Top Cabinet Approvals: 21 November 2019
The Union Cabinet chaired has approved the proposal to ease the financial stress faced by the Telecom Services Sector.
Industrial Relations Code Bill, 2019 approved by Cabinet
• The Union Cabinet has approved the introduction of the Industrial Relations Code Bill, 2019 in the Indian Parliament. The cabinet was chaired by PM Narendra Modi.
• The bill proposes to set up a two-member tribunal, in one place of one member for speedier disposal of cases. While the two-member panel will look into important cases, the rest of the cases will be handled by a single member. • The bill also proposes for the re-skilling fund to be utilised for crediting to workers in the manner to be prescribed.
• It also proposes vesting of powers with government officers for resolution of disputes involving penalty and fines, to reduce the burden on the tribunal.
Cabinet approves extension of Pharmaceuticals Purchase Policy (PPP)
• The Union Cabinet has approved the extension and renewal of the Pharmaceuticals Purchase Policy (PPP) for the central public sector undertakings till their strategic disinvestment.
• The Pharmaceuticals Purchase Policy has been renewed with the same terms and conditions with the addition of just one product- Alcoholic Hand Disinfectant (AHD)- to the current list of 103 medicines till the disinvestment of the Pharma CPSUs.
• The extension of the policy is expected to help the Pharma CPSUs to utilize its existing facilities fully and generate revenue to pay salaries to their employees and help keep the expensive machinery in running condition resulting in higher returns and better valuation during disinvestment.
• The Pharmaceuticals Purchase Policy was approved initially by the Union Cabinet in October 2013 for five years with respect to 103 medicines manufactured by the pharma CPSUs and their subsidiaries. The term of the policy had expired in December 2018.
• The Union Cabinet had decided to close Indian Drugs and Pharmaceutical Limited (IDPL) & Rajasthan Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Limited (RDPL) and sell Hindustan Antibiotics Limited (HAL) & Bengal Chemicals and Pharmaceutical Limited (BCPL) in December 2016.
• Further, the CCEA decided to disinvest 100 percent of GOI equity in Karnataka Antibiotics & Pharmaceuticals Limited (KAPL), the fifth pharma CPSU, in November 2011.
National Institute of Sowa Rigpa to be established at Leh
• The Union Cabinet has approved setting up of the National Institute of Sowa Rigpa (NISR) in Leh. The institute has been proposed to be set up as an autonomous organization under the Ministry of AYUSH.
• The National Institute of Sowa-Rigpa is being established to promote the Sowa-Rigpa system of medicine in Leh, to promote Ladakh’s native culture post the formation of Ladakh Union Territory. The institute is expected to be set up at an estimated cost of Rs 47.25 crore.
• Sowa-Rigpa is a traditional medical system, which was initially practiced in the Himalayan belt including Sikkim, Darjeeling, Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and the present Union Territory of Ladakh.
• The National Institute of Sowa-Rigpa aims to add momentum to the revival of Sowa-Rigpa in the Indian Sub-continent. The Institute aims to bring a useful synergy between traditional Sowa-Rigpa and modern science, tools and technology.
Cabinet approves proposal to reduce financial stress of Telecom Sector
• The Union Cabinet chaired has approved the proposal to ease the financial stress faced by the Telecom Services Sector.
• Under the proposal, the Telecommunication Department will give an option to the Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) to defer payment of the spectrum auction installments due for 2020-21 & 2021-22, either for one or both years.
• The deferred bill payments will be spread equally in the remaining installments to be paid by TSPs. The stipulated interest while auctioning off the concerned spectrum will, however, be charged so that NPV is protected.
• The deferment of spectrum auction installments is expected to ease cash outflow of the stressed TSPs and facilitate payment of statutory liabilities and interest on bank loans.
• This will help improve the financial health of the Telecom Service Providers, which will, in turn, improve the quality of services provided to the consumer.
CCEA approves reduction of Government equity shareholding in select CPSEs below 51%
• The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the proposal to reduce Government equity shareholding below 51 percent in select CPSEs while retaining the management control on case to case basis.
• The move aims to widen the bandwidth of the disinvestment window in select CPSEs. It is also expected to help in achieving the objectives of disinvestment such as equal spreading the wealth of the nation and promoting efficient management of Government investment in CPSEs.
• It will also ensure greater transparency and increase the contribution of the CPSEs towards higher economic growth of the nation.
• This could have a positive impact on the foreign portfolio investments in Indian capital markets and create a wider investment space for retail and institutional investors.
Patent Prosecution Highway programme approved by Cabinet
• The Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) programme has been approved by the Cabinet. The programme will be adopted by the Indian Patent Office along with the patent offices of other nations.
• The PPH programme will initially begin with Japan Patent Office (JPO) and the Indian Patent Office on a pilot basis for a period of three years.
• During the period, the IPO may receive patent applications in specified technical fields including computer science, information technology, physics, electronics, textiles, metallurgy, civil, mechanical and automobiles and the Japan Patent Office may receive applications in all fields of technology.
• This would benefit the Indian Patent Office by reducing the time to dispose of patent applications, reducing pendency of patent applications, improve the quality of search and examination of patent applications.
• It would also provide an opportunity for the Indian inventors including MSMEs and startups to get an accelerated examination of their patent applications in Japan.