In a slew of decisions, the Union cabinet on Wednesday approved a mechanism for faster transfer of wages into accounts of those engaged in rural employment guarantee scheme, amendments to laws for resolving arbitration cases within a fixed time line and introduction of one rank one pension for retired high court judges.
Seeking to ensure faster settlement of commercial disputes and for ease of doing business, the Cabinet cleared a proposal to amend the Arbitration Act which sets a fixed timeline for arbitrators to resolve cases. Under the amendments to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, cleared by the Union cabinet, an arbitrator will have to settle the case within 18 months.
But after the completion of 12 months, certain restrictions have been put in place to ensure that the arbitration case does not linger on, sources said. The ordinance was cleared by the Cabinet but never sent to the President for his assent.
An ordinance cleared by the Cabinet in December 2013 had fixed the timeline at nine months. But the formulation was changed after inter-ministerial discussions. The Cabinet also decided to introduce a bill in Parliament, including one to remove anomalies in pensionary benefits of high court judges elevated from the bar. This will effectively introduce the one rank one pension formula for judges.
The Supreme Court had ordered the changes last year to add ten years practice as advocate to the judge’s service for calculating their pension on retirement.
The decision on MGNREGA will result in the Centre releasing the wage component of the funds into the account of the worker based on a fund transfer order to be generated by states’ implementing agencies.
Although the Centre had introduced electronic fund management system, there had been cases of delays in payments due to delays in release of funds by the Centre, multi-level release system, and continued parking of funds at various levels. “Now the worker will be assured of payment of wages as soon as the pay order is generated,” an official said.