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Chandigarh, (Aditi): The Captain Amarinder Singh led Punjab Cabinet on Tuesday okayed presentation of five Ordinances, introduced earlier by the state government, for enactment in the forthcoming 1-day session of the Vidhan Sabha.

These include amendment Bills related to regulation of private clinical establishments, temporary release of some prisoners amid the Covid pandemic, control of drugs dispensation by private de-addiction centres, industrial disputes and child labour.

The Punjab Clinical Establishment (Registration and Regulation) Ordinance 2020

Since there is no legislation at present in the State of Punjab to register or regulate private clinical establishments, the aim of this enactment would be to bring the clinical establishments under a regulatory mechanism so as to ensure that there is more 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 will provide for such establishments to support the state during the natural disasters, calamities as well as pandemics and epidemics.

Punjab Good Conduct Prisoners Amendment Act

Due to the prevailing situation arising out of the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Council of Ministers has approved introduction The Punjab Good Conduct Prisoners (Temporary Release) Amendment Ordinance, 2020 (Punjab Ordinance No. 1 of 2020) in the upcoming session of the 15th Legislative Assembly. The enactment of 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 is 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.

Punjab Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Counseling and Rehabilitation Centres Rules 2011

In another move, the Council of Minister has approved amendment to the Punjab Substance use Disorder Treatment and Counseling and Rehabilitation Centres Rules 2011 to enable the Health department to control the private de-addiction centres dispensing Buprenorphine-Naloxone and monitor private psychiatric clinics in order to avoid misuse of drugs.

The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, Act, 1985 was introduced by the Centre to prevent illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, to implement the provision of the international conventions on Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances and for matters connected therewith, and to make stringent provisions for the control and regulation of operations relating to narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. As per section 78 of this Act, the state government may, by notification in the official gazette, make rules for carrying out the purpose of this Act. The Health and Family Welfare department, Punjab had earlier formulated the Punjab Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Counseling and Rehabilitation Centres Rules 2011, in line with this provision.

Industrial Disputes Act

The Cabinet has also given its nod for conversion of Ordinance amending section 2A, 25K, 25N, 25-O and fifth Schedule of Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 into a Bill to be presented during the forthcoming session of Punjab Vidhan Sabha. The amendment 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.

Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act

The state government will also present before the House necessary amendment for 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.

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