CHANDIGARH: The Punjab Government has announced free education for girls in government schools and colleges from Nursery to PhD. Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh was fulfilling a key poll promise and taking a major leap towards women empowerment with the announcement.
Reservation for women in Panchayati Raj Institutions and Urban Local Bodies has already been increased by the government from 33 per cent to 50 per cent.
In his speech on the motion of thanks to the Governor’s Address, the Chief Minister in the State Assembly this evening announced free textbooks, as well as Nursery and LKG classes in government schools from the next academic session.
Fulfilling another poll promise, he announced free Wi-FI for 13,000 primary schools and all 48 government colleges. In addition, the Chief Minister also announced a pilot project to promote English in government schools from next month, apart from which he had promised that five new colleges would be set up in the state during this fiscal, notwithstanding the financial crunch faced by the government.
The Punjab government has already unveiled several social welfare programmes and initiatives in the last three months, including a phased waiver of loans of up to Rs 50,000 given to Dalits and economically weak sections by the State Scheduled Caste Corporation and the State Backward Classes Corporation. A scheme for free houses for the homeless apart from low-cost housing for the economically weak would also be launched in 2017-18, the chief minister said.
Amarinder also announced a new Lokpal bill, which would bring not only the ministers and all the bureaucrats under in its ambit but the Chief Minister as well.
Lashing out at the Opposition for raising “unfounded issues out of restlessness”, he demanded that they come clean with the names of those involved in sand mine auctions during their regime. He did not shy away from referring to the opposition charges against his cabinet colleague Rana Gurjit Singh, saying the judicial commission was already inquiring into the matter and that truth shall prevail.
Amarinder reiterated his government’s stand on the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL), saying they would not allow the canal to be constructed at any cost as the state had no surplus water to share with others. He also announced several other measures to ensure that the water problems faced by the people of the state could be solved.
He made it clear that those found guilty of trying to disrupt the state’s harmony through sacrilegious attacks and those involved in the false cases registered under the previous regime would not be spared. Countering the Opposition’s attempts to mislead the people on this count, the Chief Minister said only 13 cases had been registered under his government in the past three months and 12 of them had already been solved. He also categorically denied any move to reduce the annual pay of police personnel from 13 to 12 months.
Even as he cited facts and figures, stating that the government had had a stupendous success on the war on drugs, the Chief Minister appealed to the Opposition to join hands in the effort. He gave out a warning to those involved in drug trafficking to quit or face stringent action.