Assam bill aims to make ‘uncaring’ state employees pay for their aged parents
The bill has provisions for deducting 10% of an employee’s pay and transferring it to the account of the relative concerned. Another 5% would be deductible if the employee has a differently abled sibling.Updated: Sep 15, 2017 20:08 IST
The 126-member Assam assembly on Friday passed a bill seeking to deduct a fraction of the salary of state government employees for the benefit of their parents or differently abled siblings, in case they do not want to support them.
The first-of-its-kind legislation will become law after the state governor’s assent is obtained.
The Assam Employees’ Parents Responsibility and Norms for Accountability and Monitoring Bill-2017 – better known as the Assam Employees PRANAM Bill – is aimed at ensuring that employees do not neglect their loved ones in times of need.
The bill has provisions for deducting 10% of an employee’s pay and transferring it to the account of the relative concerned. Another 5% would be deductible if the employee has a differently abled sibling.
“The idea is to make parental care compulsory for employees. The government is duty-bound to act if parents complain against uncaring sons or daughters employed with it,” said health and finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.
The Congress, however, criticised the PRANAM Bill – claiming that it shows Assamese society in a poor light. “This is part of a BJP design to tell the world that the Assamese are cruel, and don’t generally take care of their parents,” said former chief minister Tarun Gogoi.
The opposition party also condemned the arrest of peasant leader Akhil Gogoi for making “seditious comments” on Wednesday. “We do not support the use of arms, but how is arms training in the RSS camp justified when an alleged call to be armed against outsiders is not?” asked Congress legislature party chief Debabrata Saikia.
Gogoi was referring to the BJP government’s move to grant citizenship to Bangladeshi Hindus when he said it was time to take up AK-47s – instead of the traditional “hengdang” sword – against the powers-that-be. Protests broke out across the state soon after his arrest.
State Capital Region
The assembly also took a significant step towards instituting a NCR-like territory around Guwahati, the city encompassing Assam capital Dispur.
The State Capital Region Development Authority Bill, also passed on Friday, envisages creating a state capital region comprising five districts – Kamrup, Kamrup (Metropolitan), Morigaon, Darrang and Nalbari – in the years to come.
“This bill facilitates the creation of an entity that will replace the Guwahati Development Department, and handle major projects across five districts. Smaller, localised issues will be handled by local civic and panchayat bodies,” Sarma said.
A provision allowing non-tribal people to live in tribal belts and blocks demarcated by the British to discourage encroachment is likely to generate some heat. The bill, however, makes room for autonomous tribal councils – where land rights are restricted – to set up their establishments in the state capital region.