Govt rushes to clear key decisions

Govt rushes to clear key decisions

Racing against time ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, the UPA government on Friday cleared a number of populist measures like increasing dearness allowance to 100 per cent and fixing minimum pension at Rs 1,000.

It also approved increasing expenditure cap for candidates in the general elections to Rs 70 lakh. The government rushed to clear a number of important decisions in a marathon meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, but, it did not bring Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s pet anti-corruption laws as ordinances. Once the Election Commission announces poll dates, the model code of conduct comes into effect. The government cannot announce any policy decision or election sop then. The meeting gave its nod to imposition of President’s Rule in Andhra Pradesh.

However, it is not clear whether the Assembly elections will be held for the separate states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh along with the Lok Sabha polls.

Like the DA hike and minimum pension, the government sought to woo around 80 lakh central government employees and pensioners by giving a mandate to the 7th Pay Commission to revise salaries and pensions.

Keeping in mind the Election Commission’s recommendation, it decided to raise the expenditure cap for a Lok Sabha candidate to Rs 70 lakh from Rs 40 lakh.

The move was criticised by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who said it would only help large political parties with enough cash and encourage corruption.

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