With an eye on the general elections, the UPA Government is trying to bow out with a bang.
Several populist measures- raising dearness allowances, retirement age of government employees from 60 to 62 and anti-graft ordinances- will be taken up by the Union Cabinet on Friday.
The meeting of the Union Cabinet, scheduled at 10.30 am, is likely to clear the unfinished agenda of the UPA-2-ostensibly the last major Union Cabinet meeting before the Election Commission sounds the poll bugle.
Once the Commission announces the scheduled of the general elections, the model code of conduct comes into effect, bringing curtains down on all populist announcements.
The Union Cabinet will also take a decision in favour of imposition of the President’s rule in Andhra Pradesh, since Governor E S L Narasimhan has recommended for a spell of Central rule after the resignation of Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy. The Cabinet is likely to recommend to President Pranab Mukherjee for “proclamation under Article 356 (1)” as it tops the agenda of the Cabinet.
The Cabinet is all set to take a call on hiking the retirement age of government employees from 60 to 62 years, besides increase in Dearness Allowance to 100 percent from the existing 90 percent for more than 50 lakh government employees and 30 lakh pensioners. In an immediate benefit to 28 lakh pensioners under EPFO, Cabinet is likely to ensure `1,000 minimum monthly pension. This needless to say, the UPA-2’s poll package. Sources said the Cabinet is likely to take a decision on the note moved by the Planning Commission for providing ‘Special Category’ status to the residuary state of Seemandhra.