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Thursday, December 02, 2021

Hikes minimum wages by Rs 415.89, paves way for revising power tariff

Talking to the media after the meeting, Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi said that with this decision the services of nearly 36,000 employees with more than 10 years service would be regularised.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh |
Updated: November 10, 2021 7:29:07 am
Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi addresses a press conference in Chandigarh as PCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu and Cabinet ministers look on. (Photo: Kamleshwar Singh)

The Punjab Cabinet Tuesday decided to regularise the services of 36,000 employees working on contract, ad hoc, work-charged, daily wages and temporary basis in different government department. ‘The Punjab Protection and Regularization of Contractual Employees Bill-2021’ will now be introduced in the current session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

Talking to the media after the meeting, Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi said that with this decision the services of nearly 36,000 employees with more than 10 years service would be regularised.

“It is a big gift for employees,” Channi told reporters.

The provisions of reservation policy would be followed during the regularisation process of these employees. However, this decision of regularisation would not be a binding on the boards and corporations.

The Cabinet also gave approval for the extra creation of deemed posts.

Several contractual and outsourced employees had been protesting against the state government, demanding regularisation of their services.

MINIMUM WAGES HIKED

In another decision, the cabinet approved the enhancement of minimum wages with effect from March 1, 2020. The revision in minimum wage based on consumer price index was due on March 1, 2020. It has now been increased by Rs 415.89 from Rs 8,776.83 to Rs 9,192.72. With the hike in minimum wage, a worker would also be entitled to get arrears of Rs 8,251 from March 1, 2020 up to October, 2021, the chief minister said.

Power Tariff

The Cabinet also approved a legislation to terminate the existing tariff and re-determine the tariff afresh for two private power plants including Nabha Power Limited (NPL) and Talwandi Sabo Power Limited (TSPL).

The Bill — Punjab Energy Security, Termination of PPAs and Redetermination of Power Tariff Bill, 2021 — will be tabled in the ongoing session of Vidhan Sabha. After the Bill is passed, the PPAs with Nabha Power Limited and Talwandi Sabo Power Limited will stand referred to PSERC for re-determination of tariff.

CONTRACT FARMING ACT SCRApPED

In another move, the cabinet decided to repeal the Punjab Contract Farming Act, 2013.

“Keeping in view the dilemma/fear in the minds of the producers/farmers of the state due to the strict provisions incorporated in the Punjab Contract Farming Act, 2013 like imprisonment, monetary penalties and other rigorous punishments, the cabinet decided to repeal the aforesaid Act in the larger interest of Punjab farmers,” a government statement said.

The government was facing a lot of criticism for not repealing the Act, introduced by previous SAD-BJP government.

AGRI MARKETS ACT TO BE AMENDED

The Cabinet also gave approval to amend the Punjab Agricultural Produce Markets Act, 1961 The time-tested Act is a legislative measure enacted by Punjab Government to facilitate the development of markets/mandis infrastructure, to provide better facilities and amenities to farmers to sell their agricultural produce seamlessly besides to regulate the marketing of agricultural produce for the elimination of malpractices prevalent in the trade.

FRUIT NURSERIES ACT TO BE AMENDED

The Cabinet also approved to introduce the ‘Punjab Horticulture Nursery Bill-2021’ in Vidhan Sabha Session by amending ‘Punjab Fruit Nurseries Act-1961’. The amended Act is necessitated in view of drastic changes in the new technologies like IT, GPS Tagging, Traceability etc. and these developments are essentially to be made part of this Act. The earlier Act of 1961 covered only the fruit plants, with the new amendments the vegetables’ planting material would also be brought under the regulatory ambit with the proposed changes.

RELIEF TO INDUSTRY

The Cabinet approved the Punjab (Institutional and Other Building) Tax Repeal Bill, 2021 to waive un-paid dues in all cases. The Punjab (Institutional and Other Building) Tax Act was implemented on the industrial and other institutional buildings, which come outside the municipal limit. This decision would give a relief of Rs 250 crore to the beneficiaries.

HEALTH COVER PLAN

The Cabinet also accorded approval to the universalization of Ayushman Bharat-Mukh Mantri Sehat Bima Yojana, under which the entire population of Punjab would be provided an insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh per family per year, except for state and central government employees and pensioners. Nearly 61 lakh families in the state would be benefitted from this decision.

SETTLEMENT SCHEME FOR ILLEGAL BUILDINGS

The cabinet also gave nod for promulgating the Punjab One-Time Voluntary Disclosure and Settlement of Violations of the Buildings Bill, 2021 for all unauthorised constructions, which have come up till September 30, 2021. The move is aimed at providing one time opportunity to the violators within the Municipal areas who have made non-compoundable violations in the buildings for regularization without compromising on public safety/security and convenience. However, the compounding fee has also been reduced by 25 per cent.

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