NEW DELHI, June 25 �Over a decade after the North Eastern Council (NEC) Amendment Bill was passed, the Centre has finalised plans to fix the terms of the two full-time members of the Council, with the Union Law Ministry endorsing the proposal to fix three-year term of the members.
According to sources, the Law Ministry has cleared the proposal to fix the terms of the members. The full-time members would now be entitled to a three-year term, with provisions to extend it by another two years under special circumstances, said sources.
The proposal has been forwarded to the Prime Minister�s Office (PMO) for approval, after which the process for appointment of new full-time members may be initiated, said sources
The Ministry Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) has been facing severe criticism for continuing with the services of the two members including PP Srivastava and Dr IK Barthakur, both retired bureaucrats, since last 10 years.
The Amended NEC Act 2002 mandated appointment of three members including a member representing the Planning Commission. By the same amendment the Council was made a regional planning board.
Admitting that it was aware about the serious misgivings over continuing with the services of the two members, sources said the biggest handicap was that the terms of the two members were not fixed when the NEC Amendment Bill 2002 was passed by the Parliament. The vital over sight left the two members enjoying unlimited duration.
Sources said it was aware of the need to infuse fresh blood in the Council by appointing new members. The inordinate delay in appointment of new members has led to over-all resentment. Srivastava an IAS of 1977 batch retired from service in February 1993 and Barthakur an Indian Economic Service Officer (IES) of 1978 retired in August 1992.
The NEC has suffered on account of continuation of the services of two full-time members, both of who enjoy the status of minister of state for so long, observed sources.