Sunday, June 25, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Panel on telecom corporatisation
Cabinet hikes fertiliser prices
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, June 24 — A Group of Ministers (GoM) will work out the modalities for corporatisation of the Department of Telecom Services (DTS) and submit its report by August 15, the Union Cabinet decided today.

Communications Minister Ram Vilas Paswan told newspersons after a meeting of the Cabinet that the Prime Minister had formed the GoM and asked it to submit its report by August 15 for smooth corporatisation of the DTS.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) also met during the day and a large number of decisions were taken by it.

Commenting on the corporatisation of the DTS, Mr Paswan said the group headed by the Finance Minister and comprising Ministers of Communication, Human Resource Development, Commerce and Industry, Labour and the Minister of State for Personnel would also look into pensionary benefits and pay fixation for the employees prior to corporatisation of the DTS by October 1, 2000.

In other decisions, the Cabinet approved the proposal for acceding to the 1988 protocol relating to the International Convention for the Load Line, 1966. An official spokesperson said it would harmonise the system of surveys and certification of Indian ships resulting in avoidance of multiple surveys and certification of Indian registered ships and facilitate operation of India’s commercial fleet engaged in international trade.

The Cabinet also decided to regulate fishing by vessels from neighbouring countries in lagoons and sea around Lakshadweep Island.

The regulation would be finalised in consultation with the legislative department. The spokesperson said under the new regulation, punitive measures including imposition of fine up to 10 times of the catch, would come into force to prevent illegal fishing around Lakshadweep. The administrator would be appointed with powers to search big vessels and seize them.

The Cabinet also gave ex-post facto approval to the joint document on development on trade, economic, industrial, financial, scientific and technological cooperation between India and Russia. The joint document would help in enhancing the inherent potential of cooperation between the two countries by further deepening and diversifying the bilateral trade.

The CCEA decided to hike the maximum retail prices for phosphatic fertiliser by 7 per cent to Rs 8,900 and potassic fertiliser by 15 per cent to Rs 4255 per tonne as announced in the Budget.

The spokesperson said the increase in prices would be effective retrospectively from February 29, 2000. While the MRP of phosphatic fertiliser, di-ammonium phosphate, has been increased by Rs 600, that of potassic fertiliser of nitrate of potassium has been raised by Rs 555 per tonne. The MRP of complexes of phosphatic and potassic fertiliser would range from Rs 6620 to Rs 8520 per tonne. The MRP of single super phosphate would continue to be fixed by the state government.

The government also further revised the base rates of concessions for making on account payment on the sale of phosphatic and potassic fertilisers.

The CCEA decided that the base rate of concession for indigenously produced DAP would be reduced to Rs 2800 as against Rs 3000 earlier while there would be no change in base rate for imported DAP.

In the case of MOP fertiliser the base rate had been increased to Rs 2800 per tonne from Rs 2695 per tonne while in the case of SSP, it had been reduced to Rs 700 from Rs 800 per tonne.

The revision of base rates would be effective retrospectively from April 1 this year.

The CCEA also approved the ongoing centrally-sponsored scheme on Development of freshwater aquaculture for its implementation during the Ninth Five Year Plan with a total outlay of Rs 300 crore to be shared on 75:25 basis between the central and state governments for development of freshwater aquaculture in the country.

It also approved a proposal for creation of 400/220 kv Biwadi sub-station along with Ballabgarh-Jaipur 400 kv S/C line at an estimated cost of Rs 86.75 crore.

The CCEA also approved the grant of Rs 89.85 crore for upgrading computer facilities in the Indian Institute of Technology at Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Kanpur and Kharagpur during the ninth five year plan.

Of this, a sum of Rs 57.90 crore had already been released for which ex-post facto approval was given by the CCEA today, the spokesperson said.

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