Wednesday, January 16, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Display of Tricolour made easy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 15
The public will be able to display the National Flag with lesser restrictions with the Union Cabinet today deciding to amend the Flag Code from January 26.

The Cabinet also took a slew of other decisions, including giving the nod to the takeover of the Banaras State Bank of India by the Bank of Baroda, approval for the introduction of the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2001, and allowing the UPSC to conduct recruitments for paramilitary forces like the BSF, the CRPF and the ITBP.

Addressing newspersons after the Cabinet meeting, Union Minister and Cabinet spokesperson Pramod Mahajan said after the Flag Code was amended there would be no restriction on the display of the National Flag so far as members of the public were concerned.

However, the display of the National Flag by members of the public would be subject to certain conditions primarily intended to safeguard the dignity and honour of the National Flag.

The use or display of the National Flag is at present governed by the Flag Code of India which is a compendium of executive instructions from time to time. The Delhi High Court had held that the right to fly the National Flag was part of the fundamental right to the freedom of expression. The Supreme Court has also observed that it sees no reason why the citizens of the country cannot express patriotism by displaying the National Flag and that restrictions on flying the National Flag except on certain prescribed days by citizens appears prima facie unsustainable.

The proposed modifications would be implemented by an executive order amending the Flag Code within two weeks.

In another decision the Cabinet allowed the Bank of Baroda (BoB) to take over the Banaras State Bank of India. The BoB had expressed its intention to the Reserve Bank of India in this regard.

The Cabinet has directed the RBI to pursue the takeover/merger of Uttar Pradesh Bank, whose winding up decision was taken by the Cabinet on September 24, 2001.

The Cabinet approved a proposal for the introduction of the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2001, making it mandatory for any new Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani college to get prior approval of the Central Government.

The Cabinet also decided that the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) would from now on conduct the recruitment to the posts of Assistant Commandants in the BSF, the CRPF, the ITBP and the Special Security Bureau (SSB).

Mr Mahajan said the selection by a specialised agency like the UPSC would enhance the respect of the forces and credibility of the recruitment process.

The government approved the signing and ratification of the convention for avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income between India and Mexico.

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