Navneet Sharma

A senior assistant editor, Navneet Sharma leads the Punjab bureau for Hindustan Times. He writes on politics, public affairs, civil services and the energy sector.

Articles by Navneet Sharma

Punjab assembly: Stormy scenes after Cong adjournment motion on law & order disallowed

The budget session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha resumed post-recess on a stormy note on Wednesday with members of the opposition Congress raising slogans in the well of the House after their adjournment motion on law and order was disallowed.

Congress MLAs on Wednesday walkout from Punjab assembly budget session after expressing concern on law-and-order situation in Punjab . (Hindustan Times Photo/Ravi Kumar)
Updated on Mar 22, 2023 10:32 PM IST
By, Chandigarh

Punjab assembly declares Himachal Pradesh’s move on water cess ‘illegal’

In the absence of opposition Congress MLAs, unanimously adopts resolution against neighbouring hill state, recommends to state govt to request Centre to prevail upon hill state to withdraw decision

Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann addressing the assembly on Wednesday. Mann criticised the Congress government of neighbouring Himachal Pradesh for its decision to impose water cess on hydel generation. (Ravi Kumar/HT)
Published on Mar 22, 2023 04:01 PM IST

Punjab assembly: Oppn Congress guns for AAP govt on law and order

Opposition Congress MLAs walk out of the House, raising slogans against Speaker and CM Bhagwant Mann when their adjournment motion on law and order was disallowed

Punjab Congress MLAs, led by Partap Singh Bajwa, raising slogans against Speaker Kultar Singh Sandhwan and chief minister Bhagwant Mann after their adjournment motion on law and order was disallowed in the Vidhan Sabha on Wednesday. The MLAs walked out of the assembly in protest. (Ravi Kumar/HT)
Updated on Mar 22, 2023 11:43 AM IST

One year at helm: Roller-coaster year for AAP govt in Punjab

With mandate for badlav (change), Bhagwant Mann’s government scores on intent to deliver on its populist promises, but misses in action whether it’s reining in radicals or maintaining law and order, while it struggles to fight the drug problem and fiscal troubles.

The state government has been grappling with challenges related to law and order, gangsterism, a surge in activities of radical elements, and fiscal constraints. (HT Photo)
Published on Mar 15, 2023 07:38 PM IST

Punjab education minister orders principal secy-level probe into teachers eligibility test goof-up

Harjot Singh Bains says accountability will be fixed and guilty will be booked for criminal negligence after GNDU, Amritsar cancels Punjab State Teachers Eligibility Test after most correct answers in social studies question paper were marked in bold

The social studies section of paper-2 of the Punjab State Teachers Eligibility Test is a qualifying test to become a trained graduate teacher for Classes 6 to 8. (Representational photo)
Updated on Mar 13, 2023 12:28 PM IST

Big push for agriculture, education, health in Punjab budget

No new taxes, 26% hike in allocation over last year as Punjab budget focuses on agriculture, education, health

Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann along with finance minister Harpal Cheema with the budget document at the Vidhan Sabha in Chandigarh on Friday. With no new taxes and 26% hike in allocation over last year, Punjab budget focuses on agriculture, education, health . (Ravi Kumar/HT )
Published on Mar 11, 2023 01:59 AM IST
By, Chandigarh

Punjab budget: Five key takeaways

Chandigarh : Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema, like some of his predecessors, started his stint by talking about the ‘empty coffers’ left by the previous government and even brought out a ‘white paper’ on the debt-laden state’s finances

Punjab finance minister Harpal Cheema presenting the budget in Chandigarh on Friday. (Ravi Kumar)
Published on Mar 11, 2023 01:39 AM IST

Punjab FM presents 1,96,462-cr budget, 26% increase in outlay

₹13,888 crore has been allocated for agriculture and allied activities, which is 20% more than the amount earmarked in the previous year; new agriculture policy on anvil, says Harpal Singh Cheema

Punjab finance minister Harpal Singh Cheema presenting the budget for 2023-24 as chief minister Bhagwant Mann looks on in the Vidhan Sabha in Chandigarh on Friday. (Ravi Kumar/HT)
Updated on Mar 10, 2023 04:15 PM IST

Allotment of industrial plots: Punjab Vigilance seeks wide-ranging probe into politician-official-land mafia nexus

In fresh trouble for Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC), the Punjab Vigilance Bureau (VB) has recommended an extensive enquiry into the alleged irregularities in the allotment, regularisation, and bifurcation of industrial plots to break the nexus between politicians, officials, and land mafia.

During the conduct of this enquiry, a ‘toll-free helpline’ may be set up with due publicity to encourage persons affected by these irregularities to come forward to register their grievances, the letter said. (Representational Image)
Published on Mar 09, 2023 11:10 PM IST
By, Chandigarh

‘Threatening posture’: Punjab Cong MLAs to boycott CM till he apologises

A day after chief minister Bhagwant Mann and leader of opposition Partap Singh Bajwa sparred in the state assembly over the functioning of the Punjab Vigilance Bureau (VB), the Congress on Tuesday announced its decision to “boycott” Mann in the House till the time he apologised for his “threatening posture” towards its members.

Bajwa apprised speaker Kultar Singh Sandhwan about the unanimous decision of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) to boycott the chief minister as soon as the Zero Hour began. (Ravi Kumar/HT Photo)
Published on Mar 07, 2023 10:50 PM IST

AAP, Cong slug it out over Punjab guv’s ‘my government’ remark

The budget session of the Punjab assembly on Friday saw heated exchanges between members of the ruling Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress over governor Banwarilal Purohit referring to the Bhagwant Mann government as “my government” that eventually led to a walkout by MLAs of the opposition party.

Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohoit addressing the Budget session of the assembly at Punjab Vidhan Sabha in Chandigarh on Friday. (HT Photo by Ravi kumar)
Published on Mar 03, 2023 08:30 PM IST
By, Chandigarh

Punjab assembly’s budget session gets off to rocky start

Governor Banwarilal Purohit delivers speech amid Congress walkout over his addressing the Bhagwant Mann government as “my government”

Punjab governor Banwarilal Purohit addressing the budget session of the assembly in Chandigarh on Friday. (Ravi Kumar/HT)
Updated on Mar 03, 2023 02:44 PM IST

Restructure PSIEC, re-examine plot re-allotments, vigilance tells industries dept

The vigilance department recommended restructuring and re-engineering of the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation for better accountability and transparency, besides seeking re-examination of the re-allotment of old industrial plots done by the corporation in the past 10 years.

The draft industrial policy was circulated to about a dozen departments nearly four months ago. (HT File Photo)
Updated on Feb 28, 2023 10:22 PM IST
By, Chandigarh

‘Budget session only after legal advice’: Punjab governor Purohit drops another letter bomb

Punjab governor Banwarilal Purohit responds terming chief minister Bhagwant Mann’s response as “unconstitutional” and “derogatory”

Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann had questioned the ‘criteria’ adopted by the Centre for appointment of governors after Punjab governor Banwarilal Purohit raised questions about the selection of school principals sent for training to Singapore, stating he has received complaints of “malpractices and illegalities” in this regard. (HT File Photo)
Updated on Feb 24, 2023 02:20 AM IST

Govt rewards loyalists, appoints them in loss-making defunct undertakings

On a spree to accommodate its loyalists, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Punjab appointed some of them as chairmen of public sector enterprises that have been either incurring losses or are virtually non-functional.

Of these, PSIDC, incorporated in 1966 to act as a catalyst for the development of large and medium-scale industries in Punjab, is in heavy losses, which have wiped out its entire net worth. (Representational Photo ( HT photo) )
Published on Feb 17, 2023 10:58 PM IST
By, Chandigarh

Schools of Eminence: 117 schools shortlisted , Govt fast-tracks upgrade of 4 Amritsar schools

Days after it shortlisted 117 existing schools for the flagship ‘Schools of Eminence’ Scheme, the Aam Aadmi Party government in Punjab has set the ball rolling for upgrading four of these schools in Amritsar district on priority.

The public works department has finalised the tenders and fast-tracked the work to upgrade these selected schools at <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>11 crore. (HT file photo)
Updated on Feb 08, 2023 11:52 PM IST
By, Chandigarh

Punjab govt likely to fall short of revenue targets this fiscal year

The revenue receipts of the state government in the first nine months stood at 63% of the target for the current year, according to the data on fiscal indicators for the April-December 2022 period released by the comptroller and auditor general (CAG)

Between April and December, the state achieved 65.86% of its tax revenue target which includes goods and services tax, state excise, stamps and registration, sales tax, state’s share of union taxes, land revenue and other taxes.
Published on Feb 04, 2023 01:39 AM IST
By, Chandigarh

Samagra Shiksha programme: Centre proposes 1,181 crore allocation for Punjab next fiscal

The Union ministry of education has proposed an allocation of ₹1,181.30 crore for Punjab in the financial year 2023-24 under the centrally sponsored Samagra Shiksha programme for school education.

The Union ministry of education has proposed an allocation of <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>1,181.30 crore for the state in the financial year 2023-24 under the centrally sponsored Samagra Shiksha programme for school education.
Published on Feb 02, 2023 11:50 PM IST

First batch of Punjab govt school principals headed for Singapore

36 principals will attend professional teacher training seminar from February 6 to 10: Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann

Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann with the first batch of government school principals who will be going to Singapore for the training seminar from February 6 to 10. (HT Photo)
Published on Feb 02, 2023 01:51 PM IST

Punjab AAP MLA Kunwar Vijay Pratap quits assembly panel over differences on sacrilege probe

The former IPS officer, who has been airing differences with the Bhagwant Mann-led AAP government in Punjab over its handling of the 2015 sacrilege cases from time to time, sent his resignation to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha secretary on Tuesday night.

Aam Aadmi Party MLA Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh has resigned as chairman of the committee on government assurances of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha. (HT file photo)
Updated on Jan 25, 2023 12:12 PM IST

Sidelined in Congress, Manpreet Badal looks for greener pastures in BJP

The exit of former finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal, who quit the Congress and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday, could not have come at a more inopportune moment for the party.

Newly joined Bharatiya Janata Party member Manpreet Singh Badal addresses press conference, at party headquarters, in New Delhi on Wednesday. (ANI Photo) (ANI photo)
Published on Jan 19, 2023 12:57 AM IST

After Punjab CM cracks whip, PCS officers call off protest, resume duty

Chief minister Bhagwant Mann had directed chief secretary VK Janjua to suspend all officers who did not join duty by 2pm on Wednesday

The Ludhiana deputy commissioner’s office wore a deserted look till the Punjab Civil Service officers’ mass casual leave to protest the arrest of an official in a corruption case was called off after chief minster Bhagwant Mann declared their strike illegal. (Gurpreet Singh/HT)
Published on Jan 11, 2023 04:00 PM IST

Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann declares PCS officers’ strike illegal

Cracking down on striking Punjab Civil Service (PCS) and revenue officers, chief minister Bhagwant Mann on Wednesday declared their protest against the arrest of an officer for allegedly taking bribe in Ludhiana illegal

Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann on Wednesday declared the protest by PCS officers illegal and directed them to return on duty by 2pm or face suspension. (HT file photo)
Updated on Jan 11, 2023 01:10 PM IST

Backlash over Punjab vigilance action as disquiet grips state bureaucracy

Discontent is brewing in the bureaucracy in Punjab, including the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers, over the cases registered and inquiries being conducted by the vigilance bureau, frequent transfers, and a feeling of creeping mistrust.

The IAS officers are upset over the registration of the FIR against the 2008-batch officer without taking the mandatory prior approval of enquiry under section 17A of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. (Representational Photo)
Published on Jan 09, 2023 11:59 PM IST
By, Chandigarh

Punjab minister Fauja Singh Sarari resigns after 'extortion plan' audio leak

Punjab horticulture, food processing and defence services welfare minister Fauja Singh Sarari sent his resignation to chief minister Bhagwant Mann, who is learnt to have accepted it; a first-time MLA from Patiala is likely to be sworn in as cabinet minister in his place.

Four months after an audio clip purportedly suggesting an “extortion plan” surfaced, Punjab horticulture, food processing and defence services welfare minister Fauja Singh Sarari on Saturday resigned from the state cabinet. (HT Photo)
Updated on Jan 07, 2023 01:48 PM IST
By, Chandigarh

Farmers at toll plazas: NHAI pegs losses at 28 cr, ministry secy writes to Punjab government

The National Highways Authority of India has incurred a loss of ₹28 crore due to the ongoing protest by farmers who have shut down its 13 toll plazas in six districts of Punjab.

The toll plazas have been non-operational since December 15 with farmers protesting under the banner of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee. (HT file photo)
Published on Jan 04, 2023 10:05 PM IST
By, Chandigarh

CAG points out ‘irregularities’ worth crores in implementation of forest schemes in Punjab

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India has found alleged “irregularities” worth crores, including unauthorised expenditure and non-utilization of funds, in the implementation of the schemes for forest conservation and tree plantation in Punjab.

The review report pointed out non-utilisation of funds under the agro-forestry scheme, non-release of state share for assistance for conservation and management of wetlands, and huge outstanding from contractors against the sale of standing trees and supply of timber. (Representational Photo)
Published on Dec 28, 2022 11:10 PM IST
By, Chandigarh

Shahpur Kandi project: CAG flags 42-crore ‘avoidable payment’ for idle machinery, labour

The Comptroller and Auditor General on India (CAG) has found alleged irregularities in the construction of the Shahpur Kandi dam project on river Ravi in Punjab.

The work on the <span class='webrupee'>₹</span> 2,793 crore dam, which will generate power and irrigate 36,000 hectares of land in Punjab and J&K, was restarted in 2018-19 and is slated to get completed next year. (REUTERS file photo)
Published on Dec 21, 2022 11:33 PM IST
By, Chandigarh

Punjab farmers’ protest takes toll on NHAI, suffers 1.33-crore loss daily

NHAI officials warn of impact of disruption of its operations on new projects, upkeep of existing national highways in Punjab

Of the 18 toll plazas in nine districts of Punjab made non-operational by the farmers, 12 are on national highways and the remaining six are on state highways. (Sameer Sehgal/HT)
Published on Dec 17, 2022 11:47 AM IST

Chandigarh SSP’s repatriation: Punjab informed in advance, says governor

In reply to chief minister’s letter, Punjab governor Banwarilal Purohit takes swipe at Bhagwant Mann, says he was busy campaigning in Gujarat so couldn’t be contacted

The Chandigarh administration had on Monday repatriated Chahal to Punjab, his parent cadre, without asking for a panel even as he had 10 months left of his three-year tenure. (HT Photo)
Published on Dec 14, 2022 06:03 PM IST
By, Chandigarh
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