National Assembly passes two bills

ISLAMABAD (October 05 2010): The National Assembly on Monday passed ‘The Federal Employees Benevolent Fund and Group Insurance (Amendment) Bill, 2010’ and ‘The National Disaster Management Bill, 2010.’ Both the bills were moved by Minister-In-Charge of the Cabinet Secretariat Nawabzada Ghazanfar Ali Gul in the Lower House of the Parliament.The National Disaster Management Bill, 2010 was passed with one minor amendment in its 18th Clause presented by Zahid Hamid Khan of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). He presented amendment to the Clause 18 of the Bill that head of the Local Government should be the Chairperson of District Disaster Management Authority instead of District Nazim, which was accepted by the House. There are 48 clauses of the Bill.There are only four clauses of the Federal Employees Benevolent Fund and Group Insurance (Amendment) Bill, 2010. According to clause four of the Bill “In the said Act, the Third Schedule shall be omitted.”According to statement of objects and reasons of Federal Employees Benevolent Fund and Group Insurance (Amendment) Bill, 2010, the Board of Trustees of Federal Employees Benevolent & Group Insurance Funds are not in a positions to change the rate of subscription and grant towards Benevolent Fund, to meet the shortfall, due to payouts in excess of inflow. The subscription rates, therefore, need to appropriately enhanced to meet the actuarial present value of future liabilities of Fund, as per actuarial report. In the 74th meeting of the Board of Trustees held on 26-02-2009 under the chairmanship of Secretary Establishment Division, the matter was thoroughly discussed and it was decided that the Schedules of contribution and disbursement of grant toward Benevolent Fund being part of the Act may be transferred to and be made part of FEBF and GI Rules, 1972.According to statement and objects and reasons of The National Disaster Management Bill, 2010, a system of relief commission at provincial level was established. An emergency Relief Cell (ERC) in the Cabinet Division was responsible for organising disaster approach toward disaster risk management.The loss of life, and property and the challenges that were faced in the aftermath of October 2005 earthquake affecting Azad Jammu and Kashmir and the NWFP province exhibited the need for establishing appropriate policy and institutional arrangements to reduce losses from disasters in future.

Under the new system, as envisaged under the Ordinance and the National Disaster Risk Framework, a paradigm shift has been affected from the conventional reactionary and relief oriented approach to mitigation and preparedness approach. This is in line with the international best practices and Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) to which Pakistan is one of the signatory. The disaster management institutions at the respective levels are mandated under the law to deal with the whole spectrum of disaster management ie prevention, Mitigation, Response, Reconstruction and Rehabilitation. Different capacity building initiatives are currently in progress under the auspices of the Nationa1 Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to enhance institutional capacities in the field of disaster management.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan in its Judgment in Petition No 9/209 and 8/2009 on 31st July, 2009, held that all Ordinance promulgated by the President before 03-11-2007, which were given permanence by the Provincial constitutional Order 1 of 2009 stand shorn of their purported permanence.The Supreme Court of Pakistan has further observed that these Ordinance be placed before the Parliament and allowed 120 days time in terms of Article 89 of the Constitutional to commence from 31st day of July, 2009 for placement of the said Ordinance before the Parliament in accordance with law. The National Disaster Management Ordinance, which was last re-promulgated on 3rd October, 2007, is one such Ordinance affected by the aforesaid Judgment of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, hence required to be laid before the Parliament – Brecorder