Monthly Archives: JULY 2017
Amarinder meets Canadian MP, stresses need for Canada to rein in radical elements
Captain Amarinder Singh has stressed the need for Canada to rein in the radical elements trying to use the Canadian soil to spread strife and divisiveness in India.
The Chief Minister raised the issue with Jalandhar-born Canadian MP Rameshwar Singh Sangha, who called on him here on Friday afternoon.
Amarinder said that while such elements, including Khalistani supporters, could not have any impact on the Canadian political environment but they could influence the people of India and vitiate the atmosphere here.
Unfortunately, these elements were successful in spreading their divisive messages in India through the use of the social media, he said, adding that the Canadian government should crack down on these forces and ensure that they do not have a free run on the social media and other public platforms.
The Chief Minister said his government was trying to revive Punjab’s economy by wooing industry and investment into the state but such efforts can get derailed by the nefarious designs of radical elements operating from outside India. These handful of people, with their vicious propaganda, were negating the efforts of all the NRIs, including Punjabis, who were contributing immensely to the development and progress of India and Canada, said Captain.
Amarinder and Sangha also discussed various issues of NRI concern, with the former assuring of all help by his government to secure the interests of Indians settled abroad in every possible way.
Pointing to the increasing number of cases of harassment of NRIs, especially over property related matters, over the past 6-7 years, Sangha, who represents Brampton Centre riding, urged the chief minister to initiate steps to protect the interests of the Indian community settled abroad.
Captain promised all support to safeguard the interests of NRIs, an official spokesperson said after the meeting. He told the MP that he had already taken up with the Chief Justice a proposal to set up NRI courts, which his government now planned to establish as part of the ex-servicemen courts since there were not enough NRI cases to merit separate courts.
Sangha, who is Chairman of the Canada-India Parliamentary Friendship Group, said the contribution of NRIs to the development of Canada, and in fact all countries in which they were settled, was commended by the respective governments of those countries. The Chief Minister agreed and lauded the NRIs for nurturing and promoting India’s image around the world. The hard work, dedication and commitment of NRIs was highly praiseworthy, he said.
The MP, who is constantly working to promote business and cultural ties between India and Canada, said working together was in the interest of both the countries.
The Chief Minister extended his government’s full support to boost relations between the two countries, especially at the people-to-people level.
Old rivals meet, Maharaja tells Mantri Punjab needs help
NEW DELHI: Two Punjabis, both bitter old rivals, met today in Lutyen's Delhi, with one, a Maharaja and a CM, beseeching the other, a powerful Mantri with control of the treasury, to help him adjust the books a little. Were they able to put aside their past skirmishes and cooperate with each other?
Punjab government's official press note revealed little, and only time will tell if the Centre will let Amarinder Singh breathe a little easier.
On Thursday, CM Amarinder Singh urged Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitely to allow a one-time settlement of Rs. 6000 crore worth of loans that Punjab's farmers owe to national and private banks. It's a power that technically lies with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
Amarinder, currently under opposition fire and facing farmers' anger over half-way loan waiver, has blamed the banks for unethical banking practices. The Amarinder regime's line is that banks forced loans down farmers' throats, pushing them into a vicious cycle of debt.
Of the total debt of small and marginal farmers waived by the state, loans from cooperatives amounted to Rs. 3,600 crore while the remaining Rs. 6,000 crore came from banks.
The issue of settlement of Cash Credit Limit related debt of a whopping Rs. 31,000 crore also figured in the CM's meeting with Jaitley. Punjab has sought a panel to resolve the imbroglio. This is the second time Amarinder has taken up the issue at such high level. Earlier, he had broached the subject with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The CM termed the Rs. 18,500 crore worth of interest accrued on the Rs 12,500 crore CCL -- termed a legacy gap by the state government -- as "exorbitant". "It would mean that the state will end up paying Rs 270 crore every month for the next 20 years at the cost of welfare schemes of the state," the official press release noted.
The CM also raised the issue of losses incurred by the state on procurement, underscoring that the Rs. 40,000 crore worth of procurement undertaken every year pushes Punjab into Rs 5,500 crore worth of losses, including about Rs. 3,500 crore on payment of instalments and interest on the outstanding CCL debt.
Amarinder also requested the Union Finance Minister "to reconsider the state’s proposal for pre-payment of the high interest bearing NSSF loan of Rs.22,110 crore and market loans of Rs.33,938 crore to swap these with low interest bearing loans."
"Such a swap...would help save an interest burden of over Rs. 3,363 crore for the cash-crunched state," the statement said.
Interestingly, the long-winded official press release described Jaitley's response in a most perfunctory manner, saying in a single sentence that the Union Finance Minister "directed department officials to look into all the issues and coordinate with officials from Punjab government to resolve them."
Punjab's Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal and MP Gurjit Singh Aujla, alongwith some officials, accompanied Amarinder during the meeting.
Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.
— Team PT
Tejveer exhorts PR officials to make use of all modern tools of communication
"The officers of the Department of Information and Public Relations should act as a bridge between the Government and the common people in order to disseminate all the pro-people policies and programmes of the State Government in true letter and spirit."
Disclosing this here today during the course of a review meeting of the Department, the Secretary, Information and Public Relations Department, Tejveer Singh said that in today's technologically driven era, it becomes all the more significant to make use of all modern tools of communication with special emphasis on social media and sensitize the common man about welfare measures undertaken by the State Government. He exhorted the officers stationed both at the headquarters and in Districts to be the eyes and ears of the government and help in projecting positive image of the state through their professional approach.
The Secretary also directed the officers posted in the districts to develop an efficient feedback mechanism regarding the public response towards the policies formulated by the Government and inform the headquarters without fail about the discontent, if any so that the higher echelons of the government are appraised of the same in the greater public interest.
On the occasion, the Director of the department Gurkirat Kirpal Singh without mincing words asked the officials of the department to buff up their PR skills and develop cordial relations with media. He laid stress on the need for PR officials to be pro-active towards responding to the activities in their respective areas .DIPR also reiterated the need of the PR officials to rise above being just the mouthpiece of government and be more vigilant to public sentiment and convey the area specific baulk towards government initiatives, without wasting time.
The meeting was attended by the entire team of PR officials of Punjab including Dr. Senu Duggal and Opinder Singh Lamba ( both Additional Directors), Surinder Malik, Joint Director, Harjit Singh Grewal, Dr. Ajit Kanwal Singh, Mr. Randeep Singh Ahluwalia (all Deputy Directors), DPROs from all the districts as well as IPROs and APROs from the Head Office.
Health department's drive against tobacco: Challans over 8 thousand offenders in 3 months
In a bid to control the usage of tobacco as smoking and chewing at public places, the health department has challaned 8,077 offenders under ‘Cigarettes & Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003’ in the state and collected the amount of Rs. 480,965 as fine during month of April, May and July 2017.
Disclosing this here today, Health and Family Welfare Minister Brahm Mohindra said that state government has also issued order to all the district authorities to take strict action against the offenders, who smoke or spit the chewing tobacco, supari, paan-masala at public places under Section 268 and 269 of Indian Penal Code. "Direct and indirect use of tobacco is equally harmful for humans and animals and it is subject of serious concern which is directly linked with health of people”, he added.
Giving details regarding affect of tobacco, Health Minister said that each cigarette contains more than 4000 substances, of which 40 substances are most hazardous known to cause heart diseases, damaging blood vessel walls, increasing the tendency of blood platelets to clot and contributing to heart attacks in smokers and people or animals around them. "It is pertinent to mention that about 12.5 lakh Indians annually died due to tobacco use, which is more than AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. This figure will increase to ten million by 2020 that means one death in every three second would be happened because of tobacco use”, said Mohindra.
He further added that using any kind smokeless tobacco at public places is also a major public health hazard, which spread the communicable diseases likewise Tuberculosis (TB), Swine Flu, Avian Flu, Pneumonia and oral cancer. He said that as per record of health department, approximately 90 percent of people with mouth cancer in the country are tobacco users.
The Minister further said that as per survey conducted by WHO, usage of chewing tobacco and smoking at public places affected the sanitation and public health at large scale. He said that Section 269, in the Indian Penal Code also prohibits any negligent act that is likely to spread infection concerning disease to life. He said that concerned departments have been ordered to take strict action under various act regarding violation of using tobacco at public places to control the death causalities.
Italy evinces interest in collaborating with Punjab in agriculture
Italy is keen to partner with Punjab in the field of agriculture and sustainable development.
A delegation of Italian company Anas, led by Indo-European Sustainable Development CEO Sir John Martin Thomas, met Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh to discuss collaboration in these and other areas of mutual interest.
An official spokesperson said after the meeting that the Italian PSU has invited Punjab to partner it in the 242nd International Conference on Food and Agricultural Engineering, scheduled to be held in September this year.
Captain assured the delegation of all support from the state government to work together in identified areas. He also underlined the need for employment creation in Punjab through collaborative initiatives and investment programmes. He also directed the concerned departments to extend all possible help to the delegation members, some of whom were natives of Punjab.
Besides development of Punjab’s road network on BOT basis, Anas expressed interest in solar energy development. The Chief Minister told the delegation that his government was planning to power the 1.3 million water pumps installed in the state with solar energy and a pilot project on 2000 pumps had already been initiated. This, he said would enable the state to save its power subsidies for the agriculture sector.
Another area identified by Anas for investment is dairy development, particularly in the areas of cheese processing and tetra packaging. Protection of heritage and promotion of heritage tourism were also discussed by the two sides, said the spokesperson.
Several countries, including Israel, Japan and Australia, have already met the Chief Minister to discuss investment in various projects across sectors in Punjab. Captain Amarinder has initiated a series of measures to revive industry in the state and the government is working on a new industrial policy to ease business and make the environment more friendly and favourable for industries and business houses to invest in Punjab.
The other members of the core delegation included; Mr. Domenico Petruzzelli- Director, Anas International Engineering, Mr. Massimo De Felici - Director Operative, Mr. Luca Parrino- IICCI - EU Branch Treasurer, Mr Manvendera Singh and Mr Aditya Sandhu.