Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh presiding over the Cabinet meeting at CMO, Chandigarh on Tuesday

===============================================VIGILANCE NABS REVENUE PATWARI IN BRIBERY CASE

 Chandigarh, March 13: State Vigilance Bureau, during its ongoing campaign against corruption today nabbed Revenue Patwari red handed while accepting bribe of Rs. 8000/-.

 Disclosing this here an official spokesperson of the Vigilance Bureau said Ramesh Kumar, Patwari posted at Halqa Dheerpur in Fatehgarh Sahib district was nabbed red handed by Vigilance team for accepting bribe of Rs. 8000 from complainant Sarbjit Singh of village Maangarh, Tehsil Amloh in Fatehgarh Sahib district.

  The Complainant has approached the VB that the accused Patwari was demanding Rs. 8000 for mutation of his land. After verifying his information, the Vigilance team laid a trap and the accused Patwari was arrested on the spot while accepting bribe of Rs. 8,000/- from the complainant in the presence of two official witnesses

  He informed that a case under Prevention of Corruption Act has been registered against the accused at VB police station Patiala and further investigations was under progress.




 Chandigarh, March 13: To boost efficiency, transparency and accountability in the delivery of citizen services, the Punjab Cabinet on Tuesday approved the draft Punjab Transparency & Accountability in Delivery of Public Services Bill, 2018, while also deciding to set up a Sub-committee on Governance Reforms.

The new legislation will repeal the earlier Punjab Right to Service (RTS) Act, 2011, said an official spokesperson, giving details of the decision taken by the Cabinet at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh. It will bring transparency and accountability to ensure electronic delivery of services to the citizens in a time-bound manner.

The key features of the legislation, prepared by the Department of Governance Reforms and Public Grievances to overcome the shortcomings and weaknesses in the existing Right Service Act 2011, include back-end computerization of all public services within three to five years, online receipt of service requests as a mandatory provision and electronic delivery of services to citizens in a time-bound manner.

Other features encompass inclusion of a healthy system of incentives and disincentives for the public authorities and their staff, intimation or tracking of application status by the applicants through Mobiles or Internet regarding their service requests, and simplified redressal/appeal mechanism, besides a lean and thin Punjab Transparency & Accountability in Delivery of Public Services Commission with faster delivery of justice.

The Cabinet also gave ex-post facto approval to the constitution of Punjab Governance Reforms and Ethics Commission (PGREC) to bring transparency, accountability and efficiency in all government departments. The Commission has also been entrusted with the task of making recommendations to government departments to undertake structural reforms in various areas of governance.

Giving details of the Sub-Committee on Governance Reforms, the spokesperson said it has been mandated to take a final decision on the recommendations of PGREC. The Committee, in its discretion, may also remit any matter to the Council of Ministers for wider consultation and a final decision.

The Sub-Committee would be headed by the Chief Minister, with Finance Minister, Minister In-charge of Governance Reforms & Public Grievances department and Minister In-charge of the concerned administrative department as its members. The Sub-Committee would have Chief Secretary and Chairman PGREC as its Member Secretary and special invitee respectively. The recommendation of the Commission shall be sent to the Department of Governance Reforms (DoGR) by its Member Secretary.

The Department of Governance Reforms shall further send the recommendations to the concerned administrative department to obtain its views and, if so required, the administrative department concerned shall draw a Cabinet memorandum for the implementation of the recommendations. This entire exercise shall be completed within six weeks.

The Department of Governance Reforms and Public Grievances shall put up the status of the implementation of the decisions to the Cabinet Sub-Committee on quarterly basis through Chief Secretary-cum-Member Secretary.



 Chandigarh, March 13: The Punjab Cabinet on Tuesday has decided to place the Punjab Police (Amendment) Ordinance 2018 before the State Assembly for enactment in the forthcoming Budget session.

This decision was taken during the Cabinet meeting held under the chairmanship of Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh here.

The Ordinance, promulgated by the Governor on January 2, had replaced DIGs with IGs in the ranges as part of the government’s efforts to rationalise the police structure in the state.

Under the provisions of the new Act, Section (4b) of the Act of 2007 would be substituted as “the officer of subordinate ranks of district police, armed police, intelligence, investigation and technical and support services shall form separate cadres. Seniority of each cadre shall be maintained at the State level. Transfer of a member of one cadre to another cadre shall not be allowed. However, the officer of subordinate rank working in special operation group may be transferred to district police after the successful completion of the fixed tenure in special operation group as specified by the Government. In case an officer of subordinate rank is rendered completely or partially disabled during operations or training, the period of fixed tenure can be relaxed by the Director General of Police for the purpose of transfer to district police. The subordinate rank officer who opt for transfer to district police, if transferred, his seniority shall be placed at the bottom of the officers holding the same rank in the district police.”

Section 9 would be substituted as “Each police range shall be headed by an officer of the rank of Inspector General of Police or Deputy Inspector General of Police who shall supervise the police administration of such range, and report to the Director General of Police directly or through any superior officer as and when posted”.

Apart from this, in sub-section (1) of Section 15, for items 1 and 2, it shall be substituted as “Inspector General of Police or Deputy Inspector General of Police, as the case may be”. Similarly, in the principal Act, in sub-section (3) of Section 32, the words and sign ‘police zone’ or wherever occurring and ‘as the case may be’ and sub-section (4) shall be omitted.

Sub-section (5) in Section 32 shall also be substituted as “The transfer and postings of officers of the subordinate ranks, within a police range, shall be made by the Inspector General of Police or Deputy Inspector General of Police of the ranges, as the case may be, on the recommendations of a Committee, comprising of the Senior Superintendents of Police of all the districts in that range.”

Further, sub-section (1) and (2) of Section 36 shall be substituted by the words “the Deputy Inspector General of Police”, wherever occurring, the words “the Inspector General of Police or Deputy Inspector General of Police.”



CHANDIGARH, MARCH 13:The Punjab and Haryana High Court today convened a Full Court Reference to condole the sad demise of Mr. Justice Mela Ram Sharma, former Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court. All the judges of High Court took part in this full court reference.

While sharing the grief with the family of late Mr. Justice Mela Ram Sharma, the Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court Mr. Justice Shiavax Jal Vazifdar said that Mr. Sharma was man of outstanding ability, humanity and courtesy with humane approach in every field. His death is great loss for the legal fraternity. The lessons learnt from his life and service will keep guiding us at all times.

The other dignitaries, who paid tributes to the departed soul included Mr. Satya Pal Jain, Additional Solicitor General of India, Mr. Atul Nanda Advocate General, Punjab, Mr. Baldev Raj Mahajan, Advocate General, Haryana, Mr. Vijender Ahlawat, Chairman Bar Council of Punjab & Haryana and Ravinder Singh Randhawa Honorary Secretary, High Court Bar Association. 

The retired judges of Punjab and Haryana High Court, family members of Mr. Mela Ram Sharmaand members of the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana and Bar Association of High Court were also present in condolence meeting.

 Dr Naresh Kumar Kansra, MBBS, Ortho, here today took over as the new Director Health Services (Family Welfare), Punjab.
Chandigarh, 13th March-Dr Naresh Kumar Kansra, MBBS, Ortho, here today took over as the new Director Health Services (Family Welfare), Punjab. He joined service as a Medical Officer in Gurdaspur in the year 1983, to be later elevated as Senior Medical Officer of Civil Hospital Dasuaya in the year 2009. He also served as Chief Chemical Examiner and later as Civil Surgeon of Gurdaspur district. At present he was serving as Civil Surgeon of Pathankot district, since year 2016. Among his priorities as new DHS (Family Welfare), Punjab, would be smooth implementation of National health programmes and better health facilities for patients in the Government Health Institutions.



 Chandigarh, March 13: The Punjab cabinet today approved the new Excise Policy for the state, with the aim of breaking the monopoly in the liquor business and keeping liquor prices under control, by slashing the Group size from Rs 40 crore to Rs 5 crore, thus increasing the number of Groups from the current 84 to around 700 in the next fiscal.

Allotment is proposed to be done through draw of lots to bring greater transparency under Punjab’s new Excise Policy, which has been drawn out in consultation with various stakeholders and is focused on breaking the monopoly in the business.

The Excise Policy for 2018-19 got the cabinet nod today at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh.

The government is hoping to earn Rs 6000 crore during the next fiscal from the liquor business under the new Excise Policy, said an official spokesperson after the cabinet meeting. For the current fiscal, the Excise Department expects to collect Rs.5150 crore by the end of financial year, as against Rs 4400 crore collected during 2016-17.

The Chief Minister has directed the Excise Department to strictly monitor the Policy implementation to ensure that there is no deviation in the collection of the projected revenues, according to the spokesperson.

The Group size, under the new Policy, has been kept very small – at Rs.5.00 crores only - with variation up to 25% to enable sufficient competition in the market, leading to reduced prices, said the spokesperson. The rate of application has been fixed at Rs.18,000/- (including GST, if any).

Besides, to streamline the business, the number of liquor vends will be reduced from 5850 to 5700 (approx).

Further, under the new Policy, the quota of PML has been reduced from 8.44 crore PLs to 5.78 crore PLs (-32%), of IMFL from 3.71 crore PL to 2.48 crores PLs (-33%) and of Beer from 3.22 crore BLs to 2.57 crore BL (-20%) under the Minimum Guaranteed Quota. Each license will be granted on a Minimum Guaranteed revenue basis, which will consist of fixed license fee and excise duties/levies chargeable on minimum guaranteed quota. The licensee will be liable to pay such minimum guaranteed revenue even if he does not lift the quota allocated to his license. Settlement will be on monthly basis, which will also help in removing the supply of excess liquor to bootleggers.

The Policy also provides that leftover excess quota of 2017-18 be carried forwarded in Minimum Guaranteed Quota of 2018-19, subject to payment of Excise Duty for 2018-19.

Under the provisions of the Policy, a fixed license fee will be chargeable at the time of grant of license. This will be fixed by the Collector-cum-DETC depending upon the quota of the Group and location of vends.

Also, Excise Duty has been levied instead of License Fee, Special Development Fee, Extra License Fee as part of the new Policy.

The rates of Excise Duty on PML, IMFL and Beer have been fixed at Rs.318/- per PL, Rs.348/- per PL and Rs.52/- per BL respectively from wholesaler to retail stage. Similarly, Excise Duty on PML has been levied @ Rs.35/- per PL and on Beer, Rs.60/- per BL for strong beer and Rs.57/- for light beer. On IMFL liquor, Excise Duty ranging from Rs.84/- to Rs.390/- has been charged depending on the EDP of the brand.

Under the new Policy, the licensee can interchange upto 5% of his quota from PML to IMFL and from IMFL to PML, as per requirement. Similarly, he can also get converted 10% quota of PML to IMFL, subject to certain conditions.

The EDP of PML has been fixed at Rs.254/- per case, as against Rs.240/- per case fixed last year. On the suggestion of the Chief Minister, the Cabinet decided to retain the ratio of Fixed:Open Quota of PML at 30:70 in order to encourage local distilleries from whom the licensed vends are obligated to pick up their quota. However, Excise Incidence on all kinds of liquor has been suitably increased so as to secure government revenue and to prevent market prices from rising. Further, all L-2 licensees have been made eligible for grant of L-1 license and it will be a pre-requisite to have L-2 license in the district where L-1 license is sought.

Abolition of Uchanti system and charging of only minimum retail prices of liquor to retail licensee for functions to be held in marriage palaces/banquet halls are among the other features of the new Policy.

Meanwhile, it has been proposed by the Excise & Taxation Department that instead of levying Cow Cess on per bottle basis in urban areas only (as has been done by some MCs), special license fee @ Rs.5/- per PL on PML and IMFL may be levied both in urban areas and rural areas so that equal rates of liquor are maintained in the market.  The fund so collected will be used for upkeep of Cows in urban areas. Similarly, the fund will be used for the welfare of livestock in rural areas alongwith on education and health services, swachhta abhiyan. The proceeds of the special license fee will be deposited in the Treasury and the Department of Finance will transfer requisite funds to the concerned departments.

===============================================================Conditions put by Khaira to Participate in Aardass on mining issue, clearly proves his allegations are false: Channi

 Khaira's daily backtracking from his statements, sign of his mental sickness: Channi

 Chandigarh, March 13: Today again Sukhpal Singh Khaira, backtracked from his allegations on illegal mining and cooked up another theory, which proves to be a sign of his mental sickness. In a press release, Punjab Cabinet Minister and Senior Congress leader Mr. Charanjit Singh Channi has said that he is ready to participate in the aardass at Sri Darbar sahib in the mining issue and Khaira should also come forward for this without any conditions.

Mr. Channi said that Khaira himself knows that there is no truth in his allegations therefore due to this fear he is trying to divert the issue by putting conditions for ardass. He also said that let Khaira decide date and time for Ardass, I alongwith my family would swear at Sri Darbar Sahib that he has not invested even a single money in the legal or illegal mining activities.

Mr. Channi briefing about the issue said that few days back Khaira alleged that I am involved in illegal mining then he backtracked from this statement and said that my relatives are involved in illegal mining then again he backtracked from this statement and cooked up another story that known of my relative is involved in legal mining. But Khaira failed to prove any irregularities.

Mr. Channi said that now Khaira has run away from participating in the ardass by putting a condition that he would particiate in the ardass only if Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh participates in the ardass on the drugs issue. Mr. Channi said that the issue was of mining, he leveled allegations on me and I alongwith my family are ready to swear at Sri Darbar Sahib, if Khaira's allegations are true then what is the fear that he is running away from participating in the ardass by putting conditions. He said that this clearly proves that Khaira's allegations are false and now to save his skin he is trying to divert the issue by putting such conditions.