Cabinet decisions

DW BUREAU / chandigarh The Punjab Cabinet led by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday approved an expenditure of Rs 501.07 crore incurred so far by the state to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. A spokesperson for the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said that out of the Rs 501.07 crore, Rs 76.07 crore was spent by the Health Sector Response and Procurement Committee for the purchase of various equipment, while Rs 425 crore was spent out of the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) and budgetary resources set aside for managing and controlling of the pandemic. The state has allocated funds totalling to Rs 470 crore out of the SDRF and budgetary resources to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, of which 90.42 per cent has already been spent. The funds were allocated for the management and control of the pandemic and augmentation of the health infrastructure, including procurement of state-of-the-art medical equipment for enhanced testing and protective gear for frontline workers. The government on Wednesday also decided to provide health insurance cover to all state government employees and pensioners besides the employees of various boards and corporations and those in the organised private sector. The decision was taken in a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, said an official statement. The Department of Health and Family Welfare has been asked to prepare a detailed proposal for inclusion of the new categories into the ambit of the Ayushman Bharat -- Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojana (AB-SSBY) scheme -- which provides insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh per family per year. As per the Cabinet decision, the scheme will now be extended from August 20, 2020 to August 19, 2021. After the Cabinet meeting, an official spokesperson said of the 42.27 lakh families currently under the scheme's cover, 14.86 lakh poor families had been identified as per the 'Socio-Economic Caste Census' (SECC) of 2011. Of the remaining, 16.30 lakh families include those of Smart Ration Card holders, 11.10 lakh of farmers, certified sugarcane growers, construction workers, small traders and accredited journalists. Notably, the Cabinet has approved the extension of AB-SSBY for the next policy plan period from August 20, 2020 to August 19, 2021 at the tendered premium rate of Rs 1,100 per family per year. The total estimated cost of the premium is Rs 464.98 crore which will be shared amongst the Centre, the state and the participating departments -- Punjab Mandi Board, Building and Construction Workers' Welfare Board, Excise and Taxation Department and state-owned media house Punmedia, said an official release. AUTOMATIC RENEWAL OF LICENCE of registers The Cabinet also decided to allow the facility of automatic renewal of license and maintenance of registers in electronic or digital format to industries. An official spokesperson said the move was in line with the directives of the Ministry of Finance, Government of India, for eligibility to procure additional borrowing of two per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) in 2020-21, subject to the implementation of specific state-level reforms by January 31, 2021. Automatic renewal of certificates/licenses required by business entities is one of the reforms. As per the new rule, a licence shall be renewed for one year digitally through automation mode if there is no change in particulars of the license from the previously granted ones. In a bid to ramp up the civic infrastructure and improve the quality of public life in 167 Urban Local Bodies (ULBs), the Cabinet also approved the release of Rs 1,046 crore to the Local Government Department under the Punjab Urban Environment Improvement Programme (PUEIP), Phase-II. The Cabinet also approved the four-year strategic action plan 2019-23 and annual action plan 2019-20 for six departments -- Social Justice Empowerment & Minorities, Governance Reforms & Public Grievances, Power, Higher Education & Languages, Revenue, Rehabilitation and Disaster Management and Information Technology. (


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