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Wednesday December 07, 2022

Despite existing PSPA: Punjab govt prepares bill for Ehsas Programme

October 04, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Despite establishing the Punjab Social Protection Authority (PSPA) since 2015, the provincial government has prepared a bill for establishing Punjab Ehsas Programme, creating more bureaucratic layers and duplication of institutions at the cost of national exchequer but for achieving the same objectives.

If analysed both the laws related to Punjab Social Protection Authority which was already enacted and now the upcoming Punjab Ehsas Programme bill 2022, the function of both the institutions are the same and even the language of both the laws possess many similarities.

It simply indicates that another institution will be created on the pattern of the federal government but in the Centre, there is no Authority to discharge the same responsibilities. Both the Authority and the Ehsas Programme will be run under the supervision of the Planning and Development Department.

There is a chief executive officer of Authority and there will be the same post for Ehsas Programme. In addition, there will be similar committees and councils in both the institutions having the same members.

Top official sources told ‘The News’ in background discussions after sharing official documents that the Punjab Social Protection Authority was formed through an Act in 2015 to provide a comprehensive, efficient, effective and inclusive social protection system to the poor and vulnerable in Punjab.

The government shall establish the authority to be called the Punjab Social Protection Authority for carrying out the purposes of this Act. (2) The authority shall be a body corporate, having perpetual succession and a common seal with power to acquire, hold and dispose of property and shall by the said name sue and be sued. (3) The authority shall consist of the following: (a) Chief Minister, Punjab; chairperson (b) a person who holds at least a master’s degree recognised by the Higher Education Commission with vice chairperson at least five years’ experience in the social sector, to be nominated by the chairperson; (c) Minister for Food; member (d) Minister for Health; member (e) Additional Chief Secretary of the government; member (f) Chairman, Planning & Development Board of the government; member (g) Secretary to the government, Finance Department or his nominee not below the rank of an additional secretary; member (h) Secretary to the government, Social Welfare and Bait-ul-Maal Department or his nominee not below the rank of an additional secretary; member (i) Secretary to the government, Industries Department or his nominee not below the rank of an additional secretary; member (j) Secretary to the government, Zakat and Ushr Department or his nominee not below the rank of an additional secretary; member (k) Secretary to the government, Labour and Human Resource Department or his nominee not below the rank of an additional secretary; member (l) Secretary to the government, Women Development Department or his nominee not below the rank of an additional secretary; member (m) Six members of the provincial assembly of Punjab, including at least two female members of the Assembly to be nominated by the speaker of the provincial assembly; members (n) Six representatives of civil society organisations to be nominated by the government; and members (o) Chief Executive Officer; member/secretary.

The Authority may constitute a Social Protection Coordination Committee consisting of such members as the Authority may notify. (2) The Social Protection Coordination Committee shall coordinate with the federal government or other agencies for functional linkage between the federal and provincial government’s initiatives in various social sectors and the Committee shall supervise and oversee any joint ventures or mutually identified programmes. (3) The Authority may constitute committees such as financial, technical, and advisory committees, as may be deemed necessary for carrying out the purposes of this Act and such committees shall exercise such powers and perform such functions as may be delegated or assigned to them by the Authority. (4) No committee under this Act shall be constituted without the representation of two non-official members, including at least one member of the provincial assembly of Punjab. (5) A committee formed under this section, through a majority vote, may co-opt one or more non-members for technical advice and the co-opted member may advise the committee but shall not vote. There shall be a chief executive officer and a deputy chief executive officer of the Authority to be appointed by the government.

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