The Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs on Wednesday recommended prorogation of Parliament ahead of Friday’s Cabinet meeting which is scheduled to clear an unprecedented number of proposals including the possibility of draft ordinances on the pet anti-graft bills of the Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
“It is a choc-o-bloc agenda. I have never known seen such heavy agenda before the Cabinet. We are working feverishly as if for the last supper,” a senior Finance Ministry official told The Hindu. The UPA government is keen on clearing as many proposals as possible before the expected general election announcement of the Election Commission after which the Code of Conduct comes into vogue. Among the items for clearance include 54 new Kendriya Vidyalayas and GSLV-Mark III.
Marathon Cabinet meeting expected
With the schedule for the Lok Sabha likely to be announced on Saturday, the UPA government is working “feverishly” on a record number of announcements, appointments and initiatives before the model code of conduct kicks in.
The Cabinet meeting on Friday is expected to be a “marathon” one as it will be the last opportunity for the government to take policy decisions as well as ‘populist’ sops, top Finance Ministry sources told The Hindu.
The proposals lined up for Friday’s Cabinet include 54 new Kendriya Vidalayas, space programme GSLV-Mark III, a six-lane bypass for Delhi, terms of reference for the 7 Pay Commission which was set up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently.
It is expected to consider Rs. 3,500 crore budget for new broadcasting infrastructure for All India Radio and Doordarshan, 10-per cent Dearness Allowance for government employees and 600 MW hydro-power projects in Bhutan. The dearness allowance hike to 100 per cent from the existing 90 per cent is expected to benefit to benefiting 50 lakh employees and 30 lakh pensioners.
New schemes have been put up for approval by the Ministries for health, tourism, water resources, human resource development and agriculture. These include expansion of government-funded PhD seats for electronic systems design and manufacturing of hardware, a new investment scheme for urea, two new highways and a health research scheme from the Human Resource Development Ministry. Some shipping and steel projects will also come up for approvals.
Officials believe some more items could be put on the block-buster agenda. A Cabinet Minister told The Hindu that the government expects the Election Commission to announce the general election schedule on Saturday or latest by Monday.