Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Friday said that the state cabinet has approved the reimplementation of the old pension scheme, which was discontinued in 2004.
In another decision of the cabinet, a meeting of which was held here under his chairmanship, Mann said a notification to fix sugarcane rate at Rs 380 per quintal has also been approved.
Asked about the Old Pension Scheme, Mann, who was addressing a news conference after the cabinet meeting, said, ”OPS has been approved by the cabinet. Details will be given. Many employees will be benefited under the old pension scheme. Notification has been issued.” The old pension scheme, under which the entire pension amount was given by the government, was discontinued in the country from April 1, 2004.
In the cabinet meeting held nearly a month ago, the Punjab government had decided to restore the scheme for its employees, which has been their major demand.
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State Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema had last month said employees will be given the option to join the old pension scheme.
Briefing reporters about other decisions of the cabinet, Mann said, ”In today’s cabinet meeting, the notification regarding Rs 380 per quintal sugarcane rate has been approved, which is highest in the country.” ”We have cleared all outstanding dues of sugarcane from farmers,” he further said.
All sugar mills will start crushing sugarcane from November 20.
Mann also said that 645 lecturer posts in government colleges will be filled, while in case of appointment of principals for 16 government colleges the age limit has been relaxed from 45 to 53.
He said power arrears till October 31 of all registered ‘gaushalas’ in Punjab will be waived.
An amount of Rs 5 lakh each has been given to 624 families, whose next of kin died during the farmers agitation against the now repealed farm laws, he said, adding that so far 326 such families have been given jobs. The remaining families will also be compensated with jobs soon, he said.
To support farmers with direct seeding of rice, Mann said the state government has deposited Rs 24.83 crore in the accounts of 29,335 farmers.
He also said that the moong crop area has increased from 50,000 acres to 1.25 lakh acres.
State agency Markfed has procured 57,557 quintal moong at the minimum support price of Rs 7,275 per quintal, he said.
During the past seven months, the state government has released Rs 80 crore to farmers in crop damage compensation, he said.
Asked about the law and order in the state, Mann said: ”Punjab police are capable of maintaining peace. We have given strict instructions to Punjab police to conduct random searches and those who flash weapons or make hate speeches and provoke should be dealt with strictly as per law.”