Monday, November 11, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Punjab to call session on amendments
Prashant Sood
Tribune News Service

Mount Abu, November 10
The Punjab Government will call a special session of the state legislature to implement the 73rd and 74th Amendments to the Constitution dealing with devolution of powers to panchayats.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, told Congress President Sonia Gandhi that the state was taking effective steps to implement the 9-point Guwahati resolve and his government was preparing a memorandum to call a special session of the state Assembly.

In his action taken report (ATR) on the Guwahati resolve presented at the Congress Chief Ministers meeting here, Capt Amarinder Singh said law and order situation in the state had remained under control with terrorist activities being kept under effective check.

“A major review of the threat perception faced by protectors has been carried out resulting in streamlining and reduction of infructuous security cover with considerable saving of manpower resources”, the ATR said. It pointed out that a major drive had been launched against corruption with 86 cases having been registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

On the Guwahati resolve’s thrust on food security, the ATR said farmers had to be suitably compensated to reduce the area under cultivation. “The current system of procurement through FCI and state agencies is quite successful”, the ATR said while warning that any change in the present procurement system may cause harm.

“The system of MSP should continue to save the farmers from exploitation. The state government is finally of the view that TDPS has virtually failed and has done a major damage to the composite PDS which was prevailing earlier,” it said.

It said the state government was setting up agriculture export zones (AEZ) for basmati and potatoes and had introduced schemes for financing the construction of godowns in rural areas.

On financial restructuring for better fiscal management the ATR said one of the first steps taken by the new government was to prepare a comprehensive status paper on the state finances. “Some main features are to increase sales fax revenue through improved compliance, withdrawal of incentives, rationalisation of rates, progressive privatisation of Punjab Roadways and the PRTC, revision of user charges for transport, drinking water, irrigation, sewerage, technical education, medical education, secondary and tertiary healthcare”.

On the Guwahati resolve’s emphasis on austerity, the ATR said the future employment in government would be project-specific referring to the state’s Budget for 2002-03. It talks of a new pension scheme based on defined contributions, freezing payment of DA due from July 1, 2002 to June 30, 2002, replacing medical reimbursement with a scheme of medical insurance, reducing security and vehicle strength of minister, banning foreign tours of ministers and officers, and freezing LTC.

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