The Cabinet on Monday approved a draft law increasing the tenure of defence chiefs from three years to four years.
The approval was given at the regular weekly meeting of the Cabinet held at the Secretariat with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
The Cabinet Secretary said the meeting also approved the draft of the Speech to be delivered by the President at the first session of 2017 of the 10th national parliament.
Ministers and state ministers, and secretaries concerned were present.
The draft of ‘The Defence-Forces Chiefs (Appointment, Retirement and Remuneration and Allowances) Bill, 2016’ suggest a provision of maximum four-year tenure of the concerned force’s chiefs from the date of their appointment.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam said the draft law has been proposed in line with sections 61, 62 and 63 of the constitution.
As per these sections, it is mandatory for the government to formulate a law regarding appointment, retirement and remunerations of the chiefs of Army, Navy and Air Force as it has not been framed for the last 45 years, Shafiul said.
Shafiul said the proposed draft law will replace the existing Joint Services Instructions-JSI under which the President has been appointing the chiefs of the three services while all other facilities and allowances are determined so far under the JSI.
As per the proposed Defence Forces Chief (recruitment, retirement and wages) Act – 2016, the tenure of the post will be four years with the provision of no reappointment.
Their salary has also been fixed at Tk 86,000 each which is equal to a senior secretary to cabinet secretary, Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam told journalists at a press conference after the meeting.
About remuneration and allowances of the three services’ chiefs, Shafiul Alam said they will get an amount of fixed salary equivalent to that of the Cabinet Secretary, which is currently a consolidated amount of Tk 86,000 per month.
Besides, the chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force will get other defense allowance, outfit allowance, special residential facility and all-time transport facilities as well as other facilities like civil servants of the republic, he said.
After their retirement, Shafiul Alam said, the chiefs of the three services could not get re-appointment to any of the civil or military positions of the republic. However, they could be appointed to any of the constitutional posts of the country or in any such posts on contract basis.
The Cabinet also approved in principle the draft of the ‘Bangladesh Rice Research Institute Bill, 2016’ making some minor changes in the existing law after translating it in Bangla.
Under the proposed law, he said, a Managing Board will run the Institute with its Director General as the chief of the institute. The Board will sit after every four months in a meeting.
The Cabinet meeting also approved in principle the draft of the ‘Seed Bill, 2016’ under which the National Seed Board will be formed with the Agriculture Secretary as its chairman while a seed certifying agency will be formed which will issue certificates to the seed dealers.
The day’s Cabinet meeting also gave nod to the ‘Bangladesh Film and Television Institute (amendment) Bill, 2016’ after making some changes to the existing law with a proposal for increasing the number of members in the Institute.
As per the proposed law, the institute will be able to offer postgraduate diplomas.
Alam said the Cabinet also approved a draft for renewing and re-signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Mode of Operation (MoO) for establishing and operating border haats along Bangladesh-India border.
Under the fresh proposal, he said new border haats would be established in six new locations while the tenure of the border haats would be for five years from the existing three years.
Shafiul said the maximum number of sellers in each border haat has been raised to 50 from the existing 25 while the ceiling for purchase of products and commodities has been raised to $200 from the existing $100.
Approval has already been given to set up two more border haats at Botuli under Juri upazila in Moulvibazar while another at Kumraghat in Komolganj upazila in Moulvibazar.
Besides, four more border haats will be set up along the Meghalaya border.
The Cabinet also adopted separate condolence motions at the demise of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayaram Jayalalitha and PM’s Special Assistant Mahbubul Hoque Shakil.