The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a six-month extension to the commission appointed to examine sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes.
Headed by retired Delhi High Court Chief Justice G. Rohini, the commission will now have till January 31, 2021, to submit its report, the government said in a statement.
Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said the Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had decided to give the extension. He said the work of the commission was ongoing but had been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The statement said the commission was looking into the issues of communities that were not getting the benefits of reservation.
Mr. Javadekar said, for instance, certain castes were left out of the ambit because of a difference in the spelling in a State. He said the commission would address such “anomalies”.
“The commission has come to the view that it would require some more time to submit its report since the repetitions, ambiguities, inconsistencies and errors of spelling or transcription, etc. appearing in the existing Central List of OBCs need to be cleared.
CAG report finds around 6500cr as unspent money in labour fund
Enquiries have revealed that two dozen states had Rs 6,707 crore of unspent money as on March 31, 2019, from a cess collected from employers of construction workers registered with them. The cess was collected by states under two central laws that were enacted in 1996 for the welfare of construction workers.
States have been spending only a meagre amount of this every year and much of it is still lying with them even as they are looking for funds, including from the Centre, to take care of migrant labours rendered jobless by the lockdown, government sources told on condition of anonymity. Many of the labourers who had returned to their native states since March were engaged in construction projects.
Centre decides to bring cooperative banks under RBI’s supervision
To protect depositors, the Centre has decided to bring all urban and multi-State cooperative banks under the supervision of the RBI. The Union Cabinet approved an ordinance to this effect on Wednesday.
Currently, these banks come under dual regulation of the RBI and the Registrar of Co-operative Societies.
The move to bring these urban and multi-State coop. banks under the supervision of the RBI comes after several instances of fraud and serious financial irregularities, including the major scam at the Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank last year. In September, the RBI was forced to supercede the PMC Bank’s board and impose strict restrictions.
The Cabinet also approved a scheme to provide interest subvention of 2% for a 12-month period to small borrowers with loans up to ₹50,000 under the Shishu category of the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana. This relief had been announced as part of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat package last month.
In a setback for Pakistan, the global terror financing watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has decided to keep Pakistan in the Grey List' for terror financing. The decision has been taken as Pakistan has failed to check flow of money to terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).
The decision was taken at the Financial Action Task Force's third and final plenary held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The plenary was held under the Chinese Presidency of Xiangmin Liu. Now, Pakistan will continue to remain in the Grey List till FATF's next meeting to be held in October. Now, it will be difficult for Pakistan to get financial aid from the IMF, World Bank, ADB and the European Union, thus further enhancing problems for the nation which is in a precarious financial situation.
If Pakistan fails to comply with the FATF directive by October, there is every possibility that the global body may put the country in the 'Black List' along with North Korea and Iran. A strong Indian delegation with experts on money laundering and terror financing participated in the half-day FATF plenary.
India has been maintaining that Pakistan extends regular support to terror groups like LeT, JeM and Hizbul Mujahideen, whose prime target is India, and has urged FATF to take action against Islamabad. The FATF currently has 39 members including two regional organizations -- the European Commission and Gulf Cooperation Council.
India expresses concern over instability in Libya
India has said the continuing conflict and instability in Libya is a matter of international concern.
In response to media query on recent developments in Libya, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said New Delhi supports efforts towards immediate cessation of all hostilities in Libya.
He said, India acknowledges the recent international efforts in this direction, including the Berlin International Conference held on 19th January and the Cairo Declaration of 6th June.
He said, country hopes that these initiatives will promote the peaceful resolution of the conflict through an intra-Libyan dialogue taking into account the legitimate aspirations of the Libyan people, while preserving Libya’s sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity.
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the creation of the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe) to provide a level playing field for private companies to use Indian space infrastructure. This is part of reforms aimed at giving a boost to private sector participation in the entire range of space activities.
India was among a handful of countries with advanced capabilities in the space sector and these reforms would allow the Indian Space Research Organsiation (ISRO) to focus more on research and development activities, new technologies, exploration missions and human spaceflight programme, the statement said.
“Some of the planetary exploration missions will also be opened up to private sector through an ‘announcement of opportunity’ mechanism,” it added.
ISRO Chairman K Sivan had stated that NSIL was incorporated to carry forward the industry production of space systems and the ISRO’s efforts in realising Polar Satellite Launch Vehicles (PSLV) from industry.
:: SPORTS ::
ICC board to finalise selection of chairman
The International Cricket Council (ICC) Board is set to meet on Thursday to finalise the process of electing chairman Shashank Manohar’s successor.
The issue has been on the agenda for the ICC Board since last month but has had to be postponed due to other issues — T20 World Cup fate and breach of confidentiality clause — taking centre stage in the last couple of meetings. As a result, the ICC Board is scheduled to meet on Thursday primarily to finalise the election process.
Manohar, despite being eligible for another two-year term, has made it clear he will step down after being the first independent ICC chairman. While the pandemic has resulted in his term being extended, all the national Boards are hoping that the election process kicks off at the earliest.
The uncertainty over T20 World Cup, scheduled to be played in Australia in October-November, is unlikely to be over until the Board nails down the new ICC chief.