The Union cabinet on Thursday approved a Rs1,581 crore programme to improve the quality of vocational training institutes across the country in an attempt to increase the skill levels and number of workers who are in short supply in an economy that grew at 9.4% last year and is expected to grow at over 8% this year.
The programme will be implemented with assistance from the World Bank and its cost will be shared between the Centre and various states.
The cabinet also approved rules related to the mandatory packing of foodgrains and sugar in jute bags for 2007-08. Certain commodities are compulsorily packed in jute bags in order to support the employment-intensive jute sector; this year, the government has decided that 100% of foodgrains and sugar will be packed in jute bags.
The ministry of textiles may relax this by up to 20% in case of disruption in supplies of jute. In addition, packages that weigh 25kg or less or 100kg and more will be exempt from the rule. The cabinet also approved a proposal for the Centre to take over the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology in Kerala and make it an autonomous institute under the department of biotechnology.
It has also decided to ratify the United Nations’ International Convention Against Doping in Sports and has also decided to set up a national dope test laboratory (NDTL) in the country.
“Keeping in view the menace of doping in sports the decision will reiterate India’s commitment to anti-doping,” said information and broadcasting minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi.