Union Cabinet approves additional 2 percent Dearness Allowance (DA) for Central Government employees and Dearness Relief (DR) to pensioners
• The Union Cabinet has approved to release an additional installment of Dearness Allowance (DA) to Central Government employees and Dearness Relief (DR) to pensioners with effect from July 1, 2018, representing an increase of 2 per cent over the existing rate of 7 per cent of the basic pay/pension, to compensate for price rise.
• The combined impact on the exchequer on account of both DA and DR would be Rs 6112.20 crore per annum and Rs 4074.80 crore in the financial year 2018-19 (for a period of 08 months from July, 2018 to February, 2019).
• This will benefit about 48.41 lakh Central Government employees and 62.03 lakh pensioners.
• This increase is in accordance with the accepted formula, which is based on the recommendations of the 7th Central Pay Commission.
Cabinet approves Revised Cost Estimate for setting up of India Post Payments Bank
• The Union Cabinet has given its approval for revision of the project outlay for setting up of India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) from Rs 800 crore to Rs 1435 crore.
• The additional sum of Rs 635 crore in the revised cost estimates is on account of Rs 400 crore for Technology Costs and Rs 235 crore for Human Resource Costs.
• The IPPB services shall be available at 650 IPPB branches and 3250 Access Points from September 1, 2018 and in all 1.55 lakh post offices (Access Points) by December 2018.
• The project will generate new employment opportunities for about 3500 skilled banking professionals and other entities engaged in propagating financial literacy across the country.
• The objective of the project is to build the most accessible, affordable and trusted bank for the common man, spearhead the financial inclusion agenda by removing the barriers for the unbanked and reduce the opportunity cost for the under banked populace through assisted doorstep banking.
Cabinet apprised of MoU between India, Republic of Korea on cooperation in the field of railways
• The Union Cabinet has been apprised of an MoU signed between India’s Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO) and Republic of Korea Railroad Research Institute (KRRI) to strengthen and promote scientific and technical cooperation in the field of railways. The MoU was signed July 10, 2018.
• The agreement will provide a platform for Indian Railways to interact and share the latest developments and knowledge in the railway sector with its Korean counterpart.
• It will also facilitate exchange of technical experts, reports and technical documents, training and seminars and workshops focusing on specific technology areas and other interactions for knowledge sharing.
• The Ministry of Railways has signed MoUs for technical cooperation in the rail sector with various foreign governments and national railways. The identified areas of cooperation include high speed corridors, speed raising of existing routes, development of world class stations, heavy haul operations and modernisation of rail infrastructure.
Cabinet apprised of MoU between India, UK and Northern Ireland on cooperation in the fields of animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries
• The Union Cabinet has been apprised of an MoU signed between India and United Kingdom (UK) and Northern Ireland for cooperation in the fields of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries. The MoU was signed on April 17, 2018.
• The agreement aims to develop bilateral cooperation in the field of animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries for the purpose of increasing production and productivity of Indian livestock and fisheries.
• The partnership is expected to improve livestock health, livestock breeding and fisheries aiming at enhancing dairy, fisheries and animal products for domestic consumption and export.
• It would also promote management and mechanism to enrich feed and fodder nutritionally and its bulk transportation in deficit areas to realise higher productivity and production in livestock and also sanitary issues concerning trade in livestock, animal husbandry and animal products.
• A Joint Working Group (JWG) consisting of representatives of each party shall be created to formulate joint programs and to facilitate cooperation and consultation.
Cabinet approves MoU between India, Bulgaria in the field of tourism
• The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Bulgaria for strengthening cooperation in the field of Tourism.
• The main objectives of the MoU include:
- Expand bilateral cooperation in the tourism sector and exchange information and data related to tourism.
- Exchange visits of Tour Operators / Media /Opinion Makers for promotion of two way tourism and establish exchange programme for cooperation in Human Resource Development.
- Encourage cooperation between tourism stakeholders including Hotels and Tour operators and exchange experiences in the areas of promotion, marketing, destination development and management.
- Foster bilateral cooperation through film tourism for promoting the two countries as attractive tourism destinations and promote safe, honourable and sustainable tourism.
• India and Bulgaria had previously signed an agreement on cooperation in the field of tourism on May 26, 1994. Bulgaria is a potential tourism market for India, as we received approximately 5288 tourists from the nation in 2017.
Cabinet approves MoU between India, USA in insurance regulatory sector
• The Union Cabinet has approved the signing of an MoU between Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) and the Federal Insurance Office, USA.
• The agreement provides a framework for cooperation and coordination, including for the exchange of information and research assistance with respect to each authority’s overview and other lawful responsibilities.
• Under the agreement, both the countries have agreed to share their experiences on various regulatory functions and provide mutual assistance including training activities.
• They have also agreed to continue to facilitate cooperation on international standard-setting activities, financial stability and the development and implementation of consumer protection through sound prudential regulation of the insurance sector.
• India and USA have strong business relations with each other and both the countries have been in regular discussions at various political and official levels.
Cabinet approves signing of Air Services agreement between India, Morocco
• The Union Cabinet has approved the revised air services agreement to be signed between India and Morocco.
• After the new Air Services Agreement comes into force, the existing Air Services Agreement of December, 2004 shall stand superseded.
• The Air Services Agreement signifies an important landmark in the civil aviation relations between India and Morocco and has the potential to spur greater trade, investment, tourism and cultural exchanges between the two countries.
• It will provide enabling environment for enhanced and seamless connectivity while providing commercial opportunities to the carriers of both the sides ensuring greater safety and security.
• Major features of the Agreement include:
- Multiple designation of Airlines by each party
- The designated Airline of each party can enter into cooperative marketing arrangements with the designated carriers of same party, other party and that of a third party.
- This agreement also allows designated airlines of either countries to establish offices in the territory of other country for the promotion and sale of air services.
- The designated airlines of the both countries would also be able to operate any number of services to and from the six points specified in the Route Schedule of the ASA.
- Hence, while Indian designated carriers will be able to operate any number of services to and from Casablanca, Rabat, Marrakesh, Agadir, Tangier and Fez in Morocco, the designated carriers of Morocco will be able to operate any number of services to and from New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
Cabinet approves Trade Cooperation Framework between India, Rwanda
The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval for the trade cooperation framework between India and Rwanda. The framework was signed on July 23, 2018.
The agreement will facilitate better trade and economic relations between the two countries.
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