Wildlife crime control bureau on anvil
Concerned with reports of the disappearing pug-marks, the Union Government has decided to set up a multi-disciplinary crime control bureau to work on a mandate of detection and prosecution of networks and individuals engaged in the poaching of tigers and other endangered species.
Named the "Tiger and Other Endangered Species Crime Control Bureau", the body will work towards conserving the natural heritage by establishing a credible data base on wildlife items and trade, help to convict criminals and their accomplices at the national and international levels and facilitate training to the field staff in intelligence gathering, crime detection and prosecution.
The bureau is being set up to strengthen the ongoing efforts for control of poaching and illegal trade, Finance Minister P Chidambaram told reporters after a meeting of the cabinet on Thursday.
With headquarters at New Delhi, the bureau will have five regional offices and three sub-regional offices. Sensitive border customs posts will also be strengthened. The bureau will have an additional director in the rank of Inspector General of Police. The Cabinet has also endorsed the proposal for additional staff for the bureau.
The Cabinet - with aims of overcoming shortages of pilots - also approved the proposal for making both men and women eligible for the Short Service Commission (SSC) in the flying branch of the Indian Air Force. The eligibility condition for men has been approved after a gap of 13 years. SSC ceiling in the flying branch has been fixed at 20 per cent and terms of engagement of SSC officers in the flying branch to 14 years - with no extension.
Briefing newsmen, the finance minister said the cabinet also approved the proposal for introducing new central sector scholarship scheme to SC/ST students from 2007-08. The scheme will cover students beyond the 12th class, whose total family income from all sources does not exceed Rs two lakh per annum.
The Cabinet also gave its approval for the withdrawal of the Private Universities (Establishment and Regulations) bill, 1995 from the Rajya Sabha. The bill will be removed from the list of pending bills since the UGC regulations,2003 - upheld by the Supreme Court - adequately addresses the concerns regarding mushrooming of private universities.
The Cabinet also approved the signing of an agreement on Indo-Brazil audio-visual co-production.