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Modification of existing guidelines for the Policy on bilateral Official Development Assistance for Development Corporation with bilateral partners



Modification of existing guidelines for the Policy on bilateral Official Development Assistance for Development Corporation with bilateral partners 
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for modification of existing guidelines of the Policy on bilateral Official Development Assistance for Development Corporation with bilateral partners.

The details of the proposed modification in the guidelines are as follows:- 


i. Finance Minister and External Affairs Minister, with the approval of Prime Minister, may be authorised to accept bilateral assistance from any other country, in addition to the existing bilateral partners, viz. USA, UK, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, Russian Federation as well as European Commission and European Union countries outside G-8.

ii. To accept special loan for capital intensive projects and other projects of special nature subject to the following conditions:

a) The minimum assistance from bilateral partner shall be USD 1 billion in a year, of which at least 50% shall be normal untied loans (not special loans).

b) For all contracts (including goods, services and consultancy) the anticipation may be restricted to companies of the bilateral partner country and Indian companies. While, Joint Venture 20p£rnpanies of bilateral partners and Indian companies will be eligible, Indian companies may be restricted to those where ownership by Indian nationals /companies is more than 50%.

c) There shall be a provision for removing sourcing condition and to go for International Competitive Bidding in case of lack of adequate response in the bidding process under (b) above.

d) Not more than 30% of the total value of goods and services should be insisted to be sourced from the funding country.

e) The annual rate of interest on special loans shall not exceed 0.3% (including all other applicable, charges) and the tenor shall not be less than 40 years (with 10 years of moratorium on repayment).

f) Individual projects with a minimum project cost of USD 250 million will only qualify for such special loans.

g) Any project(s) implemented by State Government (either solely or jointly) will be done with the concurrence of the concerned State Government.

Under the revised guidelines, the Finance Minister has been authorised to relax or waive any of the above conditions.

It is expected that by accepting offers of special loan for projects in Infrastructure sector and in sectors of strategic importance on mutually agreed basis, the extensive capital requirement in these sectors will be fulfilled. The decision is also expected to lead to capital augmentation for funding of projects in the Infrastructure sector and in sectors of strategic importance. Economic activity generated will boost employment and development of infrastructure. The scheme will promote "Make in India" and wherever possible, transfer of technology making further innovations possible. 

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MoU between India and Vietnam for cooperation in the field of Animal Health 
The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Vietnam for cooperation in the field of Animal Health. The MoU was signed in September, 2014.

The MoU aims to promote mutual cooperation between India and Vietnam through joint activities in the areas of Animal Health and has agreed to:

i. Exchange special information on animal health in general and particularly information on status of animal diseases of common concern, standards and procedures for animal quarantine and inspection status and progress of surveillance and monitoring programmes in place for animal diseases and food borne pathogens;

ii. Exchange of special information on meat processing, meat products and slaughter houses/abattoirs;

iii. Set up Mutual Recognition Agreement on Veterinary hygiene, health certificate between competent authorities of the two Parties.

iv. Cooperate in the training and upgrading human resources in the field of animal health.

The MoU shall remain in force for a period of 10 years unless either of the Parties give prior written notice of at least six months to the other Party of its intention to terminate the MoU. 

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Cabinet approves setting up of National Resource Facility for Bio-medical Research (NARF) at Genome Valley in Hyderabad 
The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the proposal of the Department of Health Research in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for setting up of a National Resource Facility for Bio-medical Research (NARF) at Genome Valley in Hyderabad by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR). The estimated project cost is Rs. 338.58 crores and the resource center is expected to be functional by 2018-19.

The institution will be the first of its kind for quality laboratory animals for basic and applied biomedical research in the country.

It will be developed as a world-class facility for breeding and housing of animals such as primates, cabines and other specialized models such as transgenic and knockout rodents required for testing of various R&D products. The facility will create, develop and provide access to a range of laboratory animals and related technological resources for advancement of biomedical research in the country, mainly to facilitate research in medical colleges, research and academic institutions, universities and Biotech/Bio-pharma companies.

The facility will also provide training facilities for personnel in the specialized areas in the field of biomedical research.

The State Government has allotted 102.69 acres of land at Genome Valley, Hyderabad, free of cost, to the ICMR for Establishment of National Animal Resource Facility (NARF) for Biomedical Research. 

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Signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Ministry of the Interior Germany and the Ministry of Civil Aviation of India for carriage of In-flight Security Officers (IFCOs) on board the flight – ex post facto approval 
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, gave its ex-post facto approval to the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Ministry of the Interior Germany and the Ministry of Civil Aviation of India for carriage of In-flight Security Officers (IFCOs) on board the flight.

The signing of MoU between India and Germany would provide compliance of international obligation as well as enhance safety of travelling public between India and Germany. 

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Exchange of scattered plots of land of Directorate General of Lighthouses & Lightships with land of M/s JSW Jaigarh Port Limited at Jaigarh Lighthouse, Ratnagiri, Maharashtra 
The Union Cabinet Chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved the exchange of scattered plots of land of Directorate General of Lighthouses & Lightships (DGLL) with land of M/s JSW Jaigarh Port Limited at Jaigarh Lighthouse, Ratnagiri, Maharashtra.

The swapping of land will ensure separate and independent access to the facilities of DGLL and JSW-JPL besides allowing land consolidation to both of them for their unhindered development and better security management of their respective premises. The DGLL will hand over 12 pieces of land measuring 0.7630 Hectare and will receive three pieces of land measuring one hectare.

Background: 

The JSW-JPL is facing hindrances in their operations as the scattered plots of land of DGLL are located in the midst of the storage area of the port, which in turn has been affecting the customs and The International Ship and Port facility Security (ISPS) compliance by the port. DGLL has also been facing hindrances in the future expansion activities of their Lighthouse as its land parcels are scattered, isolated and not contiguous from lighthouse operational point of view. The proposed land swapping would be mutually benefitting both DGLL and JSW-JPL besides enabling efficiency of their respective operations as also ensure better and more secure management of their respective lands. 

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Signing of Joint Declaration of Intent between Ministry of Human Resource Development and Federal Foreign Office of Germany on Promotion of German as an additional Foreign Language in India and Promotion of Modern Indian Languages in Germany. 
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, gave its ex-post approval to the Joint Declaration of Intent between the Ministry of Human Resource Development and Federal Foreign Office of Germany on Promotion of German as an additional Foreign Language in KV schools in conformity with the National Education Policy of India and promotion of teaching of Modern Indian Languages in Germany.

The Joint Declaration of Intent will help to intensify existing bilateral cooperation between India and Germany and to further advance the relations between the two countries in the field of education in accordance with the laws, policies and regulations in force in the two countries.

Background:

A MoU was entered into on September 2011 between Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) and Goethe-Institute, Max Mueller Bhawan for teaching of German Language in the KVs. The validity of the MoU had expired in September, 2014 but the MoU had not been renewed further in view of some inconsistencies in the provisions of that MoU vis-à-vis the National Education Policy and the National Curriculum Framework relating to the “three language formula”.

Consequent upon further deliberations by the Board of Governors of KVS and review of the matter in the Ministry of HRD, draft of a fresh MoU porposed to be concluded between Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan and Goethe-Institute/Max Mueller Bhawan was referred to the Ministry of External affairs, on 5th April, 2015 proposed that the MoU would need to be signed at the Inter- Governmental level as Goethe Institute cannot take obligations on behalf of the German Government for promotion of Modern Indian Languages in German educational Institutions.

In a Joint Statement issued by the Prime Minister and German Chancellor in Berlin on 14th April 2015, it was agreed to support the respective programmes and efforts in India and Germany to broaden knowledge of each other’s languages among the youth in accordance with the National Policy of each country.

Ministry of External Affairs had proposed a revised draft which was a Joint Declaration of Intent (JDI) to be signed between Ministry of Human Resource development of the Republic of India and federal foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany regarding the promotion of teaching of German as an additional foreign language in KV schools in conformity with the National Education Policy of India and Modern Indian Languages in Germany. On details of the implementation modalities, an inter-institutional MoU would subsequently be entered into between Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan and Goethe-Institute/Max Mueller Bhawan.

For promotion of Modern Indian Languages in the German educational institutions, separate arrangements on implementation modalities will be entered into between the counterpart institutions to be identified on either side. The JDI also envisaged that the Embassy of India will establish contacts with the Standing Conference of the Ministers of education and Cultural Affairs of the Lander in the Federal Republic of Germany as the competent institution for school and higher education. The nodal implementing agencies on both sides may enter into a separate MoU at the earliest. 

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Proposal to provide a two year extension with amendments to the Framework on Currency Swap Arrangement for SAARC member countries upto November 14, 2017 and extension thereafter if necessary 
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given approval for the proposal to provide a two year extension with amendments to the 'Framework on Currency Swap Arrangement for SAARC Member Countries' upto November 14, 2017, and extension thereafter, if necessary, by Finance Minister.

Under the facility, RBI offers swaps of varying sizes to each SAARC Member countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) depending on their two months import requirement and not exceeding US$ 2 billion in total, in USD, Euro or INR.

In the 27th SAARC FINANCE Group Meeting held in Washington D.C on 9th October 2013, the Central Bank Governors of the SAARC Member Nations approved certain amendments made to the Framework based on the experience gained from operationalizing the Framework and with the intention to bring more clarity on the clauses of the Framework.

After approval of the Cabinet, RBI will negotiate the operational details bilaterally with Central Banks of the respective SAARC countries. These bilateral agreements would be signed by RBI after obtaining prior Government approval. Any amendment to the Framework will require prior approval of Finance Minister.

The Framework on Currency Swap Arrangement for SAARC member countries has enabled India to strengthen its ties with the SAARC countries. The arrangement will further financial stability in the region, besides improving the standing and credibility of India among the SAARC countries. The extension of currency Swap facility to SAARC countries will strengthen regional integration and inter-dependence and also enhance India's economic influence in the region.

Merely extending the validity of the Framework Arrangement has no financial implications. If any bilateral Swap Arrangement is signed, then, in the event of a draw down by either party/parties, the foreign exchange reserves with RBI would be temporarily depleted upto a maximum amount of 2 billion USD. Interest would be paid by the Receiving Party on the USD/Euro/INR amount although no interest will be received on the domestic currency given in exchange thereof to the Providing Party.

Background: 

The "Framework on Currency Swap Arrangement for SAARC Member Countries" was approved by the Government of India on March 1st, 2012. The Framework was formulated with the intention to provide a line of funding for short term foreign exchange requirements or to meet balance of payments crises till longer term arrangements are made or the issue is resolved in the short-term itself. 

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Signing of revised Air Services Agreement between India and New Zealand 
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for signing of revised Air Services Agreement between India and New Zealand.

The Air Services Agreement signifies an important landmark in the civil aviation relations between India and New Zealand and has the potential to spur greater trade, investment, tourism and cultural exchanges between the two countries. 

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Determination of marketing margin for supply of domestic gas to urea and LPG producers 
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for determination of marketing margin for supply of domestic gas to urea and LPG producers.

This decision is a structural reform. Marketing Margin is the charge levied by gas marketing company on its consumers over and above the cost or basic price of gas for taking on the additional risk and cost associated with marketing gas. Currently, different transporters are charging different marketing margins for supply of natural gas. With this decision, there would be uniformity in the marketing margin on domestic gas charged by gas marketers for the regulated sectors, namely, Urea and LPG. There would be a reduction in marketing margin paid by Urea and LPG producers as a result of this decision.

Further, the rate would be fixed on non-discretionary basis. The issue of vast disparity in marketing margins was looked into by the Petroleum & Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) and the marketing margin finalized today is based on the recommendations of PNGRB. Future escalations in the marketing margin upto Wholesale Price Index (WPI) would be decided by the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas itself.

This decision is likely to enhance transparency and provide an element of certainty for future investments in gas infrastructure sector. 

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Cabinet approval for signing Tripartite Agreement among India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) on the IBSA Fund for the Alleviation of Poverty and Hunger 
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the signing of the Tripartite Agreement among India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA), on the IBSA Fund for the Alleviation of Poverty and Hunger.

The decision will help in strengthening the IBSA Fund which is a unique vehicle in the context of South-South cooperation. The IBSA countries contribute US$ 1 million each annually to the Fund, which till January 2015 has accumulated to US$ 28.2 million, with total implemented/approved projects commitment of US$ 26.2 million, and remaining US$ 2.09 million available for programming. India on its part has contributed US$ 9.1 million so far to the Fund.

The IBSA Fund undertakes development projects in third countries. The first project to be financed by the IBSA Fund was in support of agriculture and livestock development. The IBSA Fund was conferred the South-South Partnership Award at the 2006 UN Day event held in New York in December 2006. This indicates the importance and recognition of the IBSA Fund in the context of South-South developmental cooperation.

The IBSA Fund for the Alleviation of Poverty and Hunger was set up in 2004 as one of the three pillars of cooperation under the IBSA Dialogue Forum. The other two pillars are consultation and coordination on global political issues and trilateral collaboration in concrete areas and projects.

Background: 

The IBSA Dialogue Forum launched in June 2003, was conceived as a forum for cooperation among three vibrant democracies of the South that are recognized as having global relevance and impact. All three are developing nations with pluralistic, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual and multi-religious societies. 

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Memorandum of Understanding between India and Germany on Security Cooperation 
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex post facto approval for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Germany on Security Cooperation.

The MoU would further strengthen the relationship between India and Germany for building peace and stability in the region through exchange of information, expertise, best practices and technology. It is an effective tool for combating terrorism, illicit drug trafficking and preventing cross border crimes through exchange of information, knowledge, technical expertise and capacity building.

The MoU is expected to increase effectiveness and cooperation in security matters between India and Germany. 

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Protocol amending the Agreement between India and Kuwait for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income 
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for the protocol amending the Agreement between India and Kuwait for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income.

The Protocol provides for internationally accepted standards for effective exchange of information on tax matters including bank information and information without domestic tax interest. It is further provided that the information received from Kuwait in respect of a resident of India can be shared with other law enforcement agencies with authorization of the competent authority of Kuwait and vice versa.

India and Kuwait signed the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) signed in 2006 for the avoidance of double taxation and for the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income, through the Protocol. 

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Cabinet approves the proposal to provide State Government jobs and transit accommodations in the Kashmir Valley for the rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants 
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for providing State Government jobs and transit accommodations in the Kashmir Valley for the rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants involving a total estimated expenditure of Rs.2000 crore.

Terrorist violence/ militancy in Jammu & Kashmir, particularly in its early phases, had led to large scale forced migration of members of the Kashmiri Pandit community along with some Sikh and Muslim families from the Kashmir Valley. Presently there are about 62,000 registered Kashmiri migrant families residing in Jammu, Delhi, NCR and other parts of country.

The new proposal provides for additional 3000 state government jobs to the Kashmiri migrants with financial assistance from the Government of India and to construct transit accommodations in the Kashmir Valley for the Kashmiri migrants to whom state government jobs have been provided/ will be provided. The financial implication I this respect would be borne by the Government of India.

Earlier in 2008, a Package of Rs. 1618.40 crore was announced to facilitate the return of the migrants to the Kashmir Valley. Under this package, 3000 State government jobs were to be provided to the Kashmiri migrant with central funding, of whom 1963 jobs have already been provided and process for remaining is underway. 469 Transit accommodations have been constructed in the Kashmir Valley which have been allotted to the newly appointed migrant employees on sharing basis. 

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Ratification of the Articles of Agreement of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank 
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for the ratification and submitting of the Articles of Agreement (AoA) of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)

Establishment of the AIIB will help India and other signatory countries to raise and avail resources for their infrastructure and sustainable development projects. India is one of the largest potential borrowers of AIIB's resources. India stands to become the second largest shareholder of AIIB after China. This is a historic opportunity for India to play a prominent role in the governance of a multilateral institution.

It is expected that with membership in AIIB, India would be able to raise and obtain more resources for much needed infrastructure development.

Background: 

Infrastructure financing in India has traditionally been done through the Government and existing multilateral development banks. These have been supplemented by public sector contributions through Public-Private Partnership projects. However, in the context of fiscal consolidation and risk-averse private sector, the AIIB will make additional resources available. This is expected to recycle the savings accumulated in emerging countries. 

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Cabinet approves the proposal for providing relief to the militancy affected migrants of the hilly areas of Jammu division at par with the Kashmiri Migrants 
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the proposal for providing relief to the migrants of the Hilly areas of Jammu division at par with the relief being provided to the Kashmiri migrants involving a total estimated expenditure of Rs. 13.45 Crore per annum.

Terrorist violence/militancy in the State of Jammu & Kashmir, particularly in its early phases (early 1990s), had led to large scale forced migration from the Kashmir Valley. Besides the families who migrated from the Valley, many families migrated from different hilly areas of Jammu division to safer places of nearby towns due to security reasons. At present there are about 1054 registered Jammu migrant families.

Presently the State Government of Jammu and Kashmir is providing cash relief of Rs.40Q/- per head per month (maximum Rs.1600/- per family per month), cash assistance of Rs.300 per cattle per month for purchase of fodder, plus dry ration (9 Kg. Atta, 2 Kg. Rice per person per month and 10 Litre Kerosene per family per month) to the migrants of the Hilly areas of Jammu division.

The new proposal would enhance the relief being provided to the migrants of the hilly areas of Jammu division at par with the Kashmiri migrants i.e. a cash relief of Rs.2500 per head per month (maximum Rs.10000 per family per month) plus relief for ration/fodder. The expenditure incurred by the state Government in this regard would now be reimbursed by the Government of India. 

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