On June 28, 2023, the Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi has given its approval for multiple initiatives and they are as follows.
-Approved Ratificatio of HQA between GoI & CDRI
The Union Cabinet chaired by the PM Narendra Modi approved the ratification of the Headquarters Agreement (HQA) between Government of India (Gol) and Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) which was signed on 22nd August, 2022.
i.On 28 August, 2019, the Union Cabinet had approved the setting up of CDRI along with its supporting Secretariat in New Delhi (Delhi) and also gave the approval for GoI financial support of Rs 480 crore to CDRI over a period of 5 years from 2019-20 to 2023-24.
ii.Subsequently, on the 29th June, 2022, the Cabinet had approved recognition of CDRI as an International Organization and for signing of HQA for granting CDRI exemptions, immunities and privileges as contemplated under Section-3 of the United Nations (Privileges & Immunities) Act, 1947.
iii.In pursuance of the Cabinet decision, on 22nd August, 2022 the HQA was signed between the Gol and CDRI.
iv.Thus the Ratification of the signed HQA between Gol and CDRI would provide CDRI an independent and international legal persona so that it can carry out its functions internationally, more efficiently.
i.The CDRI was launched by PM Narendra Modi during the United Nations Climate Action Summit on the 23rd September, 2019, at New York (United States of America).
ii.It is the global initiative launched by the GoI and is seen as India’s attempts to obtain a global leadership role in climate change and disaster resilience matters.
iii.CDRI is a global partnership of National Governments, United Nations (UN) agencies and programmes, multilateral development banks and financing mechanisms, the private sector, academic and knowledge institutions that aims to promote the resilience of infrastructure systems to climate and disaster risks, thereby ensuring sustainable development.
iv.Since its launch, thirty-one (31) Countries, six (06) International Organizations and two (02) private sector organizations have become members of CDRI.
v.CDRI has been expanding its membership consistently by attracting a wide variety of economically advanced countries, developing countries, and countries that are most vulnerable to climate change and disasters.
-Approved introduction of NRF Bill, 2023
The Union Cabinet, chaired by the PM Narendra Modi approved the introduction of the National Research Foundation (NRF) Bill, 2023 in the Parliament.
i.The approved Bill would enable the establishment of NRF which will seed, grow and promote Research and Development (R&D) and foster a culture of research and innovation throughout India’s universities, colleges, research institutions, and R&D laboratories.
ii.After approval of the bill in the Parliament, it will establish NRF, an apex body to provide high-level strategic direction of scientific research in the country as per recommendations of the National Education Policy (NEP), at a total estimated cost of Rs 50,000 crore during five years (2023-28).
iii.The bill would also repeal the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) established by an act of Parliament in 2008 and subsume it into NRF which has an expanded mandate and covers activities over and above the activities of SERB.
Governing Bodies :-
- The Department of Science and Technology (DST) will be the administrative Department of NRF which will be governed by a Governing Board consisting of eminent researchers and professionals across disciplines.
- The Prime Minister will be the ex-officio President of the Board and the Union Minister of Science & Technology & Union Minister of Education will be the ex-officio Vice-Presidents.
- NRF’s functioning will be governed by an Executive Council chaired by the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India.
Purpose of NRF:
i.It will forge collaborations among the industry, academia, and government departments and research institutions, and create an interface mechanism for participation and contribution of industries and State governments in addition to the scientific and line ministries.
ii.It will focus on creating a policy framework and putting in place regulatory processes that can encourage collaboration and increased spending by the industry on R&D.
-CCEA Approved Schemes for Farmers
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by PM Narendra Modi approved a package of innovative schemes for farmers with a total outlay of Rs 3,70,128.7 crore.
- Objective: The schemes are focused at overall wellbeing and economic betterment of farmers by promoting sustainable agriculture and to boost farmers’ income, strengthen natural / organic farming, rejuvenate soil productivity, and ensure food security.
Continuation of Urea Subsidy Scheme:
i.Continuation of Urea Subsidy Scheme was approved by the CCEA to ensure constant availability of urea to the farmers at the same price of Rs 242/ 45 kg bag excluding taxes and neam coating charges.
- Out of above approved package, Rs. 3,68,676.7 Crore have been committed for urea subsidy for three years (2022-23 to 2024-25). This is apart from recently approved Nutrient Based Subsidy of Rs 38,000 Crore for Kharif season for 2023-24.
ii.Current MRP of urea is Rs 242 per 45 kg bag of urea (exclusive of charges towards neem coating and taxes as applicable), whereas the actual cost of the bag comes around Rs. 2200.
iii.The Scheme is wholly financed by the GoI through budgetary support and the continuation of the scheme will increased the indigenous production of Urea to reach self-sufficiency levels.
Note – GoI has also increased the fertilizer subsidy from Rs 73,067 Crore in 2014-15 to Rs. 2,54,799 Crore in 2022-23.
Strengthening of Nano Urea eco-system:
GoI plans to commission 8 Nano urea plants with production capacity of 44 Crore bottles equaling to 195 LMT of conventional urea by FY26.
In order to make India ‘Atmanirbhar’ in Urea by 2025-26, GoI is setting up and revival of 6 urea production units at Chambal Ferti ltd. – Kota Rajasthan, Matix ltd. Panagarh West Bengal, Ramagundam-Telangana, Gorakhpur-UP, Sindri-Jharkhand and Barauni-Bihar.
Indigenous production of urea has increased from the level of 225 LMT during 2014-15, to 250 LMT during 2021-22. In 2022-23, production capacity has increased to 284 LMT.
–Approved assistance to promote organic Fertilizers
GoI has approved assistance of Rs. 1451.84 crore for Market Development Assistance (MDA) for promoting Organic Fertilizers from Gobardhan Plants.
The approved package also consists of innovative incentive mechanism for the restoration, nourishment, and betterment of the mother earth.
- PM Programme for Restoration, Awareness Generation, Nourishment and Amelioration of Mother – Earth (PMPRANAM) would incentivize States/ Union Territories to promote alternate fertilizers and balanced use of chemical fertilizers.
i.MDA scheme in the form of Rs 1500 per MT to support marketing of organic fertilizers, viz., Fermented Organic Manures (FOM)/Liquid FOM/Phosphate Rich Organic Manures (PROM) produced as by-product from Bio- gas Plants/Compressed Biogas (CBG) Plants set up under umbrella GOBARdhan initiative.
ii.This initiative will facilitate establishing 500 new waste to wealth plants under GOBARdhan scheme for promoting circular economy, by increasing the viability of these BG/CBG plants.
Promotion of Natural Farming
Initiative taken for the Promotion of Natural Farming as sustainable agriculture practice is restoring soil health and reducing input costs for farmers.
- 425 KVKs (Krishi Vigyan Kendras) have laid down demonstrations of natural farming practices and organized 6,777 awareness programs involving 6.80 lakh farmers.
- Course curricula for Natural Farming has also been developed for BSc as well as MSc programmes to be implemented from the academic session July-August 2023.
Introduction of Sulphur coated Urea (Urea Gold);
- To address sulphur deficiency of soil and save input costs for the farmers, Sulphur coated Urea (Urea Gold) is being introduced in India for the first time which is being more economical and efficient than the currently used Neem coated urea. It will increase the farmers’ incomes with enhanced production & productivity.
Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samruddhi Kendras (PMKSKs) reaches 1 lakh
About one lakh PMKSKs have already come up in India. For the convenience of farmers, the farm inputs are being provided as a one stop solution for all needs of farmers.
-Approved FRP of Sugarcane
i.CCEA has approved Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) of sugarcane for sugar season 2023-24 (October – September) at Rs 315/qtl for a basic recovery rate of 10.25%.
ii.It has also been approved to provide a premium of Rs 3.07/qtl for each 0.1% increase in recovery over and above 10.25%, & reduction in FRP by Rs 3.07/qtl for every 0.1% decrease in recovery.
iii.GoI also decided that there should not be any deduction in case of sugar mills where recovery is below 9.5%.
- Such farmers would get Rs.291.975/qtl for sugarcane in ensuing sugar season 2023-24 in place of Rs 282.125/qtl in current sugar season 2022-23.
iv.The cost of production of sugarcane for the sugar season 2023-24 is Rs.157/qtl. This FRP of Rs.315/qtl at a recovery rate of 10.25% is higher by 100.6% over production cost.
- The FRP for sugar season 2023-24 is 3.28% higher than current sugar season 2022-23.
Note – The FRP approved shall be applicable for purchase of sugarcane from the farmers in the sugar season 2023-24 (starting w.e.f. 1st October, 2023) by sugar mills.
i.In the current sugar season 2022-23, about 3,353 lakh tons of sugarcane of worth Rs.1,11,366 crore purchased by sugar mills, which is the second highest next to the procurement of paddy crop at Minimum Support Price.
ii.India is being the second largest exporter of sugar in the world. In sugar season 2021-22, India has also become largest producer of sugar. It is expected that India would become third largest ethanol producing country in the world by 2025-26.