The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi accorded approval to several initiatives. They are
- ‘India COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Package: Phase II’ scheme at a cost of INR 23,123 crore.
- Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) between Competition Commission of India (CCI) & Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC).
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICoAI) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), United Kingdom (UK).
- Modifications in the Central Sector Scheme of financing facility under ‘Agriculture Infrastructure Fund’.
- Amendment in Coconut Development Board Act, 1979 for creation of Administrative posts.
Scheme for COVID-19 Emergency Response & Health System Preparedness
The newly approved scheme ‘India COVID-19 Emergency Response & Health System Preparedness Package: Phase-II (ECRP-II)’ will be implemented at a total cost of INR 23,123 crore from July 1,2021 to March 31, 2022.
i.Objective – To focus on immediate needs for the next 9 months of FY 2021-22, to provide support to Hospitals at national/state/district levels for effective management of COVID-19.
- The scheme will also focus on health infrastructure development including for Paediatric Care and with measurable outcomes.
ii.Funding – The central share of ECRP-II is INR 15,000 crore, while the state share of ECRP-II is INR 8,123 crore.
iii.The Phase-II of the Package includes Central Sector (CS) and Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) components.
Measures under Central Sector component
i.Support will be provided to Central Hospitals, AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences), and other Institutions of National Importance under DoHFW (Department of Health and Family Welfare) for repurposing 6,688 beds for COVID-19 management.
ii.The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) will be strengthened by providing Genome Sequencing machines, besides sanctioning Scientific Control room, Epidemic Intelligence Services (EIS) and INSACOG (Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium) Secretariat support.
iii.Support will be provided for implementation of the Hospital Management Information System (HMIS) in all District Hospitals (DHs) of India (at present it is implemented only in 310 DHs).
- All DHs will implement HMIS through National Informatics Centre (NIC) developed E-Hospital and Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) developed E-Sushrut Softwares.
- It will be a big boost for implementation of the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) at the DHs.
- This support is in addition to the support provided to DHs for augmentation of the hardware capacity.
iv.Support will also be provided for expanding the National Architecture of e-Sanjeevani Tele-consultation platform to provide upto 5 lakhs tele-consultations per day from the present 50,000 Tele-consultations per day.
- It includes support to the States/UTs to enable tele-consultations with COVID-19 patients at the COVID-19 Care Centres (CCCs) by strengthening Hubs for e-Sanjeevani Tele-consultation in all districts of India.
v.Support will be provided for IT interventions, including strengthening the Central War room at DoHFW, strengthening India’s COVID-19 Portal, 1075 COVID-19 help lines and CoWIN platform.
Measures under CSS components
The measures under CSS components are aimed at strengthening district and sub district capacity for an effective and rapid response to the pandemic.
i.Create Paediatric units in all 738 districts and establish Paediatric Centre of Excellence (Paediatric CoE) in each State/UT for providing Tele-ICU services, mentoring and technical hand-holding to the District Paediatric units.
ii.Add up to 20,000 ICU beds in the public healthcare system out of which 20% will be Pediatric ICU beds. Establishing prefabricated structures in rural, tribal areas to provide better access for them for treatment of COVID-19.
- Installation of 1050 numbers of Liquid Medical Oxygen Storage Tanks with Medical Gas Pipeline System (MGPS), to support at least one such unit per district.
- 8,800 ambulances will be added to service under the package and Undergraduate, Postgraduate medical interns and final year Medical Students will be roped-in for effective COVID-19 management.
iii.“Test, Isolate and Treat” and following-up COVID-19 Appropriate Behaviour at all the times, is the national strategy for effective COVID-19 management.
The ‘India COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Package: Phase-I’ was announced in March, 2020 with a Budget of INR 15,000 crore. It was announced to boost the efforts of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoFHW) & States/UTs to speed the health systems activities needed for pandemic management.
MoC between Competition Commission of India & Japan
The MoC signed between the Competition Commission of India (CCI) & Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) was approved by the Cabinet.
i.It aims to promote and strengthen cooperation in the matter of Competition Law and Policy through exchange of information, capacity building initiatives in the areas of technical cooperation, experience sharing and enforcement cooperation.
- The MoC will enable CCI to learn from the experiences and lessons of JFTC which will help in enhancing its efficiency.
- It will also improve enforcement of the Competition Act, 2002 by CCI, which will promote equity and inclusiveness.
ii.Section 18 of the Competition Act, 2002 permits CCI to enter into any memorandum or arrangement with any agency of any foreign country for the purpose of discharging its duties or performing its functions under the Act.
iii.CCI is a statutory body of Government of India which is responsible for enforcing The Competition Act, 2002. It comes under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
MoU between ICoAI & ACCA of UK
The MoU between Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICoAI) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), UK was approved by the union cabinet.
- The MoU provides a pathway to enable members of One Institute to seek full membership status of other Institute by successfully passing the minimum number of subjects of professional level and facilitate the movement of professionals in both jurisdictions.
i.The MoU focuses on exchange of knowledge and exchange of research and publications to strengthen good governance practice in both jurisdictions.
ii.Both entities will initiate joint research relevant to the Cost Accountancy profession. It will also facilitate the movement of professionals in both jurisdictions and will enhance the employability of Cost Accountants in India and abroad.
ICoAI & ACCA
ICoAI was first established in 1944 as a registered company under the Companies act.
- On 28th May, 1959, ICoAI was established by a special act of Parliament, namely, the Cost and Works Accountants Act, 1959 as a statutory body for regulation of the profession of cost and works accountancy. It is the only recognised statutory professional organisation and licensing body in India which specializes in cost and works accountancy.
- ACCA was founded in 1904, it is the global body for professional accountants.
Modification in CSS of under ‘Agriculture Infrastructure Fund’
The Union Cabinet had approved the modifications in the Central Sector Scheme of Financing Facility of the 1 Lakh crore worth ‘Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF)’.
i.The modifications are aimed at generating more investments while also ensuring that the benefits reach small and marginal farmers.
- APMC markets are set up to provide market linkages and create an ecosystem of post-harvest public infrastructure which is open to all farmers.
i.Eligibility for availing funds under AIF has now been extended to State Agencies/APMCs (Agricultural Produce Market Committee), National & State Federations of Cooperatives, Federations of Farmers Producers Organizations (FPOs) and Federations of Self Help Groups (SHGs).
ii.Interest Subvention – At present, Interest subvention for a loan upto INR 2 crore in one location is eligible under the scheme.
- After the modification, if one eligible entity puts up projects in different locations then all such projects will be eligible for interest subvention for loan upto INR 2 crore.
- However, for a private sector entity, there will be a limit of a maximum of 25 such projects. The limit of 25 projects will not be applicable to state agencies, national and state federations of cooperatives, federations of FPOs (Farmer Producer Organizations) & Federation of Self Help Groups (SHGs).
- For APMCs, interest subvention for a loan upto INR 2 crore will be provided for each project of different infrastructure types e.g. cold storage, sorting, grading and assaying units, silos etc within the same market yard.
iv.The power of making necessary changes with regard to addition or deletion of beneficiaries has been delegated to the Union Minister for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare.
v.The period of financial facility has been extended upto 2025-26 and overall period of the scheme has been extended upto 2032-33.
Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF)
The AIF is a medium-long term debt financing facility for investment in viable projects for post-harvest management infrastructure and community farming assets through interest subvention and credit guarantee. It is an initiative of the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare.
|Financial Support||INR 1 Lakh crore to be provided by banks and Financial Institutions as loans to beneficiaries|
|Beneficiaries||State Agencies/APMCs, National & State Federations of Cooperatives, Federations of FPOs and Federations of SHGs, Agri-Entrepreneurs, Start-ups|
|Duration||FY 2020 – 2033 (Initial Duration was FY 2020-29)|
|Interest Subvention||3% per annum upto a limit of INR 2 crore|
|Moratorium of Repayment||May vary from minimum of 6 months and maximum of 2 years|
|Credit Guarantee Coverage||Credit Guarantee Coverage will be provided under CGTMSE (Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises) for loans up to INR 2 crores.|
Amendment to Coconut Development Board Act, 1979
The Coconut Development Board Act, 1979 has been amended to make the post of Chairman, Coconut Development Board as Non-Executive one. It will be beneficial to the Coconut Growers at large.
- A Post of CEO will be created for executive powers. The centre will nominate 6 members in the board from the current practice of 4 members from 4 states.
- 2 more members from Andhra Pradesh & Gujarat will be appointed to the board.
- The Coconut Development Board can undertake activities outside the country also.
About Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare
Union Minister – Narendra Singh Tomar (Morena, Madhya Pradesh),
Minister of State – Sushri Shobha Karandlaje (Udupi Chikmagalur, Karnataka), Kailash Choudhary (Barmer, Rajasthan)
About Coconut Development Board
It is a statutory body established under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare
Chairman – Rajbir Singh Panwar
Headquarters – Ernakulam, Kerala
About Competition Commission of India
Chairperson – Ashok Kumar Gupta
Head Office – New Delhi