LAHORE: Eight amendment bills on government departments were approved in a meeting of the Punjab Cabinet presided over by Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Shahbaz Sharif at the CM Secretariat here on Wednesday. The bills were with regard to the transfer of ministry affairs to provinces stipulated by the 18th constitutional amendment. A Cabinet Committee for eliminating corruption from Punjab was constituted by the CM tasked with formulating recommendations on the matter. The recommendations of the committee shall be presented in the next cabinet meeting, with the hope of presenting them later for legislation in the Punjab Assembly. Addressing the cabinet meeting, Shahbaz said corruption was the major hurdle in the country's development and combined efforts were required to eliminate it. Shahbaz informed the cabinet that a body to check hoarding, adulteration and price stablisation of essential items had also been approved and a draft law was to be submitted soon.
No confidence in ACRs: Regarding Annual Confidential Reports (ACRs) of the government officers and officials, Chief Minister said that the purpose of these reports is to judge the efficient and inefficient officials and in the past these reports were reflective of the performance of the officers in true sense but now these reports are not being written in proper manner. He directed that the previous standard of these annual confidential reports should be restored and these reports should be written on the basis of actual performance of all officers and officials. Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif said that the national solidarity demonstrated on the visit of Chinese Prime Minister to Pakistan is laudable. He appreciating the performance of Cabinet Committee, elected representatives, administration, police and concerned departments for maintaining law and order, brotherhood and religious harmony in the province during Muharram-ul-Haram, he said. He said that there is always room for improvement and we will also have to take more steps for meeting the future challenges. Chief Minister also appreciated the performance of Senior Advisor Sardar Zulfiqar Ali Khan Khosa, Chief Secretary and Secretaries of the concerned departments for making amendments in the laws of the departments being transferred to provinces after 18th amendment.
Ammendments presented: Chief Secretary Nasir Mehmood Khan Khosa informed the meeting with regard to amendments in the laws of departments being transferred to the provinces after 18th amendment and added that on the instructions of Chief Minister Punjab, a special committee headed by Senior Advisor Sardar Zulfiqar Ali Khan Khosa had been constituted in this regard which has formulated final recommendations for 18 amendment bills, out of which, eight amendment bills regarding Revenue, Health, Labour and Auqaf are being presented for approval in today's meeting. The Cabinet gave approval to the Trust Act, 1882, Transfer of Property Act, 1882 and Partition Act, 1908 of Board of Revenue, Punjab Epidemic Disease Act, 2010 and Injured Persons (Medical Aid) Act, 2004 of Health Department, Employment of Children Act, 1991 and Employment (Record of Services) Act, 1951 of Labour Department and Punjab Publication of Holy Quran (Elimination of Printing and Recording Errors) Act, 2010 of Auqaf Department. The meeting also gave approval to the annual report of Punjab Public Service Commission for 2009.
Kaira directs departments to control expenditure: Punjab Finance Minister Tanvir Ashraf Kaira on Wednesday said that austerity drive will continue in all government departments and government will not allow spending money more than allocated in the current budget. He expressed these views while presiding over a meeting of the committee constituted for reviewing non-development expenditures and austerity measures at the Finance Department committee room.
He said, "We can save resources by curtailing non-development expenditures, and maximum resources can be made available for development projects. Government has banned unnecessary expenditures except in emergency cases where supplementary grant will be issued, while the ban on purchase of luxury items will continue." He said that austerity should begin from the highest level and simple living styles should be adopted. In the meeting, various departments presented their demands for the purchase of various items. The minister and the committee allowed the departments for purchase of demanded items after cutting 20 percent of their budget. Punjab Finance Secretary Tariq Bajwa, Finance Additional Secretary Fareed Tarar and other officers attended the meeting.
Zakat officials to gear up for handover: Zakat and Ushr department officials must formulate their duties as per the 18th amendment on an urgent basis since the department is set to be transferred to the province, Punjab Chief Minister Senior Advisor Sardar Zulfiqar Ali Khan Khosa directed high ranking officials of Zakat and Ushr Department.
While presiding over the meeting of cabinet committee on Zakat and Ushr, he directed the officials to speed up the names' finalisation of office holders of District Zakat and Ushr committees for final approval. He also directed that funds and assets to be handed over to the provinces should be utilized for the welfare of the people and the respective departments should adopt a clear cut policy and make amendment in rules of business wherever required.
The committee participants were briefed regarding various proposals for the change in Zakat and Ushr Laws in the light of abolition of concurrent list.