India Diaspora
Badal proposes new ministries - NRI affairs and employment
Mar 2, 2007 - 8:49:32 PM

Chandigarh, March 2 - The Punjab government will have two new ministries - non-resident Indian - affairs and employment.

Soon after taking over as chief minister on Friday, Parkash Singh Badal told a news conference: 'I want this government to do something seriously for NRIs from Punjab settled in other countries and also help educated youth of the state get reasonable employment.'

He said that unemployment and poverty remained big problems in Punjab and his government would work towards finding a solution to them.

'We will set up four overseas offices of the new NRI ministry. These will be in countries like the United States, Britain and Canada, which have a sizeable number of NRIs from Punjab. These offices will help in sorting out their problems,' Badal said.

The chief minister, who inducted 17 cabinet ministers in his government taking it to the maximum permissible strength under the law, said his government would fulfil all commitments made by the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party - alliance.

'I will meet the prime minister and every central minister to seek help for Punjab,' Badal said.

He demanded that the issue of minimum support price - for farm produce, which crops up every year, should be solved forever by linking it to the country's price index. 'This way the farmers will get their due according to the price index.'

Regarding scandals highlighted by his party in the run-up to the Punjab assembly poll, Badal said the rule of law would prevail and if any discrepancy was found in any project sanctioned by the previous Congress government, action would be taken.

'We will not allow anything illegal.'

He added that Punjab did need industries, but the mega projects sanctioned by the previous government should not be against the interests of the people.

Badal, who is facing corruption charges along with his family members in the courts, said he would root out corruption from Punjab completely.

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