On December 9, 2020, Union Cabinet Chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the following proposals which were detailed by Minister of State (MoS), Independent Charge (I/C) Santosh Kumar Gangwar, Ministry of Labour & Employment; Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Ministry of Communication, Ministry of Law & Justice, and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY); and Union Minister Prakash Keshav Javadekar, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB), and Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises during a press conference on Cabinet decisions, at National Media Centre in New Delhi.
–Cabinet approves Rs 22,810 cr for Atmanirbhar Bharat Rozgar Yojana
As a part of Atmanirbhar Bharat Package 3.0, the Cabinet has given its approval for Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY) to boost employment in the formal sector and creation of new employment during the COVID-19 recovery phase.
- It should be noted that Cabinet has approved an expenditure of Rs. 1,584 crore for FY21 and Rs.22,810 crore for the entire Scheme period i.e. 2020-2023.
- The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) will develop software and a procedure to provide transparency and accountability for the scheme.
- It would benefit around 58.5 lakh employees.
Key Features of Scheme:
–Government of India (GoI) will provide subsidy for two years in respect of new employees engaged on or after 1st October, 2020 and upto 30th June, 2021.
–Central govt will also pay both 12% employees’ contribution and 12% employers’ contribution i.e. 24% of wages towards EPF in respect of new employees for a period of two years. This is applicable for establishments upto 1000 employees.
–In case of establishments employing more than 1000 employee, GoI will pay only employees’ share of EPF contribution i.e. 12% of wages in respect of new employees for two years.
–An employee drawing monthly wage of less than Rs. 15000/- who was not working in any establishment registered with EPFO before October, 1 2020 and did not have a Universal Account Number or EPF Member account number prior to October 1, 2020 will be eligible for the benefit,
–Any EPF member possessing UAN drawing monthly wage of less than Rs. 15000/- who made exit from employment during COVID-19 pandemic from March 1, 2020 to September 30,2020 and remained unemployed up to September 30,2020 will also be eligible to avail benefit.
–Govt Approves USOF Scheme For Providing Mobile Coverage In Arunachal Pradesh, Assam Districts
On the lines of the vision of digital India and Atmanirbhar Bharat, the Central Government has given its approval for provision of a Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) Scheme to provide Mobile Coverage in 2374 uncovered villages viz. 1683 in Arunachal Pradesh and 691 in two Districts of Assam namely Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao by December, 2022.
- This will be done under the Comprehensive Telecom Development Plan (CTDP) for North Eastern Region (NER).
- The estimated outlay for implementation is about 2,029 crore including operational expenses for 5 years.
- The project would be funded by USOF, under the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).The project is targeted to be completed by December, 2022.
The project will enhance digital connectivity in above areas and also create job opportunities. By 2022, the government also aims to provide mobile coverage to 2,374 villages (1683 in Arunachal Pradesh and 691 in two districts of Assam) using the USOF scheme.
–Cabinet approves Provision of Submarine OFC Connectivity between Mainland (Kochi) and Lakshadweep Islands
The Union Cabinet gave its approval for Provision of Submarine Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) to provide connectivity between Mainland (Kochi), Kerala and Lakshadweep Islands (KLI Project) by May 2023.To be funded by USOF, the estimated implementation cost of the project is about Rs 1,072 crore including operational expenses for 5 years.
- The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has been nominated as Project Execution Agency and Telecommunications Consultant India Limited (TCIL) as the Technical Consultant of the Project to assist USOF.
How will this project be beneficial?
It will provide a direct communication link between Kochi and 11 Islands of Lakshadweep viz. Kavaratti, Kalpeni, Agati, Amini, Androth, Minicoy, Bangaram, Bitra, Chetlat, Kiltan, and Kadmat. Therefore, it will aid in providing e-governance, e-education, e-banking etc. for inclusive growth of society.
Need of Submarine OFC:
Currently, the only medium of providing telecom connectivity to Lakshadweep is through satellites, but the bandwidth available is limited to 1 gbps. This lack of bandwidth is a major constraint in providing data services.
Point to be noted:
In August, 2020, PM Narendra Modi had inaugurated the submarine Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) connecting Chennai-Andaman and Nicobar Islands (CANI). Click Here to Read
–Cabinet approves to launch massive Wi-Fi networks called PM-Wani Scheme in India
The Union cabinet approved a new policy to allow businesses to offer wireless internet hotspot services through the project “Public Wi-Fi Access Network Interface or PM-WANI”. In this regard, Public Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity) Networks will be set up by Public Data Office Aggregators (PDOAs) to provide public Wi-Fi service through Public Data Offices (PDOs) using Bharatnet.
- The proposal for the same was provided by the Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications to enhance Broadband Internet, promotion of public Wi-Fi, incomes, employment, quality of life, ease of doing business etc.
About Players of PM-WANI:
—Public Data Office (PDO): It will establish, maintain, and operate WANI compliant Wi-Fi Access Points and deliver broadband services to subscribers.
—Public Data Office Aggregator (PDOA): It will be an aggregator of PDOs and will be responsible for Authorization and Accounting.
–App Provider: It will develop an App to register users and discover WANI compliant Wi-Fi hotspots in the nearby area for accessing the internet service.
—Central Registry: It will maintain the details of App Providers, PDOAs, and PDOs. To begin with, the Central Registry will be maintained by C-DoT (Centre for Development of Telematics).
–No license fee will be charged from PDOAs and App Providers for providing Broadband Internet through these public Wi-Fi networks. Currently it was 8% of the adjusted gross revenue.
–Those applying to run services as a PDO will not require to register with the DoT.
–Businesses can take services from internet service providers (ISP) like Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and use their physical location to provide public Wi-Fi.
–Currently, there are about 5 lakhs public Wi-Fis at present and will be increased by 10 times over the next two years.
About Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT):
Parent Department– Department of Telecommunications (DoT)
Executive Director– Dr. Rajkumar Upadhyay
–Cabinet approves the proposal of SEBI to sign Bilateral MoU between India and Luxembourg
The Union Cabinet has also approved the proposal of Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to sign a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between SEBI and Financial and Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF), Luxembourg to strengthen cross border cooperation in the area of securities regulations and facilitate mutual assistance.
- This MoU will create an information sharing framework and also help in establishing a technical assistance programme.
- It should be noted that CSSF and SEBI are co-signatory to International Organization of Securities Commissions’ Multilateral MOU (IOSCO MMoU).
Capital– Luxembourg City
Prime Minister (PM)– Xavier Bettel
About Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI):
Chairman– Ajay Tyagi
Headquarter– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Cabinet approval with foreign country on December 9, 2020
–Govt approved MoU between India and Suriname on Cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine
The Central Government also approved a MoU between India and Suriname on Cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine.
- This MoU envisages cooperation between the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of the Republic of India and the Ministry of Health of the Government of the Republic of Suriname through joint initiatives and technology development in the health sector.
Key Areas of Cooperation:
Exchange and Training of medical doctors, officials, other health professionals and expert
Assistance in development of human resources and setting up of health care facilities
Regulation of pharmaceuticals, medical devices and cosmetics and exchange of information
Promotion of business development opportunities in pharmaceuticals
Procurement of generic and essential drugs and assistance in sourcing of drug supplies
Procurement of health equipment and pharmaceuticals products
Promotion of mental health
Early detection and management of depression
Digital health and Tele-medicine
Currency– Suriname Dollar
President– Chandrikapersad “Chan” Santokhi (He is of Indian-Origin, elected in July 2020)
Recent Related News:
i.To strengthen the bilateral cooperation and mutual understanding in the field of Telecommunications, and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) between India and the United Kingdom (UK), the Union cabinet has approved the signing of MoU between Ministry of Communications, India and the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) of the UK Government for co-operation in telecommunications.
ii.The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved continuation and revamping of the Viability Gap Funding (VGF) Scheme under the public private partnership (PPP) model till 2024-25 with a total outlay of Rs 8,100 crore.