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PUNJAB CABINET APPROVES DISTRIBUTION OF RS.1388 CR GRANT-IN-AID TO PRIs UNDER 15TH FINANCE COMMISSION GUIDELINES

August 05, 2020 08:58 PM

Chandigarh (Face2News)

The Punjab Cabinet led by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday approved the release of Rs. 1388 crore as grant-in-aid to the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), in line with the guidelines of the Fifteenth Finance Commission (XV-FC).

According to a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office, the Cabinet also approved distribution of grants amongst the three tiers of PRIs - 10% for Zila Parishads, 20% for Panchayat Samitis and 70% for Gram Panchayats. Accordingly, out of the total grant-in-aid of Rs. 1388 crore, Rs.971.6 crore would be distributed amongst Gram Panchayats, Rs.277.6 crore to Panchayat Samitis and Rs.138.8 crore to Zila Parishads.

The Cabinet also gave approval to intra tier devolution, to be carried out on the basis of population and area in the ratio of 90:10 as per Fifteenth Finance Commission recommendations. The PRIs will be allotted 90% of the funds on the basis of their population as per Census 2011, and 10 % of the funds on the basis of Rural Area under their jurisdiction. Besides, the devolution of funds to all the three tiers of PRIs will be carried out through Zila Parishads viz. the total amount will be transferred to the respective Zila Parishad and distribution to Panchayat Samitis and Gram Panchayats will be done by Zila Parishads.

Notably, the grants for rural local bodies are to be distributed as basic and tied grants in the ratio of 50:50, as per recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission. The basic grants are untied and can be used by the local bodies for location-specific felt needs, except for salary or other establishment expenditure. The tied grants, on the other hand, can be used for basic services of sanitation and maintenance of open-defecation free (ODF) status and supply of drinking water, rain water harvesting and water recycling.

The local bodies shall, as far as possible, earmark one half of these tied grants to each of these two critical services. However, if any local body has fully saturated the needs of one category, it can utilize the funds for the other category. The grants received by PRIs may be allowed to be placed in three different bank accounts for proper monitoring. i.e. (a) Untied funds account (b) Tied Funds (Sanitation & ODF) (c) Tied Fund account (Drinking water, Water Conservation, etc).

Constituted by the President of India under Article 280 of the Constitution on November 27, 2017 to make recommendations for a period of five years commencing April 1, 2020, the 15th Finance Commission has given its interim report for one year i.e. 2020-21. The share of PRIs of Punjab is Rs 1388 crore. In a departure from previous Commissions, it has recommended grants to all three tiers of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) i.e Zila Parishad, Panchayat Samiti and Gram Panchayat.

CABINET APPROVES ABSORPTION OF EMPLOYEES OF SBAC HIGH SCHOOL BAJWARA 
In another decision, the Cabinet also gave approval to absorb the employees of the Government Aided SBAC High School Bajwara in district Hoshiarpur against sanctioned posts, as the land of this Grant-in-Aid school has been handed over to the Employment Generation Department for setting up of Military Academy. Meanwhile, the students studying in this school have been admitted in nearby schools.

PUNJAB CABINET PAVES WAY FOR DISTRIUTION OF 1.73 LAKH SMART PHONES FOR CLASS XII GOVT SCHOOL STUDENTS BY NOVEMBER: The Punjab Cabinet on Wednesday paved the way for distribution, by November, of 1,73,823 smart phones to boys and girls of government schools, preparing to take their Class XII Board exams this year through online education amid the Covid pandemic. Distribution of the first batch of 50000 phones, which has already been received by the state government, will begin shortly. The phones will be equipped with various smart features such as touch screen, camera and pre-loaded Government applications like 'e-Sewa App' with e-content related to Class XI and Class XII, as approved by Department of School Education.

The second batch will be procured soon, and the entire distribution process will be completed by November, said an official spokesperson after a meeting of the state cabinet, which has approved the modalities for distribution.

The Cabinet noted that four months of the academic year 2020-21 had already elapsed without regular on-campus classes, and while private schools were undertaking online classes, the students of Government Schools faced a competitive disadvantage, especially those studying in Class XII.

Though he had initially announced that the first batch of the smart phones, received just a few days ago, would be given to girls, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh said today that both boys and girls of Class XII government schools, who do not have smart phones to access the online classes that have currently replaced physical education, will be provided the same. This, he said, was necessary to ensure that these students do not suffer in the times of the pandemic due to lack of access to education.

With this, the state government will fulfill yet another of its election promises and implement the scheme 'The Punjab smart Connect scheme, which it had announced in its budget for the Financial Year 2018-19. The scheme was aimed at providing digital access to youth, as well as information regarding education, career opportunities, access to skill development & employment opportunities, in addition to basic citizen-centric services through government applications etc.

In a September 2019 meeting, the Cabinet had decided to distribute mobile phones to about 1.6 lakh girl students not owning a smart phone and studying in class 11th and 12th in the Government Schools during the fiscal 2019-20. The contract was signed with M/s Lava International Ltd. after open competitive bidding process. However, during the process of procurement and delivery of smart phones, the country was hit by COVID-19 pandemic and resultantly, the delivery and distribution of the smart phones could not take place in the academic year 2019-20.

PUNJAB GOVT APPROVES RS. 501.07 CR EXPENDITURE INCURRED BY STATE IN COVID FIGHT, EXPENSES INCLUDE RS. 76 CR ON EQUIPMENT & RELIEF, RS. 425 CR SPEND FROM SDRF: Punjab Cabinet led by the Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday gave its approval for Rs.501.07 crore expenditure incurred so far by the State Government to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Disclosing this here today, a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office said that out of Rs.501.07 crore, Rs.76.07 crore was spent by the Health Sector Response & Procurement Committee for purchase of various equipment &relief, while Rs.425 crore was spent by various departments out of the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) and budgetary resources set aside for the management and control of the pandemic.

Giving the break-up of the provisional expenditure of Rs.425 crore incurred by the various departments, the spokesperson said that Rs.131.99 crore was by the Department of Health & Family Welfare, Rs. 36.16 crore by Medical Education & Research, Rs.3.77 crore by Transport, Rs.10.12 crore by Information & Public Relations, Rs.10.11 crore by Rural Development, Rs.14.04 crore by Social Security, Women & Child Development, Rs.45.05 crore by PWD, 0.11 crore by Jails, Rs.78.2 crore by Food & Civil Supplies, Rs.12.65 crore by Deputy Commissioners on the development, operation & maintenance of COVID care centres in state, Rs.4.86 crore by Water Supply & Sanitation, Rs.3.62 crore by Home, Rs.8.79 crore by Local Government and Rs.65.22 crore by Deputy Commissioners.

The State Government had allotted funds totaling Rs. 470 crores out of SDRF and budgetary sources for Covid fight, of which 90.42% has already been spent. The allocation was for management and control of the pandemic; augmentation of the health infrastructure including procurement of state of the art medical equipment for enhanced testing; provision of protective gear for frontline workers, for better case management setting up and designating healthcare facilities as Level-I, Level-II and Level-III depending on the requirement of care, to ensure relief to those who were impacted by the lockdown and lost their livelihoods and to ensure return of stranded migrants to their homes.

Apart from this, a sum of Rs.76.07 crore was spent by the Health Sector Response & Procurement Committee on the purchase of equipment for the Health & Family Welfare Department, Medical Education and Police Departments, including PPE Kits, N95 Masks, Triple Layer Masks & VTM Kits. The committee made these purchases on exigency basis since the Covid-19 situation called for the immediate measures to be undertaken.

Notably, the Health Sector Restructuring Procurement Committee was constituted on March 28, 2020, under the Chairmanship of Additional Chief Secretary, Governance Reforms, to make an assessment on realistic basis on the requirements of PPEs and all the other necessary material and equipment required to effectively control the Covid-19 pandemic and take speedy decisions for ensuring timely procurement of the same.

4-YEAR STRATEGIC ACTION PLANS GET CABINET NOD FOR SIX MORE PUNJAB DEPARTMENTS The Punjab Cabinet led by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday approved the Four Year Strategic Action Plan (4SAP) 2019-23 and Annual Action Plan 2019-20 of six departments, taking the total number of state departments which such plans in place to 24.

The departments for which the plans have been given the nod today are Social Justice Empowerment & Minorities, Governance Reforms & Public Grievances, Power, Higher Education & Languages, Revenue, Rehabilitation and Disaster Management, Information Technology and Key Performance Parameters (KPPs).

According to a spokesperson of the Chief Minister's Office, the KPPs for Government Officials, as per the Four Year Strategic Action Plan and Annual Action Plan, are focused upon goals, targets and performance parameters of each government official, for the 4-year-period 2019-2023 and for 2019-2020, respectively. The performance parameters prescribed in the Four Year Action Plan for every key personnel responsible for execution of the department's policies, programmes and schemes shall be monitored through the online SDG Monitoring System. The performance on the KPPs shall be reflected in the Annual Performance Appraisal Reports of the Key Personnel as per targets assigned to them.

The state government has adopted the SDGs to take up proper planning, implementation and monitoring of the progress of realisation of the SDGs for optimal results. Till now, 4SAP of 24 departments have been prepared and approved by the Cabinet. The allocations for Annual Action Plan 2021-22 and Revised Estimates for 2020-21 would be decided on the basis of 4SAP 2019-23 of the Administrative Departments.

The key parameters are in line with the United Nations 2030 Development Agenda, the associated 169 Targets and 306 Indicators, which comprehensively cover social, economic and environmental dimensions and build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). While the MDGs target low handing fruit, the SDGs are ambitious, have a much wider sweep, and call for concerted efforts on the part of all stakeholders.

Detailed guidelines have already been issued to the Administrative Departments for the preparation of the Strategic Action Plan. The Administrative Departments are required to finalise Four Year Strategic Action Plan (4SAP)- 2019-2023 and Annual Action Plan 2019-2020, with the approval of the Minister In-charge and submit the same to the Planning Department.

 
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