Chandigarh, May 8 (PTI) The Punjab government on Friday said it is mulling changes in both the labour laws and excise policy to kick-start the economic activities in the state by making it an attractive destination for migrant workers, besides boosting its revenue.
The twin issues of changes in the state’s labour laws and excise policy came up for discussion during a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, the government said in a statement/ The two issues cropped up in the Cabinet meeting a day after the government’s green signal to open liquor vends in state got a poor response from liquor contractors.
A day earlier on Wednesday, the Uttar Pradesh approved an ordinance to exempt various industries in the state from different labour laws for three years to revive the state’s economic activities which have come to a grinding halt amid the Covid-led lockdown.
Underlining the need for the industry to retain labour and prevent the migrant workers from leaving Punjab, Chief Minister Singh on Friday directed the state’s industry minister to take all possible welfare measures to ensure that workers’ interests are well taken care of, the government statement said.
The Cabinet welcomed the opening of another 9,500 industrial units in the wake of the easing of lockdown restrictions.
Singh said it was a good sign that with the opening of the industry, 35 per cent of those migrant workers, who had registered for going back home, have decided to stay back in Punjab for now.
He also directed the Industry Department to aggressively pursue the development of the four industrial parks already announced by the state government in its budget for the 2002-21fiscal.
There was a significant potential for attracting industry, particularly in the field of pharmaceutical pesticides, with many countries shifting their operations out of China, the Cabinet noted.
Mulling changes in the excise policy, the Cabinet noted the liquor contractors’ lukewarm response to the state government’s green signal to open the vends.
The liquor contractors did not open vends in most parts of the state on Thursday as they have been demanding revision of the excise policy, wanting the government to charge fee from them on the basis of actual liquor sales and not as per the prevailing fixed quota system.
On the excise policy front, the Cabinet sought the precise details of the Covid-19 and lockdown implications for the policy and its execution, the government’s release said.
The Excise and Taxation Department has been asked to review the policy in this context and bring a detailed proposal before the council of ministers, which will meet again on Saturday to further discuss the issue, the release said.
Terming the prevailing situation as extraordinary, the Cabinet felt that all possible options should be explored to put the excise industry back on its feet, especially given its importance to the state's revenue model, the release added.
On farming front in the state, the Cabinet also agreed on staggering the paddy cultivation operations in view of the shortage of migrant workers.
Farmers are worried over the fate of paddy sowing which will start next month in amid the labour shortage and they have been demanding to allow paddy transplantation from June 1.
Amid concerns over women with small children (under 5 years of age) deployed on Covid frontline duties, Chief Minister Singh asked the chief secretary to discuss the matter with various departments and formulate necessary guidelines to ensure the protection of such women.
The Cabinet, meanwhile, approved the transfer policy for non-teaching staff of the School Education Department, with the same set to be effective from academic session 2020-21. PTI CHS VSD RAX RAX