LAHORE - After identifying key issues hampering performance of Punjab Assembly , the strategic planning committee of the assembly has prepared a Strategic Plan 2010-2012 to be implemented within a given timeline to make it powerful vis--vis executive arm of the government. The said plan, which has been chalked out with the financial assistance of USAID, envisages some key changes in the relevant rules to make the assembly 'fully equipped to perform one of its major duties of holding govt accountable on various counts. The plan was formally launched here on Thursday at a local hotel which was attended by Acting PA Speaker Rana Mashhood Ahmad and some members of the Assembly . US Consul General in Lahore, Cormela Conroy and members of USAID were also present. Recognising the crucial role of the Assembly to monitor and review the actions of the executive arm of the govt, both in terms of spending and in execution of laws and policies, it has been decided to take effective steps to enhance capacity building of the standing committees of the Assembly which have the constitutional mandate to oversee their corresponding departments. In order to make them more effective, these bodies would be provided access to detailed research by dedicated researchers as well as advice from legal drafting experts to evaluate govt legislation properly. In another decision to empower the assembly, it has been proposed the assembly rules of procedure would be amended to grant suo moto powers to the standing committees to enable them undertake scrutiny of govt policy and to ensure financial discipline in various govt departments. Provision would also be made in the rules for holding of public hearings/meetings, which is an important international practice. This would enhance assemblys ability to hold govt accountable. The relevant rules would also be amended to incorporate time frame for constitution of these committees and election of chairpersons. The time of assemblys Question Hour would also be increased in view of increased number of members. Realising the need for capacity building of legislators, the said plan also envisages training programmes to make them aware of their basic roles and responsibilities, especially with regard to legislation. Necessary legislation would be made to regulate the recruitment and conditions of service of staff of the assembly secretariat. A professional parliamentary service cadre has been proposed to be introduced in PA to provide a clear career path for a staff member who enters the Assembly as a young professional. This would ensure entry of qualified professionals who begin their career with the Assembly and continue up the ranks of parliamentary service as they gain experience. It has also been proposed that experts would conduct gender audit of the Assembly to determine gender specific needs of members/staff such as separate physical spaces, daycare and security. This would be done in view of the fact that women members in the provincial assemblies have expressed concerns about their relative lack of power and respect vis--vis male colleagues and the male-dominated leadership.