The Cabinet on Thursday approved National Pension Scheme for implementation in the State from April 1.

Briefing the media, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said there was no going back on its plan to implement the contributory pension scheme. The scheme would not affect existing employees. New recruits too would be eligible for minimum pension and family pension.

He urged the employees who are planning to go on strike from Tuesday in protest against the scheme to withdraw from the move in view the assurances given by him on retention of benefits and quinquennial (once in five years) pay revision.

The Chief Minister said the Cabinet had approved the recommendations of its subcommittee on amendments to building rules applicable to municipal areas. Amendments to rules applicable to panchayat areas would be brought in later.

Mr. Chandy announced that the accident insurance cover for schoolchildren would be increased. The cover for death would go up from Rs.50,000 to Rs.10,000. Injured children would get up to Rs.10,000 based on the seriousness of the injury. Currently, the injured were eligible for a maximum assistance of Rs.5,000 only under the scheme implemented by the State Insurance Department.

The Cabinet had decided to extend the benefits of pay revision effected for government employees to the employees of the Kerala Press Academy and State Institute of Rural Development also, with effect from July 2009.

Replying to a question, the Chief Minister said the maximum distance that can be travelled by government employees under leave travel concession would be enhanced to 6,500 km against the 2,400 km proposed earlier. The orders granting the concession would be issued in a day or two.

Mr. Chandy said the State government would be submitting its opinion on strengthening of laws relating to rape to the Justice J.S. Varma Committee before January 5.

The views of Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan, the State Women’s Commission, Law Department, and social workers such as Sugathakumari would be sought before the government formulated its opinion.