National Conference won’t allow direct application of 73rd amendment: Rather

‘Any Such Move Would Undermine JK’s Special Status’

KHALID GUL

Islamabad (Anantnag), Oct 24: Minister for Finance, Abdul Rahim Rather Wednesday made it clear that National Conference (NC) will never allow direct application of 73rd amendment of Indian constitution to Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act as “it undermines the state’s special status.”
Speaking to media persons on the sidelines of a function in Achabal area of this South Kashmir district, Rather said; “We are ready to incorporate certain provisions of the 73rd amendment but cannot allow it to be fully extended to the state’s Panchayat Raj Act as it undermines the special position enjoyed by the state under Article 370”.
He said implementing 73rd amendment will mean that the state government has to give concurrence to its extension to Jammu and Kashmir. “We can improve our Panchayat Raj Act without implementing the 73rd amendment in totality and it surely will serve the purpose,” said Rather.
He said if the 73rd amendment is implemented then the Parliament alone can bring any further amendments in it. “I don’t think even Congress is in favor of extending the 73rd amendment to the state,” Rather said and added that the issue of 73rd amendment has been resolved mutually by the coalition partners – NC and Congress - and there was no difference of opinion on it now.
On the demands of the employees, Rather said; “We have full-filled almost all the demands of the employees and the recommendations regarding the implementation of sixth pay commission were implemented from 2009.”
He said the landmark decision of regularizing the services of daily wagers, adhoc employees and those working on consolidated salary which had been the long pending demand of employees was implemented though it was not part of the recommendations of sixth pay commission.
“We have done whatever we could do to safeguard the rights of the employees,” Rather asserted.
He said decision to release seven percent Dearness Allowance (DA) in favor of employees will be taken in the cabinet meeting scheduled to be held on Thursday. “I am optimistic that the recommendation will be accepted in the cabinet meeting and the amount will be released to the employees before Eid-ul-Azha”, he said.
“Our major portion of the budget comprises of wage bill (which includes pension bill) and that amounts to Rs 15000 crore,” Rather said.
Regarding the demand of employees for increasing the retirement age, Rather said that a decision on it could only be taken by the cabinet after taking all the stakeholders on board. “The employees should come forward for talks and not adopt the path of confrontation,” said Rather.
On increasing the cap on LPG cylinders Rather said; “Raising the cap on subsidized LPG cylinders from six to nine will mean that additional Rs 260 crore expenditure and if it is increased by twelve then we will have to bear Rs 520 crore more expenses and it was not part of our annual state budget.”
He said the government has decided to take up the issue with central government so that it announces a special package and a consensus has already been reached on it in the house.
Rather said that he will be taking up the issue of less number of LPG dealers in the valley and also in Islamabad district in the cabinet meet on Thursday.
Earlier, the minister inaugurated Treasuries at Achabal and Awantipora. He was accompanied by legislators Peerzada Mansoor Hussain, Zahoor Ahmed Mir, Principal Secretary Finance, M Iqbal Khanday, District Development Commissioner (DDC), Anantnag, Farooq Ahmad Shah and District Development Commissioner, Pulwama Shafat Noor.

Lastupdate on : Wed, 24 Oct 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 24 Oct 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 25 Oct 2012 00:00:00 IST




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