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Union Cabinet Approvals: 1 March 2019

The Union Cabinet was apprised about the joining of Union Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas as the 25th member of the IEA Bioenergy TCP on January 25, 2019. The other 24 members of the group are - Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, US, and the European Commission.

Mar 1, 2019 16:40 IST
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Cabinet approves Implementation of Master Plan of AIIMS, New Delhi

• The Union Cabinet approved the Implementation of Master Plan to convert ‘All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS)’, New Delhi into a world class ‘Medical University’.
• The Master Plan calls for freeing up adequate space through redevelopment, vertical expansion and reorganizing the land usage in the next 20 years.
• It proposes to re-develop the infrastructure of AIIMS by consolidating the Patient Care, Teaching, Research, Administration and support services in areas in the East Ansari Nagar Campus and residential facilities from East Ansari Nagar to Trauma Centre Extension (New Rajnagar) Campus.
• The project would provide highly specialised healthcare to the patients and an integrated ‘One Campus’ answer to all the investigative, physiotherapeutic, operative, rehabilitative and vocational needs.

Cabinet approves payment of Rs 1450 crore of National Housing Bank to RBI

• The Cabinet approved the payment of the face value of the subscribed share capital of Rs.1450 crore in National Housing Bank (NHB) to Reserve Bank of India (RBl) consequent to amendments made to the NHB Act, 1987 in 2018.
• The expenditure of Rs.1450 crore will be met out of Gross Budgetary Support 2018-19.
• The beneficiaries are the Reserve Bank of India and the Housing Sector.
• NHB is an apex agency established to operate as the principal agency to promote housing finance institutions in India.
• The change in ownership from RBI to Central Government will also segregate RBI's role as banking regulator and as owner of NHB.

Cabinet approves inclusion of Common Services Centres under MEITY as Enrolment Agency for PM-SYM


• The Union Cabinet approved inclusion of Common Service Centres (CSC) under MEITY as an enrolment agency for the Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-dhan (PM-SYM) Yojana.
• The approval will enable workers in the Unorganized Sector to get social security in the form of monthly pension of Rs. 3,000 on attaining the age of 60 years.
• The Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-dhan Yojana (PM-SYM), a mega pension scheme for unorganised sector, was launched on February 15, 2019.
• The scheme was announced in the Interim Budget 2019.

Cabinet approves setting up of a Railway Zone at Vishakhapatnam

• The Union Cabinet approved setting up of a Railway Zone at Vishakhapatnam and a new division with headquarter at Rayagada by reorganizing the existing South Central Railway and East Coast Railway.
• Setting up of the new Railway Zone will bring optimality with regard to size and scale of railway operations.
• It will meet the persistent demand and aspirations of the people of the area.

Cabinet approves joining of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas as a Member of ‘IEA Bioenergy TCP’

• The Union Cabinet was apprised about the joining of Union Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas as the 25th member of the IEA Bioenergy TCP on January 25, 2019.
• The other 24 members of the group are - Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, US, and the European Commission.
• International Energy Agency's Technology Collaboration Programme on Bioenergy (IEA Bioenergy TCP) is an international platform for co-operation among countries with the aim of improving cooperation and information exchange in bioenergy research, development and deployment.
• IEA Bioenergy TCP works under the framework of International Energy Agency (IEA) to which India has "Association" status since March 30, 2017.
• The R&D work in IEA Bioenergy TCP is carried out within well-defined 3-years programmes called "Tasks". Each year the progress of the Tasks is evaluated and scrutinized.

Cabinet approves Kanpur Metro Rail Project

• The Union Cabinet approved Kanpur Metro Rail Project having two corridors, which will connect major public nodes and city cluster areas of Kanpur.
• Implementation of Metro Rail System will result in less vehicular traffic and better movement on the roads leading to reduction in congestion, travel time, cost of journey and pollution.  
• The length of ITT to Naubasta corridor is 23.785 km, which is partly elevated and partly underground and comprises of 22 Stations (14-Elevated and 8-Underground).
• The estimated cost of the project is Rs. 11,076.48 crore and project will be completed in 5 years.
• ITT Kanpur to Naubasta corridor will pass through heart of the city covering several prominent educational institutions, Railway & Bus Stations, including IIT Kanpur.
• About 40 Lakh population is expected to be benefitted by Kanpur Metro Rail Project directly and indirectly at the time of commencement of commercial operations.

Cabinet approves Promulgation of an Ordinance for Amendment to the Special Economic Zones Act, 2005


• The Union Cabinet approved promulgation of an Ordinance to amend the definition of "person", as defined in sub-section (v) of section 2 of the Special Economic Zones Act, 2005 to include a ‘trust’, to enable the setting up of a unit in a Special Economic Zone by a trust.
• It also aims to provide flexibility to the Central Government to include in this definition of a person, any entity that the Central Government may notify from time to time.
• The present provision of the SEZs Act, 2005 do not permit 'trusts' to set up units in SEZs.
• This will facilitate investments in Special Economic Zones.

Cabinet approves Agra Metro Rail Project

• The Union Cabinet approved Agra Metro Rail Project having two corridors.
• These corridors will connect major public nodes, tourist places and city cluster areas of Agra.
• Implementation of Metro Rail System will result in less vehicular traffic and better movement on the roads leading to reduction in congestion, travel time, cost of journey and pollution.  
• Agra Metro Rail Project will have 2 corridors which will pass through heart of the city and will connect prominent tourist places including Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Sikandra as well as ISBT, Raja Ki Mandi Railway Station, Medical College, Agra Cant Railway Station, Collectorate, Sanjay Place, etc.
• The length of Sikandra to Taj East Gate corridor is 14 km, which is partly elevated and partly underground comprises of 13 Stations (6-Elevated and 7-Underground).
• The length of Agra Cantt to KalindiVihar corridor is 15.40 km comprising of 14 stations all elevated.
• The estimated cost of the project is Rs. 8,379.62 crore and project will be completed in 5 years.

Cabinet approves Homeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019

• The Union Cabinet approved the draft Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019 to extend the period for reconstitution of the Central Council from existing period of one year to two years.
• The aim is to extend the tenure of the Board of Governors for a further period of one year with affect from May 17, 2019 for exercising the powers and performing the functions of the Central Council of Homoeopathy.

Cabinet approves Creation of two posts to assist the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities

• The Union Cabinet approved the proposal for Creation of two posts of Commissioners in the Office of the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (CCPD), in terms of provisions of The Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPwD) Act, 2016.
• Out of the two posts of Commissioners, one Commissioner will be a person with disability.
• The Commissioners will assist the CCPD in discharging his statutory functions as per provisions of the said Act.
• This would enable the Office of CCPD to look into the complaints of persons with disabilities expeditiously.

Cabinet apprised of MoU between India and UK on Cooperation in Weather and Climate Sciences

• The Union Cabinet was apprised of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and United Kingdom (UK) on Cooperation in Weather and Climate Sciences.  
• The MoU was signed on January 28, 2019 under which, an Implementation Agreement on Weather and climate science for service partnership will also be signed between India and the UK.
• The proposal will benefit India as it is an enabling mechanism to work on scientific challenges in the Indian context, namely Climate Science and Services, capacity building including exchange programmes, technology development, severe weather, air pollution studies, hydrometerology etc.
• It will offer the best environment for research and innovation for delivery of high-end research for societal benefit.

Cabinet approves MoU between India and Norway for undertaking non-intrusive Geological Surveys

• The Union Cabinet approved the Memorandum of Understanding between India and Norway for undertaking non-intrusive Geological Surveys and Investigations.
• The MoU entails collaboration between the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd. (NHIDCL) and Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI), Oslo for facilitating a mechanism to work on mutually agreed progressive and supportive activities, particularly in the North East.
• The proposal is innovative in terms of extensive geological investigations for introduction of non-intrusive remote sensing techniques like Airborne Electromagnetic (AEM) Survey.
• This non-intrusive method of Geophysical Survey is being used for the first time in India.
• The technology is provided by very few companies worldwide, the NGI being one of them.

Cabinet approves the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre Ordinance, 2019

• The Union Cabinet Modi approved promulgation of an Ordinance for establishing the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (NDIAC) for the purpose of creating an independent and autonomous regime for institutionalised arbitration.
• The benefits of institutionalized arbitration will accrue to Government and its agency and to the parties to a dispute.
• The NDAIC will be established with an aim to bring   targeted   reforms   to   develop   itself   as   a   flagship institution for conducting international and domestic arbitration.
• It will provide facilities and administrative assistance for conciliation mediation and arbitral proceedings.
• New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (NDIAC) will be headed by a chairperson who has been a Judge of the Supreme Court or a Judge of a High Court or an eminent person.
• There will be two Full time or Part time Members from amongst eminent persons having substantial knowledge and experience in institutional arbitration, both domestic and international.

Cabinet approves MoU between India and USA to access reports on Missing and Exploited Children

• The Union Cabinet approved the Memorandum of Understanding between India and the USA to access tipline reports on Missing and Exploited Children.
• The MoU was signed between the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), India and the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), USA.
• The MoU will provide access to more than one lakh tipline reports available with NCMEC, USA and enable law enforcement agencies in India.
• It will pave the way for setting up of an innovative mechanism for sharing information about child pornography and child sexual abuse material and taking legal action against offenders.

Cabinet approves Setting up Centre for Disability Sports at Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh

• The Union Cabinet approved the proposal for setting up of a Centre for Disability Sports at Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh,to be registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.
• It will function under the name of ‘Centre for Disability Sports’, Gwalior.
• The setting up of the Centre will entail an estimated cost of Rs 170.99 crore, spread over a period of 5 years.
• Improved sports infrastructure will ensure effective participation of persons with disabilities in sports activities and also enable them to compete at national and international levels.

Cabinet apprised of MoU between India and Tajikistan on cooperation in renewable energy

• The Union Cabinet was apprised of the Memorandum of Understanding between India and Tajikistan on Cooperation in the field of Renewable Energy. The MoU was signed on October 8, 2018.
• The MoU will enable establishment of a basis for a cooperative institutional relationship between India and Tajikistan to encourage and promote bilateral technical cooperation in the field of new and renewable energy.  
• It will further cooperation between the two countries through exchange and training of scientific and technical personnel, exchange of scientific and technological information and data.

Cabinet approves setting up of SPV for disinvestment of Air India and its Subsidiaries


• The Union Cabinet approved for the creation of the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) and associated activities for the disinvestment of Air India and its subsidiaries/JV.
• An SPV namely ‘Air India Assets Holding Ltd.’ (AIAHL) has been created for warehousing accumulated working Capital Loan not backed by any asset along with four Subsidiaries (Air India Air Transport Services Ltd. (AIATSL), Airline Allied Services Ltd. (AASL), Air India Engineering Services Ltd. (AIESL) and Hotel Corporation of India Ltd. (HCI).
• Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) issued order for creation of a new SPV, incorporated on January 22, 2018.
• The Board of Directors of SPV includes CMD of Air India Ltd. and Joint Secretaries of MoCA, Department of Expenditure, Department of Economic Affairs, DIPAM and Director (Finance) Air India Ltd.

CCEA approves construction of four lane bridge over River Brahmaputra between Dhubri and Phulbari

• The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved construction of four lane bridge including approaches over river Brahmaputra between Dhubri on North Bank and Phulbari on South Bank on NH-127 B in the State of Assam/Meghalaya.  
• The total length of the bridge will be 19.282 km.  
• The bridge will be built under the scheme of ‘North-East Road Network Connectivity Project Phase-03’ under loan assistance with Japan at the civil construction cost of Rs.3548 crore and total capital cost of Rs.4997.04 crore including the cost of Rs.55.68 crore towards the cost of land acquisition.
• The completion of the project will take approximately six years’ period.

CCEA approves soft loan to sugar mills to facilitate payment of cane dues of the farmers

• Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved the proposal to provide soft loans to the extent of about Rs. 7900-10540 crore to the sugar industry.
• Government will bear the interest subvention cost at the rate of 7 - 10% to the extent of Rs. 553 crore to Rs 1054 crore for one year.
• The Government has mandated that banks will obtain the list of farmers with bank account details from the sugar mill so that the same are directly paid into the accounts of the farmers on behalf of the sugar mills.
• Subsequent balance if any, will then be credited into the mill’s account.

CCEA approves for strategic disinvestment of 100% GoI’s equity shares in Kamarajar Port Limited to Chennai Port Trust

• The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved strategic disinvestment of 100% equity shares of Government in Kamarajar Port Limited (KPL) to Chennai Port Trust (ChPT) in a single stage process, by following ‘Arm’s length’ principles.
• Presently, the Government and Chennai Port Trust hold 67% and 33% of shares respectively in Kamarajar Port Limited.   
• The methods of valuation will include discounted cash flow, assets valuation and relative valuation as recommended by NITI Aayog.
• This would help to avoid duplication of capacity creation in the ports.
• The strategic disinvestment of KPL shall be undertaken after conducting due diligence exercise by both the entities with the help of Advisors.

CCEA approves development of New Greenfield Airport at Hirasar, Rajkot, Gujarat

• The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved development of New Greenfield Airport at Hirasar, Rajkot, Gujarat at an estimated cost of Rs.1405 crore.
• The existing airport at Rajkot is severely land constrained having only 236 acres (approx.) of land and situated in the heart of city. This Airport suffers from considerable capacity restraints due to presence of residential & commercial buildings around it.
• Railway line and State Highway located around the airport on eastern side also prohibits the extension of runway.
• Rajkot is the fourth largest city in the state of Gujarat after Ahmedabad, Surat, and Vadodara. The city is the centre of the Saurashtra region of Gujarat and the 35th largest urban agglomeration in India. It is also the 22nd fastest growing city in the world.

CCEA approves foreign investment of more than Rs. 5000 crore and up to Rs.25,000 crore  in Vodafone Idea Limited

• The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the FDI Proposal for Foreign Direct Investment of more than Rs. 5000 crore and up to Rs. 25000 crore in Vodafone Idea Limited (VIL) as part of a proposed equity fund raise by way of  a Rights issue of equity shares.  
• It also approved to take on record the proposed changes in the indirect foreign investment in the subsidiaries of VIL.
• The Vodafone Idea Limited (VIL) is a public listed company incorporated under the Companies Act, 1956.
• The equity shares of the company are listed on the National Stock Exchange of India Limited and the Bombay Stock Exchange Limited.
• The Company is engaged in the business of providing telecommunication services pursuant to various licenses granted to it by the DoT.
• The company has existing FDI approval for up to 100% Foreign Equity participation.

CCEA approves investment proposal for transmission component of Nepal portion by Sutlej Jal Vikas Nigam (SJVN) Limited


• The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved investment for Transmission Component of Arun-3 Hydro Electric Project (Nepal portion) by Sutlej Jal Vikas Nigam (SJVN) Limited for an estimated cost of Rs. 1236.13 crore at June 2017 Price level.
• Employment generation of around 400 persons is envisaged in construction of transmission component of the project.
• The project will provide surplus power to India strengthening economic linkages with Nepal.
• The power from the project shall be exported from Dhalkebar in Nepal to Muzaffarpur in India.

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