Chandigarh, June 19

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has announced waiver of all loans up to Rs. 50,000, in a phased manner, given to SCs and the economically weaker sections by the State Schedule Caste Corporation and the State Backward Classes Corporation.

Making this announcement in the House, the Chief Minister said his government, which had already announced a series of benefits for Dalits, SCs and backward classes in matters of jobs and reservation in allotment of houses etc, was further committed to fill all vacant posts of SCs in Government in a time-bound manner to clear the backlog in this regard.

The government was also in the process of refining financial benefits to SCs, OBCs and minorities under the schemes such as Ashirwad, Post-Matric Scholarship, provision of loans under Venture Capital Fund and the Atta-Dal scheme, said the Chief Minister, adding that some of the decisions on these will be announced in the budget.

Enhancements in Shagun and Ashirward scheme amounts, which were last increased during his previous tenure, will also be announced in the budget, said the Chief Minister, adding that the benefits provided by the State Government to Scheduled Castes and the OBCs, including free electricity, pension, loan waiver, scholarship and Shagun under Aashirwad Scheme, will be extended to poor Christian and Muslim families. The government will also allocate suitable land for burial grounds for Muslims and Christians.

A new Scheme to provide free houses to homeless and low cost houses to economically weaker sections will be initiated both in rural and urban areas during the 2017-18 and details were likely to be announced in the budget, the Chief Minister said.

The Government will also put in place a policy of 30{8c6d3f6704cdb4d22004dc79684d70f0271dd82fcfbe654786cb18f09b659ded} reservation to Scheduled Castes in all allotments by the Department of Housing & Urban Development. Likewise, reservation for freedom fighters and their families has been increased to 3{8c6d3f6704cdb4d22004dc79684d70f0271dd82fcfbe654786cb18f09b659ded}. The Government will also give priority to women and senior citizens in allotments in the state, Captain Amarinder told the House.

     He pointed out that his government had already announced increase in threshold limit of annual income for pensions, besides undertaking reverification to delete fake persons enrolled by the previous government.

The government, which had already increased women reservation to 50{8c6d3f6704cdb4d22004dc79684d70f0271dd82fcfbe654786cb18f09b659ded} in PRIs an ULBs, will reserve 33{8c6d3f6704cdb4d22004dc79684d70f0271dd82fcfbe654786cb18f09b659ded} for women/girls in government jobs, and also provide free education to girl students in all Government schools and colleges from Nursery to Ph.D.

Furthermore, to ensure that women get their rights without any obstruction, the existing State Women Commission will be strengthened, Captain Amarinder said.

The Chief Minister reiterated his poll promise to add ‘Chai-Chinni” to the Atta-Dal scheme, which is being revamped as per a decision already taken by the government.

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