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Cabinet approvals on June 3, 2020

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Cabinet approves fixation of Nutrient Based SubsidyOn June 3, 2020, Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi has given the following approvals:

–Cabinet approves renaming of Kolkata Port Trust as Syama Prasad Mookerjee Trust

The Union Cabinet has given its nod to rename Kolkata Port Trust as Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port Trust on the lines of the announcement made by PM Narendra Modi on January 12, 2020 while marking the 150th-anniversary celebrations of the port trust. The Board of Trustees of Kolkata Port Trust also passed a resolution for renaming the port in its meeting held on February 25, 2020.

  • Syama Prasad Mukherjee was a Minister for Industry and Supply in the 1947 interim Central Government and a Founder-President of Bharatiya Jan Sangh, the predecessor to the Bharatiya Janata Party.

About Kolkata Port:

The Kolkata Port is the first major port as well as the only riverine port of the country. It is governing by a Trust since October 17, 1870, after an appointment of the Commissioners for improvement of the Port of Calcutta as per Act V of 1870.

It features at Serial Number 1 in The First Schedule, Part I—Major Ports of the Indian Ports Act, 1908 and is governed by the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963.

Points to be noted:

Generally, major ports in India are named after the city or the town in which they are situated. However, in special cases or due to contributions made by eminent leaders, ports can be re-named after them. Following are the ports that have been already renamed after eminent leaders:

  • In 1989, Nhava Sheva Port Trust of Maharashtra was renamed as Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust. 
  • In 2011, Tuticorin Port Trust of Tamil Nadu was renamed as V.O. Chidambaranar Port Trust.
  • In 2014, Ennore Port Limited of Tamil Nadu was re-named as Kamarajar Port Limited in the honour of Shri K Kamarajar, eminent freedom fighter and former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.
  • In 2017, Kandla Port of Gujarat was re-named as Deendayal Port.

–Cabinet approves re-establishment of PCIM&H under AYUSH Ministry by merging PLIM & HPL 

The Union Cabinet has provided its assent for the merger of Pharmacopoeia Commission for Indian Medicine & Homoeopathy (PCIM&H) into the two central laboratories viz. Pharmacopoeia Laboratory for Indian Medicine (PLIM) and Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia Laboratory (HPL).

  • This will result in the re-establishment of the PCIM&H as Subordinate Office under the Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy).

About merger:

The aim of the merger is the optimal use of infrastructural facilities, technical manpower and financial resources of the three organizations for enhancing the standardization outcomes of AYUSH drugs towards their effective regulation and quality control while preventing duplication.

It is also intended to accord legal status to the merged structure of PCIM&H and its laboratory by virtue of making necessary amendments and enabling provisions in the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945.

About PLIM & HPL:

These were established at Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh (UP) in 1975 and worked as subordinate offices under AYUSH Ministry.

About PCIM&H:

The Commission serves as an umbrella organisation for Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia Committee (APC), Siddha Pharmacopoeia Committee (SPC), Unani Pharmacopoeia Committee (UPC) and Homoeopathic Pharmacopeia Committee (HPC). It was initially established as the Pharmacopoeia Commission for Indian Medicine (PCIM) in the year 2010.

–Govt approved setting up of an “Empowered Group of Secretaries (EGoS) and Project Development Cells (PDCs)” in Ministries/Departments for attracting FDIs

As efforts towards a US$ 5 trillion economy by 2024-25, the Indian government has given its approval for setting up of an “Empowered Group of Secretaries (EGoS) and Project Development Cells (PDCs) in Ministries/Departments of Government of India for attracting investments.

About EGoS:

In order to provide support and facilitation to investors for investing in India and to boost growth in key sectors of the economy, an Empowered Group of Secretaries (EGoS) is approved with the following composition:

  • Cabinet Secretary (Chairperson)
  • CEO, NitiAayog (Member)
  • Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (Member Convenor)
  • Secretary, Department of Commerce (Member)
  • Secretary, Department of Revenue (Member)
  • Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs (Member)
  • Secretary of Department concerned (to be co-opted).

About PDC

It will work towards the development of investible projects through a coordination between the Central Government and State Governments and thereby grow the pipeline of investible projects in India and in turn increase Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows. Under the guidance of the Secretary, an officer not below the rank of Joint Secretary of each relevant central line Ministry, who will be in-charge of the PDC will be tasked to conceptualize, strategize, implement, and disseminate details with respect to investable projects.

Objectives of PDC:

  • To create projects with all approvals, land available for allocation and with the complete Detailed Project Reports for adoption/investment by investors.
  • To identify issues that need to be resolved in order to attract and finalise the investments and put forth these before the Empowered Group.

 –Cabinet approved historic amendment to the Essential Commodities Act

The Union cabinet approved amending the six-decade old Essential Commodities Act (ECA), 1955 following the announcement made by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman It will be amended to attract investments into the farm sector.

  • After the amendment, commodities such as cereals, edible oils, oilseeds, pulses, onions and potatoes are expected to be deregulated (removing or reducing govt regulations). Means, there would be no restrictions on farmers on selling their produce to any individual, or a company.
  • This freedom to produce, hold, move, distribute and supply will attract the private sector and FDI into the agriculture sector.

–Cabinet approved ‘The Farming Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020’

The Union Cabinet approved the Farming Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020, for creating ‘One India, One Agriculture Market’ where farmers and traders will enjoy freedom of choice of sale and purchase of agri-produce.

  • It will also promote barrier-free inter-state and intra-state trade and commerce outside the physical premises of markets notified under the state Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) legislations.

Current Scenerio:

There are restrictions for farmers in selling agri-produce outside the notified APMC market yards. The farmers are also restricted to sell the produce only to the registered licensees of the state governments.

  • But through this ordinance, additional trading opportunities will be created outside the APMC market yards to help farmers get remunerative prices.

–Cabinet approved ‘The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020’

The Union Cabinet also approved the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020’ to empower farmers to engage with processors, aggregators, wholesalers, large retailers and exporters.

  • Through this ordinance, the risk of market unpredictability will be transferred from the farmer to the sponsor and also enable the farmer to access modern technology and better inputs.
  • It will reduce cost of marketing and improve income of farmers.  
  • Sale, lease or mortgage of farmer’s land is totally prohibited and farmers’ land is also protected against any recovery.

This Ordinance will act as a catalyst to attract private sector investment for building supply chains for supply of Indian farm produce to global markets.

–Govt clears plan to suspend IBC for 6 months, ordinance soon

The Union Cabinet cleared a proposal to suspend the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) process for six months, which could be extended up to a year. The ordinance for the same will be promulgated soon with the details of Cabinet decision. The proposal has been made due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • The government had already announced the increase in the threshold for triggering insolvency to Rs 1 crore, from Rs 1 lakh. 
  • The government will also exempt “all Covid-related debt” from the definition of default under the IBC. 
  • The moratorium period will be excluded from the classification of non-performing assets. As such, a company availing of the moratorium will not be classified as a bad loan until August 31.