New Delhi: As it grapples with a pro-poor, pro-farmer Budget that seeks to keep the Opposition at bay over rising prices and maintain growth, the United Progressive Alliance government is under pressure from state units and allies, who, facing polls in eight states, as well as general polls in 2009, have a tough wish list.
In February, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, a key ally in Tami Nadu, had asked for the early construction of the Sethusamudram project. In Andhra Pradesh, the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), has threatened its MPs will quit unless a Bill to create Telangana state is introduced in the session, which starts on Monday.
At a conference on Sunday, parliamentary affairs minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi said:,“I cannot say if the Bill on Telangana will be introduced this session or not, but I request the TRS leadership not take hasty steps.” In the states due for polls this year such as Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir and, possibly, Rajasthan, expectations range from higher foodgrain allocation to new schools and industries. “Political parties want to discuss threats to Christians in Orissa, the mineral policy, North Indians in Maharastra, the employment situation, Sethusamudram and the India-US nuclear deal,” Dasmunsi said.
Sanjiv Shankaran contributed to this story.
RBI cautions states on pay commission
Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has cautioned state governments against adopting recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission without considering their capacity to bear the additional burden.
The central bank’s suggestion comes about a month and a half before the Sixth Pay Commission is scheduled to submit its report on a new pay structure for the Central government employees.
The states need to base their decisions relating to salary levels after due consideration to their fiscal capacity, employee strength, size of population and the required complementary expenditure for productive employment, RBI said.
NBW to conserve six endangered species
Kolkata: The National Board for Wildlife (NBW) has selected six endangered animals and birds for conservation for the first time. These include the snow leopard, Kashmiri stag or hangul, wild buffalo, Gangetic dolphin and two birds—Great Indian bustard and Jerdons courser, an NBW member said.
“We need to have long-term programmes to save these endangered animals and birds. Special care would be taken for their conservation under a special programme,” member of NBW and director of Wildlife Institute of India, P. R. Sinha said.
With the tiger population declining, these species too were becoming scarce and need to be conserved, he added.
CBI seeks revocation of Nanda’s passport
New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has in a letter to the ministry of external affairs sought revocation of the passport of arms dealer Suresh Nanda.
The CBI had on 30 January secured temporary suspension of Nanda’s passport for four weeks.
Nanda is accused of receiving Rs400 crore in bribes to clinch defence deals including India’s purchase of Barak missiles from Israel and armoured recovery vehicles.
Nanda, son of former Naval chief Admiral S.M. Nanda, has denied any wrong doing and also claimed that the money received was through legitimate banking channels.