statesman news service
NEW DELHI, 27 MAY: In a move aimed at insulating the CBI from political interference, the Union Cabinet today approved recommendations of a Group of Ministers which include setting up of a panel of retired judges to oversee the investigations of the agency, besides increased financial powers of its Director.
Based on the recommendations, the government will file an affidavit before the Supreme Court by 3 July. The issue will come up for hearing on 10 July.
Sources said the GoM, chaired by Finance Minister P Chidambaram, has recommended constitution of a panel of retired judges which would monitor the investigations undertaken by the agency to ensure that probes remain free from any external influence.
It has also recommended increase in financial powers of the CBI Director and a new mechanism for the appointment of the Director (Prosecution) which is at present a Law Ministry appointee.
Natural gas prices hiked: The government today approved near doubling of natural gas prices to USD 8.4 from 1 April next year, a move which will result in a rise in power tariff, urea cost and CNG prices.
This will be the first revision in gas prices in 3 years. Oil minister M Veerappa Moily said: “The CCEA has approved the Rangarajan panel formula for pricing of gas. It will be applicable from 1 April 2014 and will be valid for five years.” The new price will apply uniformly to all producers/
The government today approved setting up of a Coal Regulatory Authority which will be empowered to specify methodology for determining coal prices.
Optimistic of a normal monsoon, the government today raised by Rs 60 the minimum support price (MSP) of paddy to Rs 1,310 per quintal that is expected to enthuse farmers to grow more in the kharif season. The MSP of pulses and oilseeds has been raised by up to Rs 450 and Rs 320 per quintal.