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Dearness Allowance to Central Government employees and Dearness Relief to Pensioners due from 01.07.2016



Cabinet approves release of an instalment of Dearness Allowance to Central Government employees and Dearness Relief to Pensioners due from 01.07.2016


The Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to release an instalment of Dearness Allowance (DA) to Central Government employees and Dearness Relief (DR) to Pensioners w.e.f. 01.07.2016 representing an increase of 2% of the revised Basic Pay/Pension, to compensate for price rise. The increase is in accordance with the accepted formula, which is based on the recommendations of the 7th Central Pay Commission.

The combined impact on the exchequer on account of both Dearness Allowance and Dearness Relief would be Rs. 5622.10 crore per annum and in the Financial Year 2016-17 for the period of 8 months (i.e. from July 2016 to February 2017), it would be Rs.3748.06 crore. About 50.68 lakh Government employees and 54.24 lakh pensioners will be benefitted.

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Cabinet approves New Productivity Linked Reward Scheme for all Major Port Trusts and Dock Labour Board employees/workers for the years 2015-16 to 2017-18

The Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to New Productivity Linked Reward Scheme for all Major Port Trusts and Dock Labour Board employees/workers for the years 2015-16 to 2017-18.

The new PLR scheme applicable from 2015-2016 to 2017-2018 will benefit about 37870 Port and Dock workers/employees in all the Major Port Trusts and the yearly outgo will be Rs. 49.58 crore.

Ministry of Shipping has formulated a New Productivity Linked Reward (PLR) Scheme for all Major Port Trusts and Dock Labour Board employees/workers for the years 2015-16 to 2017-18. PLR will be calculated on the enhanced wage ceiling for calculation of Bonus at Rs. 7000/- per month. PLR shall be paid annually on the basis of 50% weightage given to all India Performance and 50% weightage given to the individual Port Performance. The arrear payments of PLR for the year 2014-15 to the employees/workers by the Major Port Trusts and Dock Labour Board will be calculated on the enhanced wage ceiling of Rs.7000/- per month for calculation of Bonus instead of Rs.3500/- per month on the existing methodology of combined All India Port Performance.

For the year 2014-15, an amount of Rs 25.93 crore has already been paid to about 41,492 Major Ports & Dock workers/employees as per wage ceiling of Rs.3500/-. The total additional outgo for all Major Ports & Dock workers/employees on account of payment of arrear of PLR for the year 2014-15 as per enhanced wage ceiling of Rs. 7000/- will be about Rs. 25.93 crore.

There is an existing scheme of Productivity Linked Reward (PLR) for the employees/workers of Major Port Trusts and Dock Labour Board, wherein Productivity Linked Reward (PLR) was granted on yearly basis based on the settlement arrived at between Management and the Labour Federations of the Major Port Trusts.

The new PLR Scheme will foster better industrial relationship and congenial work atmosphere in the Port Sector, apart from stimulating better productivity.


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Cabinet approves Agreement between India and Estonia on the transfer of sentenced persons

The Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for signing and ratification of an Agreement between India and Estonia on the transfer of sentenced persons.

Signing the Agreement shall facilitate the Indian prisoners imprisoned in Estonia or vice-versa to be near to their families, for serving remaining part of their sentence and shall facilitate their social rehabilitation.

Background:

Prior to 2004, there was no domestic Legislation under which foreign prisoners could be transferred to the country of their origin to serve the remaining part of their sentence, nor was there a provision for the transfer of prisoners of Indian origin convicted by a foreign court to serve their sentence in India. The transfer of such prisoners to their own native countries shall facilitate their social rehabilitation.

Hence, the Repatriation of Prisoners Act, 2003 was enacted for serving the above purpose. For achieving the objectives of the Act, a Treaty/Agreement is required to be signed with countries having mutual interest with India and later to the notified in the Official Gazette.

The Government of India has so far signed bilateral Agreements on Transfer of Sentenced Persons with United Kingdom, Mauritius, Bulgaria, France, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Bangladesh, Brazil, Israel, Bosnia & Herzegovina, UAE, Italy, Turkey, Maldives-, Thailand, Russian Federation, Kuwait, Viet Nam, Australia, Hong Kong, Qatar, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Bahrain. So far total 65 prisoners have been exchanged, out of which 55 were Indians.

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Establishment and operationalization of new Indian Institute of Science Education and Research at Berhampur, Odisha

The Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for the following:

i. Ex-post facto approval for formation of an Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Berhampur Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860;

ii. Establishment and operationalisation of IISER, Berhampur in a transit/ temporary campus from the Academic Year 2016-17, which will involve a cost of Rs.I52.79 crore, for the initial three years (2016-19), and ex-post facto approval of starting the academic session of 2016-17 from 1st August, 2016;

iii. Accepting land, free of cost, from the State Government of Odisha;

iv. Creation of the post of Director of the Institute in the Pay Scale of Rs.80,000 (Fixed); and

v. Introduction of a Bill, namely, the National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research (Second Amendment) Bill, 2016 (Appendix-Ill) in Parliament for inclusion of IISER, Tirupati and IISER, Berhampur in the Second Schedule of National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research (NITSER) Act, 2007 (29 of 2007) with such modifications/ changes of the drafting and consequential nature as may be considered by the Legislative Department.

Background:

The Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISER) have been declared as Institutes of National Importance under the National Institutes of Technology, Science Education & Research (NITSER) Act, 2012. These Institutes are envisaged to carry out research in frontier areas of science and to provide quality science education at the Under-Graduate and Post-Graduate level. Earlier there were five IISERs at Kolkata, Pune, Mohali, Bhopal and Thiruvananthapuram. After coming to power this Government started an IISER at Tirupati in 2015.

To increase the presence of IISERs in various States/ geographical locations to cater to the need for quality education in science and research, the Union Finance Minister, in his Budget Speech (2015) had announced setting up of an IISER in the State of Odisha.

Accordingly, today the Cabinet approved the setting up of IISER Berhampur at the transit/ temporary campus at academic-cum-workshop building of the Government ITI, Berhampur. The student strength intake for this year in the BS-MS course is 60 which will progressively go up and the cumulative student strength is envisaged as 665 in the 3rd year, including MS Degree, MS-Ph.D, Ph.D and Post-Doctoral Fellowships. The total cost of the project for temporary campus is Rs. 152.79 crores. EdCIL, a PSU of Ministry of HRD, Government of India has been asked to submit a proposal for preparation of detailed Project Report for the permanent campuses. Thereafter the process for setting up of the campus would start.

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Cabinet approves establishment of National Academic Depository

The Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has accorded its approval for establishment and operationalisation of a National Academic Depository (NAD). The decision aims at bringing another dimension and enhancement of the vision of Digital India.

The NAD would be established and operationalised within the next three months and would be rolled out throughout the country in 2017-18.

The Finance Minister's Budget Speech of 2016-17, in February this year, incorporated this commitment to establish a Digital Depository for school learning certificates, degrees and other academic awards of Higher Education Institutions, on the pattern of a Securities Depository.

The NAD would be operationalised by NSDL Database Management Limited (NDML) and CDSL Ventures, Limited (CVL) - two of the wholly owned subsidiaries of the Depositories registered under Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Act, 1992.

Academic institutions would be responsible for the authenticity of data digitally uploaded by them into the system. The depositories will ensure the integrity of the data in the NAD. The NAD will register educational institutions/boards/eligibility assessment bodies, students and other users/verifying entities like banks, employer companies, government agencies and academic institutions.

It will provide digital or a printed copy of the academic award with security features to the students or other authorized users. NAD will verify academic awards online on the same day of request initiated by any authorized user.

Requests for access to academic awards, for example, from potential employers, and academic institutions would be only on the basis of consent of the student.

NAD shall maintain the authenticity, integrity and confidentiality of its database. It will also train and facilitate academic institutions/boards/ eligibility assessment bodies to efficiently lodge academic awards in the database.

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Extension of the validity of Central Order regarding de-hoarding of sugar upto April, 2017

The Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for extending the validity of the existing Central Order in respect of Sugar for a further period of six months from 29.10.2016 to 28.04.2017.

The main objective of the decision is to enable the State Governments to issue control order with the prior concurrence of Central Government, for fixing stock limits/licensing requirements in respect of sugar, whenever need is felt by them. This is expected to help in the efforts being taken to improve the availability of these commodities to general public at reasonable rates, and control the tendencies of hoarding and profiteering.

Background

The Cabinet in its meeting held on 27.04.2016, decided to enable the States to regulate supply, distribution, sale, production, stock, storage, purchase and movement etc. in respect of sugar for a period up to six months up to 28.10.2016. Accordingly, vide Notification No. GSR 1584(E) dated 29.4.2016, Department of Consumer Affairs issued the Removal of (Licensing requirements, Stock limits and Movement Restrictions) on specified Foodstuffs Amendment Order, 2016 for enabling the State Government to impose stock limits on sugar upto 28.10.2016. Subsequently, the said Order was merged with all the existing Orders in respect of essential commodities and a consolidated Order G.S.R. 929(E) dated 29th September, 2016 was issued. It has been noticed that the average retail price of sugar has escalated in the recent past, in-spite of adequate availability of sugar stock with the mills. The price rise appears artificial as being mainly due to hoarding of sugar by traders/sugar dealers etc. Such situations in past were dealt with exercising the powers to regulate stock holding limits etc. for sugar. The validity of the current Order in respect of sugar is expiring on 28.10.2016 which caused the reason for further extension of the validity of Central Order GSR No. 929(E) dated 29.09.2016 in respect of sugar up to 28.04.2017.

The current decision will be notified by the Central Government and will be communicated to all the States/UTs. The States/UTs may exercise the powers and issue control orders with prior concurrence of the Central Government.


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Cabinet approves Cadre Review of Indian Posts & Telecommunications Accounts and Finance Service Group “A”

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved the first Cadre Review of Indian Posts & Telecommunications Accounts and Finance Service (IP&TAFS) with the following salient features:

(a) Reduction of the total strength of the cadre from 420 to 376.

(b) Creation of one Apex level post of Controller General of Communication Accounts (CGCA).

(c) Creation of one additional HAG+ level post taking the grade strength to 2.

(d) Creation of two additional HAG level posts taking the grade strength from 6 to 8.

(e) Creation of 18 additional SAG level posts taking the grade strength from 37 to 55.

(f) Reduction in JAG level posts from 111 to 90.

(g) Reduction in STS level posts from 198 to 86.

(h) Creation of 21 JTS level posts taking the grade strength from 67 to 88.

(i) Creation of 46 Posts to be operated as Reserves

Background:

Indian Posts & Telecommunications Accounts and Finance Service Group ‘A” was constituted in 1972 and caters to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and the Department of Posts (DoP).

In Department of Telecommunications, the IP&TAFS performs the functions of assessment and collection of license fee/ spectrum usage charges, spectrum auction, USO scheme monitoring and subsidy management, exchequer control, budgeting, accounting, pension disbursement, internal audit and finance advice. In the Department of Posts, the IP&TAFS is entrusted with the functions of finance advice, budgeting, tariff and costing, accounting and internal audit.

There has been a paradigm shift in the role of Department of Telecommunications as well as the Department of Posts in recent years. In the Telecom sector, the role of the Department of Telecommunications has transformed from primarily being a Service provider, Regulator and Policy maker into the present structure whereby the Department is primarily responsible for Policy making, Licensing and Universal Service Obligation. Receipts from Department of Telecommunications, primarily License Fee, Spectrum Usage Charges and Spectrum Auction Value constitute one of the largest source of non-tax revenue for the Government of India.

Similarly, the bundle of services offered by Department of Posts has undergone a quantitative and qualitative change and the Department has ventured into areas of retailing, banking, insurance, digitizing operations etc. Further, the audit mechanism in both the Departments needs to be strengthened.

These facts coupled with the stagnation in various grades of the service necessitated a review of the structure of IP&TAFS.

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Transfer of land to Government entities also approved

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the budgetary support to HMT Ltd. for payment of outstanding salary / wages and other employee related dues. It also approved closure of HMT Tractor Division by offering attractive VRS / VSS at 2007 notional pay scales.

It will have a financial implication (cash outgo) of Rs. 718.72 crore for payment of outstanding salary, wages and statutory dues, VRS/VSS ex-gratia payments and clearing of Tractor Division's liabilities towards Bank, creditors etc.

The Cabinet has also given its approval for transfer of selected small parcels of HMT land at Banglore and Kochi to different Government entities for their use in larger public interest.

Background:

HMT Ltd., a Central Public Sector Enterprise under the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises of the Government of India was established at Bangalore in 1953 with the objective of producing machine tools required for building an industrial edifice for the country. HMT played a key role in laying the foundation for evolution of engineering and manufacturing capabilities in the country. HMT Tractor Division was established in Pinjore, Haryana in 1971 to manufacture HMT Tractors. Performance of the company started to decline in the '90s, in the post liberalisation economic environment with rising costs, stiff competition from international players and availability of imported goods at cheaper rates. Several efforts were made in past to arrest the declining trend but it could not succeed to turn around. HMTL's profit making tractor business was affected due to poor off-take, under-utilisation of capacity and working capital constraints, etc. It was observed that continuation in Tractor Business with its insignificant market share in the sector may not be a financially viable and sustainable option for HMT Ltd., and hence it would be prudent to close the tractor business, make an exit from this segment and focus on the core sector of machine tools.

The Tractor Division has been incurring losses continuously and is unable to pay the salaries and other statutory dues of its employees. The employees of Tractor Division based at Pinjore have not been paid salary since July, 2014 and other statutory dues are also pending since Nov., 2013. The statutory dues (Terminal benefits, PF, Gratuity, Leave encashment etc.) are also pending for the employees of other Divisions of HMTL [Corporate Head Office(CHO), Common Service Division(CSD) and Food Processing Machinery unit, Aurangabad (FPA)]. In view of the deteriorating position of the company and hardship being faced by the employees due to non-payment of salary / wages and other retirement dues, it has been decided to close down the Tractor Division of HMT Ltd by offering attractive VRS / VSS to its employees and clearing all their dues.

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Cabinet approves exchanging of land between Airports Authority of India and Government of Odisha for widening of road at Biju Patnaiak Airport, Bhubaneshwar

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved the exchanging of Airports Authority of India’s (AAI) land measuring 1.6 acres with an equivalent land area of 1.6 acres offered by Odisha Government.

The State Government has offered 1.6 acres of land in lieu of 1.6 acres land of AAI and agreed to undertake and relocate all the existing infrastructure of AAI on the subject land on its own cost. Further, the land offered by the State Government is contiguous to existing airport and it will be used by AAI for construction of Parallel Taxi Track. The exchange of land is not only beneficial to the State Government & AAI but also to the people.

Odisha Government wants to widen the State Government road near Bhubaneswar Airport (known as Ekamara Marg/Palashpalli Road) for streamlining the security arrangements of the VIP movements and creating buffer zone for public use. For this purpose requires 1.6 acres land of AAI is required by the State Government.

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Cabinet approves the new Agreement on Trade, Commerce and Transit between India and Bhutan

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, has approved an Agreement on Trade, Commerce and Transit between India and Bhutan.

The bilateral trade relations between India and Bhutan are governed by the Agreement on Trade, Commerce and Transit between the Government of India and Bhutan. The Agreement provides for a free trade regime between two countries. The Agreement also provides for duty free transit of Bhutanese merchandise for trade with third countries.

The Agreement was renewed on 29th July 2006 for a period of ten years. The validity of this Agreement was extended, with effect from 29th July 2016, for a period of one year or till the new agreement comes into force, through exchange of Diplomatic notes.

The traditionally unique bilateral relations characterized by trust and understanding between India and Bhutan have matured over the years and would be further strengthened by execution of the proposed Agreement on Trade, Commerce and Transit Agreement.


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