Reiterating their firm commitment to lift every grain of the farmers during the ongoing procurement, the Cabinet today decided that the farmers in the state would be given full Minimum Support Price (MSP) of their harvest and the value cut imposed by Government of India (GoI) would not be passed on to the farmers for none of their fault.A decision to this effect was taken in the meeting of the Council of Ministers held under the chairmanship of Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal at Punjab Bhawan, this evening. Disclosing this here today a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office said that the Cabinet also reviewed the elaborate arrangements for the wheat procurement during the Rabi Marketing Season 2015-16. The Cabinet further made firm resolve to bail out the farmers by extending all possible help in ensuring smooth, timely and hassle free lifting of grains. The Punjab government requested the Union government to allow purchase of wheat howsoever it was damaged due to recent rains. But the Government of India has imposed a value cut on damaged and shriveled grains which would reduce the MSP by atleast Rs 14 per quintal. The state government, thus expressing solidarity with the farmers would soon take up the matter of value cut with GoI and unequivocally decided to procure the crop of farmers at MSP in any case.
The Government of India (GoI) has fixed the price of wheat as Rs 1450 per quintal as Minimum Support Price for the current marketing season. In order to ensure smooth, prompt and hassle free procurement of wheat the state Food and Civil Supplies Department had already issued the Wheat Procurement Policy for this current marketing season. Necessary arrangements for required storage space and stock article had already been completed and a network of 1810 purchase centres has been notified by the Punjab Mandi Board and allotment of Mandis to six procurement agencies have been made as per their allotted share by the state government. The state agencies would procure estimated 100 LMT (80%) and FCI 25 LMT (20%) wheat during the ongoing procurement drive.
In a bid to promote and develop power generation from New and Renewable Sources of Energy (NRSE), the Punjab Cabinet today approved the amending of NRSE Policy 2012 and waived off two percent transmission and wheeling charges for wheeling on Solar and NRSE power within the state. The said policy would now enable farmers to set up Solar plant of minimum 1 Mega Watt and maximum of 2.5 Mega Watt on their land. This would give additional source of regular income to the farmers. Under the amended policy the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL)/ licensee/ Punjab State Transmission Corporation Limited (PSTCL) would undertake to transmit/ wheel the NRSE power through its grid, to consumers located in the state without any transmission and wheeling charges on the energy fed to the grid, irrespective of the distance from the generation station.
This exemption would also encourage third party sale of NRSE power and captive power producers, who would also be benefitted as NRSE power would be transmitted and wheeled without any charges. This move would attract farmers to invest in NRSE sector with these lucrative exemption benefits being provided by the state government besides this initiative would also open up avenues of NRSE power sale in the open access/ third party sale sector within the state. The state government has also made provision in the policy to promote Canal Top Solar, Canal Bank Solar, Reservoir Solar and Hybrid NRSE projects and to promote distributor solar generation by land owning farmers in the state.In another significant decision the Cabinet also gave approval to amend the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Rules, 1964 thereby allowing the Industrial, IT, Food Processing and Textile parks, Solar Plants, Special Economic Zones or any such similar investment cluster in the state to sub-lease upto 75% of leased land for similar activities.The Cabinet also gave approval to grant extension in the contract of Pharmacists and Sweepers working as service providers @ Rs.7000 and Rs.3000 per month respectively in 1186 subsidiary health centers under Zila Parishads w.e.f. April 1, 2015 to September 30, 2015 in the public interest as a stop gap arrangement up to March 31, 2016 or till regular recruitment, whichever was earlier.
The Cabinet also gave nod to convert ‘The Punjab Development of Trade, Commerce and Industries Bill, 2015’ into an Ordinance to provide for the non-discriminatory and compensatory levy of tax on the entry of specified goods into the local area for development of trade, commerce and industries and the matters connected therewith or incidental there to.
The Cabinet also approved to amend the Village Panchayat Land Lease Policy of Shamlaats lands to allot 25 instead of 10 acre land for the Gaushalas on lease basis for 33 years.