BHUBANESWAR: The State Cabinet on Friday approved the proposal to constitute a Cabinet Committee on agriculture and decided to change the name of Agriculture Department to agriculture and farmers' empowerment marking an important shift in the State Government's priority.
Besides, the Cabinet meet presided over by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik also cleared the proposal to constitute a Law Commission to recommend improvement and revision of the existing law and enactment of new legislations in consonance with the present scenario.
A judge of the Supreme Court, Chief Justice of the High Court or a High Court Justice will be the chairperson of the Commission. The other members will include the Advocate General, Law Secretary, a professor of law from a renowned university, an eminent jurist, an advocate with at least 25 years of experience and three part-time members having proficiency in law matters.
The Cabinet Committee on agriculture or 'Agriculture Cabinet' will be headed by the Chief Minister, Chief Secretary AP Padhi told mediapersons. The Committee will take decision on agriculture and its allied sectors, Padhi said.
Ministers for Finance, Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Resources Development, Cooperation, Water Resources, Energy, Food Supply and Consumer Welfare, Scheduled Tribe and Scheduled Caste Development and Panchayati Raj will be the other members of the Committee.
Ministers of State will represent the departments, which do not have Cabinet rank Ministers, in the committee, Padhi said.
The Chief Secretary said change in the name of Agriculture Department will result in an inclusive approach and sharpen focus on empowerment of farmers for their overall development through various activities. As small and marginal farmers constitute an overwhelming majority of the total farmers, there is a need for placing the focus on individual farmers to enable and empower them to avail benefits under different schemes, he said.
With a view to attach more importance and focus on convergence of plan/programmes/schemes to add value for money by utilising money for different sources in more systematic and planned manner, the Cabinet also approved the proposal to change the name of Planning and Coordination Department to Planning and Convergence Department.
The Cabinet also approved the Odisha Public Distribution System (Control) Order, 2016 to streamline and improve efficiency of public distribution system (PDS) in the State for proper distribution of foodgrains under National Food Security Act (NFSA).
The Chief Secretary said in order to discourage ineligible beneficiaries from taking the public distribution commodities, penal provisions have been made. Besides, the list of beneficiaries will be hoisted in public domain as well as website of the Centre to bring transparency.
A decision was also taken for amendment of Odisha Conduct of Examination Act, 1988 for imposing stringent punishment for offences including mass copy, tampering of marks, change of examination answer papers and negligence in examination duty.
The quantum of punishment has been increased to two to five years of imprisonment and fine of `one lakh or both. The expenditure for conduct of re-examination will also be recovered from persons responsible for such offences.