Special Assembly session on November 8 to oppose BSF jurisdiction extension, farm laws: Punjab CM Channi

Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi Wednesday said that a Special Assembly session will be called on November 8 to oppose the Centre’s decision of extending the Border Security Force (BSF) jurisdiction on Punjab borders from 15 km to 50 km and to demand the repeal of the three controversial farm laws.

The decision to summon the special session was taken during the Punjab cabinet meeting held at Circuit House in Ludhiana, Wednesday.

Addressing a press conference after the cabinet meeting at Circuit House in Ludhiana on Wednesday, Channi said that if the Centre fails to resolve both issues – rollback of three farm laws and cancellation of notification to extend BSF jurisdiction – by November 7, then a special Assembly session will be held the next day to oppose the Centre.

Punjab CM @CHARANJITCHANNI speaks after the cabinet meeting in Ludhiana on Wednesday. Express video by @GurmeetExpress pic.twitter.com/t1TqFm7wvK

— Express Punjab (@iepunjab) October 27, 2021

He also said that the Punjab government has decided to move the Supreme Court if the BSF issue is not resolved by the Centre by November 7.

“Earlier Punjab Vidhan Sabha had made some amendments but farmers want that they should be completely repealed. We will do that now and tell the Centre that we won’t implement these laws in any way,” said Channi.

Channi said that extension in BSF jurisdiction from 15 km to 50 km on Punjab borders was a ‘direct attack’ on the federal structure and the right of the states to take care of law and order. “It was a completely one-sided decision. Punjab was never consulted. It is our right to take care of our state’s law and order situation. This decision will also be opposed during the special Vidhan Sabha session on November 8. We have also decided to move the Supreme Court as per the law if the BSF issue is not resolved by the Centre,” said Channi.

“I never wrote any letter to the Centre asking for an extension in BSF jurisdiction. I have written only two letters to the Centre till now: one demanding rollback of three farm laws and the other for reopening of Kartarpur Corridor. I never wrote or recommended BSF jurisdiction extension from 15 km to 50 km.”

Channi said that Punjab was not under any security threat and 15 km were enough to keep a check on drones by the BSF. “15 km are enough for BSF to check and stop drones. The range of drones is not more than 15 km and even if it is, Punjab Police is there to tackle them. There is no such security threat to Punjab and even if there is, Punjab government is well-prepared to tackle on its own,” said Channi, when questioned about former chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s claim that drones from Pakistan were posing a security threat to Punjab by dropping weapons, drugs, explosives etc.

“It is always a ploy and strategy of governments to cite security threats in the name of Pakistan and Afghanistan and then enter our territory. But let me tell you, Punjab is not under any such security threat,” said Channi.

Channi also announced a series of relaxations and rebates for shopkeepers, industrialists, traders and businessmen to protect them from ‘harassment’. Later in the day, he will also address day two of the fourth Progressive Punjab Investors Summit, also scheduled in Ludhiana for Wednesday.

During the press conference, Channi said that he came from a humble background, so he knows the problems that are faced by common and small shopkeepers due to red-tapism, inspector raj and bureaucratic hurdles.

“Diwali is approaching and it is time for shopkeepers and small businessmen to earn. No one from the government will interfere in their work. Taxation officials will not harass them and directions have been issued for the same. Policemen force shopkeepers to remove rehris (carts) from in front of their shops. Why should they remove it? It is Diwali time and that’s how they can earn. My father had a tent shop and I myself sold crackers outside his shop to fund my studies. There’s no shame in doing something right. I am also a dukaandar (shopkeeper). There will be no government interference in the working of factories, trades, businesses, said the CM.

Key Cabinet decisions

Punjab Anti-Red Tape Rules, 2021 to promote effective administration of public affairs

The cabinet approved the Punjab Anti Red Tape Rules, 2021, framed by the Governance Reforms and Public Grievances department and decided to carry out the purposes of the Act which was notified and came into effect on April 6, 2021.

The Act shall apply to all departments and their attached or subordinate offices including all units of local self-government, boards, corporations, public sector enterprises, societies, trusts, commissions or autonomous bodies established or constituted by an Act of the State Legislature or whose expenditure is met from the consolidated fund of the State. It shall also ensure that all the aforesaid entities would mandatorily simplify their process to reduce the burden of compliances by at least 50 per cent within six months of the commencement of this Act. Likewise, the Act would also provide for disciplinary as well as financial penalties against erring officials for violations committed under this Act.

Amendments in Punjab Right to Business Act, 2020 for speedy completion of MSME expansion

The cabinet also gave a go-ahead to the amendments in the Punjab Right to Business Act, 2020 for inclusion of expansion by existing Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) under the purview of the Act. The amendment in the said Act provides an enabling eco-system for self-declaration, exemptions, speedier approvals and inspections for existing MSMEs to expand and operate in the state. All the existing enterprises undertaking expansion shall be eligible to get a certificate of in-principle approval for seven services covered under the Act, to be issued within five working days to existing units in focal points and within 20 working days to existing units outside focal points.

The cabinet also approved the annual administrative report of the school education department for the year 2019-20.

Other pro-investor initiatives, concessions for trade and industry approved by Cabinet

*Allowed faceless assessment of GST and VAT; the traders and industrialists need not go to the taxation offices for this purpose anymore.

*Reduced mobile squad earlier consisting of 14 persons to only four in the taxation department.

*Institutional tax abolished.

*Pending cases of VAT for the FYs 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 would be considered only 30 per cent of the total demand. In such cases, 20 per cent would be recovered in the first year and the balance in the next year.

*One-time settlement (OTS) Scheme for the defaulters to be introduced in Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation (PSIDC), Punjab Financial Corporation (PFC) and Punjab Agro Industries Corporation (PAIC).

*An amnesty scheme would also be brought for the plot holders of Punjab State Industries Export Corporation (PSIEC).

*Fixed charges on electricity connections for medium scale industries have been slashed to 50 per cent

*Rs 150 crore to be spent to upgrade the infrastructure in the industrial focal points

*The condition of reducing the passages to industry from 6 to 4 karam has been relaxed

*Requisite land to be acquired for Patti-Makhu rail link and handed over to the railway ministry and Union government

*Exhibition Centre to come up at Amritsar

*Film City to be set up near Chandigarh.

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Express News Service