Cabinet approves MoU on Maritime issues between India and Denmark
• The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 10, 2019 approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Maritime issues between India and Denmark.
• The MoU is proposed to be signed during the upcoming visit of the VVIP from Denmark to India in January 2019.
• The signing of the agreement will pave the way for both the countries to explore areas of bilateral collaboration, facilitate cross-border cooperation and investments between their maritime sectors.
• It would further enable both the countries to exchange expertise, publications, information, data and statistics to improve mutual capabilities for ensuring quality shipping, cooperation in the field of green maritime technology and shipbuilding, granting the Indian Register of Shipping (IRS) the status of Recognized Organization (RO).
Union Cabinet approves establishment of three new AIIMS
• The Union Cabinet on January 10, 2019 approved the establishment of three more All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to boost healthcare infrastructure in the country.
• Among them, while two will be set up in Jammu and Kashmir's Samba and Pulwama districts, the third AIIMS will be set up in Rajkot, Gujarat. These institutes will be set up under Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY).
• The establishment of the new institutes involve the creation of hospital, teaching block for medical and nursing courses, residential complex and allied facilities and services, broadly on the pattern of AIIMS, New Delhi and other six new AIIMS taken up under Phase-I of PMSSY.
• The objective is to establish the new AIIMS as Institutions of National Importance for providing quality tertiary healthcare, medical education, nursing education and research in the region.
• Each of the new medical institutes will add 100 undergraduate (MBBS) seats and 60 B.Sc. (Nursing) seats and each will have 15-20 Super Specialty Departments and add around 750 hospital beds which will include emergency, trauma Beds, AYUSH Beds, private beds and ICU Speciality and Super Speciality beds.
Cabinet approves MoU between India, Japan on development of Advanced Model Single Window
• The Union Cabinet has approved the Memorandum of Understanding between India and Japan on Development of Advanced Model Single Window.
• The agreement would lead to cooperation between India and Japan on the development of ‘Advanced Model Single Window’ and its operationalization in Central and State Governments in India for taking administrative procedures necessary for business operations and to develop a structure in which those procedures are completed in an expeditious manner.
• The ‘Advanced Model Single Window’ is based on the best practices in and outside India, with measurable parameters and it identifies possible obstacles for the establishment of the Single Window in India. It will thus, facilitate investments.
Cabinet approves MoU between India, France on technical bilateral cooperation in the field of new and renewable energy
• The Union Cabinet has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and France on technical bilateral cooperation in the field of new and renewable energy. The MoU was signed on October 3, 2018.
• India and France aim to establish the basis for a cooperative institutional relationship to encourage and promote technical bilateral cooperation on new and renewable issues on the basis of mutual benefit, equality and reciprocity.
• The technical cooperation will cover joint research working groups, pilot projects, capacity building programs, study tour, case studies and the sharing of experience and expertise.
• The MoU will help in strengthening bilateral cooperation between India and France.
Cabinet approves signing of TOR to provide tax assistance to Swaziland
• The Union Cabinet has approved the Signing of Terms of Reference (TOR) governing the engagement of the designated Indian Expert to provide tax assistance to Swaziland (now known as Eswatini) under the Tax Inspectors without Borders (TIWB) programme between India and Eswatini.
• An Indian expert has been mutually selected by the Government of India and the Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini under the TIWB programme.
• The Terms of Reference will formalise the conditions of the engagement of the designated Indian Expert to provide tax assistance to Eswatini under the TIWB Programme.
• The engagement of the Indian Expert under the TIWB programme will give impetus to India's support in capacity building in tax matters in developing countries.
• The TIWB programme, which was jointly launched by UNDP and OECD, is intended to support developing countries to strengthen national tax administrations through building audit capacity and to share this knowledge with other countries.
Cabinet approves bilateral swap arrangement between India, Japan
• The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal for entering into an Agreement for Bilateral Swap Arrangement (BSA) between India and Japan and authorising the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to sign the BSA with the Bank of Japan for a maximum amount of USD 75 billion.
• The swap arrangement is an agreement between India and Japan to essentially exchange and re-exchange a maximum amount of USD 75 Billion for domestic currency, for the purpose of maintaining an appropriate level of balance of payments for meeting short-term deficiency in foreign exchange.
• The BSA is a very good example of mutual cooperation between India and Japan for strategic objective of assisting each other in times of difficulty and for restoring international confidence.
• This facility will enable the agreed amount of capital being available to India on tap for use. Also, with this arrangement in place, prospects of Indian companies would improve in tapping foreign capital as there would be greater confidence in stability of the country’s exchange rate.
• Further, the availability of such swap line to tide over difficulties arising out of Balance of Payment (BOP) would deter speculative attacks on the domestic currency and greatly enhance the RBI’s ability to manage exchange rate volatility.
Cabinet approves creation of Vice Chancellor post for India’s first rail university
• The Union Cabinet has approved the creation of the post of Vice Chancellor for India's first rail and transportation university, National Rail & Transport Institute (NRTI), which has been set up in Vadodara, Gujarat.
• The Vice-Chancellor shall be the Principal Executive Officer of the institution and shall exercise general supervision and control over the affairs of the institution and shall be mainly responsible for implementation of the decisions of all the authorities of the Institution deemed to be University.
• The NRTI opened its doors to the first batch of 103 students from 20 states of India, in two fully-residential undergraduate courses - BSc. in Transportation Technology and DBA in Transportation Management, the classes for which started from September 5, 2018.
• These three-year degree programs have interdisciplinary curricula, benchmarked with leading institutions in the world, consisting of foundation, core and elective courses.
• The NRTI seeks to forge collaboration with leading international institutions in the areas of Joint research and faculty and student exchange. The institute has signed MoAs for the same with two American Universities- Cornell University and the University of California, Berkeley and two Russian Universities- MIIT and St. Petersburg Transport University.