Around the same time that the election commission was finalising the poll schedule for assembly elections in three states, the government went into an overdrive to beat the model code of conduct deadline.
The government announced a loan waiver for Punjab that was cleared by the Cabinet at its meeting on Thursday, notified renaming Uttaranchal as Uttarakhand from 1 January and announced its success in clearing 75 per cent of the identified vacancies of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes through the country.
Officials said the Cabinet had approved a pending home ministry proposal to waive nearly Rs 5,000 crore worth of special term loans last evening and accrued interest on the principal amount given by the central government.
The money was spent by the state to combat terrorism during the decade beginning 1984. "The total amount waived is in the order of about Rs 5000 crore," a government official said.
The home ministry also notified implementation of the law renaming Uttaranchal as Uttarakhand. President APJ Abdul Kalam had given his assent to the bill passed in the winter session this week. The new name would come into effect from Monday, a notification issued by the ministry said.
The government also announced the success of the special recruitment drive launched by the UPA government nearly two years ago to fill vacancies in the reserved categories.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is said to have taken keen interest in achieving this objective and nudged the Department of Personnel & Training to monitor the progress and sensitise the authorities concerned to ensure there were no lapses in the programme.
An official spokesman said the 50,000 vacancies filled under this drive included about 19,500 direct recruitment vacancies that could not be filled for a long time. "The success rate of the drive is the highest ever achieved in all such drives undertaken in the past," he added.