The Punjab Council of Ministers (CoM), led by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, on Monday gave its formal approval to the budgetary proposals to be presented by state Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal in the Vidhan Sabha on June 20.Disclosing this here, a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office said that the CoM also approved restructuring of the departments of Governance Reforms and Removal of Grievances by merging them and renaming the merged entity as ‘Department of Governance Reforms and Public Grievances’.The move is aimed at improving and synchronizing the existing online grievances redressal mechanisms for effective citizen service delivery, which would not only reduce the number of complaints but also bring in governance reforms.
Additionally, the Department of Governance Reforms has also been mandated to bring e-Governance in all departments of the state and usher in administrative reforms.The merger is also in line with the pattern followed in the Government of India, where the department concerned is known as Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances, under the Ministry of Personnel, said the spokesperson.In another decision, the CoM approved certain amendments in the Punjab Infrastructure (Development & Regulation) Act, 2002 through a draft Bill. The proposed Punjab Infrastructure (Development & Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2017 will be tabled in the current budget session in the State Assembly for enactment.The spokesperson said this would enable crediting of the receipt of Infrastructure Development Fees to the Consolidated Fund of the State instead of Punjab Infrastructure Development Fund. It will also enable provision of budgetary grant to the Development Fund.
The CoM also gave its nod to a proposal to amend Section 26-A of the Punjab Excise Act, 1914, for fixing the location of liquor vends on National and State Highways, thus removing hotels, restaurants and clubs from the restrictions on serving of liquor within 500 meters of highways. By amending Section 26-A of Punjab Excise Act, 1914, all ambiguities for serving of liquor at hotel, restaurants and clubs would be removed by adding provisions whereby it is cleared that no retail vend would be opened within 500 meter of the National and State Highways, but these restrictions shall not apply to the hotels, restaurants and clubs situated on the National and State Highways. The CoM gave a go-ahead to the draft amendment Bill, 2017, in this regard, to be tabled during the current budget session for enactment.The CoM also approved the setting up of a dedicated Horticulture University to promote crop diversification in the state, to help in bringing changes in cropping patterns to include the planting of vegetables, fruits, herbs, aromatic and medicinal herbs, fiber and tuber crops, sericulture, fodder crops and floriculture. At present, the total area under fruit plans and vegetables is approximately 3 lac hectares in Punjab, constituting only approximately 4% of the total and being a fraction of country’s area.The CoM also approved the proposal of Local Government for amending the Punjab Municipal Fund Act, 2006 and Punjab Municipal Infrastructure Development Fund Act, 2011 to pave way for the implementation of Punjab State Goods & Service Tax Bill, 2017.The CoM also gave approval for tabling of I.K. Gujral Punjab Technical University (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 and Maharaja Ranjit Singh Punjab Technical University (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 for enactment during the ongoing budget session of Punjab Vidhan Sabha.
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