CHANDIGARH: Navjot Sidhu was conspicuous by his absence in the first meeting of Punjab's cabinet after the recent parliamentary elections. The Punjab Local Bodies Minister gave the meeting a miss, saying that he cannot be taken for granted.
Sidhu was present here but stayed away from the state cabinet meeting due to his recent tussle with Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh. Tensions between the two have been rising after the Lok Sabha polls, with Amarinder hinting at changing Sidhu's portfolio citing the poor performance of his department. Sidhu's absence from the cabinet meeting is being seen as a protest in political circles.
It is learnt that the meeting was crucial as the portfolios of ministers can be changed in the near future and some of them might be dropped from the cabinet.
Meanwhile, Sidhu listed his achievements as a minister and drew attention to the performance of the party in the urban areas in the recent elections, alleging that he was being singled out for criticism despite his performance. He said that he cannot be taken for granted as he had been a performer throughout his life be it in cricket, showbiz, motivational talks or politics.
The cabinet on Thursday set up a three-member committee to study the problems and fee structure of private medical institutions and suggest ways to rationalize it. The committee consists of Health Minister Brahm Mohindra, Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal and Higher and Technical Education Minister Charanjit Singh Channi.
It also approved the ‘Punjab Sports University Ordinance 2019’, paving the way for the establishment of the university in Patiala. The cabinet gave in-principle approval for a Four Year Strategic Action Plan (4SAP) – 2019-23 and Annual Action Plan 2019-20 to set Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the state.
It also approved restructuring of the Department of Employment Generation and Training by merging the Punjab Skill Development Mission (PSDM) with it. The new entity would be renamed the Department of Employment Generation, Skill Development and Training. The cabinet also approved the creation of 994 posts of teaching faculty, para-medical staff & MTW (Multi Task Workers) for the upcoming Government Medical College at Mohali, with an intake capacity of 100 MBBS seats.
Setting a deadline for the completion of his government’s flagship programmes within the next six months, Amarinder directed his cabinet colleagues to expedite the execution of the various schemes and ordered the formation of consultative groups to review progress and make changes if needed.