Press Act Amendment Likely

New Delhi, Sept 28 | Updated: Sep 29 2004, 05:30am hrs
The Cabinet is likely to consider amendments in the Press Registration Act for allowing government to screen newspaper titles before they are cleared by the Registrar of Newspapers of India (RNI).

The Cabinet committee on economic affairs was expected to take up on Wednesday the setting up of an investment commission, which was likely to be a non-government panel headed by a professional, sources said.

Other proposals likely to be considered are a Rs 6,000-crore food-for-work programme in 150 most backward districts and reconstitution of the National Commission on Farmers (NCF), headed by MS Swaminathan.

Sources said publication of Indian edition of IHT by the Hyderabad-based Midram Publications had caused a major embarrassment to the government, following which the then RNI chief GD Beliya was shunted out and another senior official put on compulsory wait.

The Cabinet meeting on Wednesday is likely to suggest a change in the clause of the Press Registration Act to guarantee that RNI gave clearance to a newspaper title only after consultation with the ministry, sources said, adding this is expected to bar Indian editions of foreign newspapers.

The Cabinet will consider a food-for-work programme to generate income and employment for the poor.

Since six months of this fiscal had already elapsed, the allocation this year for the programme was expected to be around Rs 6,000 crore, but next year it would be to the tune of Rs 15,000 crore, sources said.

Funds from existing social schemes, including Sampoorna Gramin Rozgar Yojana, Sampoorna Gramin Sadak Yojana, Rural Employment Guarantee Programme and Prime Ministers Rozgar Yojana were proposed to be used for the new food-for-work programme, sources said, adding ministry for rural development will be the nodal agency for the new scheme.