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Union Cabinet Approvals – December 1 2016

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Union Cabinet lead by Prime Minister Narendra Modi given it’s approval to India’s negotiating position adopted at Kigali conference to Montreal Protocol, rehabilitation package for displaced families from PoKJ, Chhamb,  rationalisation of visa regime and inclusion of 15 new castes in Central OBC list and Mumbai Urban Transport Project Phase-III

Cabinet ApprovalsCabinet approves India’s negotiating position adopted at Kigali conference to Montreal Protocol

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the negotiating position adopted by the Government of India at the 28th Meeting of Parties (MoP) to the Montreal Protocol of the Vienna Convention for Protection of Ozone Layer that took place during 6-14 October, 2016, in Kigali, Rwanda. 

  • The Montreal Protocol, which entered force in January 1989, aims to phase out the ozone depleting substances (ODS).
  • The negotiations at Kigali were aimed at including Hydrofluoro Carbons (HFCs) in the list of chemicals under the Montreal Protocol to regulate their production and consumption and phase them down over a period of time with financial assistance from the Multilateral Fund created under the Montreal Protocol.
  • HFCs are not ozone depleting but global warming substance and if controlled, can contribute substantially to limiting the global temperature and advance actions for addressing climate change.

Under Montreal Protocol, all countries are assigned a baseline year and a freeze year. 

  • Baseline year is a three year period in which consumption and production of harmful gases like HFCs and HCFCs are analysed and the reduction of the same is assigned based on the amount.
  • The freeze year is the period when the use of those chemicals must go below what they were during the baseline years.

It was agreed at Kigali that India will have baseline years of 2024, 2025, 2026. This decision gives additional HCFC allowance of 65% that will be added to the Indian baseline consumption and production. The freeze year for India will be 2028, with a condition that there will be a technology review in 2024/2025 and, if the growth in the sectors using refrigerants is above certain agreed threshold, India can defer its freeze up to 2030.

As per the decisions taken in Kigali, India will complete its phase down in 4 steps from 2032 onwards with cumulative reduction of 10% in 2032, 20% in 2037, 30% in 2042 and 85% in 2047.

India’s position was mainly aimed at allowing sufficient room for growth of its domestic sectors using refrigerants.

Cabinet approves rehabilitation package for displaced families from PoKJ, Chhamb

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has approved a Central Assistance of Rs. 2000 crore for 36,384 displaced families from Pakistan occupied areas of Jammu & Kashmir (POJK) and Chhamb based on an announcement of Prime Minister’s Development Package for Jammu & Kashmir-2015 in November, 2015.

  • As per the package, Rs. 5.5 lakh cash benefit per family will be disbursed to the displaced families to enable them to earn an income and live their livelihood. The amount will be released to the State Government of J&K to be disbursed to eligible families through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT).
  • After the partition of the country in 1947, a series of relief and rehabilitation packages have been extended by the Government of India to State Government of J&K from time to time to mitigate the hardship of displaced persons from PoJK and Chhamb and to rehabilitate them.

Union Cabinet approves rationalisation of visa regime 

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on November 30, 2016, approved the liberalisation, simplification and rationalisation of the country’s visa regime to stimulate economic growth and ease travel for foreigners.

  • The Cabinet also approved incremental changes in the visa policy decided by the Ministry of Home Affairs in consultation with various stakeholders and with the approval of the Home Minister.
  • The approval will facilitate entry of foreigners for tourism, business and medical purposes in India and stimulate economic growth, increase earnings from export of services like tourism, medical tourism and travel on account of business and to make the government’s Skill India, Digital India, Make in India and other such flagship initiatives successful.

Union Cabinet approves inclusion of 15 new castes in Central OBC list

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi  on November 30, 2016,  approved inclusion of 15 new castes and modification in 13 other castes in the Central list of Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

  • The National Commission of Backward Classes (NCBC) had recommended a total of 28 changes in respect of 8 states —Assam, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttarakhand.
  • Out of these 28, 15 were new entries, 9 were synonyms or sub-castes of the castes which were already in the list and 4 were corrections.
  • The changes will enable the persons belonging to these castes/communities to avail the benefits such as reservation in Government services and posts, Central Educational Institutions, eligible for benefit under the various welfare schemes, scholarships etc. being administered by the Central Government, which are at present available to the persons belonging to the Other Backward Classes.
  • vOn the NCBC recommendation, a total of 2479 entries for inclusion, including its synonyms, sub-castes, etc. in the Central List of OBCs have been notified in 25 States and 6 Union Territories. The last such notification was issued till September, 2016.

The National Commission of Backward Classes (NCBC)

NCBC examines requests for inclusion of any class of citizens as a backward class in the lists and hear complaints of over-inclusion or under-inclusion of any backward class in such lists. Its advice is binding upon the Central Government.

Union Cabinet approved Mumbai Urban Transport Project Phase-III

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the Mumbai Urban Transport Project Phase-III.
  • The estimated cost of project is Rs.8679 crore with completion cost of Rs.10947 crore. The project is expected to be completed in the next five years during 13th Five Year Plan period.