Cabinet nod for Odisha Law Commission

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Cabinet on Friday gave in-principle nod for the constitution of a Law Commission in the state.

Addressing the media after the meeting, chief secretary AP Padhi said, “The aim of constituting the Law Commission is to aid and advise the government on legal reform and quality legislation relevant to present day society.”

The official informed that the Commission would be headed by either a retired justice of the apex court or a retired chief justice of Orissa High Court. Beside, it would have members from various other departments of the State government.

Padhi stated the State government would fast track delivery of justice and facilitate easy access to the justice system.

The Cabinet also approved a proposal to change the nomenclature of Agriculture department to Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment department.

“Basically small and marginal farmer constitute the majority of the total farmers. The need of the hour is to focus on the farmers to enable them to get the benefit of our various schemes. By changing the name to Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment, we will strengthen the empowerment of farmers for overall development of various activities,” Padhy said.

The Odisha government today also decided to set up an Agriculture Cabinet.

“Odisha is among the few states in the country, which will have an Agriculture Cabinet to look into the growth of cultivation and find ways to overcome hurdles being faced by farmers,” Padhi told reporters.

Agriculture Cabinet would be headed by the chief minister, Padhi said, adding, nine other ministers associated with agriculture and farmers would be members in the proposed body.

The other members included ministers of finance, agriculture, fisheries and animal resources, co-operation, water resources, energy, food supplies and consumer welfare, scheduled tribe and scheduled caste development and panchayati raj, Padhi said.

The proposed Agriculture Cabinet would deal with subjects like self-sufficiency in food grain production, employment creation, infusion of technology in agriculture sector, uncertainty in price index, raise income of farmers and investment in the agriculture sector, he said.

The chief secretary said the meeting of the Agriculture Cabinet would be held as and when required.

Asked the purpose of changing the name of the agriculture department, he said, as small and marginal farmers constitute an overwhelming majority of the total farmers, there was a need for placing focus on individual farmers to enable and empower them to avail the various benefits under different schemes and programmes of the government.

“Changing the name of the agriculture department to the department of agriculture and farmers empowerment will result in an inclusive approach and sharpen focus on empowerment of farmers for their overall development through various activities,” Padhi said, adding, the cabinet approved the amendment of Odisha Government Rules of Business for the change. .

Similarly, the Cabinet also approved changing the name of Planning and Coordination Department to Department of Planning and Convergence, Padhi said.

The Cabinet also approved amendment to Odisha Protection of Interests of Depositors (in Financial Establishment) Bill -2011.

Officials said from now on, persons who have been duped by ponzi firms after investing Rs 10,000 or less, will be considered as small time investors. Besides, amount from auctioning of chit fund companies’ properties will be distributed among these investors.

While returning money to the cheated investors, priority will be given to these small time investors. The offences related to chit fund will be considered as criminal and non-bailable offences.

The Cabinet today also gave its nod to amend the Biju Patnaik University of Technology (BPUT) Act 2002. This will allow the State government to intervene in the administrative affairs of the institution.
While the tenure of the vice-chancellor has been reduced from five to three years, the concerned Minister will be pro-chancellor of the varsity.

Senior OAS officials will be registrar of the varsity.