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Punjab Cabinet gives nod to Rent Act, Habitat Policy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 2
Punjab Cabinet today approved the implementation of Punjab Rent Act 1995 with prospective effect to make it apply to tenancies existing on the date of notification of the Act. The existing tenancies would continue to be governed by the Eastern Punjab Rent Restriction Act, 1949. The decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today.

The Punjab Rent Act 1995 had been lying in limbo despite a presidential assent in 1998. The ruling SAD was under pressure from its alliance partner - the BJP -- not to notify the new Act as it was perceived to be in favour of landlords.

The government was goaded into taking a decision after the Centre made it a precondition for grant of funds under the Jawahar National Urban Renewal Mission (JNURM). Accordingly, a decision was taken to implement the 1995 Act to comply with the central condition quickly as formation of a new Act would take at least another three years.

The government has taken into account apprehensions of tenants who are covered under the old Act and has accordingly made the new Act applicable to agreements reached after it is implemented.

The new Act is expected to work as a catalyst and bring in investment in the housing sector. Under the new Act, agreements, if violated, can be referred to rent authorities which would be established. The new Act provides for a compulsory registration of the tenancy agreement between the landlord and the tenant.

The Cabinet also approved the Punjab Housing and Habitat Policy-2008 (PHHP) aimed at achieving the objective of affordable housing for all in the rural and urban areas. The need for formulating the PHHP emerged from the growing requirements of shelter and related infrastructure both at the rural and urban centres. It will also enable poor sections to have access to formal land markets and finances from financial institutions.

The Cabinet further approved Punjab Protection of Interests of Depositors (in Financial Establishment) Bill 2012 to safeguard interests of general public and save them from fraudulent practices of private non-banking finance companies as per RBI advice. Under the Billís provisions, all non-banking financial companies have to inform designated officers. Punjab Agriculture Produce Markets Act 1961 has been amended for supersession of the nominated market committees thereby appointing administrators to look after the day-to-day affairs of these committees empowering them for a term of one year or till the nomination of new market committees, whichever is earlier. The Cabinet also decided to exempt three per cent of industrial cess levied by Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB) on export of Basmati rice for 2012-13. It created two posts of Additional DC (General) for the Khanna and Phagwara Sub Divisions. It gave its 
nod to accord sub-divisional status to Maur sub-tehsil in Bathinda district.

The Cabinet also gave ex-post facto sanction for the creation of new Sessions Division Moga thereby altering the limits of Sessions Division Faridkot. Punjab Municipal Citizensí Participation Bill 2012 was approved for bringing ordinance related to the municipalities and municipal corporations in the state to institutionalise citizensí participation in municipal functions by setting up of area sabhas.

Punjab Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizen Rules 2012 were approved to instill a sense of self-respect and dignity besides a feeling of social security among the elderly.

Other key decisions

  • Protection of Interests of Depositors Bill approved to save general public from the fraudulent practices of private non-banking finance companies
  • Punjab Housing and Habitat Policy-2008 (PHHP) approved. The policy aims at achieving the objective of affordable housing for all in the rural and urban areas
  • Two posts of Additional Deputy Commissioner (General) for the Khanna and Phagwara Sub Divisions created
  • Nod to accord sub-divisional status to Maur sub tehsil in Bathinda district

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