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LAHORE: The ruling PML-N government in its cabinet meeting of the tenure approved on Thursday the Punjab Regularization of Service Bill of 2018 to regularise the services of contract employees that enter civil service after meeting certain criteria.

The bill, after the Punjab Assembly approve it, will institutionalise recruitment and prevent hazards of contractual appointment, including political inductions and abrupt termination of services.

Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif directed the officials to fine tune the bill with minor adjustments for tabling in the Punjab Assembly. The Punjab Regularisation of Service law will benefit some 200,000 contractual employees, mostly in education and health departments.

Sources told Dawn the chief minister rejected bureaucracy’s concern about growing pension liabilities and instead asked investing Rs20 billion in the pension fund annually for “better financial management”. The contribution to the pension fund should be reflected in the budget, the chief minister said.

The cabinet learned the net pension liabilities stood at Rs3.5 trillion on the close of 2014-15 financial year and were growing. It stated that the new regularisation will impact the pension liabilities after 25 to 30 years. The cabinet, however, did not agree and stressed that the government should invest Rs20 billion in the pension fund annually that currently stood at Rs49.3 billion. The cabinet also did not agree with the finance department’s proposals about trying the models of voluntary pension scheme and contributory pension. The cabinet approved long-term investment under Punjab General Provident Investment Fund Act, 2009.Sources said the government’s decision to formalise the regularisation criteria would not only block successive governments to go for regular inductions based on political considerations, it would also ensure that the incumbent government would induct employees in regular service that fulfill certain criteria. “The ‘gate crashing’ concept in employees’ induction will be discouraged and regular induction will be regulated,” an official said.

The 2010-14 performance report of the Punjab Daanish Schools and Centres of Excellence Authority was presented.

The cabinet lauded the performance of Daanish schools students. About 97 per cent Daanish schools’ graduates are now studying in famous universities, including LUMS, GIKI and NUST. The meeting was told that some 27 per cent Daanish schools’ students were double orphan. The Punjab cabinet also approved agreement for development and operation of the Fort Manro Cadet College. The meeting learned the institution, to be established at 100 acres, would serve as a game changer for the area.

The cabinet approved amendment to the Registration Act, 1908, to regulate and supervise the deed writing profession. It also gave approval to amendments in Punjab Fisheries Ordinance of 1961 and Fisheries Act of 1999 along with provision of land in the jurisdiction of Punjab province for 640-megawatts Azad Pattan Hydro Project.

It was decided that agri-marketing reforms be initiated along with approval of Punjab Agriculture Marketing Regulatory Authority Act, 2018. Besides this, the meeting also approved the Punjab Policy for the Protection of Human Rights. The draft of amendment bill for introducing proposed amendments in 1992’s act of forced-labour was given approval along-with endorsement of minutes of 29th cabinet meeting. The decisions of 43rd to 54th meetings of cabinet committee for finance and development were endorsed as well.

Published in Dawn, April 27th, 2018