Union Cabinet Approvals: 20 February 2019
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the revision of norms under ‘Mid Day Meal Scheme’ with an outlay of Rs 12,054 Crore for 2019-20 in addition to the subsidy of about Rs 8000 crore borne by Department of Food & Public Distribution.
Cabinet approves setting up of a company under Department of Space
• The Union Cabinet on February 19, 2019 approved the setting up of a new company under Department of Space (DoS) to commercially exploit the research and development work carried out by Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Centers and constituent units of DOS.
• The new company shall take license from DoS/ISRO and provide sub-license to industries for small satellite technology transfer.
• It will undertake manufacture of small satellite launch vehicle (SLV) in collaboration with the Private Sector.
• It will carry out productionisation of Polar SLV through industry; productionisation and marketing of Space-based products and services; and transfer of Technology developed by ISRO Centers and constituent units of DoS.
• It will market some spin-off technologies and products both in India and abroad.
Cabinet approves release of an additional instalment of Dearness Allowance and Dearness Relief
• The Union Cabinet approved the release of an additional instalment of Dearness Allowance (DA) to Central Government employees and Dearness Relief (DR) to pensioners with effect from January 1, 2019.
• There is an increase of 3 percent over the existing rate of 9 percent of the Basic Pay and Pension to compensate for price rise.
• This increase is in accordance with the accepted formula, which is based on the recommendations of the 7th Central Pay Commission (CPC).
• The combined impact on the exchequer on account of both DA and DR would be Rs 9168.12 crore per annum and Rs 10696.14 crore, respectively, in 2019-20 for a period of 14 months from January 2019 to February, 2020.
• This will benefit about 48.41 lakh Central Government employees and 62.03 lakh pensioners.
Cabinet approves promulgation of Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Second Ordinance, 2019
• The Union Cabinet approved the Promulgation of an Ordinance, namely “the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Second Ordinance, 2019.
• It also approved to bring in necessary official amendments in the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2018, pending in Parliament for replacing the said Ordinance.
• The proposal will enable the Board of Governors (BOG) appointed in supersession of Medical Council of India (MCI) to continue to exercise the powers of MCI and that of Central Government under Section 10A of the Indian Medical Council (IMC) Act, 1956.
• It will ensure transparency, accountability and quality in the governance of medical education in the country.
• It will also ensure that the work already done by the BOG as per provisions of earlier Ordinance is validated and may continue.
Cabinet approves MoU between India and Morocco on Reciprocal facilitation of procedures for issue of Business Visa
• The Union Cabinet approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Morocco on the Reciprocal facilitation of procedures for issue of Business Visa.
• The MoU aims to facilitate issuance of multiple entry business visa to nationals of the two countries who wish to travel to the territory of the other country to make a business deal, establish an industrial / business project, buy/sell industrial products, or set up other.
• Such visas are normally required to be issued for a period of up to 12 months within a specified time limit of 7 days in regular cases.
• In cases whether further scrutiny is required, both sides may inform the applicant accordingly.
Cabinet approves Ahmedabad Metro Rail Project Phase II
• The Union Cabinet approved the Ahmedabad Metro Rail Project Phase-II which comprises two corridors of total length 28.254.
• The Corridor 1 is from Motera Stadioum to Mahatma mandir, a length of 22.838 km and Corridor 2 is from GNLU to GIFT City at a length of 5.416 km.
• The project will be completed at a total cost of Rs. 5384.17 crores.
• It will provide the much-needed additional public transport infrastructure to Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar.
• It will streamline the urban transportation system in Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar, which is stressed due to intensive developments, increase in the number of private vehicles and heavy construction in the city.
• The Metro Rail project itself is an innovation over the conventional system of urban transport.
• The project involves integration with other urban transport systems in an efficient and effective manner.
Cabinet approves creation of post of Secretary and Joint Secretary in the newly created Department of Fisheries
• The Union Cabinet approved creation of one post of Secretary in the level 17 (Rs.2,25,000 fixed per month) and one post of Joint Secretary in the level 14 (Rs.144200-218200 per month) in the newly created Department of Fisheries on permanent basis.
• The positions will ensure smooth functioning and fulfil the mandate of the newly created Department.
• Newly created posts would enable the Department of Fisheries to undertake and monitor number of projects for the development of the sector, for the welfare and protection of the interest of the large number of Fishermen.
Cabinet approves Reforms in Exploration and Licensing Policy for enhancing production of oil and gas
• The Union Cabinet approved the Policy framework on reforms in exploration and licensing sector for enhancing domestic exploration and production of oil and gas.
• The objective of the Policy is to attract new investment in Exploration and Production (E&P) Sector, intensification of exploration activities in unexplored areas and liberalising the policy in producing basins.
• The policy reforms focus on four major areas - increasing exploration activities in unexpected areas; incentivize enhanced gas production, marketing and pricing freedom; enhance production from existing nomination fields of ONGC and OIL; and promoting ease of doing business.
• Through this policy, a transparent, investor friendly and competitive policy framework is envisaged to accelerate exploration activities and provide impetus to expeditious production of oil and gas.
• The enhanced production would help in reducing import dependence; improve energy security of country and save the precious foreign exchange on import bill.
Cabinet approves continuation of Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana – Gramin beyond March 2019
• The Union Cabinet approved the implementation of Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana – Gramin (PMAY-G) beyond March 2019 (PMAY-G) Phase-II.
• The total target under PMAY-G Phase-II is construction of 1.95 crore houses by 2022.
• The rural housing scheme Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana - Gramin (PMAY-G) in Phase-ll will be continued beyond 2019-20 up to 2021-22 as per the existing norms of PMAY-G Phase-l, with a target of 60 lakh houses involving financial implication of Rs 76,500 crore.
• It also approved continuation of Program Management Unit (PMU) and National Technical Support Agency (NTSA) till 2019-20.
• There will be reduction in administrative expenses from 4 percent to 2 percent of programme funds.
Cabinet approves agreement on simplification of visa requirements between India and South Africa
• The Union Cabinet approved the signing of agreement between India and South Africa on simplification of visa requirements for travels of certain categories of citizens.
• The Agreement aims to facilitate issuance of multiple entry visa to nationals of the two countries who wish to travel to the territory of the other country for tourism, medical, business and official purpose.
• Such visas are normally required to be issue for a period of up to five years within a specified time limit of five days.
• In cases where further scrutiny is required, both sides may inform the application accordingly.
Cabinet approves Agreement on Proposed Participation of India in PISA
• The Union Cabinet approved the Agreement between India and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for participating in the Programme for International Students Assessment (PISA), which will be conducted by the OECD in 2021.
• The Agreement was signed on January 28, 2019.
• The participation in PISA will help to introduce competency-based examination reforms in the school system and help move away from rote learning.
• The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) will be part of the process and activities leading to the actual test.
• PISA is a competency-based assessment which unlike content-based assessment, measures the extent to which students have acquired key competencies.
• Schools run by the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS), Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti (NVS) and schools in the Union Territory of Chandigarh will participate.
• More than 80 countries, including 44 middle-income countries including Brazil, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam have participated in PISA.
Cabinet approves Implementation of National Rural Economic Transformation Project under DAY-NRLM
• The Union Cabinet approved the Implementation of an Externally Aided Project namely “National Rural Economic Transformation Project” (NRETP) under the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) through loan assistance from World Bank.
• The technical assistance provided by NRETP will enhance the livelihoods promotion and access to finance and scale-up initiatives on digital finance and livelihood interventions.
• DAY-NRLM lays special emphasis on targeting the poorest of the poor and the most vulnerable communities and their financial inclusion.
• Innovative projects will be undertaken under NRETP to pilot alternate channels of financial inclusion, creating value chains around rural products, introduce innovative models in livelihoods promotion and access to finance and scale-up initiatives on digital finance and livelihoods interventions.
• DAY-NRLM provides for mutually beneficial working relationship and formal platforms for consultations between Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and Community Based Organizations (CBOs).
Cabinet approves Constitution of Development and Welfare Board for De-notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Communities
• The Union Cabinet approved constitution of Development and Welfare Board for Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-nomadic Communities (DNCs). The same was announced in the Interim Budget 2019.
• It approved the setting up of a Committee under the Chairpersonship of Vice-Chairman, NITI Aayog which will complete the process of identification of the Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Communities (DNCs) that have not yet been formally classified.
• Amongst the most disadvantage communities in the country are the Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Communities (DNCs).
• These communities are hard to reach, less visible, and therefore frequently left out.
• While most DNCs are spread across the Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBC) categories, some DNCs are not covered in any of the SC, ST or OBC categories.
• The Government in July 2014 had constituted National Commission for Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes (NCDNT) for a period of three years to prepare a State-wise list of castes belonging to Denotified and Nomadic Tribes.
Cabinet approves Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut Corridor of RRTS
• The Union Cabinet approved construction of Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut Corridor of Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) covering a distance of 82.15 kms. at a total completion cost of Rs. 30,274 crores.
• It also approved central financial assistance of Rs. 5,634 crores in the form of grant and sub-ordinate debt.
• The RRTS is a first-of-its-kind, rail-based, high-speed regional transit system to be implemented in India.
• Once operational, it will be the fastest, most comfortable and safest mode of commuter transport in the National Capital Region (NCR).
• The RRTS aims to streamline the urban transportation system, which is stressed due to intensive developments, and increase in the number of private vehicles.
• The project is meant to ensure ‘Universal Access’ by being sensitive to the needs of women, children and vulnerable sections of the society.
Cabinet approves MoU between Korea and India on combating transnational crime
• The Union Cabinet approves Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Korean National Police Agency and the Union Ministry of Home Affairs on combating transnational crime and developing police cooperation.
• The proposed MOU aims to improve the effectiveness of both countries in the prevention and suppression of crimes including crime relating to terrorism and transnational organised crime.
• It proposed to establish a framework for enhancing cooperation between the officials of intelligence and law-enforcement agencies of the two countries.
Cabinet approves Promulgation of the Companies (Second Amendment) Ordinance 2019
• The Union Cabinet approved the Promulgation of the Companies (Second Amendment) Ordinance 2019 and for replacement of the said Ordinance in Parliament by a replacement Bill.
• It is based on the recommendations of the Committee to review offences under the Companies Act, 2013, so as to fill critical gaps in the corporate governance & compliance framework as enshrined in the Companies Act 2013.
• This will incentivise compliance of law while simultaneously meting out exemplary punishment for serious violations.
• The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2018 later renamed as the Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 20, 2018.
• The Bill was transmitted to the Rajya Sabha but it could not be passed in the Upper House in the Winter Session.
Cabinet approves Cadre Review of 8 organized Group 'A' Services in Railways
• The Union Cabinet approved the proposal for Cadre Review of 8 organized Group 'A' Services in Railways namely Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS), Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS), Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS), Indian Railway Service of Engineers (IRSE), etc.
• Cabinet has also approved encadrement of the post of Member (staff), a cadre post for IRPS and re-designation of the posts of Director General (Signal & Telecom), Director General (Stores) and Director General (Safety) as Member(S&T), Member (Materials) as Director General (Safety) respectively.
• This Cadre Review was pending since 2012 and will benefit 900 officers of these services.
Cabinet approves Promulgation of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage), Second Ordinance, 2019
• The Union Cabinet approved Promulgation of an Ordinance, namely the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Second Ordinance, 2019.
• The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018 pending in Rajya Sabha will replace the aforesaid Ordinance.
• The proposed Ordinance will protect the rights of married Muslim women and prevent divorce by the practice of instantaneous and irrevocable ‘talaq-e-biddat’ by their husbands.
• It will discourage the practice of triple talaq i.e. talaq-e-biddat.
• Promulgation of the proposed Ordinance will provide the rights of subsistence allowance, custody of minor children to victims of triple talaq i.e. talaq-e-biddat.
Cabinet approves transfer of 50.76 acres land at Sarangpur, Chandigarh to the PGIMER, Chandigarh
• The Union Cabinet approved the proposal for transfer of 50.76 acres of land at Sarangpur, Chandigarh to the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh.
• This will benefit in screening OPD patients, triaging the patients and managing them optimally.
• Cancer management research & Palliative care would be provided under one roof besides setting up of Learning Resource Centre (LRC) and Multi Level Parking etc.
• The setting up of New OPD, Shifting of Trauma Centre, Cancer Care, and LRC, the waiting time for surgeries will decrease for the common man.
• This will benefit the poorest of the poor patients attending the PGIMER, Chandigarh. Health services and tertiary care will be more effective.
CCEA approves continuation of Khadi Gramodyog Vikas Yojana from 2017-18 to 2019-20
• The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved to continue the existing schemes of MPDA, Khadi Grant, ISEC and Village Industry Grant, all subsumed under 'Khadi and Gramodyog Vikas Yojana' at the total cost of Rs. 2800 crore for the period 2017-18 to 2019-20.
• It approved to bring in a new component of 'Rozciar Yukt Gaon' to introduce enterprise-based operation in the Khadi sector and to create employment opportunities for thousands of new artisans.
• Rozgar Yukta Gaon (RYG) aims at introducing an 'Enterprise-led Business Model' in place of 'Subsidy-led model' through partnership among 3 stakeholders- KRDP-assisted Khadi Institution, Artisans and Business Partner.
• It will be rolled out in 50 Villages by providing 10,000 Charkhas, 2000 looms & 100 warping units to Khadi artisans, and would create direct employment for 250 Artisans per village.
• The total Capital Investment per village shall be Rs.72 Lakh as subsidy, and Rs.1.64 Crore in terms of Working Capital from the Business Partner.
Cabinet approves modifications in National Programme for Mid-Day Meal in Schools
• The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the revision of norms under ‘Mid Day Meal Scheme’ with an outlay of Rs 12,054 Crore for 2019-20 in addition to the subsidy of about Rs 8000 crore borne by Department of Food & Public Distribution.
• The Cooking cost is enhanced to Rs. 4.35 and Rs. 6.51 per child per school day, thus Cooking cost is enhanced by Rs 361 crore.
• Revision of the transportation rate from Rs 75 per quintal, for other than NE & Himalayan States to PDS rate.
• Monitoring and Evaluation (MME) rate increased from 2% to 3% of the total admissible recurring Central Assistance.
• The assistance for kitchen devices has been enhanced from flat rate of Rs 5,000 per school to Rs 10,000 - Rs 25,000 based on enrolment.
• A new component of Rs 10,000 per kitchen for repair of more than 10 year old kitchen has been introduced.
• Rs 50 crore have been allocated for fortification of food items in a systematic manner.
• The States and UTs have been given flexibility to utilise 5% of their Annual Work Plan & Budget for new interventions.
• Concept of community participation in the form of Tithi Bhojan will be encouraged under which people from the community celebrate important days such as child birth, marriage, birthdays etc.
• The Ministry of HRD has worked with States and UTs to implement a technology based (SMS, IVRS & Mobile App) Automated Monitoring System by which information on attendance at the Mid Day Meal is collected every day from schools.
• Usage of Jails, Temples, Gurudwaras for Mid Day Meal - All States and UTs are being advised to involve community and other agencies such as Jails, Temples, Gurudwaras etc. in the Mid Day Meal Scheme.
Cabinet approves Phase-II of Grid Connected Rooftop Solar Programme
• The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the Phase-II of Grid Connected Rooftop Solar Programme for achieving cumulative capacity of 40,000 MW from Rooftop Solar (RTS) Projects by the year 2022.
• The programme will be implemented with total central financial support of Rs.11,814 crore.
• In the Phase-II, the Programme Central Financial Assistance (CFA) for the residential sector has been restructured with availability of 40 percent CFA for RTS systems up to 3 kW capacity.
• For Group Housing Societies/Residential Welfare Associations (GHS/RAW), CFA will be limited to 20 percent for RTS plants for supply of power to common facilities.
• CFA under residential category will be provided for 4000 MW capacity and the same will be provided on the basis of benchmark cost or tender cost, which is lower.
• Central financial support will not be available for institutional, educational, social, government, commercial, industrial, etc.
• Under Phase-II Programme, focus will be on increased involvement of DISCOMs.
Cabinet approves Methodology for allowing the allocatee of coal mines for specified end use
• The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the methodology for allowing the allocatee of coal mines for specified end use or own consumption to sell 25 percent of actual production on ROM basis in open market with payment of additional premium on such sale.
• This new methodology provides that in case of coal mines earmarked for specified end uses or own consumption, the allocatees are mandated to utilize a minimum of 75% of its actual production (ROM basis) in specified end use plants and are allowed to sell upto 25% in open market.
• In case of auctions, the successful bidder shall be required to pay an additional premium of 15 percent of its final bid price on per tonne basis, for the actual quantity of coal sold in open market.
• The additional premium will be over and above the final bid price.
• This methodology attempts to address the issue of lack of response from the bidders during the earlier tranches of auction under the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015.