Saturday, June 1, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Cabinet okays Net for J&K
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 31
The Union Cabinet today approved a Bill to modify the list of Scheduled Tribes in the country, signing of a treaty with Spain to deal with fugitive offenders, besides deciding to set apart funds to meet contingencies arising out of natural calamities, allow resumption of Internet services in Jammu and Kashmir, revise pay scales for Senior Engineering Assistances of AIR and DD, ratification of International Treaty on Plant genetics and continuing of helicopter services to the North-East.

The Cabinet, which met under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, approved the introduction of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Amendment) Bill, 2002, in Parliament.

The communities included in the modified list would be able to derive benefits as admissible to the Scheduled Tribes, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pramod Mahajan told newspersons after the meeting here.

The Cabinet decided to resume Internet services to subscribers in Jammu and Kashmir, which was temporarily withdrawn in December after the terrorist attack on Parliament.

It also decided to allow STD and ISD facilities in three border districts of Rajasthan, including Barmer and Jaisalmer. With the opening up of these facilities now, no border district was deprived of these communication facilities, Mr Mahajan said.

The meeting, which was not attended by Union Home Minister L.K. Advani, who is out of station, gave green light for signing an extradition treaty between India and Spain to deal with fugitive offenders, including those committing economic crimes.

After its ratification, the treaty would be notified under the Extradition Act, 1962.

The Cabinet approved the reopening of the Indian Consulate in Mandalay, Myanmar, which would be a medium sized establishment with a proposed strength of eight India-based officers and staff and four local members of staff.

It also approved the signing of agreement and protocol between India and Slovak Republic for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes. The agreement would cover income tax in the case of the two countries.

The Cabinet decided that 5 per cent of the funds allocated in a particular financial year under the Indira Awaas Yojana and the Accelerated Rural Water Supply Scheme should be set apart to meet contingencies arising out of natural calamities. The fund could also be used for other emergent situations, Mr Mahajan said.

In a decision, which would cheer the Senior Engineering Assistants of AIR and DD, the Cabinet also approved a proposal to revise their pay scales. They would be granted pay scales of Rs 550-930 with effect from January 1, 1978, and the scale of Rs 2000-2375 with effect from December 31, 1995.

The proposal for the ratification of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture for sustainable development of agriculture and food security was also approved by the Cabinet.

The meeting also approved the introduction of the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Amendment Bill which sought to strengthen the PNDT Act by bringing within its purview pre-conception sex selection technologies to check their misuse.


Gaddis, Gujjars get ST status
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 31
The Union Cabinet today approved the proposal to provide the Scheduled Tribe status to the Gaddis and Gujjars of the merged areas of Himachal Pradesh. The Cabinet approved the proposal to delimit the area restrictions in Himachal Pradesh in this regard. Earlier, only Gaddis residing in old Himachal Pradesh were declared Schedule Tribes whereas the people of the same community residing in other areas of the state were not given the same status.

The Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Mr Shanta Kumar, said this situation arose after the reorganisation of the state in 1966 when certain areas of Punjab, including Kangra district, merged with Himachal Pradesh. He said from past four decades the matter could not be resolved due to the lack of certain documentary proofs.

The minister said the decision would benefit more than five lakh people in the state. He said the Himachal Pradesh Assembly’s resolution to request the Centre for granting ST status to the Gaddis and Gujjars of the merged areas of Himachal was also made available to the Registrar General of India.

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