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Prop for sick PSU staff

New Delhi, Oct. 15: The Union cabinet today approved a Rs 852-crore proposal to provide budgetary support to clear all the statutory dues of workers employed with loss-making central public sector undertakings within a year.

As many as 33 enterprises, most of them in West Bengal and Orissa, fall in this category.

These include textile mills under the National Textile Corporation with dues of Rs 304 crore, Calcutta-based National Jute Manufacturing Corporation (Rs 159 crore), Indian Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Ltd (Rs 101 crore) and the Ranchi-based Heavy Engineering Corporation (Rs 90 crore).

Parliamentary affairs minister Sushma Swaraj told reporters that the cabinet had given its approval for an economic package to clear the pending statutory dues of all workers in 60 public sector enterprises of the central government which amounted to Rs 974 crore.

These PSUs have been divided into four categories and the workers’ dues would have to be cleared within a period of two months to one year depending on the financial shape of each enterprise.

As many as 33 companies fall in the bottom rung D category which are loss-making and have no assets to sell to pay off the workers. These companies will be entitled to the Rs 852-crore budgetary support.

Category C companies include those which are making losses and have no surplus operating income but have surplus assets which can be sold to pay the workers’ dues. There are 15 PSUs in this category which will be required to fork out Rs 372 crore as workers' dues.

Category B comprises PSUs which are running at a loss but have surplus operating incomes which can be utilised for paying the dues of their workers. There are only six enterprises in this category which will have to provide Rs 536 crore to the workers.

There are five profit-making PSUs that owe Rs 2.67 crore as statutory dues to their workers which have been held up due to legal hurdles. These companies will be required to clear the dues within two months and go for out-of-court settlements if need be.

Swaraj said the cabinet has decided that the loss-making companies can bring proposals for their revival, closure or divestment to their administrative ministries which will be considered on a high priority basis as part of the package.

The payment of these dues will be to the maximum extent possible from the resources of the PSUs but the government will meet the resource gap on a case-to-case basis.

Tea excise duty

The government today decided to levy an additional excise duty of Rs 1 per kg on tea to create a Rs 250 crore fund for the modernisation of the tea plantation sector.

In two other major decisions, the CCEA approved the Rs 769 crore Teesta Low Dam Hydroelectric project Stage -II in West Bengal and the Basundhara (West) open cast project of the Mahanadi Coalfield Ltd.

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