The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi gave its approvals for certain essential projects and amendments among others on March 22, 2017.
CCEA Approves North East Road Network Connectivity Project Phase I
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for development of 403 kms of National Highways in Meghalaya and Mizoram.
- The two lane National Highway project is being carried out under the “North East Road Network Connectivity Project Phase I” scheme and will get loan assistance from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Key Feature of the Project
The estimated cost of the project is Rs 6,721 crore including cost of land acquisition, resettlement and other pre-construction activities.
- Of 403km National Highway, approximately 52 kms will be in Meghalaya and 351 km in Mizoram.
- The projects implementation would begin during the financial year 2017-18. The civil works are expected to be completed by 2021 and maintenance works are expected to be completed by 2025.
- The projects will encourage sub-regional socio-economic development by improvement of infrastructure in Meghalaya and Mizoram as well as enhance the connectivity with inter-state roads and International Borders.
CCEA Approves Deepening and Widening of Mumbai Harbour Channel and JN Port Channel (Phase-II)
The Cabinet Committee has also approved the Deepening and Widening of Mumbai Harbour Channel and JN Port Channel (Phase-II) project with fresh estimates.
- The project is estimated to carry a cost of Rs.2029 crore excluding the Service Tax. The entire project cost will be funded through internal resources of JN Port Trust (JNPT) with market borrowing, if necessary.
- The work is likely to be implemented by inviting global tenders and completed within 2 years after its award.
Union Cabinet Approves Setting New National Constitutional Body for OBCs
The Union cabinet, in its meeting chaired by PM Modi has decided to amend the Constitution for setting up the National Commission for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (NSEBC) as a constitutional body for socially and economically backward classes.
- A bill conferring Constitutional status to the new commission will be tabled in Parliament shortly. By making the new panel a constitutional body, the advice of the commission shall be binding upon the central government.
- The new body will replace the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) and will have a chairperson, a vice chairperson and three other members.
- NSEBC will be responsible to examine the requests for inclusion of any class of citizens as a backward class in the lists; hear complaints of over-inclusion or under-inclusion of any backward class in such lists; and tender such advice to the Central Government as it deems appropriate.
Cabinet Approves Amendments to NABARD Act, 1981
The Union Cabinet approved the following proposals with regards to NABARD Act, 1981 during the cabinet meeting.
Amendment to National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development Act, 1981 to enable the Central Government to increase the authorized capital of NABARD from Rs. 5,000 crore to Rs. 30,000 crore.
- The amendment also includes to further increase the capital limit beyond Rs. 30,000 crore in consultation with RBI, as deemed necessary from time to time.
- Besides, the cabinet also approved to transfer of entire 0.4 percent equity of Reserve Bank of India in NABARD amounting to Rs. 20 crores to the Government of India to remove the conflicting nature of RBI as banking regulator and shareholder in NABARD.
- The proposed amendments in NABARD Act also include certain other amendments like changes in long title and certain Sections to bring Medium Enterprises and Handlooms in NABARD’s mandate.
Benefits of Amendments
The proposed increase in the authorized capital would enable NABARD to meet the commitments particularly in respect of the Long Term Irrigation Fund as well as for on-lending to cooperative banks.
- It will also enable NABARD to exhance its business and activities which would ultimately facilitate promotion of integrated rural development and securing prosperity of rural areas including generation of more employment.
National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD)
NABARD is an apex development bank in India entrusted with matters concerning policy, planning and operations in the field of credit for agriculture and other economic activities in rural areas in India.
- NABARD is active in developing financial inclusion policy and is a member of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion.
- Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
- Established: 12 July 1982
- Chairman: Dr. Harsh Kumar Bhanwala
Cabinet approves MoU between India and US in field of Cyber Security
During the meeting, the cabinet approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-ln) under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and the US Homeland Security Department on cooperation in the field of Cyber Security.
- The MOU was signed between the two sides on January 11, 2017 in New Delhi and aims to promote closer co-operation and exchange of information regarding Cyber Security in accordance with the relevant laws, rules and regulations and on the basis of equality, reciprocity and mutual benefit.
- Capital: Washington D.C.
- Currency: United States Dollar
- President: Donald Trump
Cabinet Approves Amendment to ‘The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009’
The government also gave its approval to amend the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 on March 22, 2017.
- The amendment is to ensure that all teachers, in service as on March 31, 2015, acquire the minimum qualifications prescribed by the academic authority to extend the period for such training for four years up to 31st March, 2019.
- Earlier under the Act, all teachers at elementary level who, at the commencement of this Act, did not possess the minimum qualifications as laid down under the RTE Act, need to acquire these within a period of five years i.e., 31st March, 2015.
- The amendment will enable the in-service untrained elementary teachers to complete their training and ensure that all teachers at the elementary level in the country have a certain minimum standard of qualifications and maintain the standard of teaching quality.
Cabinet Approves Proposal Regarding Fund of Fund for Start-ups (FFS)
The Union Cabinet led by PM Modi approved the following proposals with regard to the Fund of Funds of Start-ups (FFS) which was established in June 2016 with a corpus of Rs. 10000 crores.
Alternate Investment Funds (AIFs), in which FFS contributes upto 35% corpus, shall invest at least twice the amount of contribution received from FFS in Start-ups.
- If the amount committed for a Start-up in whole has not been released before a Start-up ceases to be so, the balance funding can continue thereafter.
- The operating expenses for carrying out due diligence, legal and technical appraisal, convening meeting of Venture Capital Investment Committee, etc. would be met out of the FFS to the extent of 0.50% of the commitments made to AIFs and outstanding.
- The operating expenses will be debited to the fund at the beginning of each half year; i.e. on April 1 and October 1.
Fund of Funds of Start-ups (FFS)
The Union Cabinet in its meeting held on June 22, 2016 had approved the proposal to establish a Fund of Funds for Start-ups (FFS) with a total corpus of Rs.10000 crore
- It was decided that the FFS shall contribute to the corpus of SEBI registered Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) for investing in equity and equity linked instruments of various start-ups at early stage, seed stage and growth stages.
- The FFS is being managed and operated by Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI).
Cabinet approves closure/winding up of CREDA HPCL Biofuel Ltd (CHBL) and Indian Oil CREDA Biofuels Ltd. (ICBL)
Further, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the closure/winding up of CREDA HPCL Biofuel Ltd (CHBL) and Indian Oil- Chhattisgarh Renewable Energy Development Agency (CREDA) Biofuels Limited (ICBL).
- The closure of CHBL and ICBL would result in saving unfruitful expenditure.
The Joint Ventures (JV) between CREDA HPCL Biofuel Ltd (CHBL) and Indian Oil-CREDA Biofuels Limited (ICBL) were formed in 2008 and 2009 respectively for carrying out energy crop (Jatropha) plantation and production of bio-diesel.
- The CREDA, an arm of Chhattisgarh, had provided wasteland to CHBL and ICBL through Land Use Agreement for plantation of Jatropha.
- However, due to various constraints such as very poor seed yield, limited availability of wasteland, high plantation maintenance cost etc. the project became unviable and Jatropha plantation activities were discontinued.