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LAHORE: Punjab Finance Minister Mujtaba Shuja-ur-Rehman has unveiled plans to strengthen the Social Protection Authority to combat poverty and expand the scope of social welfare across the province.

Central to this initiative is the introduction of a provincial-level socio-economic registry system, aimed at fostering accessibility and transparency within social welfare endeavours. Initial steps will involve seamless information exchange between the national socio-economic registry and the government of Punjab.

Moreover, the Punjab government is developing a formal policy framework for the establishment of working women hostels, providing essential support and protection to women employed away from their residences. In tandem, endeavours are underway to ensure the availability of affordable housing in peri-urban areas, catering specifically to low-income individuals.

Furthermore, strategic measures are being implemented to establish waste management companies in various cities and furnish sanitation facilities at rural levels, emphasising the government’s commitment to bolstering economic development across the province.

The Finance Minister made these disclosures while addressing the Standing Committee of Cabinet on Legislative Business and Privatization here on Wednesday. The meeting, attended by Punjab Local Government Minister Zeeshan Rafique and relevant secretaries, addressed a comprehensive agenda encompassing 14 key points.

Notable among them were initiatives regarding the exchange of information between the Punjab government and the National Socio-economic Registry (NSER), the implementation of affordable housing schemes in peri-urban areas, and amendments to various legislative frameworks.

The Finance Minister, after verifying the agendas with the law department, directed the Punjab Women Development Department to enact necessary amendments to the Working Women Hostel policy. Additionally, the formulation of rules and regulations for private sector hospitals will be a pivotal aspect of the policy, addressing concerns regarding services and security in tandem with the expansion of hospital facilities.

Furthermore, the allocation and distribution of constructed affordable houses in peri-urban areas will be deliberated upon in the upcoming Cabinet meeting. Moreover, approval was granted for the nomination of two technical experts in the Ravi Urban Development Authority, signifying a concerted effort towards inclusive and strategic urban development.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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