PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa cabinet on Tuesday approved Rs5 billion digital skills development programme for 100,000 youth.

The cabinet met here with Chief Minister Mahmood Khan in the chair and ministers and administrative secretaries in attendance.

Spokesman for the government Barrister Mohammad Ali Saif told reporters that the digital skills training would last three to six months and would help generate employment for skilled youth.

He said the cabinet also approved the proposed Food Fortification Act, 2021, to ensure the presence of major vitamins in indigenous and imported essential food items, including flour and ghee. The vitamins include iron, folic acid, zinc, vitamin B-12, vitamin A and vitamin D-3.

Mr Saif said the lack of those major vitamins in food items caused health complications, especially in women and children.

Initiative to benefit 100,000 youth; cabinet forms panel on merger of Malakand Levies with police

He said the National Nutrition Survey results regarding KP showed anemia rate was 34.7 per cent in women and 60.8 per cent in children, while iron deficiency in women and children was 9.1 and 20.3 per cent, zinc’s 15.9 per cent and 18.6 per cent, vitamin B-12 27.7 per cent and 47.7 per cent, and vitamin D 85.5 per cent and 76.9 per cent respectively.

The spokesman said those deficiencies caused a lack of proper physical and mental nourishment, blindness, deafness and anemia.

He said the Halal Food Authority would be empowered through legislation to impose penalties, on-the-spot inspection, registration of manufacturers, and packing to ensure quality food. Besides laboratories, mobile labs will also be established to check the quality of food items.

The cabinet while agreeing to the demand of the Tourism Association of Kaghan Valley, Anjuman-i-Tajiran Nathiagali and Galiyat Hotel Association, approved the issuance of a notification to waive all hospitality sector businesses in Kaghan and Galiyat Valley registered with the KP Revenue Authority of all pending surcharges and penalties except principal tax liability. However, the default surcharge or penalty already paid will not be refunded.

Also, the cabinet approved the setting up of an endowment fund for transgender with the initial Rs100 million allocations. Under the initiative, transgender persons will be provided with interest-free loans to start small businesses.

The chief minister directed the finance department to frame rules for the endowment fund.

The cabinet approved the Journalists Welfare Endowment Fund Rules, 2021, under which Rs1 million will be provided to the families of journalists killed in the acts of terrorism. Also, permanently disabled journalists will be given one-time grant of Rs200,000.

Moreover, the marriage grant is also part of the package for the son/daughter of the journalist to the tune of Rs200,000.

Also, a journalist with 30 years experience will be given Rs10,000 monthly stipend after attaining the age of 60 years.

The journalists terminated by newspapers and TVs and jobless for three consecutive months will be given one-time stipend of Rs10,000 for two months. Rs50,000 will be given to journalists as funeral charges over the death of family members.

Mr Saif said the cabinet also approved rules to implement the minimum wages in letter and spirit as well as the Rs150 million grant-in-aid for the establishment of the Khpal Kor Nursing and Health Sciences College in Gul Kada area of Swat district.

It decided to extend the minimum wages of Rs21,000 to the project employees from BPS-1 to BPS-8 from July 1, 2021.

The cabinet also approved the ‘Open Government Data Strategy’ with the data available on the PMRU’s website. The auqaf administrator was empowered to initiate legal proceedings against the publishers of the Holy Quran over printing mistakes.

Mr Saif said the cabinet included the Command Area of Gomal Zam Dam in the Canal and Drainage Act, 1873, to ensure the availability of water flowing in the area for the people’s use.

Also, names of Dr Nosherwan Burki, Mohammad Tahir Aziz, Dr Zeeshan Bin Ishtiaq and retired Major General Salahuddin Qasim were approved as members of the provincial MTI Policy Board and that of Manzoor Ahmad as the chief executive officer of the KP Transmission and Grid System Company.

The cabinet examined the establishment of a major hospital in Peshawar through public-private partnership and extension of the initiative to other parts of the province afterwards.

Mr Saif said the cabinet formed a committee to make recommendations for the merger of Malakand Levies with the regular police and produce the same in the next cabinet meeting.

Published in Dawn, February 16th, 2022

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