Cabinet nod to include 15 lakh families in free health insurance scheme

The state government will now be bearing a total cost of Rs 593 crore per annum to cover 55 lakh families to provide insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh per family for secondary and tertiary care treatments.

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh. (File photo)

The Punjab Cabinet Friday approved the state government’s decision to provide free insurance cover to 15 lakh families who were earlier not included in the ambit of Ayushman Bharat Sehat Bima Yojana.

A government statement called it a fulfilment of CM Amarinder Singh’s universal healthcare poll promise.

Barring the families of government employees/pensioners, who are already covered under Punjab Medical Attendance Rules, nearly 55 lakh families in the state will now come under the ambit of this scheme, an official spokesperson said after the meeting.

The state government will now be bearing a total cost of Rs 593 crore per annum to cover 55 lakh families to provide insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh per family for secondary and tertiary care treatments in empanelled public and private hospitals.

The Health and Family Welfare department has been asked to formulate the operational process for the enrolment of these left out families under the scheme.

Notably, nearly 39.38 lakh families, including 14.64 lakh families identified as per the ‘Socio-Economic Caste Census’ (SECC) of 2011, 16.15 lakh Smart Ration Card holder families and 5.07 lakh farmer families, 3.12 lakh construction worker families, 4,481 accredited journalist families and 33,096 small trader families, are already availing this facility under the scheme since August 20, 2019, and they have got cashless medical treatment worth over Rs 913 crore cover in the last two years.

Aid for terrorism/riot-hit families, Kashmiri migrants hiked

The Cabinet also fulfilled a pending demand of terrorism/riot affected families and Kashmiri migrants by enhancing their subsistence allowance. While subsistence allowance of terrorism/riot affected families has been hiked from Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000 per month, financial assistance being given to Kashmiri migrants as ration money has been increased from Rs 2,000 to Rs 2,500 per month per family. This move would benefit 5,100 terrorism/riot affected families and 200 Kashmiri migrants with an annual outlay of Rs 6.16 crore.

The financial assistance of terrorism/riot affected families was earlier increased in 2012 and for Kashmiri migrants, it was hiked in 2005.

Nine fast-track courts with 117 new posts

With a view to eliminating the pendency of Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and rape cases, the Cabinet also approved the setting up of 9 fast-track special courts with the creation of 117 posts for the same.

These nine fast-track special courts would be set up in Amritsar, Bathinda, Fazilka, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Mansa, Moga, Patiala and SAS Nagar. The 117 posts to be created for such courts include 9 Additional District & Sessions Judge and 9 each of Judgement Writer (Sr. Grade), Reader Grade-I, Stenographer Grade-II, Translator, Ahlmad, Copy Clerk and Usher with 18 of Peon. The remaining 27 posts comprise 9 each of Deputy District Attorney, junior scale stenographer and peon.

It may be recalled that the Apex Court has directed state governments to set up fast-track special courts in such districts where more than 100 cases related to POCSO Act and rape cases are pending.

Tourism, food departments restructured

The Cabinet also approved restructuring of the Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Archaeology, Museums and Archives department for creation and filling up of additional 9 new posts on regular scale, besides additional 35 new posts on outsourcing basis at minimum wages prescribed by the state government.

The restructuring of Food Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs department was also approved. The Cabinet gave its nod to sanction 109 new posts against 159 posts surrendered in the Food and Supplies, 20 against 35 posts in Legal Metrology Wing, besides creation of 130 new posts in Consumer Redressal Commissions. A total of 259 posts have been created against 194 surrendered posts.

Reimbursement of state GST share in langar

In another decision, the Cabinet cleared the move to provide grant-in-aid for reimbursement of the state share of GST on purchase of langar items of Sri Darbar Sahib Amritsar, Sri Durgiana Mandir, Amritsar and Sri Valmiki Sthal Ram Tirath, Amritsar.

Dept panels to hire new assistant professors, librarians

To ensure smooth running of 18 new government colleges in various sub-divisions of the state, the Cabinet also gave approval to recruitment of 160 assistant professors and 17 librarians in these colleges. The recruitments will be made by the Departmental Selection Committee after taking these posts out of the purview of Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC).

The Cabinet also gave the nod to constitute a Departmental Selection Committee, comprising former chairman UGC, Professor, Ved Prakash as Chairperson with Vice Chancellor, GNDU Amritsar, DPI (C), representative of Principal Secretary, Department of Social Justice and Empowerment (not below the rank of Joint Director) and 3 subject matters experts (not below the rank of professor to be selected by the committee) as its members. The committee has been mandated to carry out the recruitment process by strictly following the selection criteria as per the UGC guidelines.

Lal Lakir implementation

To facilitate quick and effective implementation of Mission Lal Lakir, the Cabinet decided to cut down by half the time for filing objections prepared under the SVAMITVA scheme from the existing 90 to 45 days.

The Cabinet accordingly approved the Punjab Abadi Deh (Record of Rights) Bill, 2021, enabling amendment to Section 11(1) of the existing legislation, which had provided that person aggrieved by the demarcation of any boundary in the survey record, or an entry regarding the proprietary rights in the standing record of rights in a survey unit, may file objection within 90 days of display of record at a conspicuous place in the village.

The Punjab Abadi deh (Record of Rights) Act, 2021 was enacted to implement ‘Mission Lal Lakir’ across the state. As no Record of Rights is available for properties within the Lal Lakir, such properties could not, therefore, be monetised as per real value of the property and no mortgages etc. can be created on such properties. The state government had announced Mission Lal Lakir to prepare the right of record of properties of villages within Lal Lakir, with cooperation of GoI, under SVAMITVA Scheme.

To implement ‘Mission Lal Lakir’, the Abadi Deh (Record of Rights) Act, 2021 provides legal framework to finalise the record of ownership on the basis of a survey.

Lamin tech skills university in Nawanshahar

To strengthen industry-oriented teaching, skill training and research in the state, the Cabinet approved the establishment of private self-financed ‘Lamrin Tech Skills University’ at Railmajra in Balachaur, Nawanshahar.

The upcoming self-financed ‘Lamrin Tech Skills University’, being established as a research and skill development university over an area of 81 acre, will be developed with an investment of Rs 1,630 crore over five years. It will have an annual intake of 1,000-1,100 students when the campus is fully established.

Plaksha Univ ordinance re-promulgated

The Cabinet also accorded its approval to re-promulgate the Plaksha University, Punjab Ordinance-2021 for the establishment of private self-financed ‘Plaksha University’ in Mohali’s IT city.

The Ordinance was issued on August 20, 2021, but it could not be converted into an Act of the state legislature in the last session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

Govt to take over Machhiwra Women’s College

The Cabinet also approved taking over National College for Women, Machhiwara, in Tehsil Samrala of Ludhiana district as Government College (Women), Machhiwara, Samrala (Ludhiana). The move is in line with the decision of having a government college in each sub-division of the state. It will also help in increasing the Gross Enrollment Ratio of the state.

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