Friday, September 1, 2000,
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Freeze on Assembly, Lok Sabha seats till 2026
Cabinet nod for corporatising DTS
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Aug 31 ó A freeze on the number of Parliament and state Assembly constituencies till 2026, a corporate entity for the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) and a trim and user-friendly Tax Department were among the major decisions taken by the Union Cabinet today.

The Cabinet decided that a Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2000, to extend the embargo on undertaking fresh delimitation up to 2026 would be introduced in Parliament as this exercise would boost population stabilisation measures and would be in accordance with the National Population Policy.

It was, however, decided that readjustment and rationalisation of territorial constituencies in the states, without altering the number of seats allotted to each state in the House of the People, including the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes constituencies, on the basis of the 1991 population census could be undertaken to remove the imbalances caused due to uneven growth of population and electorate in different constituencies.

The Council of Ministers also approved the refixing of seats reserved for SCs and STs in the Lok Sabha and the legislative assemblies on the basis of the 1991 census. As a result the reserved constituencies in the Lok Sabha would increase by seven, the Law and Justice Minister, Mr Arun Jaitley, said after the meeting.

The previous delimitation exercise was undertaken on the basis of 1971 census through a constitutional amendment passed in 1972 and the embargo on it was to expire next year. The readjustment and rationalisation of constituencies as well as refixing the number of seats reserved for SCs and STs, both in Parliament and legislative assemblies, would be entrusted to the Delimitation Commission by enacting a suitable legislation after the Constitutional Amendment Bill is passed.

Another major decision taken by the Cabinet today was to approve a proposal to set up Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd with an authorised capital of Rs 10,000 crore. The corporate entity is the result of the corporatisation of the DoT services and of the recently created Department of Telecom Operations.

The paid-up capital of the proposed nigam would be Rs 5000 crore. The proposed company would take over the entire operation of the Department of Telecom except in Delhi and Mumbai, which are under the Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd.

The corporate entity would come into being by October, 2000. The registered and corporate offices of the corporate entity would be in New Delhi.

The Communication Minister, Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, said the interest of the DTS employees would be fully protected after corporatisation.

Revamping the income tax administration was another proposal which got the Cabinetís nod. The proposal envisages restructuring of the Income Tax Department for ensuring increased productivity and effectiveness.

Manpower in the department is proposed to be reduced by around 4.75 per cent or around 2000 employees while new posts in the rank of Chief Commissioners and Commissioners would be created.

The Cabinet also approved the open sale of 30 lakh tonnes of rice during 2000-2001 in the states where there is no or negligible procurement of rice.

The decision has been taken as major rice producers, Punjab and Haryana, have no storage space for the kharif operations. Against the buffer norm of 100 lakh tonnes, the country has presently 136.59 lakh tonnes (August 1). Open sale of rice would also reduce carrying costs of the Food Corporation of India.

According to the official spokesperson, a transparent mechanism for fixing the prices by a high level committee of the FCI would be adopted. The Cabinet also decided to further liberalise foreign direct investment (FDI) and investment by NRI and Overseas Corporate Bodies in Special Economic Zones (SEZs).

The Cabinet also decided to transfer ownership rights on leasehold basis to authorised allottees in 12 markets in Delhi. Another decision related to the cadre review and restructuring of the Indian Economic Service.

To provide relief to officers stagnating in the IES it has been decided to create/encadrement/upgradation of four posts at the Additional Secretary level and 14 posts at the Joint Secretary level.
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Highlights

  • The number of Lok Sabha and Assembly constituencies to be freezed for the next 25 years at the existing level.
  • The number of reserved seats for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes to go up.
  • A proposal approved to set up Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd with an authorised capital of Rs 10,000 crore.
  • Restructuring of the Central Board of Direct Taxes approved.
  • Indian Economic Service to be restructured.
  • Open sale allowed of three million tonnes of rice to create storage space.
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