The government will be introducing legislation in Parliament to start bringing subsidiaries of the State Bank of India (SBI) on par with other banks and modernize their operations.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, which met on Thursday, has also extended the duration of an incentive bonus given to farmers who supply rice to the central pool for the kharif season.
The SBI (Subsidiary Banks Laws) Amendment Bill, 2006, proposes to consider executives of subsidiaries of SBI for the post of chairmen of the subsidiaries. It also seeks to empower the subsidiaries’ boards of directors to make regulations, provided they have prior Reserve Bank of India approval.
The incentive bonus given to farmers, who supply to the central pool, will be extended by six months until 30 September 2007 in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. In Bihar and Kerala, the bonus will be handed out until 31 May 2007.
The bonus of Rs40 per quintal is in addition to the minimum support price (MSP). It was meant to last only through March. The extension is valid on ‘common’ and ‘grade A’ variety rice, for which the government has announced an MSP of Rs580 and Rs610 per quintal respectively.
Another decision reached was to introduce tougher norms for road-based goods transporters. The cabinet cleared the introduction of a new Bill in Parliament to replace the existing Carriers Act that dates back to 1865.
The new Carriage by Road Bill, pending since 2005, proposes “deterrent” penalties on transporters and says that a carrier’s registration may be revoked if it overloads vehicles. At present, overloading only attracts a fine.
The government will also introduce a common registration system that will replace the current system of having to register in each state or Union territory that a transporter operates in.
The cabinet has also decided to amend the Indian Boilers Act, 1923, so that private players may inspect the manufacturing, installation and usage of boilers in industry.