The Punjab Cabinet on Monday approved the budgetary proposals to be presented by state Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal in the Assembly on Tuesday.
Disclosing this, a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO's) said that the Cabinet 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 synchronising 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, said the spokesperson.
"The merger is also in line with the pattern followed in the Union Government, where the department concerned is known as Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances, under the Ministry of Personnel," said the spokesperson.
In another decision, the Cabinet approved certain amendments in the Punjab Infrastructure (Development and Regulation) Act, 2002 through a draft Bill. The proposed Punjab Infrastructure (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2017 will be tabled in the current budget session in the State Assembly for enactment.
The spokesperson said that 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, spokesperson added.
The Cabinet 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. The Cabinet gave a go-ahead to the draft amendment Bill, 2017, in this regard, to be tabled during the current budget session for enactment.
The Cabinet 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 lakh hectare in Punjab, constituting only approximately 4 per cent of the total and being a fraction of country's area.