47th CABINET MEETING ACCORDS COMPLETE AUTONOMY TO SOUTH PUNJAB

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LAHORE: The 47th provincial cabinet meeting, held under the chair of Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar at his office on Tuesday, approved amendments in Punjab Government Rules of Business, 2011.

Accordingly, the acts and powers of south Punjab’s additional chief secretary, secretaries and departments have been defined. The south Punjab secretariat will comprise three divisions, 11 districts and 17 government departments with complete administrative authority to ACS (South Punjab) and secretaries. The ACS (South Punjab) is given the authority to transfer grade-17 officers including assistant commissioners. He is empowered to approve the budget and provide funds to the offices of commissioners, DCs and ACs along with the authority to write ACRs of south Punjab departments’ secretaries. The south Punjab departments’ secretaries are given all those powers of promotions, transfers and recruitments which are available to their counterparts in the province of Punjab. The heads of autonomous bodies, boards, authorities and companies will be answerable to respective secretaries.

The outsourcing of government rest/guest houses was approved as well. TDCP would be allowed to give government rest/guest houses on a 20-year lease with the option of a 10-years extension. The lease will be given through an open auction to ensure transparency.

The meeting allowed IDAP for the construction and rehabilitation of 32 KPK hospitals to promote interprovincial harmony along with the approval of an affordable housing model for peri-urban areas. According to the decision, the use of a three billion rupees revolving fund will be permitted for infrastructural development. The cabinet approved the establishment of the Punjab Commission for Illegal Housing Societies with retired Justice Azmat Saeed as its head. Matters about the release of fitness certificates for transport vehicles were approved along with the decision to amend Punjab Pension Fund and Punjab General Provident Investment Fund’s Act. After the amendments, Punjab Pension Fund and Punjab General Provident Investment Fund will be empowered to invest in 100 % government schemes and national saving schemes.

The cabinet decided to constitute a cabinet standing committee for universal health insurance along with amendments in The Punjab Medical and Health Institutions Act, 2003. After this, the BOM matters of hospitals will be streamlined. Steps relating to the promotion of austerity were approved for 2021-22 by the austerity committee and it was decided to hand over Lahore Museum to the Archaeology Department.

The cabinet approved operationalization of PHA in Sialkot, endorsement of the charter of Lahore Institute of Science and Technology and Grand Asian University Sialkot along with the approval of posting of the chairperson of Punjab Commission on Status of Women according to rules. The annual calendar for the fourth parliamentary year of the Punjab Assembly for 2021-22 and the Provincial Ombudsman’s annual report for 2020 was also approved.

It was decided not to nominate a below grade-20 officer for BoG of the National School of Public Policy. Formal approval of Amjad Ali Awan for the post of CEO Punjab PPP Authority was allowed. Similarly, the performance audit report about the 2017-18 audit of Cholistan Development Authority Bahawalpur and the audit report of the accounts of Works Department for 2020-21 were approved. AGP reports about the district governments’ accounts for 2017-18 and 2020-21 were recommended, as well. AGP reports about Punjab government accounts for 2016-17, 2018-19 and 2020-21 were confirmed. AGP reports about district governments’ accounts for 2019-20 were also accepted along with the approval of a monitoring report about the implementation of NFC award July-December 2019 and January-June 2020 were passed. The proceedings of the 46th meeting of the provincial cabinet, decisions made in the 59th meeting of the cabinet standing committee for finance and development and the decisions made in the 63rd-67th meetings of the cabinet standing committee for legislation were also approved.