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LG System: Govt to finally tackle transition from old to new

To address shortcomings of grass-roots governance, three sub-committees formed to propose amendments to the Punjab Local Government Act (PLGA) 2013 and resolve transition issues, have finalised their draft, The Express Tribune has learnt.

A 15-member committee was formed in April, 2017, by the Punjab chief minister to address transition issues, reform the new system and propose amendments to the Punjab LG Act 2013. The committee was further bifurcated into three sub-committees to give recommendation on Functionality, Revenue and Development Funding issues.

These sub-committees had held several meeting in Lahore to prepare proposals.

The committee recommended an overhauling of the Schedule of Establishment, demanding that local governments be allowed to prepare their own version.

The chairman of a district council, also part of the committee, asked how the LG and City District governments could decide the division of human resource for local governments while sitting in Lahore.

“Every municipal corporation and district council has different needs and requirements,” he said. The chairman added the human resources division should be need based and locally decided.

“They are proposing the schedule of establishment to be under the local governments”, he said.

He said that another proposal suggested increasing the control of local governments on Health and Education Authority. Both sectors, health and education, require localised monitoring for the best results, he said. The official stated the health and education authority, establishment under PLGA 2013, was made independent and gave some oversight to the local government through representation of its members in the authority’s board.

“Similarly, the cattle market, managed by the province, also needs to be partly under the local government’s control.”

He said austerity measures barring purchase of several items also needed to be reassessed.

The district committees were also being proposed at Municipal Corporation and District Councils level to coordinate between provincial departments and local governments, he said.

The official continued that housing colonies were an issue and part of the proposal. The local government should have control over approving housing colonies on their own, he said, adding there was ambiguity over the law on these schemes.

Another chairman told The Express Tribune that a proposal was also being drafted to amend the Punjab Financial Commission. He said a most urgently needed amendment is to address the unfair division of funds to local governments. Division mechanism and the composition of PFC needed to be revised, he added.

These three sub-committees have combined their proposal in a one document and that draft is further divided into two parts.

The first part of the presentation includes issues like cattle markets, education and health authorities.

Khan, Rameez. LG System: Govt to finally tackle transition from old to new. The Express Tribune, June 8, 2017.

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