Cabinet strength to be increased
- Prime Minister will be undertaking an expansion of his Council of Ministers with 19 new Ministers from 10 States
- Aim: To improve the talent pool with ‘doers’, ie, with mostly junior Ministers
- The government will be expanding its cabinet for the second time since 2014
- The first major cabinet reshuffle was in November 2014
- At present there are 64 ministers, including the Prime Minister
- A maximum of 82 ministers can be accomodated, as per the law
Govt admits sedition definition is wide
- News: Govt admitted in Rajya Sabha that the definition of sedition under the law was very wide
- Context: Law Commission is carrying out a review of this law. Govt asked them to submit the report as soon as possible
- Clarification on law: Commission, in its 42nd report, had noted that the sedition law was “defective” but did not favour its deletion
- Commission sought a change in the definition but did not favour the scrapping of the law
PMO asks NITI Aayog to give report on stalled hydro power projects
PMO has asked NITI Aayog to prepare a report on stalled hydroelectric power projects as the govt aims to provide 24×7 electricity across the country.
- These stalled projects have held up large-scale investment and have contributed to rising NPAs.
- According to data by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), the proposed hydro capacity addition during the 12th FYP is 10,897 MW.
- However, up to December 2015, the actual capacity addition is only 3,651.02 MW which is 33.5% of the proposed capacity addition.
- Hydro power projects are generally categorized in two segments—small hydro (upto 25MW) and large hydro.
- Power ministry is responsible for large hydro projects, while the mandate for small hydro power is given to the new and renewable energy ministry.
PMO seeks welfare coverage for construction labour
PMO has asked the labour ministry to ensure that all construction workers in the country are covered under social security schemes such as the Employees’ Provident Fund.
- The biggest challenge in bringing millions of India’s construction workers under various welfare schemes is the seasonal and migrant nature of their job.
- Most workers in the construction sector are semi-skilled or unskilled and work at sites across the country for spells of a few months at a time.
- With low literacy levels, they are also prone to benefit cheating by employers or contractors they work with.
- Every state collects cess on the cost of construction incurred by employers to form a fund to be utilised for welfare of construction workers.
- To counter the issue of frequent changes in employer and location, the EPFO has decided to register construction workers on the Universal Account Number (UAN) portal.
- Thereby allocating them a universal number for easy transfer of PF funds while switching jobs.
PM’s interaction through PRAGATI
- The Prime Minister Modi, chaired his ninth interaction through PRAGATI – the ICT-based, multi-modal platform for Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation.
- Taking strong exception at complaints and grievances from people, related to the customs and excise sector, the PM asked for strict action against responsible officials.
- He urged all Secretaries whose departments have extensive public dealing, to set up a system for top-level monitoring of grievances immediately.
- Among the significant projects reviewed today were the Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link, the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) and the Jal Marg Vikas Project from Allahabad to Haldia.
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