Following the first cabinet meeting in Chandigarh since Congress’ Captain Amarinder Singh took charge as the Chief minister of the state, the Punjab cabinet has approved excise policy for the year 2017-18 and brought down the number of liquor vends from 6384 to around 5900. The cabinet chaired by Capt Amarinder Singh has further banned operations of all liquor vendors within 500 meters from national and state highways under the excise policy approved today. The cabinet has also taken decision to abolish District Transport Officer (DTO) system in Punjab and the powers of the DTOs will be given to SDMs.
In another major announcement the cabinet has announced reservation for women in jobs and urban and rural local bodies. It further declared the end to use of red beacons on official vehicles by all ministers including the CM. There will also be no auction of land of farmers, who have availed of loans but have not paid back, by any bank, including cooperative ones. The state will also come up with a new transport policy.
“Punjab is the first state to give 33 per cent reservation for women in jobs, including contractual appointments, and 50 per cent reservation to them in Panchayati Raj institutions and urban local bodies,” Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal told the media after the meeting.
Badal said the Chief Minister, ministers and legislators will no longer lay foundation stones of public projects and also not inaugurate them.
“Even for big projects of Rs 100 crore, Rs 200 crore or Rs 500 crore, the names of the Chief Minister and ministers will not be displayed (on the foundation or inauguration stones). It will carry only one line — the project has been executed with the money of the taxpayers,” Badal said.
The cabinet also declared that the first session of the 15th Punjab Vidhan Sabha will be held from March 24. The newly-elected members of the Vidhan Sabha would be administered oath on March 24 and 27. The election of Speaker and Deputy Speaker would be held on March 27, followed by obituary references to prominent dignitaries who passed away during the intervening period of the current session.
The Cabinet also authorised the Chief Minister to approve the Governor’s address for the first session, said an official release here. The Punjab Governor would address the Vidhan Sabha on March 28, followed by a debate on the Governor’s Address and Motion of Thanks, besides presentation of Supplementary Grants for year 2016-17 and the Vote on Account for 2017-18 on March 29.
The Congress has won 77 seats in the 117 member Assembly elections, wresting power from the SAD-BJP alliance. In another decision, the Cabinet okayed the terms and conditions for the appointment of retired IAS officer Suresh Kumar as the Chief Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister in the rank of Government of India’s Cabinet Secretary.
(With inputs from agencies)