1. Cabinet has taken note that 654 households in Mauritius have, since 2006, benefitted from assistance under the scheme for the extension of electricity network and displacement of poles. Cabinet has agreed to the scheme being extended to Rodrigues. Under the scheme, assistance is provided to first time owners of a house with a family income not exceeding Rs17,500 monthly to connect to electricity network if their premises are located far from existing CEB network, or for the displacement of electric poles found on their property and which hinder development thereof.
2. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Civil Status (Amendment) Bill which aims at expediting the processing of applications for change of name by reducing the time period during which an interested person may lodge an objection to an application for change of name from 4 months to 28 days.
3. In the context of the introduction of the use of mother tongues to facilitate teaching and learning, Cabinet has taken note that –
(a) as from January 2012, Bhojpuri would be introduced in Standard I by supplementing the Hindi curriculum with components of Bhojpuri;
(b) Bhojpuri would be incorporated within the co- and extra-curricular component of the Enhancement Programme (Asian Languages) for pupils of Standards III and IV;
(c) at the lower secondary level, i.e., Forms I-III, Bhojpuri would be gradually introduced within the Hindi curriculum, as in primary schools. With regard to Upper Secondary Schools, students, who choose to pursue studies in Bhojpuri up to Form V or HSC, would be allowed to do so; and
(d) the writing and validation of new Bhojpuri textbooks to be studied at different levels are being finalized and the MIE and the MGI would carry out a training programme for Primary Hindi Teachers.
4. Cabinet has taken note of arrangements made by the Small Planters Welfare Fund to assist registered small planters and their families to avail of the pension schemes of the National Pensions Fund and the State Insurance Company of Mauritius Ltd (SICOM). Government, through the Small Planters Welfare Fund, is ensuring that small planters have a secured living condition during their old days when they would not have the necessary physical condition to continue to work.
5. Cabinet has taken note that Mr Salim Moollan, Barrister, has been elected to the chairmanship of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) at its 44th Session held in Vienna on 27 June 2011. Mr Salim Moollan, who has been the delegate of Mauritius at UNCITRAL since 2006, succeeds Mr Ricardo Sandoval Lopez of Chili as the elected Chairperson of that institution for the next 12 months. Mr Moollan is already chairing one of UNCITRAL’s working groups dedicated to international arbitration. He is a Barrister in independent practice from Essex Court Chambers in London and from the Moollan Chambers in Mauritius. UNCITRAL is the core legal body of the United Nations system in the field of International Trade Law and a legal body with universal membership specializing in commercial law reform worldwide for over 40 years. UNCITRAL’s mission is to modernize and harmonize rules on international business and the Commission’s work is premised on the development of trade as a means to foster growth, higher living standards and new opportunities through commerce.
6. Cabinet has taken note that, in the context of the International Year of Forests and the World Biological Diversity Day, the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security has, on 23 June 2011, launched a Forest Land Information System which is designed to provide an up-to-date, updatable and reliable source of quantitative geographical information to effectively manage forests.
In the context of the International Year of Forests, the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security is also organizing, amongst others, the following activities –
(a) launching of the national parks at Bras d’Eau and Poste Lafayette;
(b) opening of nature walks at Plaine Sophie and Ile d’Ambre;
(c) opening of trail at Citadelle;
(d) inauguration of a bird hide at Terre Rouge Rivulet Estuary Bird Sanctuary; and
(e) sensitization campaigns on the importance of trees and forests.
7. Cabinet has agreed to the establishment of diplomatic relations with the Republic of Congo with a view to reinforcing existing bilateral relations and furthering economic and trade ties, particularly with the implementation of the Mauritius/Congo/Singapore Triangular cooperation.
8. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Economic and Financial Measures (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill which provides for the implementation of certain measures announced in Budget Speech 2011 and requiring legislative amendments. The Bill also provides for amendments relating to the standardization of documents for registration, inscription and transcription in the context of the implementation of the Land Administration, Valuation and Information Management System, and the Bank of Mauritius to have the power to request any institution offering credit or any utility body to participate in the Credit Information Bureau.
9. Cabinet has agreed to the next meeting of SADC Ministers responsible for Tourism being held in Mauritius in February 2012. In the wake of the meeting, a Sino-African Tourism Forum would also be held to promote dialogue between South African countries and the Chinese authorities for the effective marketing of Chinese tourism.
Cabinet has also taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Tourism and Leisure to Zambia where he participated in the meeting of the SADC Ministers responsible for Tourism, which considered, amongst others, the following issues -
(a) Regional Growth and Development Strategy for SADC;
(b) Regional Tourism Online Database;
(c) organization of the Mozambique All Africa Games in September 2011; and
(d) marketing framework for the Transfrontier Conservation Areas.
10. Cabinet has taken note that a Ministerial Committee, under the chairmanship of the Minister of Public Infrastructure, National Development Unit, Land Transport and Shipping, has been set up to look into arrangements to be made so that Ganesh Chaturthi festival is celebrated in the best conditions. The Committee would comprise the Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, the Minister of Arts and Culture and the Minister of Local Government and Outer Islands.
11. During the official visit of the Prime Minister to Reunion Island in January 2011, it was decided to set up a Contact Group on matters relating to security, co-chaired by the Préfet de La Réunion and the French Ambassador in Mauritius for the French side and the Secretary for Home Affairs for the Mauritian side. Cabinet has taken note that the Contact Group has recommended further collaboration and coordination in Search and Rescue operations between the two countries. In this connection, an Agreement providing for the Standing Operating Procedures for the Search and Rescue Coordination Centres would be signed shortly.
12. Cabinet has taken note that, in the context of the implementation of the Intellectual Property Development Plan, a Training of Trainers Programme on Effective IP Asset Management would be held in Mauritius from 5 to 8 July 2011. The Intellectual Property Development Plan, developed jointly by Mauritius and the World Intellectual Property Office, aims at capacity building on intellectual property issues and supporting efforts of authorities concerned with the modernization of intellectual property laws.
13. Cabinet has taken note that the “Centre de Formation Artistique” at Goodlands would be opened on 14 October 2011. Three such Centres are already in operation at Paillote, Plaines des Papayes and Mahebourg and provide short-term training in various art forms, namely guitar playing, tabla playing, ravanne and Djembé playing, sound and stage lighting techniques, dramatic arts, modern dance, Indian classical dance and painting. More than 2,000 persons have, so far, been trained in the Centres.
14. Cabinet has taken note that, with a view to creating more awareness of emerging technologies and bringing ICT closer to citizens, the National Computer Board, in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutions, the Outsourcing and Telecommunication Association of Mauritius and the Farmers Service Centre, would organize ICT Regional Fairs in Rivière des Anguilles and Rivière du Rempart in August 2011. The main objectives of the fairs are to promote and encourage ICT literacy and sensitize the public on the potential applications of ICT and choice of technology for effective business and individual solutions.
15. Cabinet has taken note that the Hon Dr Ahmed Ali Maniku, Minister of State for Education of Maldives, would effect an official visit to Mauritius from 4 to 8 July 2011. He would lead a five-member delegation comprising, inter alia, a representative of the UNESCO Office. During his stay, the Minister would have discussions with the Ministry of Education and Human Resources, the Ministry of Tertiary Education, Science, Research and Technology, the Mauritius Institute of Education, the Mauritius Institute of Training and Development, the Mahatma Gandhi Institute, the Tertiary Education Commission, the University of Mauritius and the University of Technology, Mauritius, on matters pertaining to education and training.
16. Cabinet has taken note that the Minister of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutions would promulgate the National Pensions (Pension Points) (Amendment) Regulations and the National Pensions (Amendment of Schedules) (Amendment No. 2) Regulations to provide for an increase in the minimum and maximum salaries on which contributions are payable to the National Pension Fund. The increase is effected on a yearly basis in order to keep up with the increase in yearly earnings and to ensure that an employee, at the time of retirement, receives benefits in line with his/her salary level. As from July 2011, the floor is being increased from Rs1,750 to Rs1,905 monthly and the ceiling from Rs11,470 to Rs12,460 monthly.
17. Cabinet has taken note that, following the implementation of the Open Access Policy for Undersea Cable Landing Stations, competition in the ICT sector, as well as the choice of services, has increased and the corporate market has witnessed a significant fall in prices, thus triggering the market dynamics as an economic multiplier.
18. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Arts and Culture to Paris where he participated in the 35th Session of the World Heritage Committee. In the margins of the Meeting, the Minister had discussions, amongst others, with the Director of the World Heritage Centre and the International Council on Monuments and Sites on issues pertaining to the Aapravasi Ghat and Le Morne World Heritage Site, and Mrs D. Prins-Solani, Director of the Centre for Heritage Development in Africa.
19. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent missions of the Minister of Information and Communication Technology to Tanzania and Bostwana.
In Tanzania, the Minister of Information and Communication Technology participated in the African eLeadership Workshop held in the context of the 2011 United Nations and the Africa Public Service Forum. The objective of the Workshop was to provide a platform for Ministers and policy makers, to share experiences on emerging issues of eGovernment and review the role of leadership in promoting such development.
In Bostwana, the Minister of Information and Communication Technology participated in the Meeting of SADC Ministers responsible for ICT, Communications and Postals. Discussions at the Meeting were centered around e-SADC Strategic Framework; International Telecommunication Union World Radio Communication Conference 2012, Postal Matters; SADC Infrastructure and Services Budget Adjustment and Communications Regulators’ Association of Southern Africa.
20. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Civil Service and Administrative Reforms to Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania where he participated in the United Nations and the Africa Public Service Forum and attended the United Nations Public Service Awards Ceremony and the African Public Service Day Exhibition Awards. He participated in the Workshop Leading with Integrity and Inventiveness in Public Governance.
In the margins of the Forum, the Minister of Civil Service and Administrative Reforms had bilateral discussions with the Hon M. Richard Baloyi, Minister of Public Service and Administration of the Republic of South Africa, on the pay system and Industrial Relations in the Public Service in Mauritius.