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Punjab CM's I-Day announcement: Law soon on earmarking Dalit share in govt spending

Just months ahead of the assembly polls in the state, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday announced that a law will be enacted soon to ensure budgetary spending on the welfare of Dalits in proportion to their population.

Punjab CMs I-Day announcement: Law soon on earmarking Dalit share in govt spending
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Punjab CM Amarinder Singh (File Photo)

Amritsar

In his address hereafter unfurling the national flag on Independence Day, the chief minister also announced the regularisation of sanitation workers who have put in over 10 years of service. 

He laid out plans to bring in a universal health insurance scheme, spending Rs 1,200 crore on road projects and introducing a set of 1,150 reforms to help medium and small enterprises. 

Singh announced his government's decision to implement the 85th Amendment to the Constitution that paves the way for faster promotions for Scheduled Caste government employees. 

The Scheduled Castes, in both Sikh and Hindu communities, form an estimated 30 percent of Punjab's population. 

Last month, Amarinder Singh had given his nod for putting before the cabinet the "Punjab State Welfare and Development of Scheduled Castes (Planning, Earmarking, and Utilization of Financial Resources) Sub-Allocation Bill, 2021", which seeks to earmark a part of the state's annual budget for the welfare of the SC community. 

The CM announced an increase in the monthly honorarium for "anganwadi" workers and helpers by Rs 300 to Rs 500. 

He said Rs 1,200 crore will be spent on new projects for the development of link roads. 

A set of 1,150 reforms will be made public by the Department of Investment Promotion for ease of business in the medium and small industries sector, he announced. 

A universal health insurance would be launched shortly. Also, certain expensive medical procedures like dialysis and medical tests like X-ray would be available free at government hospitals, Singh said. 

A sum of Rs 1,170 crore would be spent under the Punjab Nirman Programme for infrastructure development, the CM said. 

He said the state government would pay out Rs 520 crore to 2.85 lakh landless farmers under the debt relief scheme on August 20, the birth anniversary of former prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Debt relief of up to Rs 50,000 each would be given shortly to about 16,000 SC and backward class beneficiaries, he added. 

The CM said Rs 5 crore would be earmarked for the development of the area around Guru ki Wadali, the birthplace of the Guru Hargobind Sahib near Amritsar. 

Paying tributes freedom fighter Madan Lal Dhingra, the Chief Minister announced that a memorial would be established in Amritsar as a mark of homage to the martyr.

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