The Punjab Cabinet today decided to bring a white paper to expose the alleged "false" claims of the previous SAD-BJP government on development, governance reforms and fiscal position of the state.
The decision was taken in the first cabinet meeting chaired by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh here, said an official spokesman.
He said the cabinet decided that the departments of Governance Reforms and Finance would prepare the white paper to expose the false claims of the previous SAD-BJP dispensation on development, governance reforms and financial status of the state.
The white paper will be prepared to apprise the common man of the legacy inherited by the Congress government, the spokesman said.
The SAD-BJP had fought the Punjab Assembly polls on development plank.
In another decision, the cabinet decided to establish a Commission of Enquiry to review false cases and FIRs registered during the SAD-BJP government, he said.
The decision was taken to ensure "justice to innocent people and fix accountability of the guilty" so that such things were not repeated, the spokesman said.
The Home Department would put forth a draft notification for the Chief Minister's approval, he said.
The cabinet also decided to open up the transport sector, and ensure free-and-fair grant of licenses for buses, mini-buses and other commercial vehicles in a transparent way, "freeing the sector from the SAD's "stranglehold", the spokesman said.
The Transport Department would reformulate its existing policy and submit a fresh one for consideration in the next meeting, he said.
A Punjab Road Safety Authority will be set up to study causes of road accidents in the state with a view to minimise it through effective planning, the spokesman said.
The Amarinder Singh-led government will undertake reforms to wipe out corruption and 'Inspector Raj' from the state, and to "undo the wrongs perpetrated on the people under the erstwhile Badal regime", he said.
The Punjab cabinet has also decided to abolish the post of District Transport Officers (DTO) and has initiated steps to do away with the controversial 'Halqa In-charge' system that was introduced by the previous government, the spokesman said.
To end corruption and 'Inspector Raj' in the transport sector and stop unnecessary harassment of transporters due to frequent checking, the cabinet has decided to abolish the posts of DTOs, and reassign them offices of SDMs and SDOs, he said, adding Haryana had abolished the post around a decade ago.
In a bid to improve functional and operational efficiency, the cabinet decided to withdraw the previous government's notifications on territorial restructuring of police stations, the spokesman said.
The council of ministers noted that the 'Halqa In-charges' had become parallel power centres, controlling the administration and the police, and "misusing their powers to indulge in political vendetta and corruption", he said.
It was decided that all decisions taken in the last six months by the previous government would be reviewed and departments concerned would submit their reports to the Chief Secretary in the next cabinet meeting, the spokesman said. A proposal to abolish the Improvement Trusts and amalgamate their activities with municipal corporations or councils was also taken, but it will finalised later as the Minister for Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu has sought more time, he said. The cabinet has decided to carry out a third party audit of rural and urban infrastructure within three months, the spokesman said. It was also decided to reconstitute Governance Reforms Commission with professionals at its helm, he said. The Punjab government has resolved to pursue the Sutlej-Yamuna-Link (SYL) canal matter both legally and administratively, the spokesman said. The cabinet has also decided that the Department of Irrigation will formulate a proposal for canalisation of major rivers of the state, namely Ravi, Beas and Sutlej, and construction of high-speed economic corridors on bunds (dhusis) to secure the livelihood of of farmers and generate new job possibilities, he said. Meanwhile, as a gesture of goodwill, Chief Minister Amarinder has decided to provide his predecessor Parkash Singh Badal with free government accommodation of his choice. Amarinder's decision follows reports that Badal was hunting for a suitable accommodation after demitting the chief minister's office, an official spokesperson said, adding the SAD leader will get a residence of his choice and can stay till the time he desires. The existing policy does not provide for official residence to former chief ministers in the state, he said. Amarinder has also accepted Badal's request to provide him two stenographers and doctors, besides official vehicles and security, the spokesperson said. The cabinet also decided to establish Employment Bureaus (EBs) in all districts of the state and they will have Employment Counsellors, he said. They would carry out fresh surveys of both educated and uneducated unemployed and prepare the annual district employment plans, the spokesman said. It was decided that the till the time a youth is registered with the EB, he would be paid an unemployment allowance of Rs 2,500 per month, he said. The cabinet decided to establish the Staff Inspection and Assessment Organisation (SIAO) for regular periodic assessment of staffing requirements of various government departments and organisations, the spokesman said. It was decided that all educational institutions of the state would be provided free internet connectivity and free legal aid will be provided to all SCs, OBCs and other BPL families, he said.
(REOPENS DES 28) The cabinet also decided to enact the NRI Property Safeguards Act and the Cable Authority Act to ensure de-politicisation of news channels in Punjab, the spokesman said. The Conflict of Interest Act would be enacted to ensure that the MLAs and ministers were unseated if found to have business interests in their official capacity, he said. It was decided to establish an Expenditure Reforms Commission to examine all government expenditures and that contracts above Rs 50 crore would be scrutinised by the GERC before being awarded, the spokesman said. The cabinet decided to provide free transportation facility and textbooks to all children in state-run schools, he said, adding books would be posted online to download. It was decided to establish referral 'mohalla' clinics in rural and urban areas and attached them with a multi-speciality hospital, the spokesman said. The cabinet also decided on a new policy to revive existing industrial units by resolving their problems, the spokesman said. It was decided that 30 per cent reservation would be made for SCs in allotment of houses and plots, he said. Free built-up living accommodation would be provided to all homeless SC/OBC families with an annual income of less than Rs 5 lakh, the spokesman said. It was decided to increase reservation for OBCs in government jobs from 12 per cent to 15 per cent and increase reservation for OBCs in educational institutions from 5 per cent to 10 per cent, he said. One-lakh taxies, commercial LCV's and other vehicles would be provided to the unemployed youths at subsidised rates annually.
The state government would stand guarantee and no collateral would be required, the spokesman said. They would be expected to repay the loan in 5 years. The Employment Department would tie-up with major taxi operators' to ensure the scheme's success, he said. Under the 'Yaari Enterprises, small enterprises promoted by two or more young entrepreneurs will be given subsidy and incentives, the spokesman said, adding they would receive a subsidy of 30 per cent on a maximum investment of Rs 5 lakh. The cabinet also decided to give free smart phones to the youth, he said. It was decided to set up Special Courts to clear the backlog and ensure speedier justice in the cases pertaining to drug peddling, narcotics, corruption, NRIs and serving soldiers, the spokesman said. The Mining Department would take necessary steps for de-cartelising mining of sand and stone/gravel in the state, he said.