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Sunday, October 25, 2020

Punjab: Cabinet nod to call special session on farm laws on October 19

The government will call another Cabinet meeting, likely on Saturday, to give a nod to the legislation it would bring in the Assembly.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh | October 14, 2020 8:24:03 pm
Punjab Cabinet agrees to tweak law to save CM’s advisors from disqualificationThe go-ahead for the special session was given by the Punjab Cabinet on Wednesday during a virtual meeting. (File/Express Photo by Kamleshwar Singh)

Amid pressure from ruling party leaders, farmer outfits and the opposition, Punjab government has decided to convene a one-day special session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha on October 19, to bring a legislation to try and negate the impact of Centre’s controversial farm laws.

The go-ahead for the special session was given by the Punjab Cabinet on Wednesday during a virtual meeting.

The government will call another Cabinet meeting, likely on Saturday, to give a nod to the legislation it would bring in the Assembly.

The government is working on a model legislation sent to the Congress-ruled states by the party high command. A minister said the government was trying to get farmers organisations on board for the legislation.

“We are tweaking the model legislation. But the issue is that the Centre’s laws cannot be negated. There are virtually no legal lacunas that could be exploited. Still, we are working. We are finding a way,” a functionary said.

With the Cabinet decision, the Punjab Governor has been authorised to convene the 13th (Special) Session of 15th Punjab Vidhan Sabha, as per clause (1) of Article 174 of the Constitution of India.

While SAD had given the state government a 7-day ultimatum to call the session, Congress MLAs too had been demanding the session to snatch advantage from the opposition on the issue.

On Tuesday, farmer leaders had reminded two state minister — Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa and Sukhbinder Sarkaria, who had come to meet them, that the government had committed to calling a session.

Despite CM Amarinder Singh’s promise of calling a special session soon, he had stated that he would like the Covid situation to get better to ensure a better debate on the farm laws.

A government statement after the Cabinet meeting Wednesday said that the session was being called as CM had earlier announced that his government will fight the “anti-federal and vicious farm laws” tooth and nail through legislative, legal and other routes. It added that the CM had also promised that he would call a special session of the Assembly to bring in necessary amendments to the state laws to negate the dangerous impact of the central legislations, which are designed to ruin the farmers as well as the state’s agriculture and economy.

The Punjab Vidhan Sabha had earlier passed a resolution to reject the contentious farm ordinances before they were passed by Parliament and became Acts with Presidential nod.

PUNJAB VIGILANCE COMMISSION BILL

The Cabinet on Wednesday also gave its nod to covert the Punjab State Vigilance Commission Ordinance, 2020, into a Bill for enactment in the next session of the Vidhan Sabha.

The establishment of the multi-member Commission, aimed at bringing in more transparency and check corruption among public servants, was approved by the Cabinet last month through the Ordinance. The Vigilance Commission was brought in by Amarinder in his previous tenure in 2006 but it was scrapped by the Akalis when they came to power in 2007.

The Commission has been visualised as an independent body to exercise more effective superintendence over the functioning of Vigilance Bureau and all departments of the state government, in order to provide clean, fair and transparent administration. It will comprise a chairman with two members, with a term of 5 years, an official spokesperson said after the Cabinet meeting. The Commission will effectively exercise superintendence and control over the functioning of Vigilance Bureau and other Departments of the State Government.

Sources told The Indian Express that former Home Secretary Satish Chandra, who retired on September 30, is likely to be appointed as the chairperson of the commission.

The Punjab State Vigilance Commission will review the progress of investigations conducted by the Vigilance Bureau and cases of prosecution sanction pending with various departments of the government. The Vigilance Commission will tender advice to the various departments of the government, and other investigations on vigilance matters. It has been empowered to give directions to the Vigilance Bureau for discharging the responsibility entrusted to it. It has also been empowered to inquire or cause an inquiry/investigation to be made in respect of allegations made under the Prevention of Corruption Act and other relevant offences against public servants.

The Commission will consist of the State Chief Vigilance Commissioner as chairperson, to be appointed from amongst those persons who have been or are serving as judge of a High Court or an officer in the rank and pay scale of secretary to Government of India.

Two Vigilance Commissioners will be appointed as members from amongst persons who have been or are in an All India Service of in any civil service of the Union of state or in a civil post under the Union or state having expertise and experience in matters relating to vigilance, policy making, administration (including police administration), finance (including insurance and banking law) in the rank and pay scale of the additional secretary to the Government of India or the financial commissioner of the state. Both the Vigilance Commissioners shall not belong to the same service or have exactly similar experience.

These appointments will be made on the recommendations of a Committee chaired by the Chief Minister with Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker, and the senior-most Minister of the Council of Ministers (after the CM) as its members.

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