Punjab cabinet okays free insurance for 15 lakh more families, milling policy

By, Chandigarh
Sep 18, 2021 01:50 AM IST

Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh announced this at a virtual cabinet meeting where the state health department proposed bringing 15 lakh families under the government insurance scheme

The Punjab cabinet on Friday approved free insurance cover for 15 lakh more families under the Ayushman Bharat-Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojana (AB-SSBY) which were earlier not covered by the scheme.

The insurance cover for 15 lakh Punjab families will be completely free as decided in the cabinet meeting chaired by chief minister. (PTI)
The insurance cover for 15 lakh Punjab families will be completely free as decided in the cabinet meeting chaired by chief minister. (PTI)

Chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh announced this at a virtual meeting where the state health department proposed bringing these families under the government scheme on co-sharing basis which would have required the beneficiaries to pay for part of the expense.

However, Amarinder suggested making the insurance cover for these families also completely free in line with his government’s promise of universal healthcare for the people of Punjab.

Also, the cabinet gave the go-ahead to the Punjab Custom Milling Policy for the 2021-22 kharif season for conversion of paddy procured by state procurement agencies —Pungrain, Markfed, Punsup and Punjab State Warehousing Corporation (PSWC) — into custom milled rice and its delivery into the central pool.

Barring the families of government employees and pensioners who were already covered under Punjab Medical Attendance Rules, all the remaining nearly 55 lakh families in the state will now come under the ambit of the scheme, an official spokesperson said.

The state government will now be bearing a total annual cost of 593 crore to cover 55 lakh families to provide insurance cover of 5 lakh per family for secondary and tertiary care treatment in empanelled public and private hospitals.

The health and family welfare department has been asked to formulate the process for the enrolment of these families under the scheme.

Nearly 39.38 lakh families, including 14.64 lakh identified as per the 2011 ‘Socio-Economic Caste Census’ (SECC), 16.15 lakh smart ration card holder households, 5.07 lakh farmers, 3.12 lakh construction workers, 4,481 accredited journalists and 33,096 small traders and their families, are already availing the scheme since August 2019 having got cashless medical treatment to the tune of 913 crore in the last two years, it was informed.

Job regularisation agenda deferred

The agenda of regularisation of over 37,000 contract employees, who have completed 10-year service in different departments, boards and corporations, was deferred by the cabinet after discussion.

Local bodies minister Brahm Mohindra, who is the head of the cabinet sub-committee on the issue, raised demand that the minimum period of regularisation should be 3-5 years against 10 years as fixed by the government, it is learnt. “The matter was sent for legal opinion by the cabinet,” a minister said.

Ministers Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa and Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, who joined the cabinet meeting from Punjab Bhawan, rued poor audio quality during the conference. Bajwa even asked the CM to convene meetings in person for better decision-making. “When other programmes are being held without any hindrance, why convene cabinet meetings through video-conferences?” he questined.

160 assistant professors for new colleges

To ensure smooth running of 18 new government colleges in the state, the cabinet approved recruitment of 160 assistant professors and 17 librarians.

The recruitments will be made by the departmental selection committee after taking these posts out of the purview of the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC). The cabinet also gave the nod to constitute the selection committee comprising former University Grants Commission (UGC) chairman Prof Ved Prakash as head with Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) vice chancellor, representative of principal secretary, department of social justice and empowerment and 3 subject matter experts as its members. The committee has been mandated to carry out the recruitment process by strictly following the selection criteria as per the UGC guidelines.

Other cabinet decisions:

To facilitate quick and effective implementation of the Mission Lal Lakir, the cabinet decided to cut down by half the time for filing objections prepared under the SVAMITVA scheme from the existing 90 to 45 days.

Nod to the Punjab Micro and Small Enterprises Facilitation Councils Rules, 2021, under the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development (MSMED) Act, 2006, to facilitate promotion, development and competitiveness of MSMEs.

Nod to enhancing monthly subsistence allowance of terrorism/riot affected families from 5,000 to 6,000 and monthly financial assistance being given to Kashmiri migrants as ration money from 2,000 to 2,500 per family.

To eliminating the pendency of the Protection of Children against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and rape cases, the cabinet also approved setting up of nine fast-track special courts and creation of 117 posts for them.

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