Punjab 2017

Key decisions taken at Amarinder’s first Cabinet meet

The Punjab cabinet in its first meeting after forming the government on Saturday decided to put an end on the VIP culture in the State, besides setting a Special Task Force (STF) to deal with the drugs menace, which was a key issue in the 2017 Assembly polls. It also formed a group of experts to assess the quantum of the agricultural debt of farmers in the State.

In a bid to curb the VIP culture in the State, the newly constituted council of nine ministers, chaired by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh here, has decided that red and other coloured beacon lights on all vehicles — except emergency hospital, ambulance, fire brigade vehicles, the chief justice and the judges of Punjab and Haryana High Court — would be abolished after a formal notification to this effect is issued.

To be more transparent in governance, the cabinet has decided that salary, allowances and reimbursements received by all MLAs would be updated every month on the official website and would be made available to the public. “All MLAs and MPs would declare their immoveable properties on January 1 every year, and for the year 2017-18 the same would be done by July 1st this year,” said an official spokesperson.

“To asses the agriculture debt of farmers, the expert group would propose ways and means to waive the debt in a time-bound manner. The members of the group would be nominated by the chief minister and the Department of Agriculture would follow up to ensure that the group submits its report within 60 days. A new legislation would be brought in to prohibit sale and ‘kurki’ (attachment) of farmers’ land by lending agencies,” said the spokesperson.

In an attempt to eliminate the drugs menace, the new government decided to set up a Special Task Force (STF) in the Chief Minister’s office, which would prepare and implement a comprehensive programme.

The State home department has been directed to prepare and submit a proposal in the next cabinet meeting for the enactment of the Drug Dealers Property Act by issuing an ordinance.

In an effort to revive the State’s industries, the cabinet decided that a new industrial policy would be formulated by the Department of Industries and would be notified within 90 days.

The cabinet also approved the excise policy for the year 2017-18, bringing down the number of liquor vends from 6,384 to 5,900 and banning the operation of all liquor vends within 500 metres from national and State highways.

On the controversial water sharing issue of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal, the cabinet decided to take recourse to all possible legal and administrative measures to protect the water rights of the people of Punjab.

Review previous decisions

The cabinet also decided to abolish the post of district transport officers, while initiating steps to do away with the controversial halqa (area) in-charge system that was introduced during the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rule.

“It was also resolved that all decisions taken by the previous government in the last six months would be reviewed by the administrative departments, whose reports would be submitted by the chief secretary in the next cabinet meeting. Till the completion of the review process, further action thereon would remain stayed except in cases where it was not feasible to do so owing to some legal or administrative implications,” said the spokesperson.

The State government decided to establish a commission of enquiry to review all false cases and First Information Reports (FIRs) registered during the last decade of the SAD-BJP government, with a view to ensuring justice to innocent people and fixing the accountability of the guilty so that such things were not repeated in the future.

Also, the cabinet decided that it would prepare a “white paper” exposing the false claims of the previous SAD-BJP regime on development, governance reforms and the financial position of the State to apprise the common man of the legacy inherited by the Congress government.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2021 10:16:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/punjab-2017/key-decisions-taken-at-amarinders-first-cabinet-meet/article17528378.ece

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