The government on Thursday announced a six per cent hike in dearness allowance to central government employees.
The decision by the Union Cabinet at its meeting on Thursday evening would take the dearness allowance for central employees and dearness relief for pensioners to 35 per cent, Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi said.
The hike in DA, to be effective from January 1, will cost the central government Rs. 2265.12 crore annually for its employees. The additional financial implications on account of the increased dearness relief will be in the vicinity of Rs. 1079 crore.
Dasmunsi also announced the increase in the retirement age of the faculty at centrally funded educational institutions under the Ministry of Human Resource Development from 62 to 65 years of age. The cabinet also approved the provision for re-employment beyond 65 years and up to 70 years of age against sanctioned vacancies if there are no suitable regular candidates.
The Union Cabinet is also understood to have held a detailed discussion on the Minimum Support Price for Wheat to ensure that the government procurement does do not fall short of targets as happened last year. Sources said it was proposed to raise the bonus for wheat to Rs. 75.
There was, however, no official announcement. Former finance minister Yashwant Sinha had on Wednesday attacked the government for considering wheat imports as an option to tide over a possible shortfall but not passing on the benefit to the farmers. An empowered group of ministers headed by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee had also studied this issue. Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has this week already declared that the Cabinet would take the decision before this month-end.
The Cabinet also approved extending the currency of the Special Railway Safety Fund beyond 2006-07 for a year and funding the balance works of Rs. 1,882 crore in 2007-08 under the fund.
The government also announced approval for upgradation of Very Large Scale Integrated Circuit Facilities at Chandigarh at a cost of Rs. 486 crore.
Amendments to The Inland Vessels (Amendment) Bill 2005 on the recommendations Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee were also approved at this meeting. The Bill sought to declare Lakhipur-Bhanga Stretch of River Barak as a National Waterway; the total length of the waterway would be around 121 km.