In a bid to digitally empower residents of Punjab, the Cabinet led by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday approved the Punjab State Data Policy (PSDP) to track progress and to provide citizens greater and efficient access to services.The PSDP would be instrumental in leveraging data and technology to optimize service delivery and citizens’ access and participation through user friendly and secure e-Governance systems. The data would be efficaciously utilized for evidence-based policy making and programme decision making.The Cabinet also gave a nod to notify PSDP for creating a unified and interoperable data infrastructure for the state.Disclosing this, a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office said that with this, Punjab has now become one of the first states in the country to formulate a comprehensive data policy. Recognizing the potential utility and importance of the data generated by the government departments, organizations, and institutions in the state, the Punjab State Data Policy (PSDP) would define the rules of engagement with regards to all aspects of data management while remaining committed to protecting the privacy of citizens.Apprising the Cabinet, the Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan said that this policy shall serve as a guiding principle for all departments to collect, process, manage and use data for efficient, effective, transparent and accessible service delivery to citizens. The Policy shall serve the purpose of facilitating easy access and sharing of government data, in order to support sustainable and inclusive governance and effective planning, implementation and monitoring of developmental programmes, managing and mitigating disasters and scientific research aiding informed decisions, for the public good. Approves creation of new block Patiala (Rural) The Punjab Cabinet has approved the creation of a new block Patiala (Rural) for ensuring all round development in the villages falling under it. The new block would include 26 and 32 Gram Panchayats of Patiala and Nabha blocks respectively.Amendments in Punjab Government Employees (Conduct) Rules, 1966 approved .In order to maintain high ethical standards, integrity and honesty by public servants and the prohibition of sexual harassment of working women, the Cabinet approved amendment in Rule 2, 3 and 22 of Punjab Government Employees (Conduct) Rules, 1966 on the pattern of All India Service (Conduct) Rules, 1968 and Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964.