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Recent approvals by Central government – April 5 2017

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The union cabinet headed by PM Modi has given its approval to several MoUs or agreements, Projects and schemes on April 5, 2017.

Cabinet approves setting up rail regulator to recommend passenger fares

On April 5, 2017, Union Cabinet approved a proposal to set up a regulator for Indian Railways to recommend passenger and freight fares and set the performance benchmarks.

  • This entity will be named Railway Development Authority (RDA) and will be based in New Delhi. Rs.50 crore has been earmarked to set up the authority. Its functions will be regulated by Railway Act, 1989.

Structure of Railway Development Authority (RDA):

  • Chairperson – to be appointed by Central Government for 5-year term
  • Three external members (not associated with Indian Railways) – to be appointed by Central Government for 5-year term

Four Main Tasks of Railway Development Authority (RDA):

  1. Tariff determination
  2. Setting efficiency and performance standards
  3. Ensuring a level playing field for stakeholder investment
  4. Dissemination of information

Railway Minister Mr. Suresh Prabhu optimistically considered this as a major reform for Indian Railways aimed at improving service standards, enhancing investors’ confidence in the rail sector and ensuring transparency and accountability.Soon an executive order will be passed to set up Railway Development Authority (RDA)

Cabinet approves extension of implementation of Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems Project by one year

Union Home Ministry’s proposal for extending the implementation of the Crime and Criminals Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) project for one year till March 2018 has been approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the PM Narendra Modi. CCTNS aims to create a national database of crimes and criminals.

  • One-year extension will help the Govt. to achieve the pending goals of CCTNS

About Crime and Criminals Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS)

  • Approved in: 2009
  • Implemented by: National Crime Records Bureau.
  • Allocated funds: Rs. 2,000 crore.


  • Creating a searchable database of crime and criminal records of individuals
  • Generate crime and criminal reports at the state and central level to inform policy interventions
  • Computerise all police processes and thereby deliver various web-based police related services to citizens
  • Establish a basic platform for an Inter-operable Criminal Justice System (ICJS) by integrating CCTNS with e-Courts and e-prison. This objective was added in year 2015.

Cabinet approves MoU between India and Australia on cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine

With an aim to strengthen bilateral ties, Union Cabinet chaired by PM Modi has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine with Australia

As per the MoU, India and Australia will cooperate through joint initiatives in following areas:

  • Communicable diseases such as Malaria and Tuberculosis(TB)
  • Regulation of Pharmaceuticals, vaccines and medical devices
  • Anti-Microbial Resistance and responding to public health emergencies
  • Tobacco Control
  • Mental Health and Non-Communicable Diseases
  • Digital Health and
  • Any other area of cooperation decided mutually between the two countries.

Cabinet approvals for Cooperation with Bangladesh

Ahead of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s official visit to India from April 7 to 10, Indian cabinet approved various bilateral MoUs with Bangladesh. These MoUs pertain to cooperation in following areas:

Agreement on Audio Visual Co-production: The Agreement includes co-production of films, documentaries, and animated films. All co-produced audio-visuals under this agreement shall be entitled to various benefits which are accorded to any national audio-visual work by both countries as per their respective laws and regulations.

MoU on cooperation in the field of Mass Media: This MoU includes training and study tour of mass media personnel, exchange of mass media experts, cooperation between training and educational institutes in the field of mass media, sharing experiences related to regulation of mass media sector, facilitating certified mass media professionals of both countries to set up offices and giving them required support.

MoU on passenger cruise services on the coastal and protocol routes: The MoU envisages regular movement of passengers and tourists in water crafts between India and Bangladesh. This will promote people to people contact and cooperation in economic, social and cultural spheres.

Cabinet approves MoU between India and France on Technical Cooperation in Civil Aviation

On 5th April 2017, Union Cabinet chaired by PM Modi approved the MoU between the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC), France to implement Technical Cooperation Program in the Civil Aviation sector. This program will enhance skills and expertise of AAI’s officers.

Cabinet approves Air Services Agreement between India and Georgia

Air Services Agreement (ASA) between India and Georgia has been approved by Union Cabinet chaired by the PM Modi.

  • This Air Service Agreement (ASA) is in accordance with the latest template of International Civil Aviation Organisation and has factored in the recent developments in civil aviation sector. It will help establish air connectivity between India and Georgia and is expected to positively impact trade, investment, tourism and cultural exchange between two countries.

Cabinet approves Collaboration Agreement to support the Belmont Forum Secretariat

Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing a Collaborative Agreement with French National Research Agency (ANR), France for supporting the Belmont Forum Secretariat. The estimated expenditure to support Belmont Forum Secretariat (currently hosted at ANR) from January 2015 to December 2017 will be Euro 40,000

About Belmont Forum:

The Belmont Forum is a group of countries who fund global environmental change research.

  • Created in: 2009
  • Current Secretariat: Hosted at the French National Research Agency (ANR) located in Paris.
  • Number of Member Countries: 18 (including India and European Commission)

Cabinet approves closure of Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojana

Union Cabinet has approved closure of the Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojana (MGPSY). This scheme was launched in 2012 to provide insurance, resettlement expenses and other social security needs of blue collar workers going abroad for work to Emigration Check Required (ECR) countries.

  • Very low subscription and no new subscription received for more than a year were the reasons cited for closure of this scheme. Closure of the scheme will save the recurring administrative and record-keeping expenditure.

Cabinet apprised of the MoU with Ferrovie Dello Stato Italiane S.P.A. of Italy on Technical Cooperation in the Rail Sector:

Union Cabinet has been briefed about the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed on 31st January 2017, with Ferrovie Dello Stato Italiane S.P.A. of the Republic of Italy. This MoU pertains to cooperation in Rail Sector.

  • As per this MoU, both countries will be involved in various technical cooperation activities with an objective to promote safety, sustainability and efficiency in their respective rail sectors. The activities will include expert meetings, technical visits, exchange of information, seminars and implementation of mutually agreed cooperation projects
  • The Ferrovie Dello Stato Italiane Group (FS Group) is an industrial enterprise, fully owned by Government of Italy. It focuses on railway related businesses viz. rail transport, railway infrastructure management and engineering.