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Punjab Cabinet approves restoring benefits to 10.77 lakh ration card beneficiaries

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Chandigarh, Jan 24 (PTI) The Punjab Cabinet on Wednesday decided to restore benefits to about 10.77 lakh ration card beneficiaries to allow them to avail of ration being supplied under the Public Distribution System.

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According to an official statement, about three lakh ration cards were deleted during the verification process, depriving 10.77 lakh beneficiaries.

"However, keeping in view the larger public interest, the Cabinet has decided to restore these cards," it said.

The decision was taken during a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann.

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All the beneficiaries will be able to derive the benefits of the Public Distribution System (PDS) and door-to-dor delivery of ration schemes being started by the state government, Mann later said.

In order to lower the mortality rate due to injuries occurring from road accidents, the Cabinet also greenlit a "Farishtey" scheme.

The scheme envisages immediate and hassle-free treatment to accident victims in both public and empanelled private hospitals. In order to encourage the general public to come forward to help the accident victims, the state government will commend their deeds with a financial reward of Rs 2,000.

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A commendation certificate describing them as "Farishtey" will also be issued and they will be provided immunity from legal complications and police inquiries.

The Cabinet also approved a new transfer policy for teachers, streamlining it to ensure that they contribute zealously to teaching rather than running pillar to post for their transfers, according to the statement.

This policy facilitates teachers having family members suffering from chronic diseases to apply for transfers throughout the year.

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The Cabinet also gave its nod to forward to the governor the recommendation to appoint retired Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Jatinder Singh Aulakh as chairman of the Punjab Public Service Commission.

In a major relief to residents of urban areas, the Cabinet also approved to amend the relevant clause of the Punjab Municipal Building Bylaws, 2018, to enable self-certification of residential building plans up to 500 square yards.

Self-certification stipulates that the plans can be approved by the architects themselves without routing those to any official or employee.

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However, checks and balances have been introduced to ensure that building bylaws are followed meticulously and the documents uploaded are in accordance with the norms.

More than 90 per cent of residential buildings in the state are below 500 square yards. Therefore, easing the approval of such types of building plans will bring great relief to the general public, the statement said.

The Cabinet also accorded its consent to enhance financial assistance to ex-servicemen or their widows who are above 65 years of age and took part in World War I and World War II but were sent home without any pension benefits.

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The financial assistance has been increased from Rs 6,000 to Rs 10,000 a month. At present, 453 beneficiaries avail of the benefits under this policy. The hike will be effective from July 26, 2023.

The Cabinet also approved extending the CM Di Yogshala campaign to 15 more districts -- Barnala, Faridkot, Fatehgarh Sahib, Ferozepur, Fazilka, Gurdaspur, Kapurthala, Mansa, Moga, Sri Muktsar Sahib, Pathankot, Rupnagar, SBS Nagar, Tarn Taran and Malerkotla.

"This health-oriented initiative of the state government is already getting massive response after its launch in nine cities. With this pro-people initiative, the scheme will now cover the entire state, so approval was given for recruitment of additional trainers and other staff," the statement added. PTI SUN SZM

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