With the festive season ahead, the Cabinet on Wednesday announced productivity-linked bonus (PLB) equivalent to 78 days’ wages for the Indian Railways’ 12.3 lakh non-gazetted employees. The gesture will cost the transporter Rs 2,245 crore. The Cabinet also approved transfer of three India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) hotels to the respective state governments for a total consideration of about Rs 25 crore. Among other decisions, it approved a revamped Khelo India programme to create an ecosystem for budding sportspersons at a cost of Rs 1,756 crore for three years until 2019-20. To motivate the workers of the railways, the bonus to the transporter’s staff will be released before the Dussehra holiday, beginning later this month. The decision comes at a time when the railways’ finances are in doldrums and it is going through a tough period due to multiple derailments mostly due to human errors. The wage calculation ceiling prescribed for payment of PLB is Rs 7,000 per month. “The maximum amount payable per eligible railway employee is Rs 17,951 for 78 days,” the government said in a statement.
However, the bonus will not be given to the staff of the Railway Protection Special Force and Railway Protection Force. The national transporter employs more than 13 lakh people. After taking over as the railway minister, Piyush Goyal has outlined safety as top-most priority for the railways network. As part of the disinvestment policy, the government has decided to transfer Hotel Jaipur Ashok and Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel in Mysore to the governments of Rajasthan and Karnataka, respectively. It has also decided to disinvest ITDC’s 51% equity in Donyi Polo Ashok, Itanagar, in favour of Arunachal Pradesh, finance minister Arun Jaitley said. The Khelo India initiative, which focussed on infrastructure development till now, will look to ensure all-round growth in its revamped form, sports minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said. To promote children from schools to Olympics, the government will offer sports scholarships to 1,000 most talented young athletes each year, who would received an annual funding of `5 lakh for eight consecutive years. It will also promote 20 universities and a massive physical fitness drive to cover 20 crore children in the age group of 10-18.
The Cabinet also approved increase of cost norms for supplementary nutrition provided in anganwadis and in the scheme for adolescent girls. The government will invest an additional Rs 12,000 crore for the nutrition of pregnant and lactating women, children in the age group of 0-6 years, and out of school adolescent girls in next three years. The Cabinet also approved rationalisation of 17 government printing presses by merging them into five units for increasing efficiency and quality. Under the approval, 468 acres of land belonging to the units that are to be merged will be handed over to the land & development office of the ministry of urban development.
A1 railway stations to get ‘young’ directors To encourage the youth and bring in fresh ideas, the Indian Railways will appoint young officers as station directors at prominent railway stations. As per a railway statement on Wednesday, they will be chosen from across different operational services after screening and scrutiny, and will be trained through special orientation training to sharpen coordination and public dealing skills. The railway ministry has created the post of station directors at 75 A1 category stations. These directors will be helped by a cross-functional team in order to improve traffic facility and passenger amenities. They will also be actively involved in the process of raising revenue from non fare box.