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More members for law panel

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI July 23. The Union Cabinet today decided to reconstitute the Law Commission and increase its membership with a view to get a broader view on the various aspects of law which were entrusted to it for study and recommendation.

The panel will, after reconstitution, have at least eight members. Apart from the Chairman and a Member-Secretary, it will have three full-time members and three or more part-time members. At present, it has four members — Chairman, Member-Secretary, one full-time and one part-time member.

Announcing the decision, the Government spokesperson said the members of the new panel, including the Chairman, could be either serving or retired judges of the Supreme Court or High Courts or legal experts, jurists or professors of law from any university. The reconstituted Commission would have a term of three years as per tradition. The term would begin from September 1.

The Cabinet also approved a list of 47 priority schemes and objectives and a list of 115 priority thrust areas relating to policy issues that would be implemented in a time-bound manner. Seven of the priority schemes and 23 items in the list of priority thrust areas in terms of policy issues would be directly monitored by the Prime Minister and the rest by the Committee of Secretaries.

The schemes to be monitored by the Prime Minister include the creation of an enabling environment to increase India's share in world exports from 0.6 per cent to one per cent, acceleration of the programme for comprehensive computerisation of the Income Tax system, timely completion of the golden quadrilateral and north-south and east-west road corridors and speedy implementation of the assistance package for weavers and artisans. The thrust areas in the policy arena, to be monitored by the Prime Minister, include formulation of a national environment policy that harmonises the need for development with the need to protect the environment and the preparation of a 10-year national action plan to promote agriculture productivity.

The two lists have been prepared as a sequel to an announcement — made during the meeting of the National Development Council in December last — that the Government would draw up a priority agenda of action for 2003-04 taking into account the specific directions contained in the Tenth Plan document.

The meeting also decided to renew the agreement relating to the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute, created in 1968 to facilitate academic exchanges, and to issue a fresh regulation to govern marine fishery in the seas surrounding the Andaman and Nicobar Islands on the ground that the existing one issued in 1938 was out-dated.

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