With just a week to go for its chintan shivir in Jaipur, the Congress Core Group met here late on Friday evening to consider the discussion papers prepared by sub-committees, the recommendations of the Kelkar Committee on fuel price hike and the Cauvery waters dispute.
Through the day, members of the organising committee and the five sub-committees for the chintan shivir met Congress president Sonia Gandhi to submit their discussion papers: the papers are on political challenges, socio-economic issues, foreign policy, the organisation and women’s issues.
Apart from the members of the Core Group — Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Ms. Gandhi, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, Defence Minister A.K. Antony and Political Secretary to the Congress president Ahmed Patel — some other Ministers attended the meeting. They included Petroleum Minister M. Veerapa Moily and Water Resources Minister Harish Rawat.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Moily had said that a hike in diesel and LPG prices could be announced soon, as the recommendations of the Kelkar Committee were under consideration. The Kelkar Committee has suggested drastic reforms in oil pricing. However, informed sources said that while the Core Group reflected on the recommendations, it did not take a decision on the issue.
The Core Group also discussed the Cauvery dispute as the government is keen that a final call on notifying the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal be taken by month-end. Mr. Rawat, government sources said, told the Core Group that it was legally binding on the government to notify the award.
The Centre has already informed the Supreme Court that the draft notification of the final award has been referred to the Law Ministry. As things stand, while Karnataka Chief Minister Jagdish Shettar has written to the Prime Minister requesting him against notifying the award, Tamil Nadu has been pressing for an early notification of the final award.
During the meeting of the Cauvery Monitoring Committee here on Thursday, the Karnataka Chief Secretary had said that he would receive orders of the State government on the issue of notification of the award and communicate the same to the inter-State panel within the next two days.