Chandigarh, Jan 22

Unanimously approving the just submitted Sukhbir Badal-Manoranjan Kalia Committee report on resource mobilisation and reforms, the Punjab cabinet Friday approved the extension of retirement age for government employees by one year.

At a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal here, the report on mobilisation and reforms submitted by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal and Industries Minister Manoranjan Kalia this week was accorded approval.

The retirement age for government employees, the report has suggested, should be raised from 58 years to 60 years. This would be for one year initially and would be an option given to employees retiring before or up to Dec 31, 2010. This will be a one-time measure, a government spokesman said here.

The cabinet meeting said those recommendations would be immediately implemented which did not require any amendments in the present rules.

A cabinet resolution welcomed what it termed "innovative and far- sighted recommendations" of the committee and said: "The report marks a new benchmark in the art and science of fiscal management".

The reforms report suggested several steps to generate additional revenue of Rs.4,000 crore through taxes.

But the report categorically rejected any move to cut down on subsidies to farmers and other categories, which cost the state exchequer hundreds of crores annually. In fact, the report advocated that more subsidies should be added.

A state government spokesman said after the meeting: "Except where it implies amendment of rules, the report comes into force with immediate effect."

The recommendations approved by the cabinet would generate funds to strengthen the physical and social infrastructure in the state, besides creation of social security and welfare dedicated fund to include old age pension and other pension schemes, Atta Dal subsidy and Shagun scheme, he added.

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