| Finance minister P. Chidambaram coming out of the Prime Minister’s office after a cabinet meeting in New Delhi on Thursday. (PTI)
New Delhi, Sept. 29: The cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA) today cleared the sale of UTI-II to its four sponsoring companies ' LIC, SBI, PNB and Bank of Baroda ' for Rs 1,236.95 crore.
North Block officials said the UTI-II sale had a rider wherein the four state-run financial institutions would not be able to transfer their shares in future either among themselves or to any outsider without prior government approval.
The CCEA also gave its stamp of approval to the purchase of 43 aircraft by Indian Airlines from Airbus Industrie, besides approving the minimum support price for Rabi crops.
The MSP or the rate at which government agencies buy grain has been increased marginally as the government does not want to fuel inflationary pressures.
However, the politically sensitive grain prices may eventually have to be raised as Punjab farmers are already restive. Sources said the Akali Dal is likely to lead an agitation on the issue soon.
The price of wheat, the main Rabi crop, has been increased by Rs 10 to Rs 650 a quintal. Barley price has also been raised by Rs 10 to Rs 550 a quintal. Similarly, minimum support price for both gram and masur has also been increased by Rs 10 per quintal at Rs 1,435 and Rs 1,535 per quintal, respectively.
Officials also said IA’s fleet purchase deal was approved after extracting certain extra concessions from Airbus. These included counter trade and procurements by both Airbus and engine maker CFM. This will result in trade worth $145 million with France and an investment of $175 million in a training centre for pilots and an MRO facility here.
The CCEA also approved the award of an oil exploration block in Assam and another in Arunachal Pradesh under the fifth round of the new exploration licensing policy.
A consortium of Jubilant Oil, Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation and GAIL has been recommended for the Assam block, while NTPC, Canoro Resources and Geopetrol International would get the block in Arunachal Pradesh.
The CCEA also increased the monthly wage limit for workers of closed textile mills to Rs 3,500 from Rs 2,500 so that they receive interim relief under the Textile Workers’ Rehabilitation Fund Scheme.
The new monthly wage limit is effective from April 1, 1993, an official release said.