The Punjab cabinet on Tuesday decided to set up a horse race course in the state, for which the council of ministers okayed the draft bill for the enactment of the Punjab Horse Race (Regulation & Management) Act, 2013.
The Act would define the management and operation of the race course, besides betting activities. It will also spell out the role of intermediaries and give details of licensing, regulation, control and management of races.
The cabinet meeting, chaired by chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, also gave the nod to commence the online lottery system to enhance revenue generation in the state. The lottery would be organised, conducted, operated and regulated as per provisions of the Lottery Regulation Act, 1998, and Punjab State Lotteries Rules, 1998.
As per the spokesperson for the chief minister's office (CMO), the online lottery system was envisaged to offer lottery games played through a network of computer terminals or similar devices as may be approved by the government. These terminals would be installed at retail locations connected to a main data centre. For this purpose, the government would appoint a distributor or selling agent who would perform various activities for setting up and managing the online lottery. The selection of the distributor/selling agent would be done through tenders and a monitoring committee.
The cabinet also reviewed the availability of sand and construction material and expediting the auction of more mines. It gave the go-ahead to amendments of rules, auction procedure, lease policy and policy guidelines for stone crushers to enable a level playing field to all stake-holders in infrastructure and construction projects.
As a price regulatory measure, the cabinet decided that some mines would be operated by the industry department so that the material was made available at affordable rates. The cabinet also constituted a committee under the chief secretary to regularly monitor the situation in this regard.
The cabinet approved the amendment in the policy regarding the purchase of forest land. As per the amendment, every user agency which requires forest land should provide equivalent non-forest land or pay its cost to the forest department. Funds thus generated would be utilised for the purchase of non-forest land by the department for carrying out afforestation.
The policy exempts all government sector cases and certain roads to be constructed on the BOT (build, operate, transfer) basis, besides landowners of the Punjab Land Preservation Act, 1900, areas from the condition of payment of cost of equivalent non-forest land.
The cabinet also decided to amend the Punjab Act and Pepsu Act enabling NRIs to get their ancestral or five-year-old properties vacated expeditiously. Earlier, they could get only one property vacated.
The cabinet approved the revival and filling of 175 vacant posts of teaching and non-teaching staff in the industrial training department, besides the creation of 30 regular and 25 outsourced posts for setting up the instructor training wing with the assistance of the World Bank.
The cabinet also allowed the horticulture department to recruit 45 horticulture development officers (HDOs), besides approving the revival of 115 posts of veterinary officer and 175 of veterinary inspector.
The cabinet also approved providing 214 posts of various levels for running three drug de-addiction centres at Amritsar, Patiala and Jalandhar effectively and in a result-oriented manner to wean away the youth from the menace of drug addiction.
The council of ministers decided to contribute 10% of their discretionary funds towards the creation of a corpus fund for the construction of the Jang-e-Azadi Memorial.
The cabinet also gave approval to revive 16 posts in the office of the Lokpal to ensure its effective and smooth functioning.
It also cleared a proposal of medical education and research department to fill 129 posts of super specialists and medical teaching faculty in medical colleges of Amritsar and Patiala.
The cabinet gave the green signal to bring an ordinance to impose 2% stamp duty on power of attorney by amending Schedule 1A of the Indian Stamp Act.
The cabinet also gave the nod to return the land of freedom fighters, confiscated by the British authorities during the freedom struggle, to their kin.