cooperative sector Markfed has been made the nodal agency.
Corruption, social welfare
Speaking on his government’s war against corruption, Mann said the anti-corruption helpline was launched within a few days of government formation and in a short span, 29 cases were registered and 47 arrests made.
Seeking the support of every MLA in the house, the CM said his state government will introduce one pension-one MLA bill in the ongoing session, to replace the present provision of allowing a pension for every term.
Showing concern over brain drain in the state, the CM said that technical education can stop the exodus and 19 new industrial training institutes are being set up by state government and 44 new courses are under consideration after a discussion with the industry.
The CM also assured that his government would construct 25,000 houses for the economically weaker sections.
As a tribute to the martyred soldiers from the state, the CM said an ex gratia support of ₹1 crore will be given.
Mann said the state government has launched direct buses from Punjab to Delhi airport in the first 100 days, adding that the fare of the state-of-the-art luxury buses are 50% cheaper.
In his address, the CM called upon the NRIs of Punjab to support in boosting the infrastructure of villages by contributing half the cost for construction of school buildings, hospitals, sewerage, streetlights and stadiums.
He informed that a total of 6,100 acres of agriculture land has been freed from encroachment and his government will revive gram Sabhas to bring about socio-economic change.
To boost eco-tourism, plans are being made to develop Ranjit Sagar Dam reservoir as an international tourism destination. He said the department will complete various commemorative memorials and museum projects, undertake upgrade of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Museum at Khatkar Kalan and of Anglo-Sikh War Memorial and Museum as well as development of Ajj Sarovar at Kharar, Pandav Sarovar at Gharuan and Art and Culture Centre at Patiala.