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Amid slow economic pace, govt on ‘course correction’

Ruchika M Khanna Tribune News Service Chandigarh, March 17 Punjab has managed to earn just 66 per cent of the target income in the ongoing financial year. As the state’s income was low, so was the expenditure. The state has spent just 51 per cent of its target. As state Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal gets ready to present his Budget proposals for 2018-19, he will not have a good report card to table in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha. Almost all sectors of the economy — agriculture, manufacturing and services — have seen a slowdown. The rollout of the Goods and Services Tax has taken its toll on the state’s finances as well as the economy, with sales not picking up as expected, thus giving much less than the expected State Goods and Services Tax (SGST) collections. L...

Govt releases Rs 690 cr for welfare schemes

Chandigarh, March 17 Acting on the directives of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, the state government has released Rs 690.96 crore under various welfare schemes, including pension payments, compensation to farmers against crop damage, retirement benefits and medical reimbursement. Capt Amarinder had directed all departments to create resources for welfare schemes through prudent fiscal management so that the beneficiaries, constituting the most deprived sections of the society, do not face any hardships. The CM was of the view that these people had suffered enough for 10 years under the SAD-BJP rule, and it was the Congress government’s responsibility to provide them some succor, said an official spokesperson, giving details of the disbursements. The spokesperson said retirem...

Beant killer Tara jailed till death

Tribune News Service Chandigarh, March 17 The district court here today sentenced Jagtar Singh Tara to life imprisonment till natural death for assassinating former Chief Minister Beant Singh in 1995. He has also been directed to pay Rs 25,000 as fine. Amid tight security and presence of Tara’s family members and supporters, the sentenced was pronounced inside the Model Jail in Burail, where a special court was set up. While Tara expressed satisfaction at the sentence, he told the court that he did not regret killing the former Chief Minister, but he did regret that 16 innocent people were also killed in the bomb blast outside the Chandigarh secretariat on October 31, 1995. Central Bureau of Investigation counsel SK Saxena said they had pleaded for a death sentence for Tara, calling...

Scrap FIR against SAD (A) chief, says Justice Gill panel

Saurabh Malik Tribune News Service Chandigarh, March 16 The Justice Mehtab Singh Gill commission of inquiry has recommended the cancellation of sedition case against SAD (A) president Simranjit Singh Mann after recording his statement that he was "implicated at the behest of former Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal. Mann was booked on the allegations of spreading hatred between communities and indulging in seditious activity after he attended the Sarbat Khalsa in November 2015. The two-member commission asserted that Mann was only a silent spectator to the proceedings going from the stage of Sarbat Khalsa at Chaba village, near Amritsar. "As he did not address the gathering, it is clear that he did not say anything that amounted to spreading hatred between two communities or which wa...

Chhotepur calls for new platform

Tribune News Service Chandigarh, March 17 Aapna Punjab Party chief Sucha Singh Chhotepur today condemned the apology submitted by AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal in a defamation case and called “genuine leaders” to come on common platform. He said Kejriwal indulged in politics of lies and deceit and stooped to the lowest level to achieve success. “He has himself admitted that he said things for political gains,” he said. Chhotepur alleged that his own sting done by advocate Gurlabh Singh Mahal on Kejriwal bidding and later denied by the same advocate demonstrated that Kejriwal could go to any extent to achieve his personal goals. Chhotepur lamented that the huge momentum built across Punjab by volunteers for system change was “scuttled by Kejriwal and his cronies by selling tickets like tra