Cabinet plans sops ahead of LS polls
Moving into an overdrive with political clamour rising, the UPA government is set for an image makeover by taking crucial decisions having possible implications before the next general elections.delhi Updated: Apr 17, 2013 23:43 IST
Moving into an overdrive with political clamour rising, the UPA government is set for an image makeover by taking crucial decisions having possible implications before the next general elections.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would be chairing a Cabinet meeting on Thursday to decide on issues ranging from special economic package for Janata Dal (United) ruled Bihar to a new health mission for urban areas, in addition to new stringent anti-corruption norms for bureaucrats and a new system for appointment of judges of the high courts and the Supreme Court.
A cabinet committee would take a call on Planning Commission's proposal to give Rs 12,000 crore to Bihar under revamped Backward Regions Grant Fund in the 12th plan period.
It comes days after Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar took dig at BJP's most popular chief minister Narendra Modi, the party with whom he is running the state government for the last eight years.
Another key demand of Kumar and other chief ministers to reform how Central government disburses its funds to the states through Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CCS) is also on the Cabinet's agenda.
The commission has proposed that the states should have flexibility to spend at-least 10% of the money as per local conditions in the restructured schemes.
Two big ticket proposals - Rs 10,000 crore urban health mission and national child policy 2012 - that could woo voters would also be considered, sources said.
Under the mission, the Centre proposes to provide money to states to set up medical facilities in cities and towns on the lines of ones in rural areas.
The policy aims to make access to health, nutrition, education, protection and development as undeniable right to every child below the age of 18 and responsibility of the governments to ensure it.
Battling corruption charges in recent years the government is looking for an image-make-over.
The Cabinet would consider important amendments to Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 with an aim to simplify procedure of forfeiture of property of corruption officials and provide protection to hones bureaucrats.
The amendment also aims to put corruption cases against officials on a fast-track mode.
The Cabinet will examine amending the Constitution to change the two-decade long procedure to appoint judges by setting up National Judicial Appointments Commission, a six member body headed by Chief Justice of India.
Proposals to hike dearness allowance of Central government employees by 8% and setting up a Railway Land Development Authority to improve railways financial help are likely to be considered.