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Cabinet go-ahead on job policy

- 2% budget for e-governance initiatives

Guwahati, Aug. 7: The Tarun Gogoi government today decided to formulate a recruitment policy for families of government servants who die in extremist violence and to spend a maximum of two per cent of a department’s budget to improve e-governance initiatives for effective delivery of government services.

The cabinet also cleared revised payscales for MLAs and ministers and hiked freedom fighters’ pension.

Announcing the decisions taken at a cabinet meeting that lasted over two hours this evening, the chief minister told The Telegraph that the cabinet had directed early formulation of the recruitment policy which would cover all government employees affected by extremist violence.

A new policy has become inevitable because the government cannot offer jobs beyond grades III and IV on compassionate ground following a 2011 Supreme Court ruling.

Cabinet minister Rakibul Hussain had also told the Assembly yesterday about the need for a new policy in the view of the apex court ruling.

A sustained demand, both within and outside the House, to offer gazetted post to kin of slain additional superintendent of police Gulzar Hussain seems to have played a role in arriving at a decision.

The state home department had submitted all the facts and measures taken so far to provide relief to affected families to the cabinet for it to take a call on offering jobs on compassionate grounds. These included the Supreme Court ruling and the legal department’s views that offering gazetted posts on compassionate ground would violate the apex court ruling.

A home department official said Gogoi had offered a gazetted post to Hussain’s wife in June but it was subsequently found that a Supreme Court ruling prevented such an offer on compassionate ground.

“The cabinet has now decided to come out with a policy for families of government servants killed in extremist violence in light of the Supreme Court ruling as soon as possible. A little bit of study will be required to devise a new methodology, the kind of job that can be offered. We will do as much as possible to provide relief to the affected families as soon as possible,” Gogoi said when asked if he had set any timeframe.

On steps to boost computerisation and IT-related activities, Gogoi said it was a must for timely and effective delivery of government services.

“Effective e-governance initiatives can reduce file movement time and help delivery mechanism. It has also become a must under the Right to Service Act. Now each department will have to spend a maximum of two per cent of their annual budget on e-governance initiatives. We will also set up a nodal agency under the I-T department to coordinate with other departments,” Gogoi said.

He said issues related to the budget to be tabled on August 11 were also discussed.

Former minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had earlier in the day made a strong pitch to reduce file movement time, which hinders development.

The cabinet decision means there will be an annual investment of over Rs 200 crore on improving e-governance, over and above the IT department’s budget which is around Rs 55 crore this fiscal.

Rajiv Kumar Bora, principal secretary, personnel, I-T and administrative reforms, said the decision would give a boost to IT initiatives in the state.

“A lot of work has been done in the last few years but IT is now a priority area for all departments. We will have to do the required follow-up to speed up IT related activities,” he said from Delhi.


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