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Democracies world over come together to share experiences of conducting elections during Covid 19

ECI hosts International Webinar on ‘Issues, Challenges and Protocols for

Conducting Elections during COVID-19: Sharing Country Experiences’

Two Publications released on the occasion; India A-WEB Centre to bring

out an ‘A-WEB India Journal of Elections’.

CEC highlights scale of elections to be conducted in Bihar amid the Covid19 pandemic;

Commission to take a decision soon on visiting the State

New Delhi (Ozi Indian TV Desk) : On completion of one year of Chairmanship of the Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB), Election Commission of India today hosted an International Webinar on the Theme ‘‘Issues, Challenges and Protocols for Conducting Elections during COVID-19 : Sharing Country Experiences’. It was an occasion for democracies world over to come together to share experiences of conducting elections during Covid19.

It may be recalled that last year on 03 Sep 2019 India had taken over as Chair of A-WEB for 2019-2021 term during the 4th General Assembly of A-WEB held at Bengaluru. Inaugurating the Webinar, Hon’ble Chief Election Commissioner of India and Chairperson, A-WEB Shri Sunil Arora spoke of the "tough predicament" faced by Election Management Bodies across the world - whether and how to hold scheduled elections in a state of public health emergency.

He said the contextual framework of every country was different, the extent and trajectory of the disease varied and so did the capacity of each country to respond to the novel corona virus and its catastrophic impact. He mentioned countries such as South Korea, Australia, Malawi, Taiwan, Mongolia and many others who went ahead with scheduled elections even as they put in place the enormous arrangements required to ensure the health and safety of people while conducting election.

Shri Sunil Arora mentioned that Elections in India pose formidable challenges on account of large electorate, geographical and linguistic diversity and differing climatic conditions. Explaining in detail the scale of the upcoming elections to the Legislative Assembly of Bihar, he mentioned that the total number of electors is 72.9 million.

Explaining the impact of Covid-19 on the election, Shri Arora highlighted how Covid19 exigencies and social distancing measures necessitated a revisit of ECI's extant instructions. The maximum number of electors at a polling station was reduced from 1500 to 1000, and consequently, the number of polling stations jumped by 40 per cent, from 65,000 to 100,000. These changes have huge logistics and manpower implications. CEC mentioned that the Commission would take a decision within the next two to three days, on visiting Bihar.

Chief Election Commissioner also mentioned that ECI has placed a lot of emphasis on extending facilitation to senior citizens, women, Persons with disabilities and in current circumstances, ensuring franchise to Covid positive voters and those in quarantine. In this context, the CEC mentioned how, beginning with the elections to the Legislative Assembly of Jharkhand in November-December 2019, and elections to the Legislative Assembly of Delhi in February 2020, the postal ballot facility was extended to voters who are aged more than 80 years, persons with disability and those who engaged in specified essential services. This facility of postal ballot has been extended to Covid positive electors who are in quarantine/hospitalized.

Shri Sunil Arora mentioned the specific and detailed guidelines that have been drawn up on conducting election during the time of Covid. He also mentioned the successful conduct of elections to 18 seats of the Rajya Sabha in the month of June, 2020. He noted that elections are due in the states of West Bengal, Assam, Kerala, Puducherry and Tamil Naduin the first half of the year 2021.

CEC recalled the AWEB General Assembly, held in Bengaluru in September 2019. He noted that the Webinar today is being held under the aegis of India A-WEB Centre on the occasion of completion of one year of ECI’s term as Chair of A-WEB.

Mentioning the two publications being released today viz. ‘Brief Profiles of the Countries, member EMBs and Partner Organisations of A-WEB’and ‘COVID 19 and International Election Experience’, he said these would be a useful tool for researchers and practitioners alike. He said that A-WEB India Centre has also progressed considerably towards publishing a world class journal called “AWEB Journal of Elections’. The first issue of this journal will be released in March 2021.

Over 120 delegates from 45 countries across the world (viz. Angola, Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominica, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Georgia, Indonesia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, Kyrgyz Republic, Liberia, Malawi, Maldives, Moldova, Mongolia,Mozambique, Nigeria, Palestine, Philippines, Romania, Russia, Sao Tome and Principe, Solomon Islands, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Taiwan, Tonga, Turkey, Uzbekistan and Zambia) and 4 international organizations (viz. International IDEA, International Foundation of Electoral Systems (IFES), Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB) and European Centre for Elections) participated in the Webinar today.

The Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB) is largest association of Election Management Bodies (EMBs) worldwide. At present A-WEB has 115 EMBs as Members & 16 Regional Associations/Organisations as Associate Members. ECI has been very closely associated with the process of formation of A-WEB since 2011-12.


Chandigarh (Ozi Indian TV Desk) : Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday dismissed the Centre’s paltry hike in MSP of Wheat and five other Rabi crops as a cruel joke on the farmers amid their growing apprehensions about abolition of the MSP regime following the passage of the new Agriculture Bills in Parliament.

“This is callous. They have made a mockery of the farmers’ protests over the Farm Bills, which by all accounts will eventually pave the way for ending the Minimum Support Price (MSP) system and abolish the Food Corporation of India,” said the Chief Minister.

Captain Amarinder said if the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre thought it would appease the agitating farms with this trifling hike they clearly did not understand the situation. “You can’t just throw crumbs at someone who may be on the verge of losing his livelihood as a result of your shameful actions,” he told the Union Government.

The farmers have been asking for a written guarantee that MSP will not be tampered with, but instead, the Centre has handed out to them a measly offering, said the Chief Minister, adding that this once again showed how little the BJP and its allies, including the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), knew about the farmers and their problems.

At a time when the farmers, in fact the whole nation, was not even sure that the MSP regime will stay, and for how long, making these meager hikes in the support price of a few crops amounted to trifling with their emotions, Captain Amarinder said. The verbal assurances and promises made by a Government which has failed to implement even its written promises and commitments are totally meaningless, he said, urging the central government to even now take cognisance of the concerns of the farmers and address them with meaningful steps instead of such antics.

The Chief Minister said that the farmers are at present worried about their future, and that of their families, and only want categorical and clear commitments, in black and white, that their produce will continue to be procured in the APMC markets at a minimum assured price. They want to be secure about their livelihood, which in any case has been progressively declining due to the Centre’s anti-farmer policies over the past 6 years, he added.

The chief minister also regretted that the centre had once again failed to announce a bonus @ Rs 100 per quintal for paddy straw management to incentivise farmers not to burn it.



Chandigarh (Ozi Indian Tv Desk) : In partial modification of Unlock 4.0 guidelines in compliance with the directives of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the Punjab Government on Sunday also allowed the students of class 9 to 12 to visit their schools in areas outside the containment zones only, on voluntary basis for taking guidance from their teachers.

However, this permission would be subject to the written consent of their parents/guardians from September 21, 2020 as per Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on September 8, 2020.

According to an official spokesperson, the State Home Department has issued detailed instructions to also permit Skill or Entrepreneurship Training in National Skill Training Institutes, Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), Short term training centers registered with the National Skill Development Corporation or State Skill Development Missions or other ministries of Government of India or State Governments.

Likewise, the activities of National Institute for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Developments (NIESBUD), Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship (IIE) and their training providers have also been allowed from September 21, 2020 subject to strict adherence of the said SOPs.

The orders of MHA issued on August 29, 2020 and the subsequent guidelines issued by the State Government on September 9, 2020 imposing additional restrictions in urban areas including curfew on Sundays would continue to be in operation, added the spokesperson.




Chandigarh, September 20

Vowing to fight till his last breath to protect the interests of the state’s farmers, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday said his government will take the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies, including the Akalis, to court over the new unconstitutional, undemocratic and anti-farmer laws of the central government.

“We will move the courts and fight the draconian legislations as soon as they get the presidential nod and become the law of the land,” he said, expressing shock at the way the BJP-led Union Government brute-forced the Agriculture Bills through the Rajya Sabha today.

The Chief Minister questioned the rationale behind putting the controversial and vicious Bills, which were a blatant encroachment of the State’s powers and control of the Agriculture sector, to voice vote, despite strong reservations by the Opposition and inadequate numbers in the House. Why did the House not go for division of votes on this critical issue, which has even divided the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA), he asked.

Captain Amarinder said that his government will not allow the central government, of which the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) continues shamelessly to be a part, to trample the rights and interests of the farmers through these cruel legislations designed to destroy the farmers, and Punjab state for which agriculture is its lifeline. “We stand with the farmers and will do whatever it takes to protect their interests,” he declared.

“They (BJP and its allies) clearly don’t care for what these laws will do to the farmers,” he said, flaying the BJP led government for selling the interests of the farmers to big corporates.

BJP’s so-called `watershed’ moment will be the death of Agriculture and will endanger the nation’s food security, warned the Chief Minister. By pushing the Bills through without consultation with the key stakeholders and even without taking the government of Punjab, a major contributor to India’s agricultural sector growth, into confidence, the Central Government had shown that it had no concern whatsoever for the farmers or the farm sector, he said.

Pointing out that the Bills nowhere make any mention of retaining the MSP, Captain Amarinder said this clearly exposes the ill intent of the Central Government, which has a poor trust record as far as states go. If they could not adhere to the clearly defined provisions on GST, how can one trust them to uphold their verbal assurances on MSP, he questioned.

The Chief Minister asked ‘if these legislations are actually revolutionary and in the interests of farmers, why are the farmers out on the roads in protest?’ The farmers are not fools and would not be marching to Delhi, braving a pandemic, if they did not find the Bills damaging and detrimental to their interests, he said.

Every single provision of these Bills, said Captain Amarinder, was crafted to destroy lakhs of small and marginal farmers in particular, who could not hope to compete in the monopolistic system that the Centre aimed to bring into the sector. “Where will these poor farmers go to sell their produce with the states no longer the pivotal players in the entire agricultural marketing system,” he asked.

Pointing out that these farmers were nowhere near getting the Government-mandated MSP on their foodgrains in the open market that exists even today to a limited extent, the Chief Minister said it was unfortunate that instead of strengthening the State-led marketing system, as the Congress had promised in its manifesto, the central government had chosen to end it completely.

Captain Amarinder also lashed out at the Opposition for continuing to mislead the farmers by spread misinformation on the Congress manifesto of 2019 LS polls, which spoke of repeal of existing APMC Act in order to bring a new, improved legislation that would provide for more markets and more facilities for procurement of the farmers’ produce. What is more, the Congress manifesto clearly and categorically promised to retain the MSP regime, which the BJP government is refusing to do, he added.




Chandigarh, September 18:

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday slammed the farm legislations being forced on to the nation by the central government as part of the `Destroy Farmers, Destroy Punjab’ (Kisan maaru, Punjab maaru) conspiracy of the BJP-led NDA, of which the Akalis continue shamelessly to be a part at the cost of their own state and its people.

“I don’t know what enmity the BJP and the Akalis have with Punjab and why they are out to destroy us,” said the Chief Minister while launching the Virual Kisan Mela of the Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana. The launch was held with virtual connectivity at 100 locations and participated by farmers, farmer representatives and other stakeholders, including ministers, MLAs and PPCC chief Sunil Jakhar.

Warning again that the legislations will lead to growing angst among the people in the border state, thus giving Pakistan the opportunity to stoke more fires, Captain Amarinder said the anti-farmer move will spoil the `abo hawa’ (environment) of Punjab. Delhi has to rethink on this issue, he stressed, adding that the legislations would undo the sacrifices made by Punjab and its farmers over 65 years to make India self-sufficient in food.

Accusing the Akalis of playing their own political games in this entire affair, Captain Amariner asked the Badals why the SAD had failed to stand with the Punjab government on these Bills and even on the critical water issue. “Did you not think even once what will happen to Punjab without agriculture and without water?” he asked the Akalis, pointing out that with the SYL issue hanging over the state, the situation was perilous and the SAD had only contributed to the crisis by supporting the farm ordinances.

The Chief Minister said notwithstanding the Centre’s denials these new laws will eventually pave the way for the elimination of the MSP regime and end of the FCI, leaving the farmers at the mercy of big corporates, as recommended by the Shanta Kumar committee.

Strongly opposing the legislations, the Chief Minister also trashed the Centre’s guarantee of MSP not being tampered with, saying it was a Constitutional guarantee given by Parliament, which, in fact, the incumbent government at the Centre was trying to destroy with their brute majority. Even the MSP already announced on items like Maize is not being given to the farmers, he noted, questioning the sincerity of the Government of India.

Categorically rejecting BJP and SAD claims that Punjab was on board with the farm ordinances, the Chief Minister made it clear that the issue of any such ordinances or new laws on agriculture was never discussed at any of the meetings in which his government was represented at the high-powered committee set up by the Centre on agricultural reforms.

Politicians should not lie on such grave issues with serious implications for our future generations, said Captain Amarinder, in an obvious reference to the false and misleading claims of Union Minister Raosaheb Patil Danve and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal. Politics aside, this is an issue concerning the future of our children, he added.

With only 13 seats in Lok Sabha, the Congress was browbeaten and the dangerous and vicious Bills were passed by the Centre with brute majority, he pointed out, adding that India’s future generations will not forgive the damage being inflicted on the nation by the NDA and its allies.

The high-powered committee was clearly an eyewash, the Chief Minister said, waving the draft report shared with Punjab, which made no mention whatsoever of the ordinances. His government’s response to the draft report had, in fact, clearly listed its stand on any reforms, he added.

It was shameful that despite knowing these facts as part of the ruling coalition, the Akalis continued to side with the central government and did not oppose the ordinances during the all-party meeting convened by him and did not even come to the Assembly to vote for the resolution against them, Captain Amarinder said.

Taking a dig at Harsimrat Badal’s remarks of standing with her `farmer brethren’ by resigning from the Union Cabinet, Captain Amarinder asked why she forgot that the farmers were her brothers when the Centre brought in the ordinances. Had SAD stood with his government from the outset and put pressure on their ally, the BJP, the current situation may not have arisen, he added.

Pointing out that it was Punjab and its farmers, who toiled with blood and sweat to make the nation food surplus after being a beggar of food for years, Captain Amarinder said despite being a small state, Punjab saved the nation from going hungry through the years. Even during the Covid pandemic, all the food grain distributed to the poor around the country came from Punjab’s godowns, he noted.

The Chief Minister lauded the role of PAU in making India self-sufficient in food grains and said while the Kisan Mela was being held virtually for the first time in its history, on account of the prevailing pandemic, the research university’s support to the farmers amid the pandemic was appreciable.

Earlier, Jakhar congratulated the Chief Minister for ensuring smooth procurement of wheat despite the pandemic, and the excellent management of the Kharif season. Describing the new legislations as dark clouds looming on the farm sector, Jakhar said there can be no food or nutritional security till farmers have financial security, which the central government was destroying with these new laws.

Soni release ODOP report; to help farmers and micro food processing entrepreneurs for boosting income and widening reach of district products

· Also reviewed status of implementation of PM Formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises Scheme

Chandigarh (Ozi Indian TV Desk) : Punjab Food Processing Minister Mr. O.P. Soni today released ‘One District One Product’ (ODOP) report here at his official residence, which will help the state farmers and micro food processing entrepreneurs to start their venture related with the potential products of their respective district to further boost their income and widening the reach of specific products worldwide in general.

Patting officials of the Punjab Agro Industry Corporation (PAIC) for preparing the scientific document, the minister said that the ODOP report would be of great help for the farmers engaged in allied farming activities. “Existing micro enterprises processing food products other than ODOP would also be supported, however new units seeking support under the scheme would have to process ODOP products identified for that district”, he added.

ODOP report has covered all the 22 districts of the state and scientifically identified one potential product for each district such as district Amritsar for Pickle and Murabba, Ludhiana for Bakery Products, Hoshiarpur & Fatehgarh Sahib for Jaggery, SAS Nagar, Mansa and Sri Muktsar Sahib for Milk and Milk Products, Barnala and Faridkot for Poultry/Meat/Fish and district Bathinda for honey, Patiala for Guava, Tarn Taran for Pear, Jalandhar & Moga for Potato, SBS Nagar for Peas, Ropar for Mango, Fazilka for Kinnow, Ferozepur for Chilli, Pathankot for Lichi, Kapurthala for Tomato, Gurdaspur for Cauliflower and Sangrur for Onion.

Divulging further, Mr. Manjit Singh Brar, Managing Director, PAIC said that the District Level Committees (DLCs) under the chairmanship of Deputy Commissioners have been constituted with General Manager, District Industries Center as its district Nodal Officer to provide secretarial support. He said that PAIC shall soon station resource persons having requisite experience in food technology in District Industrial Centres (DICs) for providing technical support to the DLC as well as to micro enterprises/ FPOs/SHGs/Cooperatives etc. He invited owners of all micro food enterprises to contact PAIC for further information and said that the ODOP report has been uploaded on the PAIC website He informed that in accordance with the timelines of the scheme, PAIC has prepared a comprehensive report on ‘One District One Product’ (ODOP) and the same has been approved in the first meeting of State Level Approval Committee (SLAC), an apex body of the State Government to oversee implementation of the scheme.

Later, Mr. Soni presiding over a meeting also reviewed the status of implementation of the new centrally sponsored scheme ‘PM Formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises’ launched on June 29, 2020.

During the meeting, Mr. Anirudh Tiwari, Additional Chief Secretary (Development & Food Processing) apprised that the scheme envisages to directly enhance competitiveness of over 6,672 new & existing micro food processing enterprises by not only providing credit-linked capital subsidy @ 35% with a maximum ceiling of Rs.10 lac per unit, but also by extending intensive hand holding support for entrepreneurship, technology and branding & marketing as well as capacity building.

Mr. Tiwari further said, it is a five year scheme starting 2020-21, adding that under the group category, Farmer Producer Organizations, Self Help Groups and Co-operatives would be supported with credit-linked capital subsidy @ 35% with maximum limit yet to be prescribed, along their entire value chain for sorting, grading, assaying, storage, common processing, packaging, marketing, processing of agri-produce and testing laboratories. Individual SHG members undertaking food processing would be given seed capital @ Rs.40,000 per member for working capital and purchase of small tools, he added.

Preneet Kaur reiterates opposition to anti-farmer ordinances

CHANDIGRAH (OZI INDIAN TV DESK) : Patiala MP and former union minister, Ms Preneet Kaur today reiterated her opposition to the anti-farmer ordinances promulgated by the NDA government earlier, which are now being tabled in the parliament.

Ms Kaur said, she could not attend the parliament today since she was under quarantine after having come in contact with some COVID positive persons.

After observing the COVID protocol, she added, she will be attending the parliament where she will strongly oppose the three ordinances.

She said, she and her party remained committed to watching and safeguarding the interests of the farmers. She said, even if the BJP/NDA use their brute majority in the parliament to go ahead with the passage of these anti-farmer ordinances, her party will explore other legal options to prevent these from becoming the law.

Ms Kaur expressed surprise over the stubbornness of the BJP/NDA government in pressing with these ordinances when farmers from the entire country had fears and apprehensions about these and were protesting against their implementation.

Ms Preneet Kaur is recuperating after an elbow fracture. Meanwhile some of her relatives who came to see her later tested positive for COVID because of which she had to go in quarantine.

Lifetime Achievement Awardees will automatically be eligible for the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Award, announces Rana Sodhi

· No annual income limit on the pension of veteran players

· Olympian boxer Lakha Singh to be given job of Coach in sports department

· Sports Minister honours Arjuna, Dhyan Chand and Tenzing Norgay Awardees

Chandigarh, September 14:

Punjab Sports & Youth Services and NRI Affairs Minister Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi today announced that the Lifetime Achievement Awardees will automatically be eligible for the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Award, the coveted awards of the state of Punjab. The Minister announced this development, while honouring the winners of Arjuna, Dhyan Chand and Tenzing Norgay Awards here at his official residence.

Rana Sodhi, while applauding the winners of this year's coveted awards, said that their spectacular achievements in the sports arena will inspire youngsters, especially budding players of the state. The Minister was accompanied by Additional Chief Secretary NRI Affairs Mr. Kirpa Shankar Saroj and Director Sports Mr. D.P.S. Kharbanda.

The Sports Minister said that in the sports policy-2018 formulated under the leadership of Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh, the winners of Arjuna Award and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award were already entitled to receive Maharaja Ranjit Singh Awards and 101 sports persons were honoured with the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Award in the year 2019 under this policy. The policy will now onwards cover all National Sports Award winners including Dhyan Chand and Dronacharya Awards. He said that the Lifetime Achievement Awards winners (Dronacharya and Dhyan Chand Awardees) would automatically be considered as eligible for Maharaja Ranjit Singh Awards. He said that requisite changes in this regard would be made in the sports policy soon. The Minister asked Director Sports to ensure that necessary amendments were made in the sports policy at the earliest. Rana Sodhi also strictly directed all the district sports officers that they should fill up the forms of the players belonging to their respective districts, who were eligible for the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Awards and send their applications to the headquarters so that no eligible player could be left behind.

The Sports Minister further announced that there will be no annual income limit on the pension given to veteran players. “Whatever the annual income of the veteran player, he will continue to be entitled to a pension", he added.

Assuring players all kinds of support from state government for the upcoming sports events, the Minister said that the state of Punjab is on fast track in the field of sports as the government has notified a comprehensive sports policy to encourage sports through larger participation; focused on high potential games to win medals; structural changes in curriculum to involve children and youth; increased and graded financial assistance to medal winners and to provide job opportunities to deserving sportspersons in government and outside.

The Sports Minister said that a significant decision was also taken to create more employment opportunities for the sportspersons in the cabinet meeting held in the month of July. Now, Gold, Silver and Bronze medalists in national games/senior national championships/recognised International Tournaments would be eligible for recruitment for Class I and II posts. He said, the state government has also in-principle decided to create separate quota for sportsperson in government jobs, adding that the government was committed to continuing with 3 percent reservation in all jobs of state Government, its boards, corporations, cooperative/statutory bodies and local authorities for graded sportspersons, who are residents of Punjab and have represented the state at national level.

Punjab hockey player Akashdeep Singh was bestowed with the prestigious Arjuna Award this year, while Kuldeep Singh Bhullar (Athletics), Ajit Singh (Hockey), Manpreet Singh (Kabaddi), Manjit Singh (Rowing), Sukhwinder Singh (Football) and Lakha Singh (Boxing) were given Major Dhyan Chand Award. Similarly, Colonel Sarfaraz Singh has been conferred the Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award. Rana sodhi exhorted all the players to further accomplish their set goals and bring laurel to the state.

While the players shared their experiences of the sports arena, they and their relatives expressed gratitude towards Sports Minister Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi. The Sports Minister also assured the players that their demands would be resolved soon.

Meanwhile, Sports Minister Rana Sodhi announced that Lakha Singh, a prominent boxer living a miserable life, would be given the job of coach in the sports department, instructing Director Sports to take immediate action in this regard. He said that a job of a boxing coach would be given this month to boxer Lakha Singh, an Asian Games medalist and an Olympian boxer, who was earning livelihood by driving a taxi these days.


· Five Award categories to felicitate people working for development of the State

Chandigarh (Ozi Indian TV Desk) : Punjab Planning Department with the support of UNDP’s Sustainable Development Goals Coordination Centre (SDGCC) today announced the SDG Action Awards in five categories SDG Action Award for Economic Sustainability, SDG Action Award for Social Upliftment and Welfare, SDG Action Award for Environment Sustainability, SDG Action Award for ‘Leaving no one behind’ spirit, SDG Action Award for promoting integration, convergence, joint action and holistic solutions approach and the winners would be announced on 25th September, 2020 to mark the SDG Day.

An official spokesperson said that nominations for the awards have been sought across the State from common people, universities, industry and all departments. The details of the entire process including nomination form and details about award categories can be accessed at

He said that Sustainable Development Goals Coordination Centre (SDGCC) supported by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is a platform to implement and achieve the ambitious SDG 2030 targets by integrating and facilitating all stakeholders and empower, prepare and fully equip the state of Punjab with technical knowledge, capacity, resources & systems. SDGCC is mandated to work closely with relevant government departments to provide the requisite impetus to the state government’s initiative in rolling out the Sustainable Development Goals.

The world needs to adapt to emerging NEW NORMAL in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic and SDGs give a perfect framework to create a sustainable world, said the spokesperson, adding that to carry on the important task of generating awareness about SDGs in the State, SDGCC is proposing to conduct the SDG Action awards to not only inform people about SDGs but also identify and felicitate people of the State of Punjab who have taken action to resolve problems being faced by them and the people around them. The implementation of SDGs necessitates that the WHOLE OF GOVERNMENT and WHOLE OF SOCIETY approaches are followed. In the post COVID-19 scenario SDGs have assumed much more importance in helping create a new normal.

He said that since SDGs were signed on September 25 and that is celebrated as the UN SDG Day, the winners will be announced through a virtual award ceremony, on the same date.SDG Action Awards is an innovative instrument which would encourage, promote and back the efforts of all change makers who are working towards making the world a better place.


Chandigarh, (Ozi Indian TV Desk) : Aiming to provide more relaxation in the urban areas during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Punjab Government, on the directions of Punjab Chief Minister, have announced that curfew would remain imposed only on all Sundays in all the 167 municipal towns of the State upto 30.09.2020 and no curfew to be imposed on Saturdays.

Disclosing this here today, a spokesperson of the Punjab Government said the CM has reviewed the Covid-19 situation and directed to relax some of the restrictions in urban areas. He said movement of individuals for all non-essential activities would remain prohibited between 9:30 pm to 5:00 am within municipal limits of all the cities of Punjab throughout the week.

However, essential activities and services such as movement of persons and goods on national and state highways, inter-state and intra-state movement of persons and unloading of cargo and travel of persons to their destinations after disembarking from buses, trains and aeroplanes would be permitted.

He further informed that essential services related to health, agriculture and linked activities, dairying and fishery activities, banks, ATMs, stock markets, insurance companies, on-line teaching, public utilities, public transport, industry in multiple-shifts, construction industry, offices both private and government etc. would also be permitted.

Moreover, he added that health care institutions viz. hospitals, labs, diagnostic centre and chemist shops were allowed to operate on all 7 days of the week throughout the day i.e. would remain open 24x7 hours. Besides, movement of persons and students in connection with all kinds of examinations, admission/entrance tests conducted by universities, boards, public service commissions and other institutions would also be permitted.

Giving details of the weekend/night restrictions, the spokesperson said shops/malls, except those dealing in essential commodities, would be allowed to remain open till 9:00 p.m. from Monday to Saturday but would be closed in all cities on Sunday. Shops/Malls dealing in essentials would be open even on the weekend, till 9:00 p.m.

In addition, he revealed that religious places have also been allowed to stay open on all days upto 9:00 p.m., as have been restaurants (including those in malls, Hotels) and liquor vends. The restrictions on day/time do not apply to hotels.

It is worth mentioning here that the existing restrictions on passengers in vehicles would also continue to remain in force, with only 3 persons including driver to be allowed in a 4-wheeler vehicle, and all buses and public transport vehicles to allow sitting for only half (50%) capacity with no person standing.

Furthermore , He said that Government and private offices shall operate with 50% staff strength till the end of the month i.e. not more than 50% of employees would be permitted on a particular day. The Heads of Offices would restrict public visitors in Government offices and encourage use of on-line Punjab grievance redressal system (PGRS) and other on-line tools so as to minimise person to person contact in offices.

He stated that Section 144 of the CrPC banning all social, political, religious gatherings, protests, and demonstrations will continue to remain in force throughout the State, while gatherings relating to marriage and funerals shall be allowed only for 30 persons and 20 persons respectively. Strict action be taken against the organisers and main participants for violation of orders u/s 144 of Cr.PC, he added. He reiterated that the above restrictions would be applicable only in urban area of the State.