As Punjab struggles to check the menace of drugs, the State government has asked the Centre to grant it special category status under the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Swasthya Suraksha Mission.

State Health Minister Brahm Mohindra in a letter to Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda has pointed out that the State, which shares international border with Pakistan, has become a victim of a proxy war waged by the neighbouring country using drugs as its silent weapon.

Higher grant

“The drug menace has gripped different sections of Punjab’s society, irrespective of caste, creed, religion and economic status. It prevails more in border districts such as Ferozepur, Tarn Taran, Gurdaspur and Amritsar. The youth, who are the future of the State, are becoming victims of narco-terrorism, which is impacting the economic growth,” said Mr. Mohindra.

He urged the Central government to consider putting Punjab under the special category States as that would make it eligible for higher grant from the Centre.

Mr. Mohindra drew a parallel with other special category States such as Jammu and Kashmir, hilly and Northeastern States and said these States get a higher share of central grants due to their disturbed status, difficult terrain or due to sharing border with Pakistan.

‘Ignored by Centre’

“However, Punjab has always been ignored by the Centre. The State also has huge locational disadvantage and challenging security scenario,” said Mr. Mohindra.

Mr. Mohindra added that Punjab was working out the modalities to converge PMRSSM with the State’s universal health protection programme and financial implications thereof.

The proposal has been submitted to the Finance Department.

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