On July 19, 2017, Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved following bilateral agreements and initiatives:
Cabinet approves MOC in respect of tax matters between India and BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa
Union Cabinet has given the approval for the signing of Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) in respect of tax matters between India and the Revenue administrations of BRICS countries namely, Brazil, Russian Federation, China and South Africa.
Objectives and Expected benefits from this MoC:
- The MoC aims to promote cooperation amongst the BRICS Revenue administrations in international forum on common areas of interest in tax matters and in the area of capacity building and knowledge sharing.
- It envisages regular interaction amongst the heads of Revenue administration of BRICS countries and meeting of the Experts on tax matters to discuss the contemporary issues in areas of international taxation.
- The MoC accords confidentiality and protection to information exchanged under this MoC.
- The collective stand of BRICS countries can prove to be beneficial not only for BRICS countries but also to other developing countries in the long run in tax matters.
Cabinet apprised of MoU between India and Netherlands on cooperation in space technology
Union Cabinet has been apprised of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Netherlands on cooperation in the exploration and uses of outer space for peaceful purposes. The MoU was signed on May 11 & 22, 2017 at Bangalore and The Hague, Netherlands respectively.
Scope & Benefits of this MoU:
- The MoU would lead to setting up of a Joint Working Group, drawing members from Department of Space/ Indian Space Research Organisation (DOS/ISRO), and the Netherlands Space Office (NSO), which will further work out the plan of action including the time-frame and the means of implementing this MoU.
- It will provide impetus to explore newer research activities and application possibilities in the field of remote sensing of the earth; satellite communication; satellite navigation; space science and exploration of outer space.
- The MoU would lead to joint activity in the field of application of space technologies for the benefit of humanity.
Quick Facts about Netherlands:
- Capital: Amsterdam
- Currency: Euro
- Current Prime Minister: Mark Rutte
Cabinet approves IRDAI’s admission as a signatory to International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS), Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MMoU)
Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval for Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India’s (IRDAI’s) admission as a signatory to International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS), Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MMoU).
About IAIS and MMoU:
- The International Association of Insurance Supervisors is a global framework for cooperation and information exchange between insurance supervisors.
- International Association of Insurance Supervisors, Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding is a statement of its signatories’ intent to cooperate in the field of information exchange as well as procedure for handling information requests.
- In the absence of any bilateral agreements, the IAIS, MMoU provides a formal basis for cooperation and information exchange between the Signatory Authorities regarding the supervision of insurance companies where cross-border aspects arise.
- The scope of the IAIS MMoU is wider than the existing agreements as this agreement also provides for supervision of other regulated entities such as insurance intermediaries under Anti Money Laundering, (AML) and Combating the Finance of Terrorism (CFT).
Quick Facts about Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI):
- Founded in: 1999
- Headquarters: Hyderabad
- Current Chairman: T. S. Vijayan
Cabinet approves revalidation of permission to raise Extra Budgetary Resource (EBRs) of Rs. 660 crore as Government of India Bonds by Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) in 2017-18
The proceeds from the bonds will be utilized by IWAI for development and maintenance of National Waterways (NWs) under National Waterways Act, 2016 (effective from 12.4.2016).
- Funds received through issue of bonds will be used exclusively for capital expenditure to improve infrastructure.
Need for Extra Budgetary Resource:
- During 2017-18, out of estimated expenditure of Rs.1715 crore for Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP), it is expected that the World Bank would remit a loan amount of Rs. 857.50 crore.
- For 2017-18 IWAI has been allocated a sum of Rs. $228 crore for creation of capital assets.
- Raising bonds is intended to bridge this gap.
Government of India Bonds to be issued by Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI):
- The principal and interest in respect of the EBRs worth Rs. 660 crore shall be financed by the Government of India by making suitable budgetary provisions.
- The interest payment will be on semi-annual basis and the principal on maturity.
- The whole exercise would be undertaken by IWAI through appointment of lead managers and coordination with Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
Cabinet approves Central Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2017
Union cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval for the promulgation of the Central Goods and Services Tax (Extension to Jammu & Kashmir) Ordinance, 2017 and replacement of the Ordinance by the Central Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2017.
- The Ordinance has extended the provisions of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 referred to as (CGST Act) to the State of Jammu & Kashmir.
- The Ordinance has been promulgated on July 8, 2017, and the Central Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2017 will be tabled in the current session of the Parliament.
Environment Ministry approves Projects in 3 States under NAFCC
On July 19, 2017, National Steering Committee on Climate Change (NSCCC), under the Chairmanship of Secretary Environment Ministry, Mr Ajay Narayan Jha, approved the Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) submitted by Governments of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Sikkim for funding under the National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC).
- Gujarat: The project seeks to enhance the adaptive capacity of natural resource dependent communities to climate change in targeted villages of Kachchh district.
- Rajasthan: The project builds on work carried out under Phase I of the Mukhya Mantri Jal Swavlamban Abhiyan to enhance the adaptive capacity of villages by making them self-reliant in terms of water requirement.
- Sikkim: The project aims to address the issue of water security which are directly identified as climate resilience building interventions under the State Action Plans on Climate Change (SAPCC).
About National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC):
- NAFCC is a flagship Scheme of Government of India, which provides 100 % grant to the State Governments for implementing climate change adaptation projects.
- The fund was established in August 2015.
- It has been established to fulfill the objectives of National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) and to operationalize the State Action Plans on Climate Change (SAPCCs).
- During the two year period, 21 projects were approved at a total cost of Rs. 435.72 crore.
Cabinet approves alternative mechanism for creation and launch of a New Exchange Traded Fund
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has authorized the Alternative Mechanism on the following:
- To take decision for divestment through Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) out of all the listed central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) including CPSEs listed subsequently subject to Government of India (GoI) retaining 51% stake in these CPSEs.
- To take decision on the divestment in respect of Public Sector Banks, other listed Public Sector Financial Institutions and Public Sector Insurance Companies (when listed) through ETF or other methods subject to GoI retaining 52%.
- To take decision on various matters related to divestment through ETF including discount for investors and pricing.
Exchange Traded Fund (ETF): It is a basket of tradable securities that tracks an index, a commodity, bonds, or any other asset class. The ETFs trading value is based on the net asset value of the underlying asset that it represents. Its value changes throughout the day on real-time basis.