CABINET DECISION - 26 JANUARY 2007
1. Cabinet has taken note that the Guest of Honour on the occasion of the National Day 2007 would be Mr Marc Ravalomanana, President of the Republic of Madagascar.
Cabinet has, also, taken note of the programme of activities to be organised at national and regional levels by Ministries/Departments, local authorities, the Rodrigues Regional Assembly and Agalega to mark National Day 2007. The theme of the Celebration will be "Nou Pays Nou Fierté". The activities would include, inter alia, –
(a) cultural shows;
(b) carnival by students of secondary schools;
(c) sports and literary competitions;
(d) distribution of small national flags to pre-primary and primary school children; and
(e) gathering of senior citizens.
2. With a view to aligning our legislation with international laws, Cabinet has taken note that the Social Aid Regulations 1984 would be amended to bring the age limit of children with disability to benefit from Social Aid to 18 years.
3. Cabinet has taken note of developments in the construction of the Centre for Severely Disabled Persons at Pointe aux Sables. The project which has been implemented under the Lux Development Project MAR 708 signed by Dr the Hon Navinchandra Ramgoolam, Prime Minister, during his visit to Luxembourg in 1996, has been designed and provided with specialized equipment to cater for the needs of about 100 severely handicapped old persons on a residential basis.
4. Cabinet has taken note that the tombstone of Père Gabriel Igou, discovered during excavation works on the site of the Hawker's Palace at La Poudrière Street, Port Louis, would be declared national heritage. Père Gabriel Igou was one of the first two priests to arrive in the then Isle de France and the first Curé of Cathedral St Louis. The tombstone has been temporarily kept in the yard of the Mauritius Institute.
5. Cabinet has taken note of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Aeronautical Authorities of Mauritius and Italy following the Bilateral Air Services Talks held recently. The MoU provides for, inter alia, -
(i) an increase in frequencies for passenger service from two to eight flights per week each side and in each direction with immediate effect;
(ii) the route schedule has been reviewed to enable Air Mauritius to have access to three points in Italy with co-terminalisation rights between Milan and Rome;
(iii) no restrictions on cargo services; and
(iv) the necessary conditions to enable Mauritius to fully exploit the potential of Italian market which has shown an increase of 59.7% of tourist arrivals during the year 2006 as compared to 2005.
6. In line with Government programme to increase the coverage level of the public sewerage system, Cabinet has agreed to the new policy regarding free house connections to the sewerage network. Given the high investment made in the Wastewater Sector, a maximum number of household connections would help ensure the financial sustainability of the sector and achieve one of the key performance indicators set by donor organisations.
7. Cabinet has taken note of the holding of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) Regulatory Training Programme organised by the CTO, in collaboration with the ICT Authority, from 27 to 31 January 2007 in Mauritius.
The Training Programme is an initiative aimed at ensuring that ICT Regulators and licensed operators stay abreast of developments in regulatory governance in the present era of convergence and the emerging generation of networks and technologies. It has, as underlying theme, the changing landscape of the telecommunications market environment characterised by –
(a) the implementation of next generation networks;
(b) Voice over Internet Protocol standards replacing legacy long distance networks; and
(c) the introduction of advanced wireless capabilities.
The objectives of the Programme are to:-
(a) review basic concepts of telecommunications regulations;
(b) investigate current challenges facing Regulators and Operators;
(c) determine best practices in addressing current issues; and
(d) analyse specific problems, for example, organisational issues, understanding converging technologies and communication issues.
8. Cabinet has taken note that resumption of studies in pre-primary, primary and secondary schools had been smooth. Cabinet has further taken note that -
(a) 6,037 pupils have been admitted in 189 pre-primary schools attached to the state primary schools;
(b) 17,449 pupils (including those from Rodrigues and Agalega) have been admitted in Standard I;
(c) the new form of admission in Form I as per Government Programme 2005-2010 on a national and regional basis has been implemented smoothly eliciting its wide acceptance among the population;
(d) the Mauritius Examinations Syndicate has attributed 1337 seats in Form I on a national basis, 6285 seats on a regional or zonal basis, and 6,366 seats in private grant-aided schools in the 50% quota- reserved for the State;
(e) out of 2,172 requests for transfer, 1,916 were entertained as at 15 January 2007 on medical grounds and cases relating to twins. Other vacancies on the national and regional basis would be filled by the end of January 2007 subsequent to a communiqué to that effect;
(f) 2,876 students having failed the CPE or who are over-aged to remain in primary schools, have been allocated a seat in the pre-vocational stream in Mauritius; and
(g) 2,459 students who have completed year III pre-vocational classes, have been offered a seat to follow the NTC Foundation Course in IVTB Centres in Mauritius and Rodrigues.
9. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the fifth Edition of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas held in New Delhi, India from 7 to 9 January 2007. The Mauritian delegation was led by Hon R. Purryag, G.O.S.K., Speaker of the National Assembly and comprised the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations & Employment, the Minister of Arts and Culture, the Hon M. Peetumber, Private Parliamentary Secretary, and the Hon S. Dayal, Member of the National Assembly. The theme of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2007 was "Rooting for the Roots: Meeting India's Development Challenges".
In his inaugural speech, Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, called upon the overseas Indians to be active participants in the building of a new India and urged them to take full advantage of existing opportunities in the country and to make financial, intellectual, social, cultural and emotional investments in India. The Indian Prime Minister, also, announced the establishment of an Indian Overseas Facilitation Centre which will be a source of investment advisory services, the constitution of a Central Council for the Promotion of Overseas Employment, the proposal to establish a University for people of Indian origin. Moreover, while recalling his last visit to Mauritius, Dr Singh reiterated his request for Mauritians whose ancestors hailed from Bihar, to go and inspire people there to make a Mauritius out of Bihar.
Projects that were discussed comprised, inter-alia, : -
(i) assistance to PIOs to retrace their roots;
(ii) facilitation of long term VISAs for up to 5 years with multiple entry options;
(iii) provision of high quality and economical educational facilities and to increase the number of scholarships offered to children of overseas Indians;
(iv) transfer of knowledge, skills and experience to and from India in a cost effective manner;
(v) the negotiation of a new Trade Agreement with Mauritius in the coming months; and
(vi) investment in Bihar business sectors, such as, agro-processing, hospitality, healthcare.
During his stay in India, the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations & Employment visited the Arogya Bharti, a medical centre in Jaipur specialised in cosmic healing, and the Industrial and Hygiene Laboratory of the State of Maharashtra in Mumbai with a view to gathering information on issues relating to health and safety and looking into the possibility of collaboration between the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations & Employment and these Institutions. The Minister also met HE Mr Ganesh Naik, Minister of State Excise, Labour and Environment of the Government of the State of Maharashtra who was keen to assist Mauritius in the setting up of an Industrial Hygiene Laboratory.
10. Cabinet has taken note that the Minister of Agro Industry & Fisheries would make regulations under the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden Trust Act to provide for the Trust to charge entrance fees, and fees for shooting of films and taking of photographs for special occasions in the Garden with a view to enabling the Trust to raise funds for maintaining the standard of the Garden, as well as for the conservation and upkeep of the natural environment, the buildings and the monuments found there. Mauritian Visitors, except students on educational tours, children below the age of 5 years and senior citizens, would pay an Entrance Fee of Rs 25 whereas tourists would be charged a fee of Rs 100.
11. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the Afro-Asian Rural Development Organisation (AARDO) Senior Officials Retreat and the Inter-Ministerial Summit held from 8 to 12 January 2007 in India.
The aim of the Retreat was to facilitate policy-makers, planners and implementers of Rural Development Programme in AARDO Member countries, as well as regional and international organizations, to deliberate on poverty alleviation and on the promotion of rural development, to formulate an Action Plan, and to guide Member countries taking into consideration the implications of the new world scenario and globalisation. The Retreat formulated a draft Action Plan to bring about rural development in the Afro-Asian region. The Inter-Ministerial Summit on "Afro-Asian Rural Development" adopted as the Delhi Declaration the draft Action Plan framed at the Retreat Session which reinforces the commitment of AARDO Members to promote rural development, to reinforce bilateral and multilateral cooperation to facilitate transfer of know-how and technology to accelerate rural development in the Afro-Asian region.
12. Cabinet has taken note of the situation regarding road safety and agreed to a series of measures to be initiated by the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Land Transport & Shipping, in collaboration with the Police Department, to further improve the safety of road users. These measures relate to –
(i) further strengthening of law enforcement;
(ii) intensification of education and information campaign;
(iii) introduction of new speed zones;
(iv) introduction of traffic calming measures; and
(v) improvement of major traffic signs and markings on the motorway.
Cabinet has further taken note that –
(a) there has been considerable increase in the number of road users. The total vehicle fleet, as at December 2006, was 319,440 representing an increase of 18,467 vehicles as compared to 2005.
(b) Road accidents are mainly due to drink driving, over-speeding and careless and dangerous driving.
(c) Police has taken 61,796 contraventions, including 31,223 for speeding and carried out 2,055 roadside breathalyser tests.