1. Cabinet approves MoU between India, Iran on cooperation in Traditional Medicine
• The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 14, 2018 approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between India and Iran in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine.
• The MoU will enhance bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the areas of Traditional Systems of Medicine.
• This will be of immense importance to both countries considering their shared cultural heritage.
• India and Iran have a huge biodiversity and are home to rare medicinal plants that are frequently used in Traditional Systems of Medicine.
2. Cabinet approves an agreement for Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion between India, Iran
• The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 14, 2018 approved an Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to taxes on income between India and Iran.
• The agreement will stimulate the flow of investment, technology and personnel from India to Iran and vice versa and prevent double taxation.
• It will provide for the exchange of information between the two contracting parties as per latest international standards thus, improving transparency in tax matters.
• It will also help curb tax evasion and tax avoidance.
• The agreement is on similar lines as entered into by India with other countries.
3. Cabinet approves MoU between India, Iran for cooperation in agriculture and allied sectors
• The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 14, 2018 gave its ex-post-facto approval for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Iran for cooperation in the field of agriculture and allied sectors.
• The MoU was signed on February 17, 2018 during the visit of the President of Iran to India.
• The agreement provides for cooperation in the areas of agricultural crops, agricultural extension, horticulture, machinery, post-harvest technology, plant quarantine measures, credit and cooperation.
• It also provides for cooperation in soil conservation and water management, integrated nutrients management, seed technology and agricultural marketing, livestock improvement, dairy development, animal health and other fields as mutually agreed upon.
• The MoU will enable the exchange of experts, materials and information, exchange of trainees and scientists on study visits/training programmes and facilitation of relevant conferences and workshops.
• A Joint Working Group (JWG) will be formed to monitor the activities carried out in fulfilment of this MoU. The group will hold its meeting alternately in India and Iran once in every two years.
4. Cabinet approves MoU between India, Iran on cooperation in Health and Medicine sector
• The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 14, 2018 gave its ex-post-facto approval for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between India and Iran on cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine.
• The MoU aims to encourage cooperation between the two countries and strengthen bilateral ties between them.
• It will include cooperation in the field of medical research, new technologies and knowledge-based initiatives, exchange of experience in training of human resources and setting up of health care facilities.
• It will also comprise assistance in the development of human resources, regulation of pharmaceuticals, medical devices and cosmetics and cooperation in public health, international health and sustainable development goals.
5. Cabinet approves the continuation of ongoing urea subsidy scheme beyond 12th Five Year Plan
• The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 14, 2018 approved the proposal of Department of Fertilizers to continue Urea Subsidy Scheme up to 2019-20 at a total estimated cost of Rs 1,64,935 crore and for disbursement of fertilizer subsidy.
• The decision implies that there will be no increase in the price of urea till 2020.
• Urea Subsidy is a part of central sector scheme of Department of Fertilizers and is wholly financed by the Government of India through budgetary support.
• The continuation of Urea Subsidy scheme will ensure the timely payment of subsidy to the urea manufacturers resulting in the timely availability of urea to farmers.
• The move is in continuation to the farmer-friendly policies of the Central Government.