M A I N   N E W S

Cabinet nod to delimitation
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 14
The cabinet today gave its approval for the redrawing of the legislative and parliamentary constituencies accepting the recommendations of the Delimitation Commission.

The government will issue an ordinance, to be ratified by Parliament in its forthcoming session, at the earliest. However, it would not apply to four north-eastern states, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland, as well as Jharkhand.

“This will bring the new delimitation orders issued by the commission into force and pave the way for election to the house of the people and the legislative assembly of each state on the basis of new territorial constituencies,” information and broadcasting minister P.R. Dasmunsi said while briefing newsmen after the meeting of the cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The President would issue the notification in respect of 24 states and union territories.

The cabinet also approved a proposal to supersede the earlier Delimitation Order of 1976 and to amend the Representation of the People Act 1950 to reflect the changes in reservation of SC and ST seats as per the newly delimited constituencies.

The government had earlier deferred the delimitation exercise in four north-eastern states and Jharkhand by approving amendments to the Delimitation Act 2002 and decided to promulgate an ordinance.

While the legality of delimitation in four north-eastern states has been challenged in courts, in Jharkhand the number of ST seats has gone down after the exercise. The delimitation process has been completed for 3,726 assembly constituencies and 513 Lok Sabha constituencies in the rest of the country.

In another decision, the cabinet gave its approval for a proposal to be made to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) for amending two Asian highway routes of the Inter-Governmental Agreement on the Asian highway network to facilitate trade and tourism amongst India, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal.

The cabinet also approved a proposal to sign a bilateral agreement with South Africa to abolish the visa requirement for the holders of diplomatic and service passports between India and South Africa.

In another decision it also approved a proposal for the establishment of the North-eastern Institute of Folk Medicine at Pashighat, Arunachal Pradesh, at a cost of Rs 32.88 crore as an autonomous institute under the Department of AYUSH

The cabinet also gave its nod for introduction of a Bill in the Parliament for amending the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961. The existing ceiling of Rs. 250 as maternity bonus under the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, is inadequate in the present economic scenario. Hence, there was an urgent need to increase the amount to Rs 1000 so that it could be a source of financial support to working women as far as maternity benefits are concerned.

This decision will empower the central government to revise the medical bonus after every three years payable under the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, subject to the maximum limit not being more than an amount of Rs 20,000 by issuing notification.



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