Amaravati: On Wednesday, the Andhra Pradesh cabinet took a historic decision to protect women and children. The cabinet led by Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy approved two bills for the purpose. They are the Andhra Pradesh Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2019 — as Andhra Pradesh Disha Act — and Andhra Pradesh Special Court for Specified Offences against Women and Children Act 2019.

As previously announced by Jagan, the Disha Act enables the completion of investigation in seven days and trial in 14 days. Thus effectively bringing verdicts in rape cases, where proper evidence is available, within 21 days. The Special Courts will be set up to address crimes against women and children.

The bill also allows police to take action under IPC Section 354 (E) against those who upload posts in social media, degrading women. For the same, first time offenders would be punished with two-year imprisonment and second-time offenders with four years of imprisonment. Actions would be taken under IPC 354 (F) on those who sexually assault children. The offenders in such cases will be served with a punishment of 10 to 14 years, and in case of severity in the committed crimes, the sentence would be extended from 14 years to lifetime. The cabinet has approved to extend the imprisonment for such crimes under the POCSO Act.

The cabinet decided to set up a new department to bring village and ward volunteers, secretariats under this department. It is to monitor and strengthen the secretariat system.

The state cabinet has also approved for setting up a Public Transport Department for merging APSRTC in the government, and it will be included under Transportation, Roads and Buildings, National Highways Department.

For the 51,488 employees in APSRTC, the cabinet has decided to recruit them to the Public Transport Department, and they approved the continuation of existing outsourcing employee services in RTC. The cabinet has decided to withdraw cases registered in Thuni incident, Kapu protest, and Bhoga Puram land collection.

The government has revised the existing guidelines of YSR Pension. The scheme is now applicable for those earning less than Rs 10,000 per month in rural areas and Rs 12,000 in urban areas. This scheme is also applicable for those who own less than 10 acres of mettu land, or three acres of flat land, or below 10 acres of both types of properties. Those who own a car and people who pay income tax are not eligible for this scheme. People with 750 square feet of land in urban areas are eligible for this scheme. The cabinet also approved for the formation of Andhra Pradesh General Insurance Corporation with a share capital of Rs 101 crore.

They approved Andhra Pradesh Millet Board Act 2019 and agreed to establish a board to increase cereal cultivation in certain areas. The cabinet also decided to draft a bill for Andhra Pradesh Pulses Board Act 2019. The cabinet also decided to increase Andhra Pradesh Civil Supplies Corporation debt limit by Rs 3,000 crore from the existing Rs 22,000 crore.

The cabinet approved Andhra Pradesh Goods and Services Tax Amendment Bill, to punish those who manufacture, sell, or transport alcohol illegally. According to the bill, all these offences are non-bailable and judicial remand would be from six months to five years.

The government approved to increase the salary of VOA, Sangamitra and Animators to Rs 10,000, thus benefitting 27,797 people. The cabinet will allot 15.28 acres of land to APIIC to setup an industrial park at Pamguru village in Yerpedu Mandal in Chittoor district. The cabinet will amend section 21a (1) (e) in Andhra Pradesh Cooperative Societies (APCS) Act 1964.

The cabinet approved to make Telugu mandatory in all schools in the state. The medium of instruction should be English for class I to VI from the next academic year. They will also cancel residential and commercial plots given to landowners who bought the assigned land given to land pooling in the Capital area. The government decided to return the residential and commercial plots to its original owners.

The cabinet approved to amend the AP State University act. They will set up YSR Architecture and Fine Arts University in YSR Kadapa. The cabinet agreed to change the law to appoint AP State Council of Higher Education Chairman or his representative as the ex officio member in all universities in the state. They will set up a cluster university by merging Silver Jubilee Degree College, KVR Government Degree College and Government Degree College in Kurnool. The cabinet approved the appointment of Vangapandu Usha as chairman of Department of Culture.

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