PESHAWAR - A meeting presided over by the Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa approved the amendment in the Women Harassment Act 2010 and allocation of Rs23 billion for priority projects in the province.

The KP Chief Minister, Pervez Khattak, in consultation with the provincial cabinet, also upgraded the status of Advisors to Chief Minister Ishtiaq Urmarh and Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani to the full provincial ministers on their impressive performance in their respective departments.

The cabinet directed the information department for a comprehensive communications approach in its overall functions with a focus on innovative publicity centric mechanism.

Provincial ministers, Chief Secretary Muhammad Azam Khan, Additional Chief Secretary and administrative secretaries attended the cabinet meeting that took for debate a 16-point agenda and made a number of decisions for good governance, tackling the governance-related issues, the regularisation of contract employees recruited through NTS.

The provincial cabinet agreeing to the amendments in the Women Harassment Act 2010 at workplaces approved the recruitment of an Ombudsperson to address to the genuine grievances of women at the workplace.

This enactment would give protection to the women at the workplace. The amendment made in the act would be tabled in the provincial assembly for proper legislation.

The cabinet also agreed to the regularization of 36278 number of NTS recruited teachers and other employees throughout the province. The regularization of the employees would be made through an act of the provincial assembly.

The chief minister agreed to the strengthening of Excise and Taxation Department and the cabinet approved the revenue collection through the Excise and Taxation department. The department under the cabinet decision would be empowered to collect Abiana and other revenue. Earlier, the KEPRA had to collect revenue and after the amendment, this function would be transferred to the Excise & Taxation department.

The cabinet Okayed additional Rs23.930 billion for the priority projects of public welfare oriented nature throughout the province that included Rs. 4 billion for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Highway Authority, Rs5 billion for Communication & Works projects, Rs1 billion and 30 million for solarization schemes, Rs2 billion for irrigation projects, Rs1 billion for higher education projects, Rs1 billion for secondary education, Rs2 billion for irrigation, Rs1 billion and 600 million for electricity-related projects and Rs300 million for Sui-gas related projects.

The chief minister directed to develop the prime property of Auqaf Department on commercial lines in order to enhance the resource base of the department adding that the whole commercialization process should be a transparent one and the process should be completed on an accelerated pace, he added.

Khattak said that the 10 percent quota of electricity was not acceptable. The share of the province in the whole distribution formula stands as 13.5 and therefore, there should be a uniform approach giving the province its due share under the NEPRA laid down formula and justice should be visible under the formula, adding that the people suffered because of unwarranted load shedding. He asked the relevant quarters to collect all details of the electricity-related projects bringing them to the proper forum for approval and implementation.

The chief minister on the approval of the cabinet of the budgetary provision and transparency in the TMAs accounts under the overall distribution of resources design directed to conduct a meeting of finance, local government and AG office in order to bring visible transparency in the efficient use of resources at lowest tiers of governance.

The chief minister came hard on the lethargic attitude of government employees and inaction for the collection of Abiana and other revenue collections adding that there should be a system of reward and punishment and this carrot and strict approach should be implemented in letter and spirit. The officials getting their targets would be rewarded and the officials falling short of their targets would be punished. He directed for an accelerated plan for the establishment of a model police station at tehsil level and removing the hurdles in the tax collection.

Pervez Khattak said that the provincial government had a number of mega projects that included Swat Motorway, Rapid Bus Transit Peshawar, Universities at all divisional headquarters and spreading it to the district level, the Sehat Insaf Card and 69 new colleges in the province and the billion tree tsunami indicating the new style of public welfare governance in the province.

He said that the good governance was not restricted to these mega projects but go beyond in all public sector institutions that had already started giving relief to the people throughout the province. He reminded that his government had given Rs. 40 billion for different projects in Peshawar alone that on completion would shape up the overall outlook of Peshawar. He called upon the elected representatives to monitor these projects and ensure transparency.

The cabinet approved the communication policy of the Information Department giving a shift from traditional information gathering mechanism to the overall innovative mechanism including effective use of alternative and new media. The new mechanism would also include publicity on social media. The Information Department should investigate different and innovative approaches for efficient publicity of the pro-people initiatives and governance-related reforms introduced by the government, he added.

The cabinet also approved the Board of Governors of Health Foundation in principle directing the participants to finalize and replace the members of the Board of Governors and a final summary should be routed for formal approval. The cabinet also directed to finalize the up-gradation of employees of police and other departments and projects and bring a comprehensive case to the next cabinet meeting.

The cabinet also approved the proposal for Additional Advocate Generals and one Assistant Advocate General. The chief minister hoped that a strengthened team of litigation would help the government in preparing logical cases to protect the government’s standpoint on different issues.