The Punjab government today approved the 'Punjab State Farmers Commission Act, 2017' to empower and safeguard the interests of the farming community.
The Punjab government today approved the ‘Punjab State Farmers Commission Act, 2017’ to empower and safeguard the interests of the farming community. The state cabinet also gave its nod for setting up ‘Punjab State Council for Agricultural Education’ to promote agricultural education in the state. These were among the slew of important decisions taken here by the council of ministers, led by state Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh. An official spokesperson said after the meeting that the proposed council would be set up by bringing an Ordinance — Punjab State Council for Agricultural Education Ordinance 2017, and would be aimed at promoting and coordinating agricultural education in various colleges and institutes.
It would be entrusted with the task of developing guidelines and regulating higher agricultural education in the state through grant of recognition to colleges/institutions/ departments that meet the norms and standards prescribed to run educational degree programmes in agriculture. Once granted recognition, the recognised colleges/ institutions/departments shall automatically follow the prescribed system of education in governance including infrastructure (class rooms, laboratories, equipment, instructional farms), procedure of admission, recruitment of staff, resident instruction, course curricula, pattern of examination, as may be directed by the Council from time to time.
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In the other decision, aimed at granting legal rights to farmers, the Cabinet gave the nod to the enactment of ‘Punjab State Farmers and Farm Labourers Commission Act-2017’ through an Ordinance. The five-member commission, with nominated Chairperson, will have the powers to frame agriculture policy and other matters referred to by the government. The commission will have a corpus fund of Rs 25 crore initially and Rs 5 crore for next five years grant to be given by the state government, and would be mandated to submit its report to be tabled in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.
In another initiative, aimed at tackling the problem of burning of crop residues across the state, the CoM gave its nod to the creation of a ‘Climate Challenge Fund’. The fund will help the state in creating awareness amongst the farmers about the harmful effects of crop residues burning. The Cabinet also agreed in principle to create a fund of Rs 1 crore for giving incentives to those farmers adopting mechanical solutions to deal with crop residues. The Cabinet also decided to create a new entity, called the ‘Directorate of Ground Water Management’, under the irrigation wing of the Department of Irrigation and Power, for conservation, utilisation and management of the depleting Ground Water resources in the state.
The existing water resources administration of the department of Irrigation will be subsumed into the new directorate. It may be noted that due to limited allocation to the state in the river waters, about 73 per cent of irrigation requirements are met by ground water, which is depleting rapidly.
Thus, effective management of Ground Water Resources is of paramount importance and the creation of this directorate would help the state to address this problem in a scientific manner, said the spokesperson.