Ahead of general election, the Centre today took key decisions to woo minorities and Government employees.

For minorities, the Cabinet has decided to form equal opportunity commission as suggested by Sachhar Committee. This commission will suggest ways to ensure equal opportunities in jobs, education and even finding house on rent for minorities. The commission is expected to be constituted soon.

Terms of reference for 7th pay commission

In order to benefit over 50 lakh employees and over 30 lakh pensioners, the Cabinet also approved terms of reference for seventh pay commission. This includes merging dearness allowance above 50 per cent with basic pay. Currently DA is around 90 per cent of basic pay and another hike of 10 per cent is expected soon. DA is calculated on the basis of change in retail inflation.

Non-statutory coal regulator

In another significant decision, the Cabinet gave its nod for setting up non-statutory coal regulator. This mechanism is expected to resolve the disputes between coal and power companies.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved payment of salary and other dues to HMT. This will entail an expenditure of over Rs 77 crore.

Nod for Rs 8,000 cr foreign investment

The CCEA also approved foreign investment of approximately Rs 8,000 crore. It gave its nod to the proposal for acquisition of 100 per cent equity stake in Prizm Payment Services Pvt Ltd by Hitachi Consulting Software Services India Pvt Ltd and Hitachi Ltd, Japan. The approval would result in foreign investment of approximately Rs 1,540 crore in the country.

Similarly, the committee approved the proposal of GlaxoSmithKline Pte Ltd, Singapore for the acquisition of 24.33 per cent of shares in the existing Indian subsidiary company of the GSK Group in India by way of a voluntary open offer under SEBI (SAST) Regulations in the pharmaceutical sector. This would result in foreign investment of approximately Rs 6,390 crore in the country.

(This article was published on February 20, 2014)
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