M A I N   N E W S

2.5 m scholarships for minorities
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 30
In line with its commitment to improve the literacy rate among the minority communities, the government today approved a scheme, providing for 2.5 million pre-matric scholarships to meritorious minority students, entailing an expenditure of Rs 1,868.50 crore during the 11th Plan period.

Thirty per cent amount of this scheme will earmarked for girl students of each minority community in a state or union territory, Finance Minister P Chidambaram told newspersons after the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).

Under the scheme, to be launched during 2007-08, scholarships will be awarded to minority students who are studying in India in government or private schools from classes I to X, including residential government institutes, and eligible private institutes selected and notified in a transparent manner by the state governments and union territories concerned.

The maximum ceiling of tuition fee entitlement will be Rs 350 a month, subject to actuals. The rates of maintenance allowance will be Rs 600 a month for hostelers from class VI onwards, subject to actuals, and Rs 100 a month for day-scholars from class I onwards. Admission fee from class VI onwards will be Rs 500 per annum, subject to actuals.

Of the total amount, Rs 1,408.40 crore will be borne by the centre, while Rs 460.10 crore will be shared by the states, he said adding union territories will be provided 100 per cent central assistance.

The CCEA also cleared expenditure of Rs 600 crore for the ongoing centrally-sponsored scheme of Project Tiger during the 11th Plan period, including development of eight new tiger reserves.

The approval applies to the additional measures mooted to intensify Tiger conservation efforts. These are: Rehabilitation or resettlement of denotified tribes and communities involved in traditional hunting; mainstreaming livelihood and wildlife concerns in forests outside tiger reserves and fostering corridor conservation through restorative strategy to arrest fragmentation of habitats; enhanced village relocation or rehabilitation package for people living in core or critical tiger habitats apart form settlement of rights.

Safeguards/retrofitting measures in the interest of wildlife conservation: Providing basic infrastructure for strengthening the national tiger conservation authority and establishing a monitoring lab in the Wildlife Institute of India; establishment and development of eight new tiger reserves and provision of project allowance to ministerial staff working in tiger reserves and fostering eco-tourism.

The scheme is aimed at protection and conservation of endangered Tiger in the reserves as per the recommendations of the Tiger Task Force curbing unlawful activities in tiger reserves by strengthening their infrastructure, providing inviolate space for tiger in core or critical tiger habitats, mainstreaming tiger conservation in the landscape and providing conditions for increase in tiger population in the country.




50 pc DA merger for CPSE staff
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 30
The cabinet today approved merger of 50 per cent dearness allowance (DA) with the basis pay of employees in the Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) following IDA pattern of pay scales at 1997 levels.

This would benefit the employees in the board-level/below board-level executives and non-unionised supervisors, with the basic pay of employees’ with effect from January 1, 2007. In the case of unionised workmen, the board may take a decision after negotiation with the union.

Briefing newspersons after the meeting, information and broadcasting minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi said the board of directors of each CPSE would consider the proposal for 50 per cent merger of DA with basic pay for executives and workmen keeping in mind the capacity of the company to pay and submit a proposal to the administrative ministry which will approve the proposal with the concurrence of its financial advisor. The cabinet move would help in purposes like payment of allowances, transfer grant, retirement benefits, contribution to contributory provident fund, various licence fee and advances, he said adding the entitlements of LTC/TA/DA while on tour and transfer on the basis pay alone will be determined without taking into account the dearness pay.

There will not be any budgetary or government support for this purpose, he said. The cabinet also approved the extension of the above IDA pattern to employees of Food Corporation of India (FCI), he said.



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