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Punjab Current Affairs : September - October 2018

September 2018

4 Northern states and 2 UTs agree to fix uniform tax rates on petroleum products

➢ Northern states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Union Territories of Delhi and Chandigarh have agreed to fix uniform tax rates, amid rising fuel prices.
➢ Besides, the states also agreed to bring uniformity in taxes on liquor and registration of vehicles and transport permit.
➢ This decision will lead to increase in government revenue and at the same time curb black marketing.
➢ Punjab has one of the highest rates of VAT on petrol in the country and it is second to Maharashtra.
➢ Punjab Finance Minister suggested that there should be a uniform policy for the state
transport so that there should be no loss of revenue from registration and permit fees because of different tax rates.
➢ A committee of officials has also been set up for excise and transport, which would send the report to their respective state governments on the uniformity of rates.

October 2018

50% reservation for women to chairpersons for panchayat samiti, zila parishad

➢ Punjab Cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, approved extension of the enhanced 50% ( earlier- 33%) reservation for women the office of the chairperson of panchayat samitis and zila parishads.
➢ The cabinet approved amendments to
○ Punjab Panchayati Raj Act, 1994
○ Punjab Reservation for Office of Sarpanches and Gram Panchayats and Chairmen and Vice Chairmen of Panchayat Samitis and Zila Parishad Rules, 1994.

Punjab government bans sale of herbicide

➢ The Punjab govt. has banned the sale of glyphosate, herbicide which is extensively used in the State to control a wide variety of weeds in almost all the crops.
➢ “This chemical has been observed to be a Group 2A cancer-causing material. Besides cancer, this chemical is also known for causing other health problems.”said an official statement.
➢ The Punjab State Farmers Commission had also recommended a ban on the sale of the chemical in Punjab.
➢ State Agriculture Secretary K.S. Pannu said that the Central Insecticide Board and Registration Committee has recommended the use of the herbicide only for tea gardens and non-cropped areas and therefore there is a dire need for strict compliance under the Insecticides Act, 1968.
➢ “There is no cultivation of tea in Punjab and on account of 200% crop intensity in the State, the non-cropped area is too meagre. Even this small area is associated with crop cultivation in the form of ridges, water channels, bunds and between rows of crops and canal and drain banks. Therefore, even this area is part of the cropped area for all practical purposes,” he said.

Punjab Launches 3 Mobile Apps To Check Stubble Burning

➢ Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh launched three mobile apps aimed at checking crop residue burning and creating awareness about its effects on the environment and human health. The three Android mobile applications have been developed by Punjab Remote Sensing Centre (PRSC).
➢ These are
○ i-Khet Machine for facilitating farmers to have access to the agriculture
machinery or equipment for in-situ management of crop residue;
○ e-PEHaL for monitoring tree plantation; and
○ e-Prevent to have prompt and accurate information about incidents of crop residue burning.
➢ The applications would provide the information at district, block and village levels, in English and Punjabi.
➢ Additional Chief Secretary (Development) Viswajeet Khanna said 20 million tonnes of paddy straw was being produced in the state and only 5 million tonnes was being managed.
➢ Nearly 15 million tonnes of paddy straw was being burnt for easy clearance offield, he said.
➢ He said burning of 1 tonne of paddy straw leads to net loss of 5.5 kg ofnitrogen, 2.3 kg of phosphorus, 25 kg of potassium, 1.2 kg sulphur, 400 kg organic matter, besides death of useful microbes. It also degrades the air quality, thus, posing a major environmental hazard.
➢ Presently, about 4.30 million tonnes of paddy (21.82 per cent of total paddy straw generation) was being utilised by stakeholders without burning them in fields, Mr Khanna said.

India’s First Robotic Dinosaurs Gallery inaugurated in Kapurthala, Punjab

➢ The country's first gallery on robotic dinosaurs was opened to the public at the Pushpa Gujral Science City, the officials said.
➢ A joint initiative of the Union and state governments, the science city is the biggest project of its kind in northern India and has been set up in 72 acres of land in the heart of Punjab, on Jalandhar-Kapurthala road.
➢ A total of seven moving dinosaurs, made from robust steel and silica gel with durable motors, have been added to the already existing 46 exhibits of the extinct species, Deputy Commissioner of Kapurthala Mohd Tayyab said.

Punjab govt. approves new sand, gravel mining policy

➢ The Punjab government approved policy changes to enable the government to grant contracts by auction of mining blocks in strategically established clusters through progressive bidding instead of the earlier process of auction by individual mines.
➢ The move is aimed at increasing the royalty receipt of the State exchequer, provide adequate supply at fair price to the consumer, and curb illegal mining.
➢ It was decided that the new policy would come into force two months after the Cabinet approval to the Punjab State Sand and Gravel Policy, 2018 and amendment to the Punjab Minor Mineral Rules, 2013
➢ it was also decided that the department of Mining would launch an online Punjab Sand Portal for sale of sand to all consumers, small or medium.

Punjab & Israel signed 4 MoUs for agri research, water conservation and management

➢ The Punjab government signed four MoUs with Israeli institutions to address issues of farmers and depleting groundwater level in the state.
➢ The MoUs will help boost cooperation between Punjab and Israel in areas such as water conservation as well as agricultural research and education.
➢ To formulate a water conservation and management plan in Punjab, an MoU was signed between the Punjab Water Resources Management and Israel's Mekorot Development and Enterprise Ltd.
➢ Three MoUs related to agricultural research were signed by the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) with Israel’s ARAVA Institute, Tel Aviv University (TAU) and Galilee International Management Institute.

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