August 29 :The cabinet, on Friday, has given its approval for introducing an amendment bill in the next session of Parliament to benefit more than ten lakh workers in plantations sector. The Bill will provide for the welfare, safety, better working condition and health of the workers in this sector. The Plantations Labour Amendment Bill 2008 will be introduced by making changes in the existing act on plantation labour.
Minister for the Science and technology, Mr Kapil Sibal said that that a special chapter will be introduced for the safety and absence of health risks while working in plantations . He also said that the definition of ‘worker’ would be amended by enhancing the wage ceiling from 750 rupees to 10,000 rupees. In other features of the proposed amendments, the definition of ‘family’ will be changed to remove the distinction between a female and a male worker and no child would be allowed to be employed in the plantations. The amendments will make it obligatory on the state government to provide medical facilities adding that the state could recover the cost from the employers.
In another major decision the cabinet gave its nod for the introduction of the Companies Bill 2008 in the Parliament in the next session to replace the existing companies act of 1956 by incorporating far reaching changes . The proposed changes include the minimum paid-up capital requirement and setting up special courts to try offences.
The Companies Bill 2008 mandates 33 per cent independent directors on the board of a company. According to the proposed Bill, a single person will be able to set up a company. The limit of the number of Partners in partnership firms will be increased from 20 to 100. There will be no limit with regard to partnership under special act. There are provision for new regulations for accountability and transparency for governance. The comprehensive changes have been proposed in view of the changing economic and commercial environment national and globally.
The cabinet has further given its nod for changes in a bill pending in Lok Sabha for the setting up of Airports Economic Regulatory Authority. Mr. Kapil Sibal said that the Regulatory Authority will fix, review and approve tariff structure for aeronautical services. It will also monitor pre-set performance standards at the airports. The official amendment in the Airport Economic Regulatory Authority of India Bill,2007 will be brought in the coming Parliament session.
The cabinet has also given its green signal for extending the tenure of the second Administrative Reforms Commission by six months till the 31st of March, 2009.
The cabinet has given its approval for honouring living freedom fighters by giving them sammanpatras . The Sammanpatras will be given to the freedom fighters who are already in receipt of central Samman pension. The maximum number of sammanpatra will be limited to twenty thousand to start with and the first batch of Samman Patras will be distributed on the second of October the birth day of Father of the nation. This is being done as a special gesture of recognition of the sacrifices made by the freedom fighters and as a tribute to them.
The cabinet also gave its nod for signing of an MOU between India and Norway for cooperation in the field of fisheries. AIR