The Punjab Vidhan Sabha on Wednesday passed 13 important Bills, including those relating to amendments to the Cooperatives Act, Excise and School Education, for facilitating crucial reforms in various sectors.The Bills were passed on the last day of the 3rd Session of the 15th Punjab Vidhan Sabha after the Speaker put them to vote following detailed discussions by members of the ruling party and the opposition.Parliamentary Affairs Minister Brahm Mohindra earlier sought permission from the Speaker to carry out the proceedings of legislative business.Rural Development and Panchayats Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa moved the Punjab Co-operative Societies (Second Amendment) Bill, 2017, which was passed by the voice vote after detailed deliberations by members of the House.Bajwa said that the Bill would go a long way towards strengthening the cooperative movement in the state by bringing about necessary changes in the legislation, as and when the situation warrants. As part of this endeavour, Section 13 of the Punjab Cooperative Societies Act, 1961 has been proposed to be amended to provide an opportunity of being heard at government level to members or creditors of the societies aggrieved by the orders of the Registrar of the Cooperative Societies, in reference to amalgamation, transfer of assets & liabilities and division. Further, to bring in closure to the issue, the government's order would be final, in such an eventuality.
The amendment to Section 19 of the Act is aimed at widening the choice and giving the right to a cooperative society to nominate one of the members of the society, who is otherwise eligible, in other society, and making the term of such appointed member co-terminus with the terms of the committee of the society to which he is appointed.Other amendments relate to Sections 26 and 27 of the Act, with an explanation added to the relevant section clarifying that delay due to judicial proceedings shall be excluded while computing the period for which an Administrator can be appointed in the society, when it ceases to exist, or has not been constituted or is suspended or dismissed, as the case may be.As per amendment to Section 69 of the Act, there shall be no revision against any orders which have a remedy of appeal under Section 68, no revision against the Revision by the Registrar, no revision against the orders passed under Service Rules of the Cooperative Societies and Institutions, and no revision against the office orders passed by the Registrar or his subordinate officials to reduce litigation.
The Punjab Excise (Second Amendment) Bill, 2017, which was also passed with voice vote after extensive discussions, was moved by Finance Minister Manpreet Badal. The legislation seeks to curb the inflow of smuggled liquor from other states and safeguard government revenue. It is also aimed at providing citizens of the state with authenticated liquor, with amendments to Sections 72, 78 and 81 Punjab Excise Act 1914 to make punishment for smuggling of liquor into Punjab more stringent.The Punjab School Education Board (Amendment) Bill, 2017 was introduced by Education Minister Aruna Chaudhary and stipulates suitable amendments in the Punjab School Education Board Act, 1969. It has been decided to fill the post of Chairman, who has served the Central Government or State Government or both as member of the IAS or PCS, for a period of not less than 15 years. Further, it has also been decided that the State Government shall appoint the Secretary of the Board, who shall be an Officer from IAS or PCS, not below the rank of Additional Secretary. Moreover, it has decided to prescribe the syllabi and course of study in consultation with the State Council of Education Research and Training (SCERT), Punjab.Winding up the discussions on the Bill, Aruna Chaudhary sought cooperation from the opposition to support the Government’s endeavour to implement pathbreaking initiatives to raise the standard of school education in the larger public interest. She impressed upon the opposition not to indulge in false propaganda regarding the education reforms taken up by state government under the stewardship of Captain Amarinder Singh.
Three other Bills, replacing ordinances promulgated by the Punjab Governor, were also passed by the House. These were the Punjab Agricultural Produce Markets (Third Amendment) Bill, 2017, the Punjab Rural Development (Amendment) Bill, 2017 and the Amritsar Walled City (Recognised Usage) Amendment Bill, 2017, which were moved respectively by Manpreet Singh Badal, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa and Local Government Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu.Three more bills including the Punjab Forfeiture of Illegally Acquired Property Bill, 2017, the Punjab State Farmers and Farm Workers Commission Bill, 2017 and the Punjab State Council for Agricultural Education Bill, 2017, were introduced by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh for discussion and subsequently passed by the House.The Punjab Land Reforms (Amendment) Bill, 2017 and the Punjab Land Improvement Scheme (Amendment) Bill, 2017 were moved by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Brahm Mohindra and passed by the members of House with voice vote. The Maharaja Ranjit Singh Punjab Technical University (Second Amendment) Bill, 2017 and the Punjab Infrastructure (Development and Regulation) Second Amendment Bill, 2017 were moved by the Technical Education Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal.Earlier, Brahm Mohindra assured the Members of the House especially the Opposition that they will receive the Bills well in advance as per the stipulated guidelines of Punjab Vidhan Sabha for their perusal and preparation, to enable them to comprehend the contents of the Bills for fruitful discussion in the House.