With the Punjab assembly polls due in February, the SAD-BJP government on Monday created over 3,300 posts in dozen-odd departments, in yet another desperate bid to fulfil its lofty promise of giving employment to over one lakh people in the election year and buck the anti-incumbency.
The decision was taken in a meeting of the state cabinet, presided over by chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.
The cabinet also decided to increase the financial assistance given to World War II veterans, ex-servicemen and their widows from Rs 2,000 to Rs 4,500 per month.
Observing that World War II veterans were leading a life in penury, the government also increased their annual income limit from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakh.
Last month, the state government had decided to regularise over 27,000 people in various departments, who were appointed on contract or daily-wage basis, despite strong reservations aired by the finance department over the financial liabilities of such decisions and the grim financial health of the state.
With the elections approaching, the government is pulling all stops in reaching out to every section of the society and resorting to populist measures even as the government is struggling to meet its committed liabilities such as releasing pensions and salaries of the employees.
On Monday, the cabinet gave its nod to create nearly 750 new vacancies in departments such as the state elections, women and child development, welfare and social security, defence services welfare, personnel and general administration, and the advocate general’s office (AG).
The cabinet accorded approval for creation of 341 permanent posts in different categories in the elections department to overcome the shortage of staff.
Similarly, it gave a go ahead for creation of 230 vacancies of various cadres for the establishment of Integrated Child Development Services Scheme (ICDS) Mission.
Also, it gave green signal for the creation of 87 posts of various cadres in the office of AG, while reviving one post of reserve category in the office of treasurer, charitable endowments in AG office.
The cabinet gave nod to creation of 37 vacancies in the newly created Goniana and Maloud Blocks in Bathinda and Ludhiana districts respectively.
Besides,it was decided to create three vacancies, one each for law officer, assistant law officer and data entry operator, for the establishment of a legal cell at the head office and 12 new vacancies of teaching and non-teaching staff for the upgraded Government Institution for Blind, Jamalpur, Ludhiana.
The cabinet also gave a nod for the conversion of 1,893 posts of various cadres in the social security and women and child development department into permanent ones.
It okayed the creation of post of officer-on-special duty (litigation) in the welfare and social security department and ex-post facto approval for filling of two remaining vacancies of members, along with supporting staff in the Punjab State Food Commission established under the National Food Security Act, 2013.
Approval was also given for 16 posts as requisite staff in district defence services welfare offices in Pathankot and Fazilka.
The cabinet also decided to increase the existing cadre strength of Punjab Civil Service (executive Branch) officers from 288 to 310.
One post of senior technical assistant in the Punjab civil secretariat and two posts of personal assistants (PAs) and one driver in Punjab Raj Bhawan were also created.