Cabinet clears pay hikes for judges and central PSU staff, sets up 15th finance commission

The Union Cabinet also decided on Wednesday that the Central government will bring an ordinance to tweak India’s insolvency and bankruptcy code.

india Updated: Nov 22, 2017 16:25 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Cabinet decisions,Arun Jaitley,judges salary
Finance minister Arun Jaitley announcing Cabinet decisions at a press conference in New Delhi on Wednesday.(ANI Twitter)

The Union government will set up the next finance commission, bring an ordinance to tweak India’s insolvency and bankruptcy code, and begin the procedure of increasing the salaries of Supreme Court and High Court judges, senior ministers said after a Cabinet meeting that took several key decisions on Wednesday.

“We have given an in-principle approval to setting up the 15th finance commission and its terms of reference,” said Union finance minister Arun Jaitley. India routinely sets up finance commissions to work out the formula by which revenues will be shared between the Union government and the states.

“The exercise is likely to be different this time due to GST,” Jaitley added, referring to the new indirect taxation system that unifies the country into a single market.

On the judges pension and pay hike, Jaitley’s colleague, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, said the pay hike will be in effect from January 1, 2016 and cover 31 SC judges, 1,079 HC judges and 2,500 retired judges.

Jaitley said an ordinance will be sent to the President to amend the Insolvency and Bankruptcy code, but refused to spell out any specifics.

Sources earlier told HT that these tweaks could include new provisions to streamline the process for selecting buyers for stressed assets. Wilful defaulters may not be entertained and promoters with any past record of fraud could also be disqualified from such purchases, according to the proposed changes.

The Union cabinet also approved a new wage policy for the 8th round of wage negotiations for workmen in Central Public Sector Enterprises, Jaitley said.

NO SESSION DATES YET

Finance minister Arun Jaitley did not say when the winter session of parliament will be held after a question from one of the reporters.

“In democracy when elections are on, parties address people directly. Elections and parliament session don’t necessarily overlap. We are going to ensure a regular session and make sure dates don’t overlap. I don’t know about our opponents but we will be busy in campaigning.”

The Winter session usually begins in mid-November.

Prasad also spoke of new schemes to help women empowerment, announcing the rollout of “Pradhan Mantri Mahila Shakti Kendra” in states and districts. The government will set aside Rs 3,084 crore for the programme, which will also involve extension of schemes meant to help women and girl children.

“We will involve 3 lakh student volunteers”, Prasad said, explaining the new initiative will include greater participation of the public.

First Published: Nov 22, 2017 16:22 IST