Dr Shahbaz Gill and Fazeel Asif

Before the 2018 general elections, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-lnsaf came up with an ambitious plan for its first 100 days in government if it was voted to power by the masses. After emerging as the most victorious political party in the polls and fast forward 50 days in office, the PTI government is well on its way to implement its 100 days reform agenda in Punjab, in line with the vision of Prime Minister lmran Khan.

The Punjab government has decided to replace the outdated Local Government system with a new one that will allocate 30% budget to village councils and have a two tier structure in place, with direct election of nazims. This new local government law will remove the weaknesses in the previous law, by empowering people at the grassroots level.

The Punjab government is committed to uplift of the most impoverished areas in the province in its first 100 days in government. A taskforce is being formed at the provincial level to give recommendations for the formation of the South Punjab province, to empower the 35 million population of this area and give them a quality of life which they have not witnessed before.

Outstanding health and education services remain the backbone of social services that the Punjab government is doing. In health sector, a Punjab health strategy is set to be announced. Health insurance cards are set to be distributed to the poor across 19 districts to enable them to have access to speedy, inexpensive and good quality healthcare. Existing hospital emergencies are being revamped and 2,600 medical officers are being posted.

In education sector, comprehensive policies are being developed for school education and for higher education. These include legislation that is being devised to enact minimum standards of service delivery for schools and to regulate contracts between parents and private schools. In higher education, three model colleges are being set up to serve as a benchmark for other colleges.

The Punjab government is also taking steps to revitalize economic growth in the province. A job creation policy is being drafted to create 10 million jobs for youth. An advisory council has also been set up of public and private stakeholders to give advice on the strategy. For reviving the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) sector, the 2003 Industries policy is being updated for developing demand driven skill training.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Labour Policy 2018 is being passed which would promote freedom of association, capacity building, rationalisation of wages, social dialogue, occupational health elimination of child labour, abolishment bonded labour and ensuring social protection and welfare of workers.

In the tourism sector, a tourism policy has been drafted which will be presented to the next cabinet meeting for approval. New tourist destinations are being set up in Kotli Sattian and Panjand and feasibility study will be completed for Koh-i-Suleman in South Punjab, which will help in lob creation in these areas, provide new entertainment spots for families and contribute to the economy of the province. A public private partnership model is being developed to generate funds from these new sites.

Ensuring welfare of farmers is the top priority of the government. An agriculture policy is being finalised and will be presented to the cabinet soon. This policy will safeguard farmers’ profitability and introduce measures for crop diversification. Moreover, laws are being amended to increase market expansions and private participation.