LAHORE  -   The Punjab cabinet which met here on Friday with Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar in the chair approved over one dozen draft laws recommended by cabinet’s standing committee on legislation.

The cabinet also accorded approval to amendments in six existing Acts to make them more effective keeping in view the public convenience.  Moreover, the cabinet meeting decided to auction 22 luxury vehicles besides giving six bulletproof vehicles to police for security. Meeting decided that ten such vehicles will be placed in the pool. It was also decided in principle that the policy of vehicles’ allotment should be examined.

Chief Minister directed to constitute a high-level committee adding that this committee should devise a unified policy for the allotment of government vehicles.

Supplementary grant for the release of arrears amounting to Rs. 4.60 billion for 1263-megawatt RLNG power project of Punjab Thermal Power Limited in Jhang was also approved by the meeting.

It approved draft law for giving concession on property tax in six computerized districts of Punjab. Draft amendment in Punjab Motor Vehicles Rules 1969 under Provincial Motor Vehicle Ordinance 1965 was approved to introduce automated registration card in the province. Amendment draft of Punjab Restaurant Invoice Monitoring System Rules 2015 and Punjab Sales Tax for Service Enforcement Rules 2014 were also approved.

Meeting also gave approval to leave for performing Hajj and Umrah and giving of right to grant for financial assistance and draft amendment in Indus River System Authority Act 1992 (Chashma Right Canal Lift Irrigation Canal project). Draft laws relating to enforcement of provincial sales tax on intercity transportation, transportation of luggage through roads or provision of services through pipelines were also approved.

The meeting also sanctioned the draft bills for the establishment of Namal Institute and bifurcation of Punjab Institute of Neurosciences from Ameer-ud-Din Medical College/Postgraduate Medical Institute Lahore.

It also passed the draft relating to the nominations and establishment of search committee for dealing with relevant matters including determination of educational qualification, experience and other matters for filling the post of vice chancellor of Punjab Tianjin University of Technology Lahore. Draft law about policy for reallocation of sugar mills in Punjab was also given approval along with a draft law for the establishment of Punjab Skills Development Authority.

Notification regarding establishment of Punjab University of Technology Rasool in Mandi Bahauddin was also validated by the meeting along with approval of draft of Punjab Labor Policy 2018. Similarly, drafts of Punjab Occupational Safety and Health Act 2018, Punjab Domestic Act 2018 and Agricultural Policy 2018 were approved as well. Meanwhile, amendments in Punjab Right to Information Act 2018, Punjab Right to Public Service Act 2018, Police Order 2018 (ADR committees), Punjab Prevention of Conflict of Interest Act 2018 and Punjab Whistleblower Protection Act and Vigilance Commission Act 2018 were approved by the cabinet.

Meeting validated the audit reports of the Auditor General about public sector companies. Punjab cabinet decided that recruitment process through Punjab Public Service Commission will be continued while cabinet committee will present its recommendations on case to case basis for other recruitments. Health and education departments will be permitted for recruitment on priority basis, it decided. The meeting also validated the reports of Auditor General of Pakistan for Punjab government’s civil works departments, commercial audit and evaluation receipt of taxes, forestry department and others for 2016-17 and 2017-18. Meeting decided to constitute a cabinet committee for the construction of Dadhocha Dam on Ling River on BOT basis. 35 million gallon water will be provided to Rawalpindi city from this dam, the meeting was told. It was decided to expand the scope of health insurance program across the province and this program will be soon started in 19 more districts. The rate of provincial sales tax will be zero for health insurance program.

The cabinet meeting also endorsed the Punjab Industrial Policy 2018 along with procedure of allotment in labor colonies.

Addressing the meeting, Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said that implementation on industrial policy will help increase the investment and employment opportunities in the province. He directed that solid measures should be taken to implement this policy adding that every step of the Punjab government was taken for public welfare.

“Punjab government is working like a team and targets of 100-day program of the Prime Minister have been achieved. It is for the first time in the history of the Punjab province that a number of draft laws have been approved and we will jointly work for the durable development of the province”, the Chief Minister concluded.  Meanwhile, Provincial Minister for Information & Culture Fayyaz ul Hassan Chohan said that Punjab government will give particular attention to solving the basic problems like healthcare and education by standing above mega projects like orange train and metro bus. “For this purpose, scope of health insurance cards will be extended to all the districts. Doctors and paramedical staff are being recruited on ad-hoc basis in hospitals so as to solve the health problems faced by the people”, he said, while giving media briefing after the cabinet meeting.  The minister disclosed that ten years’ tax remission will be given in industrial policy and imported machinery will be duty free for the first time.

He said that such draft laws have been approved for the first time in the history of the province which will be helpful in solving the basic problems of the people.

Giving details of the cabinet decisions, Chohan said that health insurance program will be started in 19 more districts while the rate of provincial sales tax will be zero on health insurance program. He said that draft law had been approved to give concession on property tax in six computerized districts of the province. He said that draft of amendment law of Punjab Motor Vehicles Rule 1969 under Provincial Motor Vehicles Ordinance 1965 had been approved for introducing automated registration cards besides the draft law for the establishment of Punjab Skills Development Authority.

Provincial Minister said that draft of Punjab Labor Policy 2018 had also been approved by the cabinet along with policy drafts of Punjab Domestic Workers Act 2018 and Agricultural Policy 2018. Similarly, amendment in Punjab Right to Information Act 2018 has been approved and provincial cabinet has also given approval to draft law for amendment in Punjab Restaurant Invoice Monitoring System Rules 2015 and Punjab Sales Tax for Services Enforcement Rules 2014, he said, adding that the meeting had given approval to draft law for granting rights to provide grant for financial assistance along with granting leave for Hajj and Umrah.

Provincial Minister said that draft of amendment in Indus River System Authority Act 1992 (Chashma Right Canal Lift Irrigation Canal Project) has been approved as well.

 Along with it, notification regarding establishment of Punjab University of Technology Rasool in Mandi Bahauddin has been validated, he said.

Speaking on the occasion, spokesman to CM Dr. Shehbaz Gill said that meeting had decided to re-examine the vehicles’ allotment policy and Chief Minister had decided to constitute a high-level committee to formulate a unified policy in this regard. Dr. Shehbaz Gill maintained that Punjab government was working speedily for public welfare and targets of 100-day agenda of the Prime Minister had been achieved. “The whole government is working like a team and countless draft laws have been approved for the first time in Punjab for public welfare. We will collectively achieve the goal of durable development of the province”, he said.