Dawn Punjab Bureau / Chandigarh : Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday asked the Finance department to immediately release Rs.10.50 crore towards the state’s share for 50 villages under Phase-I of the Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Gram Yojna (PMAGY).
Reviewing the functioning of Social Justice, Empowerment & Minorities Department through video conferencing, Captain Amarinder also asked the Chief Secretary to tie up with the concerned Deputy Commissioners to immediately provide land for the construction of 6 Dr. BR Ambedkar Bhawans at SAS Nagar (Mohali), Barnala, Fazilka, Pathankot, Tarn Taran and Malerkotla. The Chief Secretary said GMADA would provide land for the Ambedkar Bhawan at Mohali.
On the issue of the Centre’s failure to release pending funds to the tune of Rs.1563 crore, from the year 2017-18 to 2019-20 under Post Matric Scholarship Scheme for Scheduled Castes, the Chief Minister said he would again take up this issue with the Centre. He said he will also take up the issue of expeditious release of Rs.50.09 crore towards Post Matric Scholarship Scheme for OBC Students with the Centre, which has not released funds for the same from 2018-19 to 2020-21.
The Chief Minister also directed the Chief Secretary to provide official accommodation for the 12 newly constituted boards.
Social Justice, Empowerment and Minorities Minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot said the newly launched Dr. B.R. Ambedkar SC Post Matric Scholarship Scheme would be instrumental in providing enormous opportunities to the students from the unprivileged sections of society to pursue higher education. He also thanked the Chief Minister for pro-poor decisions like increase in Shagun amount under Aashirwad Scheme from Rs. 21,000 to Rs.51,000 and hike in old age/widow pension from Rs. 750 to Rs. 1500 per month from July 1, 2021, besides increase in minimum quota from 5% to 10% for OBC students in educational institutions.
In a brief presentation, Principal Secretary Social Justice, Empowerment & Minorities Department, Raji P Shrivastava outlined the major achievements and path breaking initiatives to transform the destiny of the vulnerable sections. She cited the examples of the setting up of Safai Karamchari Commission for the first time.
She also pointed out that the loans for SC beneficiaries to the tune of Rs. 45.41 crore and Rs. 6.59 crore for BC category had also been waived off. To facilitate SC students to pursue higher studies abroad, a new Overseas Scholarship Scheme has been launched, under which 10 meritorious students belonging to scheduled caste from across the State would be given maximum financial assistance of Rs. 15 lacs per student.