Patil justifies EGS amendment ordinance

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Mumbai, Mar 11 (UNI) Maharashtra Parliamentary Affairs Minister Harshvardhan Patil has justified the decision of his government to issue an ordinance regarding an amendment in the Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS) act when an earlier amendment was pending before the joint select committee of the Legislature.

As per the new ordinance, professional tax has been delinked from the Reserve Fund and a budgetary provision of Rs 2000 crore will be made and will be utilised for EGS works on priority basis, wherever neccessary.

Yesterday, Finance Minister Jayant Patil sought the permission of the Assembly to withdraw the amendment bill pending with the Joint Select Committee, which entails scrapping the Reserve Fund and diverting the money to the Consolidated Fund. Since the move was opposed on the floor of the house, the bill was sent to the joint select committee. The committee has so far held 11 meetings and was scheduled to give its report soon.

As per the EGS Act, professional tax collected is accumulated in the reserve fund.

Senior most member of the Legislative Assembly Ganpatrao Deshmukh had criticised the government's move to promulgate an ordinance on the eve of the budget session and when the joint select committee's report on an earlier amendment was pending.

Speaker Babasaheb Kupekar withheld his order on the objection of Mr Deshmukh and other members.

Mr Harshvardhan Patil, when contacted today, said the aims and objectives of the ordinance were very different from the bill pending before the joint select committee.

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