The Punjab Vidhan Sabha today unanimously passed seven bills during a specially convened one day session amidst the ongoing Corona pandemic.During the session chaired by Speaker Punjab Vidhan sabha Rana KP Singh, the Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh with his several Cabinet colleagues was also present.During the session assembly passed the legislation for setting up Sri Guru Teg Bahadur University of Law at Tarn Taran to commemorate the 400th Birth Anniversary of the Ninth Sikh Guru Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Ji. The bill Sri Guru Teg Bahadur State University of Law, Punjab Bill, 2020 was presented by Higher Education Minister Mr Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa “to establish and incorporate a State University for the development and advancement of legal education, for the purposes of imparting specialized and systematic instruction, training and research in the field of law and for the matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. The objects of the University would be to evolve and impart comprehensive legal education at all levels, to organise advanced studies and promote research in all branches of law, as well as to disseminate legal knowledge and legal processes and their role in national development by organizing lectures, seminars, symposia, webinars, workshops and conferences. It would also seek to promote cultural, legal and ethical values with a view to promote and foster the rule of law, the objectives enshrined in the Constitution of India and to promote legal awareness in the community for achieving social and economic justice.Other objectives of the University would be: to improve the ability with a view to analyze and present for the benefit of the public, contemporary issues of public concern and their legal implications; to liaison with institutions of higher learning and research in India and abroad; to publish periodicals, treatises, study books, reports, journals and other literature on all subjects relating to law; to hold examinations and confer degrees and other academic distinctions; to undertake study and training projects relating to law, legislation and judicial institutions; and to do all such things as are incidental, necessary or conducive to the attainment of all or any of the objectives of the University.
The assembly also unanimously approved the Punjab Good Conduct Prisoners (Temporary Release) Amendment Bill , 2020.
Presenting the bill Higher Education Minister Mr Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa said that the legislation would pave the way for extending the period of parole in situation of disasters, epidemics and extreme emergencies. The rationale behind bringing the legislation was to enable the Jail Department to take measures to decongest jails, besides ensuring that the jails remain Covid-19 free, as readmitting the inmates released on parole/interim bail, who reside in different parts of state and outside, would expose other inmates to the risk of contracting Covid-19. Notably, the Punjab Good Conduct Prisoners (Temporary Release) Act, 1962 did not have any provision through which parole of prisoners could be extended from 16 weeks and the condition of parole being availed on quarterly basis could be waived in unprecedented situations of disasters and epidemics.The assembly also passed the Punjab Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (Second Amendment) Bill 2020. Presenting the bill Finance Minister Mr Manpreet Singh Badal said that in view of the serious negative impact of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic on the resources of State Govemments, the Govemment of India has decided to provide relaxation in borrowing limits by increasing an additional Borrowing Limit of up to 2.0 per cent of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) for the year 2020-2021 subject to implementation of specific State Level Reforms. He said that the motive was to strengthen resources in the hands of State Governments. The State of Punjab has also been allowed an additional borrowing of 2.0 per cent of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) i.e. Rs. 12130.00 crore in 2020-21 over and above its Net borrowing ceiling, which is 3% of GSDP. However, the relaxation in borrowing limits is partly unconditional to the extent of 0.5 per cent and remaining 1.5 per cent is conditional to the implementation of following reforms Implementation of One Nation One Ration Card System, Ease of doing business reform, Urban Local body/utility reforms; and Power Sector reforms. He said that bill would envisage in additional borrowing of Rs. 12130.00 crore as mentioned above, over and above 3% of GSDP Net borrowing ceiling of the State of Punjab permissible under FRBM Act, 2003), during the Financial Year 2020-21.
The Punjab assembly also gave nod to The Punjab Clinical Establishment (Registration and Regulation) Bill 2020. Presenting the bill Health and Family Welfare Minister Mr Balbir Singh Sidhu said that as there was no legislation at present in the State of Punjab to register or regulate private clinical establishments, the aim of this enactment was to bring the clinical establishments under a regulatory mechanism so as to further ensure transparency in their functioning. It also seeks to improve quality public healthcare, prevent overcharging of patients, and to lay down norms, terms of physical standards, medical standards, staff norms, record maintenance, reporting etc. The legislation would provide for such establishments to support the state during the natural disasters, calamities as well as pandemics and epidemics.The assembly also approved The Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2020. Presenting the bill Punjab Labour Minister Mr Balbir Singh Sidhu said that the necessary amendment envisages raising the number of workers for attracting the provisions of sub clause (a) and (b) of sub section (4) of section 1 of the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970, from 20 to 50.The Assembly also gave green signal to The Industrial Disputes (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2020. Presenting the bill Labour Minister Mr Balbir Singh Sidhu said that the bill provides for enhancement of the threshold limit for applicability of Chapter V-B from present limit of 100 to 300 workers. Apart from this, now workers will be eligible for 3 months of extra wages on retrenchments or on closure of establishments. This move will go a long way in further improving the process of ease of doing business.Meanwhile the assembly also passed The Punjab Goods and Services Tax (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020. Presenting the bill Finance Minister Mr Manpreet Singh Badal said that the bill seeks to provide changes so as to make the levy and collection of taxes under the GST effective and easier for the tax payers. He said that these composition levy ,eligibility and conditions for taking input Tax credit, cancellation of registration, revocation of cancellation of registration , tax invoice , tax deduction at source, penalty and punishment for certain offences and transitional arrangements for input Tax Credit.