Sindh cabinet imposes ban on child beggary

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  • CM orders establishment of rehabilitation centres for street children
  • Asks for a more competent food authority in wake of minors’ death due to poisonous food
  • Decides to sell 1,745,815 tonnes of wheat stock at Rs3,315/100 kg bag
  • Directs to submit report on 6 captive power plants’ effect on load shedding in local areas
  • More water to be given for irrigation in wheat fields after significant shortage reported

KARACHI: The Sindh cabinet on Tuesday imposed a ban on child beggary and directed the Social Welfare Department to pick the children from the signals and streets and rehabilitate them at their welfare centres.

This was decided by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah while he presiding over the cabinet meeting at New Sindh Secretariat.

Advisor to CM on Law and Information Murtaza Wahab presented findings of his committee the cabinet had constituted on the issue of beggary on September 3, 2018. The other members of the committee were Minister for Health Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho and Minister for Social Welfare Hari Ram.

The report said that there although there enough laws available to deal with the issue, such as Section 7 of the
West Pakistan Vagrancy Ordinance which prohibits the beggary, yet there are serious challenges faced by the government in getting them implemented.

The report says the so-called beggars have also been seen to be with children who are either used directly or indirectly for beggary or are seen to be with some women or men who present themselves as child’s custodian.

It is a violation of Section 49 of Sindh Child Act 1955, it was said, while the report also pointed out that in 2011, the Sindh Assembly had passed Sindh Child Protection Authority Act 2011 which called for ensuring the rights of the children in need of special measures and to provide matters ancillary thereto.

The chief minister directed the district administrations and the police to help Social Welfare Department (SWD) in the drive to be launched against child beggary and round up the child beggars and send them to Sweet Home and Street Children Center Korangi, where they would be rehabilitated.

“I want to provide them shelter, food, sports activities and  education so that they could be made useful citizen of the country,” he said.

He also directed SWD to make Child Protection Authority as an effective organisation. “Helpline 1121 must be projected in the media so that common man could complain wherever the rights of a child are seen to be compromised,” he said and added in the next phase another effective and a vigorous drive would be launched against beggary.

“I do not want to see any child stretching his hand for beggary at the signals and in the streets,” he said.

It was pointed out that Street Children Center, Korangi was at the completion stage. The chief minister directed Minister Works & Services Nasir Shah to get it completed on war footings.

The meeting which was attended by all the provincial ministers, advisors to the chief minister, the special assistants and Sindh Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, had several issues on the agenda.

That included the progress report on fixation of the issue price of wheat crop 2018, discussion of report on existing legal provision on beggary, tariff differential subsidy to new captive power plants, constitution of governing body of Sehwan Development Authority, Amendment in Sindh Zakat & Ushr Act, power of the provincial cabinet in financial matters and a presentation on the water situation as an additional item.

The chief minister and the members of the cabinet members also expressed profound grief on the death of two innocent children reportedly due to consumption of poisonous food.

The chief minister directed the chief secretary to strengthen the Sindh Food Authority (SFA) and start inspection of all the food outlets.

“I know our food authority is nascent, but with a special focus, we can make it an effective organisation,” he said.

WHEAT PRICES:

The committee constituted under Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah including Finance and Food secretaries as its members to look into the issue of wheat prices also presented its report.

The Sindh cabinet decided to dispose of its wheat stocks of 1,745,815 tones at a release price of Rs3,315 per 100 kg per jute bag and it would exert a Rs6.7 billion financial burden of subsidy on the provincial exchequer.

The report says that the stock position was 1,745,815 tones. The committee gave four options to dispose of the wheat. Under the first option Rs3,400 per 100 bag with Rs3,335 with a Rs5.904 billion subsidy burden.

Option-II was Rs3350 per 100 kg bag of Jute and Rs3300 PP bag which would cause a burden of Rs6.303 billion and the third option was Rs3315 per 100 kg (jute bag) and Rs3250 per 100 kg PP bag and it would cause a Rs6.761 billion burden of subsidy.

The cabinet was told that if the option three was approved the entire stock would be lifted by the traders. If the stock is left just to reduce the burden of subsidy then the additional expenditures of fumigation and proper storage would cause huge expenditures. Moreover, the grain may be infested with.

Therefore, keeping in view the forthcoming wheat harvesting season, stock position and avoid other expenditures and circumstances the cabinet approved the third option under which Rs3315/100 kg jute bag and Rs3250 PP bag has been fixed as issue price.

SUBSIDY TO SNCPP:

The cabinet discussed the tariff differential subsidy to Sindh New Captive Power plants (SNCPP) threadbare.

The cabinet was told that the government has received the claims of six SNCPP amounting to Rs2.3 billion. The chief minister said that these six SNCPP were located in rural areas such Dadu, Shikarpur, Thatta etc and generating 103.7 MW power and feeding into the local grid.

“How much impact has it made on the load-shedding in small districts like Shaikarpur?” he questioned.

At this, the Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh said that there is no such apparatus to assess their impact. The power they are generating is being fed in the national grid, therefore its assessment of its impact was quite difficult.

The chief minister directed the minister to make arrangement to assess the impact on local load-shedding and report him.

The CM also said ordered NCPPS to furnish a Chartered Accountant Certificate that all the subsidy claims were made in accordance with the Act, Rules, policy tariff, NEPRA Tariff and other related regulations.

The cabinet approved the subsidy of Rs2.3 billion and its disbursement would be made as per law.

WATER SHORTAGE:

Special Assistant to Chief Minister on Water Ashfaq Memon told the cabinet that 38 per cent shortage of irrigation water for current Rabi has been declared by IRSA.

However, it stated that there are apprehensions of a further increase in the shortage.

The cabinet decided that comparatively higher supplies for the sowing of the wheat crops during the month of November and December.

The supplies to be kept at a minimum during the last ten days of December till the end of January, taking advantage of closures so as to have water saved for watering of crops February onwards, it was decided.

The supply of water in the canals, branches, distributaries and minors would be made as per rotation plans prepared by the concerned regions and the provision of water for drinking purpose to ensured regularly, it was said.

ZAKAT AND USHR LAW: 

The cabinet also approved an amendment in the Zakat & Ushr law under which Karachi has been declared as the city of six districts so that distribution could be made accordingly.

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