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Merger of 50 % DA with basic pay okayed

Special Correspondent

Merger in profit-making public sector units with effect from April 1, 2004; applicable to FCI also

NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the merger of DA equal to 50 per cent of existing basic pay in respect of employees following the CDA pattern in public sector undertakings that are profit-making and are in a position to absorb the additional expenditure through their internal revenue. The merger will be with effect from April 1, 2004.

Announcing the decision, Jaipal Reddy, Union Minister and Cabinet spokesperson, said that it was only an enabling provision and the PSUs would be free to take their own decision. It would apply to the Food Corporation of India also. A similar merger was allowed for Government employees earlier.

Chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Cabinet meeting also gave its nod for introducing a Bill to amend the Labour Laws (Exemption from Furnishing Returns and Maintaining of Registers by Certain Establishments) Act to simplify the forms of returns and registers prescribed under certain labour laws.

Relief to employers

Consequently, it also approved amendments in the scheduled acts to prescribe penalty on uniform basis for obstructions and non-maintenance of records. The Bill would provide a lot of relief to employers. From now, they would have to send only one annual return instead of numerous reports. Likewise, they would need to maintain only two registers at the workplace. The Cabinet meeting asked the Cabinet Secretary to look at the possibility of similar measures to simplify procedures under other Ministries also.

Further, the meeting decided to give an extension of six months for the Justice Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry that is going into the issue of disappearance of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. The Commission had asked for the extension on the ground that certain investigations were yet to be completed and consequently it would not be able to give its report before the earlier stipulated date of May 14.

The Cabinet approved 42 posts for the Ministry of Panchayati Raj. The approval comes after a year of the Ministry's existence.

The posts include a Secretary, two Additional Secretaries and three Joint Secretaries.

Koodankulam project

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, which also met on Wednesday, cleared the feasibility report for setting up transmission lines for evacuation of power from the Koodankulam Atomic Power Station in Tamil Nadu. The first phase of the evacuation system from Koodankulam to Tirunelveli is expected to be ready in 26 months, synchronising with the proposal to commission the first unit of the station by May 2007 and second link from Tirunelveli to Udumalpet by December 2007 in time for the commissioning of the second unit.

The third link till North Tiruchur is scheduled to be completed within 42 months from the date of investment approval of the project.

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