On February 7, 2018, Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved following initiatives:
Cabinet approves Ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury
Union Cabinet has approved the proposal for ratification of Minamata Convention on Mercury and thereby enabling India to become a Party to the Convention.
- The convention urges enterprises to move to mercury-free alternatives in products and non-mercury technologies in manufacturing processes.
- Union Cabinet has approved ratification of this Convention along with flexibility for using mercury-based products and processes involving mercury compound up to 2025.
Facts about Minamata Convention on Mercury:
- The Minamata Convention on Mercury is an international treaty adopted to protect human health and environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds.
- It has been named after the Japanese city Minamata and was signed in October 2013.
Cabinet approves changes in the Major Port Authorities Bill 2016
Union Cabinet has approved the incorporation of several amendments (based on the recommendations of the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee) to the Major Port Authorities Bill 2016.
Some of the major amendments to the Major Port Authorities Bill 2016:
- Number of the Labour representatives to be appointed in the Port Authority Board has been increased from one to two.
- For public-private partnership (PPP) projects, the concessionaire shall be free to fix the tariff based on market conditions.
- Other amendments pertain to number of independent members on the Port Authority Board and their tenure.
- Amendments relating to appointment and removal of Presiding Officer and Members of the Adjudicatory Board have also been approved.
Cabinet approves DSF Policy Bid Round-II for 60 un-monetised discoveries of ONGC and OIL
Union Cabinet has approved to extend the Discovered Small Field Policy (notified in October 2015) to identified 60 discovered small fields/un-monetized discoveries for offer under the Discovered Small Field Policy Bid Round-II.
- Out of 60 discovered small fields/un-monetized discoveries, 22 belong to Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) Limited, 5 belong to Oil India Limited (OIL), 12 have been relinquished from the New Exploration and Licensing Policy (NELP) Blocks and 21 are unallocated fields from DSF Bid Round-l.
- It has been estimated that these discoveries are holding 194.65 Million Metric Ton (MMT) Oil and oil equivalent gas.
- Developing and monetising these discoveries will not only enhance energy security of India but will also create 88000 direct and indirect job opportunities.
Cabinet approves placing the new Instrument adopted by International Labour Organization (ILO)
Union Cabinet has given its approval for placing the new Instrument adopted by International Labour Organization (ILO) Recommendation concerning “The Employment and Decent Work for Peace and Resilience (No.-205)” before the Parliament.
- This Recommendation was adopted at 106thSession of International Labour Conference held in Geneva in June, 2015. India too supported the adoption of this recommendation.
- The Recommendation contains guidance for member States on the measures to be taken to generate employment and decent work for the purposes of prevention, recovery, peace and resilience in crisis situations arising from conflicts and disasters.
- However, it is to be noted that the Recommendation is non-binding in nature and submitting it to Parliament will not create any immediate obligation.
Cabinet approves Implementation of ‘Prime Minister Research Fellows (PMRF)’
‘Prime Minister’s Research Fellows (PMRF)’ scheme was announced in Union Budget 2018.
- This scheme envisages offering direct admission in PhD programme in the IITs/IISc to best students who have completed or are in the final year of B. Tech or Integrated M.Tech or M.Sc. in Science and Technology streams from IISc/IITs/NITs/IISERs/IIITs.
- Each selected student will be offered a fellowship of Rs.70000/- per month for the first two years, Rs.75000/- per month for the 3rd year, and Rs.80000/- per month in the 4th and 5th years.
- 1650 crore for a period of seven years, beginning 2018-19, has been allocated for this scheme.
Cabinet approves rationalization of Autonomous Bodies under Department of Health & Family Welfare
Union Cabinet has approved the proposal for closure of Autonomous Bodies, namely, Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN) and Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh (JSK).
- Functions carried out by these bodies will now be vested in Department of Health & Family Welfare (DoHFW).
- This recommendation was made by NITI Aayog’s Expenditure Management Commission; post a review of the 19 Autonomous Bodies, under the DoHFW.
- Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN) was set up to provide financial medical assistance to poor patients receiving treatment in central government hospitals while Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh (JSK) was set up in the year 2003 to raise awareness for population stabilization strategies.
Cabinet approves Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code bill
Union Cabinet has given Ex-post facto approval to modifications made in Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code through Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Act, 2018.
- The bill was passedby both houses of the Parliament and received President’s assent on January 18, 2018.
- The modifications prohibit certain persons in the resolution process.
Cabinet approves enhancement of target under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana
Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved to enhance of the target of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) from five crore to eight crore.
- To attain the enhanced target, additional allocation of Rs. 4800 crore has been approved.
- The enhanced target is to be achieved by 2020.
Facts about PMUY:
- PMUY was launched in May 2016, from Ballia in Uttar Pradesh.
- Objective of this scheme is to provide deposit-free LPG connections with monetary assistance to women from BPL households, thereby preventing health hazards emanating from usage of unclean cooking fuel and fossil fuel for domestic cooking purpose.