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The Railways moved 32.69 million tonnes of revenue earning freight traffic during April 1998 as against the target of 33.80 million tonnes. The target of freight traffic for the full year is 450 million tonnes. Of the total freight traffic, coal accounted for 16.06 million tonnes, raw materials to steel plants 3.08 million tonnes, finished iron and steel from steel plants 0.85 million tonnes, iron ore for export 1.09 million tonnes, cement 2.70 million tonnes, foodgrains 1.89 million tonnes, fertilisers 1.61 million tonnes, Petroleum, Oil and Lubricant (POL) 2.39 million tonnes and other goods 3.02 million tonnes. Other goods also included 0.49 million tonnes of containers.

The revenue earning freight traffic in terms of Net Tonne Kilometres (NTKMs) in millions during the month was 21217 million NTKMs. This was below monthly target of 23148 million NTKMs by1931 million NTKMs.


The Government has decided to grant industry status to films. Consequent to this decision, the Information & Broadcasting Ministry has initiated proposals with the primary objective of making film production and other related activities eligible for institutional and bank finance. It has also been decided to set up a Development Council for the film industry to address various issues and problems faced by them and suggest  appropriate measures for the overall growth and development of the film industry. In addition, an Export Promotion body is proposed to be constituted to actively promote the export of Indian films and other audio visual products in a coordinated manner. These initiatives have generally been welcomed and the legal and administrative modalities in this regard are being formulated in consultation with the concerned Ministries/Departments and organisations. This information was given by the Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting, Smt. Sushma Swaraj, in written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha today.


The National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) has got an allocation of Rs. 700 crore in the Central Budget 1998-99. It is a social security and welfare scheme of the Centre. NSAP is a Centrally Sponsored Programme with cent per cent Central funding to the States/Union Territories. It is meant to provide the benefits under three components viz. (1) National Old Age Pension Scheme (NOAPS); (2) National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS); and (3) National Maternity Benefit Scheme (NMBS). The programme came into effect from 15th August, 1996. NSAP introduces a national policy for social assistance to poor households. In providing social assistance benefits to rural households in the case of old age, death of the bread winner and maternity, NSAP aims to ensure minimum standards in addition to the benefits that the States are currently providing or might provide in future. Under NOAPS, the beneficiary is entitled to a pension of Rs. 75 per month. NFBS provides for Rs. 5000/- in case of death due to natural causes and Rs.10,000/- in case of accidental death of the primary bread winner to the bereaved household. Under the NMBS, Rs. 300/- per pregnancy upto the first two live births is given to the beneficiary.


Guru Nanak Dev University of Amritsar is the winner of the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Trophy, for the year 1996-97. the trophy and a cash of Rs. 50,000 will be presented to the winner by the Hon'ble President at a function to be held on 29th August,1998. The University was the winner in 1993-94 and will be receiving the trophy for the 13th time since the inception of the trophy. Punjab University and Chandigarh and Delhi University have won the second and third Positions and a cash prize of Rs 25,000 and 10,000 respectively.

The Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Trophy, instituted as a Running trophy in 1956-57, is awarded annually to the university which has given best all round performance in the year. The cash reward is to be utilised for the purchase of sports equipment.


India has reiterated its determination to eliminate child labour from the country. This was stated by the Labour Minister.Dr. Satyanarayan Jatiya while addressing the preliminary session of the International Labour Conference (ILC) in Geneva today. He said that Indian Government have taken decision to make primary education compulsory for all children and the National Agenda for Governance of the Government is also committed to eradication of child labour. Dr. Jatiya stated that several important steps taken in this direction have also started yielding results as shown by the decline in child labour according to 1991 census.

Expressing his happiness over the consideration of a new Convention in child labour by the ILC, Labour Minister stated that India would support the sequential and gradual approach behind the new instrument prohibiting the most intolerable and more exploitative forms of child labour to start with.

Dr. Jatiya added that so long as the children are given opportunities to attend regular schools, children working in agricultural occupations and other non-hazardous occupations should only be progressively withdrawn. Otherwise any sudden withdrawal will aggravate economic and social problems in low wage economies.

Elaborating further on the issue Labour Minister said that in developing countries parental poverty, illiteracy are the two main causes of the child labour. He said there is another aspect, arising out of pecularities of the social system prevailing in India and general situation of unemployment and poverty. The services of children are used for both economic reasons and also for imparting intergenerational skills to the children so as to enable them to earn a decent living in a particular family art and craft when they grow up. Dr. Jatiya said " Technically this might be called child labour but the fact remains that the parents take their children to work with a view to imparting such training to them." Labour Minister stated that
under these circumstances laws, regulations and labour standards cannot by themselves, achieve the object of elimination of child labour.

On the issue concerning Contract labour,Dr. Jatiya said that India is one of the few countries enacted a law in 1970, keeping in view the fact that contract labour is one of the most exploitative forms of labour. He said " We , therefore, support the text of the proposed Convention for adopting an instrument to regulate contract labour in line with the requirement of the changing times."

Regarding declaration on principles concerning Worker's Right and its appropriate follow up, Labour Minister stated that the text of the Declaration which has been circulated seeks a  renewal of commitment from the Member-States to promote the principles enshrined in the seven core conventions of the ILO. India may support privided its concerns are met in the final draft.Dr. Jatiya said that India attach the highest importance to dignity and freedom of labour and have given it a pride of place in our economy and committed to the philosophy of tripartism. He said that through this conference "I would like to assure the social partners that we would strive in all possible ways to protect, preserve and uphold the dignity of labour and would not allow this to be compromised in any manner whatsoever."


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