Two days after taking over the reins of power in Punjab, the new Congress government under Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh today started work on the state’s development agenda at its first cabinet meeting, taking several key decisions.
The first Cabinet meet of the new government adopted the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee manifesto as its work programme for the next five years, and took more than 100 important decisions aimed at fulfilling one-third of the electoral promises in the first phase, an official spokesperson said.
To meet some of the expenses involved in taking the work programme forward, the cabinet decided to recall the unutilised funds, amounting to thousands of crores of rupees, which had been granted by the previous SAD-BJP regime to various government departments in the run-up to the polls, he said.
The key decisions taken by the cabinet, attended by all the nine ministers of the newly-constituted government, include:
- Major crackdown on the drug mafia and corruption
- Abolition of Inspector Raj and VIP culture
- Time-bound waiver of farm loans, constitution of various high-level committees to bring agriculture and industry on track
- Reforms in education and health
- Extension of various benefits to Dalits and other backwards and employment generation
- Government would pursue all legal and administrative measures on the SYL canal issue to protect the state’s water
- Punjab Cabinet takes decision of abolishing DTO (District Transport Officer) system in Punjab, powers of DTOs will be given to SDMs
To ensure rule of law and speedy justice, a series of new legislations, as proposed in the manifesto, will be enacted at the earliest. This includes the vital Confiscation of Drug Dealers’ Property Act. The concerned departments would prepare the necessary legislation for immediate enactment through an ordinance.
Manpreet Badal said a new transport policy, with an aim to put an end to monopoly on private buses cartel, would come up in the next meeting. The policy is expected to hit transport business of former CM Parkash Singh Badal.
“We will encourage mini bus operators,” Manpreet said.
Thanking the people of Punjab for their emphatic mandate to the Congress in the recent assembly polls, the cabinet resolved that the administrative secretaries would be entrusted with the task of time-bound implementation of every single commitment in the manifesto relating to their respective departments.