Special Correspondent

It will have 2005 as the cut-off date

  • MoU to be signed with U.S. for aviation cooperation programme
  • Population norms revised for setting up anganwadis, mini-anganwadis

    NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved the proposal for a single comprehensive bill covering both Scheduled Tribes and traditional forest dwellers, with 2005 as the cut-off date, as against 1980 considered earlier.

    Union Minister and Cabinet spokesman Priyaranjan Dasmunsi said the bill, covering three generations, would be processed by four Ministries Tribal Affairs, Panchayati Raj, Environment and Forests, and Law and brought before Parliament this session itself.

    Chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Cabinet also gave its nod for the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the United States for an aviation cooperation programme.

    It will facilitate increased operational efficiency, safety and system capacity in the Indian aviation sector and promote aviation industry training and technical ties.

    The meeting approved a bill to amend the Administrative Tribunals Act to make it attractive to serving officers from all-India services and group A Central civil services. It would also seek to increase the retirement age of the chairperson. The aim would be to improve the quality of justice delivery in administrative disputes.

    Microfinance sector

    The Cabinet cleared a proposal for enactment of legislation on development and regulation of the microfinance sector. The idea is to provide a legal framework for entities engaged in microfinance and facilitate the development of microfinance services with greater transparency, effective management and better governance. The bill would be introduced in the current session.

    The green signal was given for introducing a bill on limited liability partnerships to facilitate creation of another business model. The Cabinet gave its approval for non-implementation of the Government's 1999 decision to transfer shares of Mahanagar Telephone Nigam to its employees at a concessional rate of Rs. 146 each.

    The issue would be closed and fresh negotiations held with MTNL employees absorbed in group A, B, C and D categories.

    The Cabinet cleared a Rs. 192-crore project for construction of a government-owned chancery, a culture centre and residences for officers and staff of the Indian embassy in Tokyo.

    CCEA meet

    The Cabinet's Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved a special grant of Rs. 100 crore for modernisation of Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, and an assistance of Rs. 342 crore from the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and malaria for the project for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV/ AIDS.

    The CCEA approved a revision in population norms for setting up anganwadis and mini-anganwadis and enhancement of their rent. The decision is expected to expand significantly the Integrated Child Development Services programme, under which these centres are set up.

    It is estimated that about 74 lakh additional children and 15 lakh more pregnant and lactating mothers will benefit.

    The National Hydroelectric Power Corporation was allowed to go in for an initial public offering (IPO) not exceeding 24 per cent of its share capital in one or more tranches in both domestic and external markets to help augment its resources for meeting capacity addition targets.

    The CCEA cleared a proposal to expand the scope of the Market Access Initiative Scheme of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to include organisation of trade festivals in different countries to promote India's strengths in Ayurveda, yoga, cuisine, tourism and culture, besides merchandise; building of capacity for fulfilling sanitary and phytosanitary measures; trade-related studies and development of foreign trade facilitation web portals.

    Indian missions, national level institutions such as IITs, NIFT, NID and research institutions and recognised laboratories would also be eligible for assistance under the scheme. In addition, the levels of assistance for various activities were being modified, Mr. Dasmunsi said.