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Cabinet Approvals- January 24, 2017

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The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi approved a series of initiatives and projects on January 24, 2017 in New Delhi.

Cabinet Approves IIM Bill 2017

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi approved the Indian Institute of Management(IIM) Bill, 2017 on January 24, 2017 that aims to declare IIMs as Institutions of National Importance.

  • The IIM Bill aims to grant statutory powers to the IIMS and thus enable them to grant degrees instead of diplomas.

Features of the Bill

The Bill will enable IIMs to grant degrees to their students and provide complete autonomy to the institutions. The Bill also directs setting Coordination Forum of IIMs as an advisory body.

  • The Management of these Institutions would be Board driven, with the Chairperson and Director of an Institution which will be selected by the Board. It also envisages greater participation of experts and alumni, women and SC/ST members in the Board.
  • The Bill also provides for periodic review of the performance of Institutions by independent agencies, and placing the results of the same on public domain.
  • Besides, the Annual Report of the Institutions will be required to be presented in the Parliament and CAG will be auditing their accounts.

Cabinet Approves Interest Waiver for Two Months for Farmers  Seeking Short Term Loans

The Union Cabinet gave its ex-post facto approval on for interest waiver for the two months of November and December, 2016 for farmers accessing short term crop loans from Cooperative Banks.

  • Additional financial liability of Rs. 1060.50 will be provided through NABARD for refinance to the Cooperative Banks on account of interest waiver of two months for November and December, 2016.
  • This will be extended by Cooperative Banks to the farmers in the current financial year 2016-17. A sum of Rs. 15, 000 crore was allocated during 2016-17 to implement the Interest Subvention Scheme (ISS) which has been utilized.
  • The decision aims to benefit the farmers in India availing short term crop loans, from Cooperative Banks to overcome the difficulties to carry out Rabi operations due to shortage of cash.

Union Cabinet Approves to Launch Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana 2017

As a part of government’s commitment for financial inclusion and social security the Union Cabinet has given its post-facto approval to launch Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana 2017 (VPBY 2017) on January 24, 2017.

  • The Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) would be the implementing body of the scheme during the current financial year.
  • The scheme aims to provide social security to elderly persons aged 60 years during their old age. It also aims to secure their future in times of fall in their interest income due to uncertain market conditions.
  • Under the scheme, an assured pension with guaranteed rate of return of 8% per annum would be provided for a period of ten years. Besides, the nominee would have an option for pension on a monthly / quarterly / halfyearly and annual basis.
  • The differential return, i.e., the difference between the return generated by LIC and the assured return of 8% per annum would be borne by Government of India as subsidy on an annual basis.

Cabinet Approves New Scheme to Promote Rural Housing

The Union Cabinet on January 24, 2017 approved a new scheme for promotion of Rural Housing in the country.

  • The scheme would be implemented by National Housing Bank. The Government would provide net present value of the interest subsidy of 3 percent to the National Housing Bank upfront which will, in turn, pass it to the Primary Lending Institutions (Scheduled Commercial Banks, NBFCs etc.).
  • As per the scheme, the Government would provide interest subsidy to every rural household who takes a loan of upto Rs. 2 lakhs and is not covered under the Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojana (Grameen), PMAY(G).
  • It would enable people in rural areas to construct new houses or add to their existing pucca houses to improve their dwelling units.

Government Approves ratification of Second Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol

The Union government under PM Modi gave approval for the ratification of the Second Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol on containing the emission of Green House Gases (GHGs) which was adopted in 2012. Till date, 65 countries have ratified the Second Commitment Period.

  • Signing the Kyoto Protocol by India will encourage other developing countries also to undertake this exercise and boost investment in India by the implementation of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects in accordance with Sustainable Development priorities.
  • The Kyoto Protocol seeks the commitment of the developed nations to undertake mitigation targets for the current high levels of Greenhouse Gas (GHGs) in the atmosphere that is mostly contributed by developing countries and provide financial resources and transfer of technology to the developing nations.

Union Cabinet Approves Pragati Maidan Redevelopment Proposal of ITPO

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi approved the proposal of India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) on January 24, 2017 for redevelopment of Pragati Maidan by setting up of a world class Integrated Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre (IECC) at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.

  • India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) is a Mini Ratna Category-1 Company under the Department of Commerce.
  • The project is worth Rs.2,254 crore. Out of the total cost, ITPO will fund Rs.1,200 crore out of its free reserves while the remaining Rs. 1,054 crore would be raised through institutional loan, soft loan, external aid, land monetization with government guarantee for the amount of institutional loan.

The redevelopment of Pragati Maidan would take place in two phases.

  • Phase-1: Redevelopment of nearly 3.26 lakh sq.mtrs to be completed by May 2019.
  • Phase-2: Doubling the exhibition space to 1.19 lakh square meter as against current 65,000 square meters. Redevelopment will also include creation of a state-of-the-art Convention Center with seating capacity of 7,000 persons.

ITPO would invite proposals for global bidding for selection of project executors for construction of the project. Besides, it has given the responsibility of Project Management Consultant to National Buildings Construction Corporation Ltd. (NBCC).