Punjab Cabinet approves formation of State Higher Education Council


The Punjab Cabinet approved the formation of the state higher education council, aimed at ensuring quality education. A bill in this regard will be brought in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, an official spokesperson said.

The move is aimed at ensuring planned and coordinated development of higher education in the state.

The move would fulfill one of the pre-requisites of the next phase of Rashtriya Uchchtar Shiksha Abhiyan-2 (RUSA) for the state to be eligible for receiving grants under the central scheme.

It was primarily aimed at ensuring higher education quality in Punjab's institutions by facilitating optimum sharing of resources between universities and colleges, especially for research purposes, academic and governance reforms, besides monitoring and evaluation of higher education institutions, the spokesman said. For the next phase of RUSA, which commenced in June this year, an outlay of Rs 174 crore had been approved by the project approval board of the HRD Ministry in 60:40 Centre state ratio, he said.

In addition, the council will have on board vice-chancellors of state universities, principals of government colleges and eminent persons from the fields of arts, science, technology, culture, industry etc., the official spokesperson of the Chief Minister's Office said.

The cabinet has also approved the introduction of a bill in the Vidhan Sabha for ensuring restoration of 14 per cent reservation in Group A and B and 20 per cent reservation in Group C and D to the members of Scheduled Castes in promotions.

In another move, the state cabinet has accepted the proposal of the Department of Parliamentary Affairs to allow leader of opposition in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha to use his private car in lieu of government car, which would be returned by him to the government.

The cabinet has accepted the proposal to make amendment to section-8 of Salary and Allowances of Leader of Opposition in Legislative Assembly Act-1978 to facilitate this move.

The necessary memorandum will now be sent to Legal Remembrance to prepare draft of the bill to be presented in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, said the spokesman.

The state government decided to extend the contract of service providers, including 516 veterinary pharmacists and 531 'Safai Sewaks', up to March 30, 2019, to provide better services to dairy farmers in the remote areas, and to implement new activities and schemes of the Animal Husbandry Department.

The cabinet also approved the proposal of the Local Government Department for amending the validity of the Punjab Municipal Infrastructure Development Fund (PMIDF) Act, 2011, to extend its validity till 2037-38. This decision would help in availing housing and urban development corporation (HUDCO) loan worth Rs 1,540 crore for the completion of ongoing water supply and sewerage and STP works under the Urban Mission in the state.

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