Introduction to Punjab Government Rules of Business

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Publication No: PD-279

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How a democratic state operates in public perceptions is predicated, in a large measure, though not entirely, on the rules of business that determine procedures for disposal of work in the bureaucracy. Citizens know the state by way of their contact with bureaucrats responsible for processing requests for delivery of goods and services. The Voices of the Poor study of the World Bank provided an illustration of the significance of this premise, wherein the poor proclaimed that their 1 experiences with bureaucrats were often disagreeable, unjust and crooked. Should that imply that the way the rules of business are drafted matters when it comes to policy outcomes? Why should these rules matter so much? Who makes or amends them? What is the procedure of framing rules in various democracies? Do Legislatures have a role in framing, passing, or amending rules? Authored by Mr. Rahat ul Ain, former Dean National School of Public Policy (NSPP) for PILDAT, this paper attempts to provide an overview of these questions, particularly, in the context of the Punjab Government, for the benefit of the members of the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab. The paper is set out as follows: It begins by defining what the Punjab Government Rules of Business are. It then sets out the significance of these rules. This is followed by an expose of the existing system of preparing and amending these rules and the role of the Punjab Assembly in that context. The next section provides a digest of the procedure of framing rules in some other democracies. Finally, the paper attempts to answer the questions: (a) if a reform is required in the procedure of framing or amending rules? and (b) what, if any, rules require a legislative review for amendment or change? After drawing some relevant conclusions at the end, the paper sets forth five recommendations for a possible change in the system. The Punjab Government Rules of Business were drafted in 1974 under Article 139 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, which empowered the Governor of the province to make the rules of business. The 18th Amendment Act 2010 3 changed this, and empowered the Provincial Governments to makes these rules. With the publication of the Punjab Government Rules of Business 2011 in the official Gazette, the Punjab Government Rules of Business 1974 stand repealed.

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