The Punjab cabinet on Monday approved establishing a body to rationalise and regulate the fee structure of unaided educational institutes which would also keep a check on their functioning.
A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the council of ministers chaired by chief minister Parkash Singh Badal at his office.
A spokesperson of the chief ninister's office said the decision had been taken in compliance with the directions of the Punjab and Haryana high court and would consequently prevent the private institutes from charging excessive fee from the students arbitrarily.
In another significant decision aimed at imparting quality education to medical students and providing the best health care and diagnostic facilities to people, the cabinet decided to create 665 posts of teaching faculty at government medical colleges of Patiala and Amritsar and the hospitals associated with them.
The cabinet also gave the nod to enhance the number of posts of medical teachers along with creation of new posts of various cadres in these institutes.
The council of ministers gave a green signal to the conversion of the Punjab Laws (Special Provisions) Amendment Ordinance, 2013, into a bill for its enactment in the ensuing Punjab Assembly session, so that legal proceedings against unauthorised colonies could be suspended for a period of one year. However, after the expiry of one year, the prosecution proceedings would continue, if the coloniser failed to get the offence compounded, said the spokesperson.
The cabinet also provided a major relief to the residents of the state by reducing the rates of property tax and introducing the system of self-assessment.
The cabinet also approved introduction of a bill in the coming session of the Vidhan Sabha regarding amendment in 'The Punjab Ancient, Historical Monuments, Archaeological Sites and Cultural Heritage Maintenance Board Act, 2013'.
The cabinet also approved levying of 1% cultural cess with immediate effect on building works costing more than Rs 15 crore constructed by the agencies of the state out of their own resources or the state's resources instead of Rs 50 crore as approved earlier.
The cabinet also gave approval for amending various provisions of the Punjab VAT Act, 2005, to make it trader-friendly. The cabinet ensured rationalisation of VAT included option to levy VAT on MRP at the first stage, transport vehicles carrying tax-evaded goods to be fined, and assessment period to be enhanced from three to six years.
Similarly, the cabinet also decided to remove bottlenecks in the implementation of the newly introduced advance tax by exempting exporters of manufactured goods out of the imported raw material. Under the amended provisions of the Act, the excise and taxation will have the authority to exempt the taxable person from paying the advance tax if his capital investment was at stake.
The cabinet also gave nod to replace the ordinance with a bill for amending the section of the Punjab Cooperative Societies Act, 1961, in the coming session of the Vidhan Sabha, thereby paving the way for the appointment of managing directors of the Central Cooperative Banks from the experts of the banking sector.
The cabinet also approved to withdraw recruitment of 120 junior engineers (JEs) and 30 junior draftsmen from the purview of the Punjab Subordinate Services Selection Board and to entrust these to Thapar University of Technology, Patiala.
The cabinet also decided to convert the ordinance into a bill by amending sections of the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) Act, 1969, which empowers the PSEB to stop unauthorised private bodies and institutions from conducting school education examination and issuing certificates to the students.
To overcome the shortage of staff in the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) for conducting various examinations from time to time, the cabinet also approved to convert 21 temporary posts of various cadres in the commission into regular ones.
With a view to enabling the administrators to perform their duties/work of the market committees in an effective manner, the cabinet also approved the enhancement of the supersession period of the market committees for another year till November 20, 2014.
The cabinet also approved to introduce a bill in the ensuing session of the state assembly to ensure rationalising the existing toll charges to improve the effective and smooth implementation of road projects on BOT basis.
In order to overcome the problems faced by the Punjab Civil Secretariat Administration due to the shortage of drivers, the cabinet also approved to revive 15 posts of drivers.
At the start of the meeting, the cabinet mourned the demise of ex-BJP MLA from Ludhiana Harish Bedi and observed a two-minute silence.
Meanwhile, reacting to the cabinet's decision of establishing a body to rationalise and regulate the fee structure of unaided educational institutes, Dr Balwinder Singh Sohi, pro-vice-chancellor, Chandigarh University, Gharuan, Mohali, said, "No private university or colleges are charging excessive fee. The regulatory body will become a stumbling block in the performance of the private universities and will also hamper independent decisions."
Reacting to the above decision, Lovely Professional University director Aman Mittal told HT, "It is not clear as to which institutes are referred to. Once it is clear, only then can I comment."