Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today impressed upon the Union Human Resources Development Minister Smriti Irani to expedite the process of constituting a site selection committee for finalizing the site of setting up Indian Institute of Management (IIM) at Amritsar. The Chief Minister, who called on Mrs. Irani at his office here at Shastri Bhawan this morning, apprised her that the state government has identified two sites for the approval of Ministry for setting up IIM in Amritsar. He said that one site was of 192 acres land at village Awan which was 40 kilometres from International Airport and other was in village Sheron Bagha that was 50 kilometres from Amritsar. Badal sought the personal intervention of the Union Minister for setting up a site selection committee so that work on the project could be started at the earliest after finalizing the site.
The Chief Minister also urged Mrs. Irani to lay the foundation stone of construction of campus of the Central University at Bathinda. He apprised the Minister that the state government has already transferred the 500 acres of land at village Ghudda to Central government for the construction of this university. Mr. Badal said that right now this University was functioning from a temporary accommodation at Bathinda. Under the grant in aid scheme to the meritorious schools, the Chief Minister requested Mrs. Irani for sharing 75% of the non recurring and recurring costs of the state run scheme to impart free education in 11th and 12th standard to the students who secured 80% or more marks in class 10th in the specially established six residential schools across the state. The total investment incurred on these schools was Rs 150 crore and the annual running expenditure was Rs 50 crore. Mr. Badal also asked the Union Minister to pay a visit to these schools and implement this model in the entire country.
Likewise, the Chief Minister also urged Mrs. Irani to provide grant-in-aid of 75% of the recurring and non-recurring costs of the Adarsh/ Model schools in the state. He said that the state government had set up these 26 schools for imparting free quality education to the poor and intelligent students in the state. The Chief Minister also asked Mrs. Irani to enhance the cost of providing free uniform to all the girls and SC and BPL boys of class first to eight from existing Rs 400 per child to Rs 1000 per child. Likewise, he also impressed upon the Union Minister to raise the rate of providing free books to all the students of class first to eight from existing Rs 150 per student for primary classes and Rs 250 per student for upper primary classes to Rs 211 and Rs 630 respectively.
The Chief Minister also demanded that the existing norms of providing mid day meal to student should also be revised and cooking cost of mid day meal for primary students must be raised to Rs 7 per child from existing Rs 3.56 per child for primary students and Rs 10 from existing Rs 5.38 per child for upper primary students. He also urged the Union Minister to raise the honorarium of Mid Day Meal cooks from existing Rs 1200 per month to Rs 3500 per month. Responding to the demands raised by the Chief Minister, Mrs. Irani said that Ministry has already finalized the site selection committee for IIM, which would finalise the site within a week after visiting both the proposed sites by the state government. She also apprised that the classes of the upcoming IIM at Amritsar would begin from the current session at the Punjab Institute of Technology as recommended by the state government. She highly appreciated the scheme of opening meritorious schools for the economically weak but bright students and assured Mr. Badal that she would soon take up the matter of giving grant to these special schools with the Ministry of Finance. The Chief Minister was accompanied by his Principal Secretary Mr. SK Sandhu, Principal Secretary Higher Education Dr. Roshan Sunkaria, Principal Secretary School Education Mr. C Roul and Special Principal Secretary Mr. KJS Cheema.