Nine months after tabling a Bill in the Assembly, the Assam government has decided to implement the policy of deducting the pay of employees who do not take care of their parents and physically-challenged siblings.The suicide of an elderly couple, abused and neglected by their son, in Sivasagar on July 1 has influenced this decision. The State government will also make changes in the service rules of employees in accordance with the State Population Policy passed last year. This will make people with more than two children ineligible for government jobs and election or nomination to the Panchayat and other local bodies. “The suicide of businessman-theatre producer Rajani Khargharia and his wife was painful. It reminded us of the PRONAM Bill, 2017, that was passed by the Assembly [in September] last year,” Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Saturday, warning employees who treat their parents shabbily.PRONAM, which stands for Assam Employees’ Parents Responsibility and Norms for Accountability and Monitoring Bill, aims at “accountability for employees of the State government or any other organisation in Assam in taking care of their parents and divyang (disabled) siblings and in matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.”The purpose of the bill was not to interfere with the private life of State government employees but to ensure that their parents and siblings with disabilities, if neglected, could lodge a complaint with the employee’s department, Mr. Sarma said.Upon receiving the complaint, the department would then deduct 10% of the employee’s monthly salary and give it to their neglected parents and physically-challenged siblings, he said.The government, Mr. Sarma said, would also implement the two-child policy for jobs and elections to local bodies and Panchayats. The policy, passed in the Assembly soon after the PRONAM Bill last year, also proposes to disqualify MLAs ignoring family planning.“In case any MLA from the State flouts the family planning norms, say MLAs having more than two children, he/she may be disqualified from his or her membership and be debarred from contesting polls,” the policy, drafted by the Health & Family Welfare Department, said.Assam was the 12th State in India to come up with such a policy for barring people with more than two children from applying for government jobs, contesting polls, and from housing and other beneficiary schemes.“Assam is facing a dangerous population explosion,” Mr. Sarma had said last year to justify the population policy.According to the 2011 Census, the population of Assam increased from 2.66 crore in 2001 to 3.2 crore, with the decadal growth being 17.07%. Although there was a decline in the decadal growth of population, the rate of increase was at an unsustainable level, the government said.Various minority groups had panned the population policy as being anti-Muslim.
Independent candidate Chakat Aboh, widow of assassinated MLA Tirong Aboh, has won Khonsa West seat in Arunachal Pradesh by a margin of 1887 votes. She defeated independent candidate Azet Homtok, who polled 3818 votes. Byelections were necessitated in the constituency after MLA Tirong Aboh was gunned down by suspected militants in May, two days ahead of poll results. In a rare show of unity, all political parties, including Congress and the BJP, fielded Aboh’s widow, Ms. Chakat Aboh, as a common candidate. An estimated 89 per cent of the over 10,000 voters had exercised their franchise in the by-election to the seat held on October 21.
Lawyer-turned-politician Ravi Shankar Prasad of the Bharatiya Janata Party has been elevated as the new deputy leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha in place of S.S. Ahluwalia.His elevation is likely to liven up House proceedings as he will be pitted against Rajiv Shukla, minister of state for parliamentary affairs. However, some could see this as a family matter too. Prasad’s sister is married to Shukla.