The Andhra Pradesh government on Thursday decided to ban online gambling by making amendments to the AP Gaming Act, 1974.
Organisers of online gambling would get a jail term of one year along with a fine for first time offence. The jail term would go up to two years with a fine for repeat offenders. Those playing online games will be sentenced to six months jail.
The decision was taken at the cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy. The cabinet also extended the ban on CPI-Maoist and its frontal organisations by one year.
Briefing reporters about the decisions taken by the cabinet, Information and Public Relations Minister Perni Venkataramaiah said the cabinet also gave its nod for implementing free power to farmers through direct cash transfer to bank accounts.
He said the Chief Minister was particular about the free power to the farmers and that no burden should fall on them. The government shall implement the scheme, through direct cash transfer mode, where the money will be directly credited to farmers’ bank accounts for the power consumed by them in their fields and they, in turn, shall pay the power bills to the discoms or power distribution companies.
“This gives a sense of feeling that the farmers have been paying for the power consumed and the discoms will not go into the red. The pilot project will be introduced in Srikakulam and it will cover the entire state from April 2021,” he said.
Venkataramaiah assured that not a single electricity connection will be removed and all the connections will be regularized while nine hour power supply in day time will be ensured.
Smart meters will be installed and dedicated bank accounts will be created solely for the purpose of paying the subsidy amount. The cost of smart meters will be borne by the discoms and the state government.
He said the state government was spending Rs 1,700 crore for strengthening the electricity feeders and Rs 8,300 crore per annum towards free power scheme.
Alleging that during the previous TDP rule, only 40 percent of feeders were working, he claimed that the YSRCP government improved it to 89 percent. The remaining gap will be filled by this rabi season. There are 18 lakh power connections in the state and all connections of farmers will be regularised, he said.
The cabinet also gave in-principle approval for constructing two barrages downstream of the Prakasam barrage, each with a holding capacity of 3 TMC. The first one will be constructed between Penamaluru and Mangalagiri with an estimated budget of Rs 1,215 crore and the second one between Mopidevi and Repalle with an expenditure of Rs 1,273 crore.
The cabinet approved various irrigation projects, including Babu Jagjivan Ram Uttharandhra Sujala Sravanthi for irrigating 8 lakh acres in north Andhra region, with a budget of Rs 15,389 crore.
It also gave its nod for constructing Varikapudisila lift irrigation project in Palnadu region with a budget of Rs 1,273 crore. As part of Rayalaseema Drought Mitigation Project, the cabinet approved the works of 14 reservoirs and lift irrigation projects.
In order to boost aquaculture, the state will set up the Fisheries University in West Godavari district with a cost of Rs 300 crore in the next five years.
Land was allocated lands for setting up of two medical colleges in Bapatla (51.07 acres) and Markapuram (41.97 acres), Venkataramaiah said.
The cabinet approved establishment of AP State Development Corporation for planning and funding of the state government’s welfare schemes like Nadu-Nedu, Cheyutha, Aasara, and Rythu Bharosa.