MP cabinet announces sops for poor and tribal families



Big relief in power tariff for small consumers, greater outreach towards the tribal population, mid-day meals for madarsa students, and age relaxation for candidates taking the state civil services examinations were among major decisions taken by the Madhya Pradesh cabinet on Monday.

The state government decided to provide electricity at Re 1 per unit to all domestic consumers using up to 100 units every month, with a cap of upto 150 units.

"Till now, this subsidised scheme of providing 100 units per month at Re 1 per unit was meant for poor labourers registered under Indira Griha Jyoti Yojana. We have now extended it to all consumers using less than 150 units," state Power Minister Priyavrat Singh said after the cabinet meeting. 

The step is meant to encourage minimised power consumption, he said

As part of the scheme, the initial 100 units would be charged at Re 1 per unit, while the next 50 units would be charged as per prevailing rates, Singh explained. The scheme which so far covered 56 lakh consumers will now be extended to 1.01 crore households. 
The bills for the beneficiaries of this scheme will be of different colour.

Consumers from the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities, using up to 30 units, will be charged at Rs 25 per month, and they would get bills once every four months. 

District-level committees have been formed to look into consumer complaints about discrepancies in electricity bills.

The cabinet also passed a proposal to amend the provisions of the Madhya Pradesh Scheduled Tribe Moneylender Bill. Tribal families who have taken loans from unlicensed moneylenders will be exempt from repayment and loans advanced by non-licensed money lenders to the tribal families till August 15 this year will be written off. 

The cabinet endorsed the decision of Chief Minister Kamal Nath who had made an announcement to this effect in Chhindwara on August 15. This scheme will be implemented in scheduled areas covering 89 tribal development blocks. 

The government took this decision after 37 years by adding a new section in the Scheduled Tribes Moneylenders Regulations of 1972. Moneylenders will not be able to recover the debts. If they force or coerce the loan recipients to pay, police action would follow. The new provision carries a three year sentence and a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh. 

Even the licensed moneylenders will not be able to decide the interest rate on their own and the government will decide it.

The cabinet also decided extend the mid-day meal to children studying in madarasas. At present, more than 45 lakh children of 1, 13,000schools of the state get mid-day meal. Now the Panchayat and Rural Development Department will arrange to execute the scheme proposed by the School Education Department.

It was also decided to increase the maximum age limit in General Administration Department government jobs from 35 to 40 years. This decision will be applicable in direct recruitment and MPPSC recruitment. A committee of three ministers has been formed to resolve the matters under the Madhya Pradesh Civil Services (Pension) Rules. 

The government decided to celebrate the 75th birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi as Youth Day. Chief Minister Kamal Nath will speak to the youth on Tuesday.

With Kamal Nath having given a new slogan 'Shuddha ke liye Yuddha' to end adulteration in food products, the ongoing action against adulteration will also cover spices and pulses. 

The Congress government is also pursuing a policy of soft Hindutva to negate the BJP's move to monopolise the plank. Over the weekend, the administration cleared Rs 300 crore for the renovation of the ancient Mahakaleshwar temple in Ujjain. The Chief Minister left for Ujjain after the cabinet meeting to participate in the pooja. The town witnesses a major procession in which the idol of Lord Shiva is taken through the streets in a palanquin on the first day of the Hindu month Bhadrapada. IANS