TAMIL NADU

Reconstitution of Govt. services need of the hour: Mani

KANNUR, DEC. 22. The Revenue and Law Minister, Mr. K. M. Mani, has said that serious financial crisis facing the State Government calls for constructive measures, including reconstitution of the Government services.

``It is a fact that the Government services have nearly 60,000 excess staff and the existing situation in which the Government pays salary for no work is unbearable,'' he said adding that the UDF liaison committee meeting scheduled to be held in Thiruvananthapuram on January 8 would recommend to the Government certain austere measures for increasing the Government revenue and slashing expenditure.

``I have mentioned the issue of surplus staff in the Government services just to show the magnitude of financial burden being borne by the Government,'' Mr. Mani said in reply to a specific question whether the Government would redeploy or downsize the existing Government employees.

The UDF Government had to shoulder a financial burden of Rs. 4,700 crores bequeathed by the previous LDF Government, he added.

Mr. Mani, who is also the leader of the Kerala Congress (M), was here to attend the district convention of the party here today.

The party chairman and Rural Development and Registration Minister, Mr. C. F. Thomas, was also present.

Stating that the Government was planning to launch various programmes aimed at reconstituting the agriculture sector and assuaging the hardships of the farming community, the Minister said that the Government would introduce necessary amendments in the land reforms laws to exempt cashew cultivation from land ceiling norms by including it in the plantation category.

Laws would also be amended to provide permanent succor to farmers who had been duped by landowners into buying excess land, he said.

Asked whether the UDF would recommend downsizing the Cabinet as part of cutting down the expenditure, he said that the Ministers were already implementing austerity measures in view of the financial crisis.

The KC(M)'s stand on all issues, including the toddy issue that created some differences in the UDF, would be made clear at the party's steering committee meeting to be held on January 7, he added.

To a query, Mr. Thomas, said that the Government was taking steps to fix the fair value of land. The Government had already issued orders to include people's representatives in local bodies in the village, taluk and district-level committees proposed by the previous LDF Government to fix the land value. The committees were asked to fix the land value within three months, he said. He also said that the Government had taken measures to alleviate the crisis facing the khadi sector in the State.

Huge hospital bandage stock accumulated in the khadi sector would be purchased for the Health Department, he said adding that efforts were also under way to explore the export potential of khadi products.