Punjab Annual Plan fixed at Rs 6,210 crore

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New Delhi, Feb 19 (UNI) The Annual Plan of Punjab for the year 2008-09 has been finalised at Rs 6,210 crore, which includes Central assistance of Rs 200 crores for projects of special interest to the State.

The Plan size was approved at a meeting in Yojna Bhavan between Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal.

Dr Ahluwalia complimented the state for the initiatives taken to ensure inclusive growth and efforts to encourage private sector participation in the development.

He said initiatives aimed at rejuvenating agriculture, skill development and manufacturing sector were steps in the right direction.

The state government was asked to make all out efforts to develop agro-marketing and amend the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act.

The Commission said emphasis should be on skill up-gradation through public private partnership, crop diversification, genetic up-gradation of major crops and undertaking power sector reforms.

Dr Ahluwalia asked the Chief Minister to review the policy of free power as it was leading to over exploitation of ground water. The State's efforts to improve growth rate and catch up with the national trend was appreciated by the Commission.

In his comments on the development programme being pursued by the state government, Mr Badal said some initiatives of the Central Government like skill development mission and setting up of international airport at Chandigarh would benefit Punjab.

On the development policy of the state, Mr Badal said the states policies would focus on removing intra-regional imbalances, generation of productive employment, improving quality of life by providing better health care facilities, sanitation, safe drinking water, education and greater access to food.

He said the focus would be on improving performance of social indicators to match its economic progress.

Concerns of the development of women and children will be addressed with greater attention being given to economic and social advancement of under privileged and disadvantaged groups.

He said to improve employability of Punjab youth a new Department of Employment generation has been created and focused attention was being given to improving delivery of public services in the health education sectors. High priority will be given to energy sectors and social services.

Mr Badal requested the Commission for enhancement of grant under Indira Awas Yojana to Rs 50,000 each from present level of Rs 15,000. He also requested for setting up of an IIT and IIM in the State.

Extension of freight corridor to Wagah was also suggested by Mr Badal.


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