The Union Cabinet today decided to set aside 5 per cent funds under the Indira Awaas Yojana and the Accelerated Rural Water Supply Scheme to meet contingencies arising out of natural calamities.
The Cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, approved a special terminal benefit package for the employees of Bharat Gold Mines Ltd, which has since been closed. Other decisions included revision in payscales of the engineering staff of the All India Radio (AIR) and the Doordarshan and revision of family pension for high court judges.
The Cabinet also allowed Members of Parliament to pool a third telephone connection for Internet with their total entitlement of Rs 1,50,000 per annum.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, parliamentary affairs minister Pramod Mahajan said the ministry of rural development would hold 5 per cent of the funds allocated under the two schemes till February in each financial year to meet any contingency arising out of natural calamities. These funds will be in addition to the allocation under the National Calamity Relief Fund.
The special terminal benefit package for Bharat Gold Mines will benefit 3,533 employees of the company, who will be allowed to choose between the scheme offered by the heavy industry ministry and the Gujarat package for voluntary separation.
The employees will also be allowed to purchase at a reasonable price the hutments they are living in.
The Bill to amend the High Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Services) Act, 1954, seeks to grant family pension on the basis of pay (instead of pension) with effect from January 1, 1996. State governments would bear the additional burden, except for Delhi, Punjab and Haryana, where the Centre will have to pay Rs 5 lakh extra every year.
The government also decided to restore Internet facilities in Jammu and Kashmir and STD services in border areas of Rajasthan. Long-distance facilities in Jammu and Kashmir had already been restored. These services had been withdrawn due to security reasons, Mahajan said.
The Cabinet ratified a Double Taxation Avoidance Treaty with the Slovak Republic, making it the 65th country with which such a treaty had been signed, he said.
An extradition treaty with Spain was also ratified at the meeting, he added.