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Cabinet Approvals on December 30, 2020

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On December 30, 2020, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave the following approvals which were detailed by Prakash Keshav Javadekar, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B).

–Cabinet approves Deepening and Optimization of Paradip Port & Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis under PPP mode to handle cape size vessels

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi has approved Rs.3,004.63 Crore project to turn Paradip Port in Odisha into a world-class port. The project is titled as “Deepening and Optimization of Inner Harbour Facilities including Development of Western Dock on Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis under Public-Private Partnership (PPP)mode to handle cape size vessels at Paradip Port”.

About Project:

The project includes development of the new Western Dock on BOT basis and capital dredging by the selected Concessionaire at a cost of Rs.2,040 Crore and Rs.352.13 Crore respectively.Paradip Port’s investment will be to the tune of Rs.612.50 Crore towards providing Common Supporting Project Infrastructure.

Key Points:

–Paradip port is one of the 12 major ports under the control of the Centre. Paradip Port Trust (PPT), administered under the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963, was commissioned in 1966 as a mono commodity port for export of iron ore.

–The port handles the cargo of about 115 MT (Metric Tonne) which is likely to increase substantially to about 400 MT by 2030.

–The decision to set up western dock was taken to attract large vessels with capacity of handling 1.5 tonne cargo.

–The project would be developed by the selected Concessionaire on BOT basis.

–Cabinet approves Industrial Corridor nodes at Krishnapatnam and Tumakuru under CBIC & Multi Modal Logistics Hub & MMTH at Greater Noida

The CCEA has approved industrial corridor nodes at Andhra Pradesh’s Krishnapatnam and Karnataka’s Tumakuru under Chennai-Bengaluru Industrial Corridor (CBIC) and Multi Modal Logistics Hub and Multi Modal Transport Hub (MMTH) at Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh.

  • The estimated cost of the construction of Krishnapatnam Industrial Area, Andhra Pradesh is Rs 2,139.44 crores and Tumakuru Industrial Area in Karnataka is Rs 1,701.81 crores.
  • The estimated cost of Multi Modal Logistics Hub (MMLH) and Multi Modal Transport Hub (MMTH) at Greater Noida is Rs 3,883.80 crores.

Objective:

The objective of the above mentioned Industrial Corridor Programme is the creation of greenfield industrial cities with sustainable, ‘plug n play’, and enabling manufacturing investments by providing quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure to industries.

Benefits:

–These projects will generate employment opportunities through industrialisation.

–For Krishnapatnam node, estimated employment projection on completion of the first phase of development is likely to be around 98,000 persons.

–For Tumakuru node, employment of about 88,500 persons is estimated.

–The Multi Modal Logistics Hub and Multi Modal Transport Hub (MMTH) Projects at Greater Noida is estimated to generate employment for about 1,00,000 persons by 2040.

–Cabinet approves modified scheme to enhance ethanol distillation capacity in the country

CCEA has approved a modified scheme to enhance ethanol distillation capacity in the country for producing 1st Generation, 1G ethanol from feed stocks such as cereals like rice, wheat, barley, corn and sorghum and sugarcane, sugar beet etc. An interest subvention of Rs 4,573 crore will also be provided for production of ethanol, which can be used for doping in petrol.

Key Points:

–India will need about 1,000 crore litre of ethanol for doping in petrol by 2030 to cut dependency on imports for meeting oil needs.

–The nation currently has a capacity of 684 crore litres.

–Government has a fixed target of 10% blending of fuel-grade ethanol with petrol by 2022, 15% blending by 2026 and 20% blending by 2030.

–Government would bear interest subvention for five years including one year moratorium against the loan availed by project proponents from banks @ 6% per annum or 50% of the rate of interest charged by banks whichever is lower.

–Interest subvention would be available to only those distilleries which will supply at least 75% of ethanol produced from the added distillation capacity to OMCs for blending with petrol.

Additional Info:

There has been surplus production of sugar in India since 2010-11 (except reduction due to drought in sugar season 2016-17). The production is likely to remain in surplus in coming years due to the introduction of improved varieties of sugarcane.

–Cabinet Approves Export of Akash Missile System and Creates a Committee for faster Approval of Exports

The Union Cabinet also gave its approval to the sale of Akash surface-to-air missile systems to friendly foreign countries. In this regard, it created a high-powered Committee comprising Defence Minister (Rajnath Singh), External Affairs Minister (Subrahmanyam Jaishankar) and National Security Advisor-NSA (Ajit Kumar Doval) to provide faster approvals for export of such platforms.

  • Notably, the Government of India targets defence exports worth $5 billion by 2024.
  • Akash is a Surface to Air Missile with a range of 25 Kms. The missile was inducted in 2014 in IAF and in 2015 in Indian Army.

 Cabinet approval with foreign countries on December 30, 2020

 –Cabinet approves MoU between India and Bhutan on Cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space

The Union Cabinet also approved Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Indian Government and Royal Government of Bhutan on Cooperation in the peaceful users of outer space which was signed on November 19, 2020 by both sides at Bangalore/Thimpu.

  • Through this MoU both nations will cooperate in potential interest areas, such as remote sensing of the earth; satellite communication and satellite based navigation; Space science and planetary exploration; use of spacecraft and space systems and ground system; and application of space technology.
  • There will also be a setting up of Joint Working Group, constituting members from Department of Space (DOS)/Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) of Bhutan, which will further work out the plan of action including the time-frame and the means of implementation.

About Bhutan:
Prime Minister– Lotay Tshering
Capital– Thimphu
Currencies– Bhutanese ngultrum

–Cabinet approves Opening of 3 Indian Missions in Estonia, Paraguay and Dominican Republic

The cabinet has approved the opening of 3 Indian Missions in Estonia, Paraguay and Dominican Republic in 2021. The objective behind setting up of Indian mission in these countries is to build a conducive environment for India’s growth and development through partnerships with friendly countries.

  • These missions will expand India’s diplomatic footprint, deepen political relations, enable growth of bilateral trade, investment and economic engagements, facilitate stronger people-to-people contacts, bolster political outreach in multilateral forum.

About Estonia:
Capital– Tallinn
Currency– Euro

About Paraguay:
Capital– Asuncion
Currency– Paraguayan guarani

About Dominican Republic:
Capital– Santo Domingo
Currency– Dominican peso

Recent Related News:

i.In November 2020, Cabinet approved a MoU inked between the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO), India and the United Kingdom Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (UK MHRA) on cooperation in the field of medical Product Regulation.

ii.Union Cabinet approved Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme worth up to Rs 1.46 lakh crore for 10 key sector. This decision has been taken to attract investments, boost manufacturing and enhance exports on the lines of the Atmanirbhar Bharat.