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The central government on Sunday decided to reduce its workforce to 817,202 by the end of March 2002 by shedding 23,701 jobs from March next year in a bid to streamline the administration, government officials said.

The decision, made during an extra Cabinet meeting, is the first step in a plan to cut central government staff by some 130,000 in 10 years starting in fiscal 2001, which starts April 1.

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