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Punjab Assembly passes 46 bills during third year

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Published: June 9, 2016 02:46 pm


ISLAMABAD, June 9, 2016: The Punjab Assembly passed 46 government bills while only one private member’s bill was introduced before the House during third parliamentary year. The legislative agenda brought before the Punjab Assembly during this period comprised 64 bills. Besides 46 bills passed in to Acts, 15 bills were still under consideration by the end of the year and four were not taken up by the House. More than two thirds of these bills were originally promulgated as ordinances and later presented before the Assembly. The legislation addressed the matters related to education, economy, law & order, local government, women welfare, institutional reforms and governance.

Economy: Apart from the Finance Bill, 2015, the House, through an Act, levied Infrastructure Development Cess on transportation of goods. Two laws were passed to improve the stamp duty and revenue collection mechanisms.

Education: The Assembly chartered three new universities to be established in the province while seven existing statutes dealing with education were amended.

Governance: Stricter punishments were introduced for persons selling adulterated and substandard food in contravention of the laws. The Punjab Food Regulatory Authority was also empowered to impose fines on food outlets not complying with the standards. The slaughter control law was amended to rationalize the penalties on violation of the law while the marriage functions law was amended to provide for prohibition of ostentatious celebrations. The House passed four bills concerning transport affairs that included overloading of vehicles and overcharging of fares, making provisions for personalized vanity plates and regulation of vehicle transaction agents.

Health: The Drugs Act 1976 was amended to enable the law to control the menace of spurious drugs. Moreover, the criteria for the appointment of Vice Chancellor of Fatima Jinnah Medical University were revised and the age limit for the post was enhanced.

Public Representatives’ Salaries: The emoluments which public representatives are entitled to withdraw were increased through a bill.

Local Government: Four amendments to the local government law were approved to empower local governments to designate landfill sites, make provisions for the indirect elections and proportional representation on reserved seats in a Union Council, and the representation of local governments in Punjab Finance Commission.

Forest and Agriculture: Two amendments to the Forest Act, 1927 were passed to provide for establishment of Forest Companies and utilization of forest land for national projects of strategic importance. The Canal and Drainage Act 1873 was also upgraded to have an effective water charges recovery mechanism. A new law was passed to regulate the construction in the flood plain areas of the province. The establishment of Special Protection Unit and District Vigilance Committees was also approved by the Assembly.

Women-related Legislation: A law was passed to provide extended antenatal and postnatal care to working mothers while the Protection of Women against Violence Bill was also cleared by the Assembly after nine months of deliberations.

Institutional Development and Reforms: Five corporate bodies namely the Punjab Mass Transit Authority, the Punjab Safe Cities Authority, the Fort Monroe Development Authority, the Punjab Infrastructure Development Authority and the Punjab Agriculture, Food and Drug Authority were created through statues while the laws of the Punjab Procurement Authority, the Punjab Commission on Status of Women and Forensic Sciences Agency were amended.

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