6500 adhoc employees set to be regularised
*Empowered Comm clears cases

By Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, Nov 29: In a major decision, the Government has decided that all 6500 adhoc/contractual/consolidated employees working in different Departments, who have completed their seven years of services would be regularized in next couple of months, most likely by the end of January next year.

Official sources told the Excelsior that nearly 5000 employees, who had been engaged on adhoc/contractual basis in different Government Departments and had completed seven years of services have been regularized in the Government services by a high level Empowered Committee, set up by the Government by an Act of the Legislature.

"As far as remaining 1500 employees, who were also eligible for regularization, the Empowered Committee had written to their concerned departments seeking some clarifications. As soon as reply to the queries are received, these 1500 employees would also be regularised’’, sources said.

The Empowered Committee, has been meeting periodically, after receiving the cases from different departments. It had almost completed its task by clearing cases of 5000 adhoc/contractual/consolidated employees for regularization. The cases have been sent to the concerned Departments for issuing orders of the absorption of employees in the Government jobs.

Sources said the Empowered Committee, which was headed by Commissioner/Secretary, Finance, Sudhanshu Pandey, had detected some discrepancies in the case of 1500 employees, whose cases had been recommended for regularization. The Committee reported back the cases to the concerned Departments seeking clarifications.

It hoped that cases of 1500 employees would also be approved once the clarifications are received about them from their parent Departments.

After being constituted, the Empowered Committee headed by Mr Pandey and comprising top officials of different other Departments, had called record of all adhoc/contractual/consolidated employees from the Government Departments, who were entitled for regularization under the Government guidelines framed after a bill to this effect was approved by the Legislature.

The Committee scrutinized the record and has finally cleared 5000 cases of eligible employees for regularization in the services. It would pursue remaining 1500 cases after receiving replies to their clarifications and hopefully regularize them by the end of January next year.

According to sources, the Empowered Committee was confident that the process of regularization of all 6500 eligible cases would be completed in the next two months.

However, the adhoc/consolidated/contractual employees, who were yet to complete seven years of services, a major requirement for regularization under the Act of Legislature, the Empowered Committee would take up their cases only when they complete seven years in services.

The Head of Departments (HoDs) would recommend the cases of employees for absorption in regular Government jobs only when they complete seven years in services.

According to sources, the adhoc/consolidated/contractual employees would deemed to be the Government employees from the date their regularization ordered were issued and not from the date they had been engaged on adhoc or other basis, which means that these employees wouldn’t be entitled to benefits of Sixth Pay Commission arrears, though they would get new scales under the near Commission.

The employees wouldn’t fall under new recruitment policy (stipendiary mode) of the Government, which has already been stayed by the High Court. Moreover, the new policy was proposed to be applicable only on fresh advertisements.

The opposition as well as ruling party members had been agitating for more than a couple of years demanding regularization of adhoc/consolidated/contractual employees. The Government had finally brought a bill for regularization of such employees and later set up an Empowered Committee to receive cases from the Departments and clear them.

Anna puts Govt on notice, warns another fast
*Par Panel for exclusion of judiciary from Lokpal

RALEGAN SIDDHI/NEW DELHI, Nov 29: Putting the Government on notice on Lokpal issue, Anna Hazare today threatened to go on an indefinite fast in Delhi from December 27 while terming that the draft report by Parliamentary Standing Committee as a "betrayal" of countrymen.

Hazare said he did want the Government to "make a fool of us" on the issue. Hazare also announced that he will sit on a one-day fast in Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on December 11.

In a bid pressurise Congress, the activist also sought to corner the ruling party saying he will tour the five poll- bound states and tell electorate how the Government was betraying them on the Lokpal Bill.

The 74-year-old activist said his indefinite fast will be at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi from December 27 if a strong bill was not passed during the winter session of Parliament. If it happens, it will be his third indefinite fast this year on the Lokpal issue.

"The Government has assured us that there will be a strong Lokpal bill. We were given an assurance by the Parliament. Now the Standing Committee report is out. When I saw the report, I realised that they have again betrayed the countrymen. Government has committed deceit," he said.

"What is strong about this Lokpal Bill? How is it powerful?" he told reporters here.

Hazare also sought to attack Dr Manmohan Singh saying that despite the Prime Minister giving it in writing, the Standing Committee did not adhere to the assurances of Parliament.

Hazare wondered why NGOs and media were brought under the ambit of Lokpal. "On one hand, you are including media and NGOs but on the other hand, you do not want the Prime Minister and MPs. This is not fair," he said.

Prominent Team Anna members Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi also joined the chorus against the draft report, questioning the exclusion of judiciary from the ambit of the ombudsman while opposing inclusion of NGOs and media in it.

"Why is the Prime Minister afraid of submitting himself to the Lokpal? If you are clean, then there is no need to be scared," he said.

Hazare noted that Parliament has passed a resolution saying that lower bureacracy will be included under the ambit of Lokpal besides providing for Citizen’s Charter and setting up Lokayuktas in States.

"Now the Standing Committee says no even after the Prime Minister gives it in writing. What is this Government all about? Now there is a change. There is a betrayal...We don’t want the Government to make a fool of us," he said adding the draft recommendations do not help in tackling corruption.

Hazare took exception to the exclusion of lower bureaucracy, judiciary and CBI under the ambit of Lokpal.

On the issue of lower bureaucracy, Hazare said if they are not included in the law, poor people will suffer. "We were demanding every section, from top to bottom, under Lokpal. Poor people cannot get their work done without paying bribe," he said.

He said it was very necessary that the anti-corruption wing of CBI be under Lokpal to ensure that there is no interference from the Government in its functioning. "One of the reason for corruption is Government interference."

Reacting to the panel’s draft report, Kejriwal sought to remind the Government of the Parliamentary resolution that led to Anna Hazare ending his fast on August 28, saying he hoped it would be respected.

"When Anna ended his fast, Parliament agreed to a resolution that stated clearly on lower bureaucracy and Citizen’s Charter. We just hope that resolution is respected," he said.

Meanwhile, ruling out the inclusion of judiciary under the ambit of Lokpal, a Parliamentary panel which scrutinised the measure, has recommended a revamp of the appointment process of judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts.

The draft report on the Lokpal Bill, which has been circulated to members and would come up for finalisation tomorrow, says if judiciary is brought under the purview of Lokpal, the end result would be the possible and potential prosecution of even an apex court judge before the relevant magistrate exercising the relevant jurisdiction.

"This would lead to an extraordinarily piquant and an untenable situation and would undermine judicial independence at its very root," the report said identifying the judiciary as a "separate and distinct organ" of the State.

But at the same time, the draft report recalled its recommendations on the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, 2010 tabled on August 30 this year, and said the judiciary cannot be left unpoliced and reiterated that the process of judicial appointments be revisited through a fresh legislation.

"...The Committee again recommends, in the present context of the Lokpal Bill, that the entire appointment process of the higher judiciary needs to be revamped and reformed," the draft report states.

It said the present system of appointment process "cannot be allowed and should not be allowed to continue in the hands of a self-appointed common law mechanism created by a judicial order operating since the early 90s."

The Committee on Personnel and Law and Justice has also recommended setting up of a National Judicial Commission (NJC) to create a "broad-based and comprehensive model" for judicial appointments, including, if necessary, by way of amendment of Articles 124 and 217 of the Constitution.

The draft report says the NJC should also be entrusted with powers of both transfer and criminal prosecution of judges for corruption.

"If desired, by amending the provisions of the Constitution as they stand today, such proposed NJC may also give the power of dismissal or removal," the report says.

Law Minister Salman Khurshid, while addressing a press conference here on November 18, had said that the Government was "today not looking at the Judicial Commission. We are only looking at improving the present regime and ensuring that the present regime is improved along with a statutory backing of the code of conduct."

When asked if he was not ruling out further legislation for judicial accountability, he had said "absolutely".

Though the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, 2010 does not refer to appointment of judges, the same Committee in its report on the measure had said that it "unequivocally feels that the present Bill deals only partially with the problem and the main systematic lacunae remain unaddressed".

"The Committee is of the view that the Government has to move beyond an incremental approach and give urgent and due thought to a holistic legislation encompassing the appointment process. To ensure judicial accountability for improved administration of justice," the report on Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill had said in August. (PTI)

Permanent restoration works to be covered under SPA/STF
PC clears flood protection projects,
2 major schemes of Leh Master Plan

By Mohinder Verma

JAMMU, Nov 29: Planning Commission of India today cleared flood protection projects and two major schemes of Leh Master Plan, funding for which would start from the beginning of the next financial year. However, the permanent restoration works would be covered under the Special Plan Assistance and Special Task Force over a period of time.

Authoritative sources told EXCELSIOR that after having threadbare discussion on the funds constraints of the State Government for permanent restoration of the damaged infrastructure and meet other post-calamity developmental needs of the Ladakh region with the top brass of the Jammu and Kashmir Government, Union Finance Ministry and Kashmir Affairs Department of the Union Home Ministry, the Planning Commission find out a via-media to help the region.

As far as flood protection works are concerned, the Planning Commission cleared projects for training of four more major nullahs of the Leh district namely Saboo, Phyang, Nimoo and Ney Basgo, sources said, adding "these projects have already been cleared by the Central Water Commission and presently lying with the Union Ministry of Water Resources".

It is pertinent to mention here that Planning Commission has already given investment clearance to the flood protection and training works on Igoo Nullah at an estimated cost of ` 35.83 crore at 2010-11 price level.

About the funding pattern of these projects, sources said, "90 per cent cost of the projects would be borne by the Union Ministry of Water Resources and 10 per cent funds would have to be arranged by the State Government".

Sources disclosed that Planning Commission has also technically cleared two major schemes of the Leh Master Plan and the same would be covered under the National Urban Renewable Mission (NURM). The funds for these schemes relating to water supply and solid waste management would be released from next financial year, they added.

As far as permanent restoration works are concerned, the Planning Commission, while mentioning that there was no separate budget line entry in the Union Budget to meet expenditure in this regard, decided to provide financial assistance under the Special Plan Assistance and Special Task Force resources over a period of time.

"For permanent restoration of damaged infrastructure in the Ladakh region, over ` 200 crore are required and works to the tune of ` 48 crore have already been executed by the Hill Councils of both the districts with the anticipation of early release of funds", sources said.

"The liability of ` 48 crore—` 30 crore in Leh and Rs 18 crore in Kargil would also be met through the funds to be provided under Special Plan Assistance and Special Task Force", sources said, adding "the liability would be cleared in two installments beginning from current financial year".

"The possibility of getting permanent restoration works conducted under various Centrally sponsored schemes like PMGSY and NREGA would also be explored", sources said in response to a question.

FDI standoff cripples Parliament

NEW DELHI, Nov 29: A hardening standoff over the Government inviting 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail in the country crippled Parliament for the third successive day today, casting a shadow over the remainder of the winter session.

The Opposition was joined by UPA allies Trinamool Congress and DMK and BSP and SP in demanding a rollback of the Cabinet decision, shortly after an all-party meeting of the Government with floor leaders failed to resolve the impasse over the issue.

The House of the People and the Council of States were adjourned for the first time till noon before proceedings were called off for the day, washing out business for the sixth consecutive day of the winter session of Parliament since it commenced on November 22.

Amid noisy scenes, the Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day today within four minutes after it re-assembled at 1200 hours following an earlier adjournment.

AIADMK member M Thambi Durai who was in the Chair was forced to adjourn the House as the entire Opposition and several allies of the UPA were up on their feet demanding scrapping of the 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail trade.

BJP Members displayed placards urging rollback of the move to invite FDI in multi-brand retail.

A large number of Andhra Pradesh MPs carried placards asking the Government to immediately bring the Telangana bill in the House.

Thambi Durai requested the Members to go back to their respective seats. When they did not listen to him, the Presiding officer was forced to adjourn the House till tomorrow.

Earlier in a repeat of yesterday, the Lok Sabha was adjourned minutes into the Question Hour with the entire Opposition along with UPA allies Trinamool Congress and DMK up in arms to protest Government’s proposal for FDI in multi-brand retail among other issues.

Speaker Meira Kumar tried in vain to calm agitated Members and run the show but members of the Samajwadi Party, Trinamool Congress and Left Parties stormed to the well of the House to register their protest, even as BJP members stood on their seats in support and the treasury bench watched in silence.

While the BJP, SP, BSP, CPI, CPI-M, JD-U protested against the Government’s move to invite 51 per cent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail trade, MPs from Kerala and Tamil Nadu raised their voice to highlight the Mullaperiyar Dam issue.

The flag-bearer of the Telangana issue was Telangana Rashtriya Samiti (TRS) chief T Chandrashekhar Rao with liberal support from several MPs of the region. They waved placards in support of their demand for a separate State to be carved out from Andhra Pradesh.

Just after the House met for the day, the Speaker condoled the death of 15 persons in a road accident in Maharashtra. Members also stood up in silence for a while to express their sorrow.

Among those present in the House were Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, BJP veteran L K Advani, JD-U leader Sharad Yadav, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, CPI-M leader Basudeb Acharia and DMK’s T R Baalu.

Opposition MPs forced an adjournment of the Rajya Sabha with some allies of the UPA joining the protest against the Government allowing FDI in multi-brand retail in the country.

The House did not witness any proceedings during the Question Hour.

The much-hyped all-Party meeting this morning to discuss the recent Government decision of allowing 51 per cent FDI in retail and find out a way to resolve the Parliament logjam on the issue ended without any compromise.

This indicated that the Parliament deadlock on the issue would continue.

The hour-long meeting ended without any compromise because of diametrically opposite stances with a stubborn Opposition demanding a total rollback of the Government decision and the Government unrelenting.

The meeting held at Parliament House, was chaired by Finance Minister and senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee who will brief Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on the development.

Senior opposition leaders L K Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Sharad Yadav and Gurudas Dasgupta attended the meeting.

Sources said there were indications initially that a ‘middle path’ would be discussed to enable smooth functioning of Parliament which has been paralysed for the past three days on the issue.

However, a defiant Opposition was in no mood to compromise on anything less than a total roll-back of the decision while the Government appeared ready for partial step-back, sources said.

The Government has increasingly been cornered on the issue during the past three days with Opposition stalling Parliament.

As many as 272 members, including those from the BJP and Shiv Sena, oppose the Government’s decision while 223 are in favour.

The opposition to the FDI move comes from 146 members of the BJP, 24 of the Left, 21 of the BSP, 22 of SP, 36 of Trinamool and DMK and 9 of AIADMK.

Those backing the Government on the issue are—besides 207 of Congress--9 of NCP, 3 National Conference and 4 Akali Dal. (UNI)

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