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Allotment of land to Ramakrishna Mission, New Delhi to further expand their welfare activities



Allotment of land to Ramakrishna Mission, New Delhi to further expand their welfare activities 
The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for Allotment of land measuring 82 sq. mtrs. Situated in South West of Plot No. 17/80A and 18/80A to Ramakrishna Mission Krishna Market, Paharganj, New Delhi to further expand their welfare activities at the prevailing rates. 


Background: 

The Ramakrishna Mission had requested the Government for allotment of a small incidental plot of land admeasuring 82 square meters adjoining to their existing allotment in Krishna Market, New Delhi to further expand their welfare activities. The said land is lying vacant and is prone to encroachment and illegal activities. 
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Memorandum of Understanding between Department of Space / Indian Space Research Organization and Kuwait Institute of Scientific Research on cooperation in the area of outer space 
The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been apprised of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Department of Space / Indian Space Research Organization (DOS/ISRO) and Kuwait Institute of Scientific Research (KISR) on cooperation in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes.

The MoU will enable pursuing potential interest areas in both cooperative and commercial mode, namely: (1) Use of data from Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites by KISR for initiating a few research and application projects; (2) Training; and (3) Building and launching of remote sensing and communication satellites on commercial terms.

The MoU will lead to setting up of a Joint Working Group, drawing members from ISRO and KISR, which will further work out the plan of action including the time-frame and the means of implementing this MoU.

Cooperation with KISR through this MoU will lead to developing a joint activity in the field of application of space technology for the benefit of humanity. Thus all sections and regions of the country will get benefited,

The MoU 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. 
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Cabinet approves policy on Promotion of City Compost 
The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for a Policy on Promotion of City Compost.

Under the policy, a provision has been made for Market development assistance of Rs. 1500 per tonne of city compost for scaling up production and consumption of the product. Market development assistance would lower MRP of city compost for farmers. Compost from city garbage would not only provide carbon and primary/secondary nutrients to soil but also help in keeping the city clean. Eco-Mark standard for City Compost would ensure that environment friendly quality product reaches the farmers.

Composting can reduce the volume of waste to landfill/dumpsite by converting the waste into useful by-products. This also prevents production of harmful greenhouse gases (especially methane) and toxic material that pollutes groundwater apart from polluting the environment. City Waste composting would also generate employment in urban areas.

Fertilizer companies and marketing entities will also co-market City Compost with chemical fertilizers through their dealers' network. The companies will also adopt villages for promoting the use of compost. Government Departments and Public Sector undertakings will also use City Compost for their horticulture and related uses.

Concerned Ministry/Department will carry out IEC campaigns to educate farmers on the benefits of city compost and will take steps to increase setting up of compost plants across all States. The Agricultural Extension Machineries including KVKs of ICAR will also make special efforts in this regard. Agriculture Universities and KVKs will also take up field demonstration activities using City compost for which D/o Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare will assign targets to them.

A joint mechanism will be set up by Department of Fertilizers, Ministry of Urban Development and Department of Agriculture to monitor and facilitate availability of adequate quantity of City Compost at terms mutually agreeable between compost manufacturers and Fertilizer Marketing companies. They will also be authorised to resolve any co-ordination related issue that may arise.

Initially, marketing and promotion of city compost is proposed to be done through the existing fertilizer companies. In due course, compost manufacturers and other marketing entities recognized by the concerned State Government may also be included for the purpose with the approval of Department of Fertilisers. The market development assistance shall be routed through the entity which is marketing it. 
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Memorandum of Understanding between India and United Kingdom in the field of Public Administration and Governance Reforms 
The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in November, 2015 between India, and United Kingdom for Cooperation in Public Administration and Governance Reforms.

The form of co-operation under the MoU will be in areas like sharing good governance practices in public administration, User led service design, Reducing bureaucracy in service delivery, Government Process Re-engineering, Building and developing staff capability, Public Grievance Redress Mechanism, Local Government Reforms, Reforms towards strengthening of social security, Collaboration in strategies for promotion of ethics in Government, Collaboration between Government and Industry on staff management, Mechanisms for public engagement, Crisis and Disaster Management and Digital transformation of Government.

A Joint Working Group on Public Administration and Governance will be responsible for implementation of the MoU.

The MoU will help in understanding the system of customer oriented public service delivery in UK with reference to rapidly changing environments in the area of public service management and enable in replicating, adapting and innovating some of the best practices and processes in the Indian Public Service Delivery System, leading to improved public service delivery in India.

The First Joint Working Group (JWG) meeting under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is scheduled to be held later this month in London.

Background:

Provision of Citizen-Centric Online Services is the foundation of an efficient public administration system. It leads to transparency and accountability in the governance and fosters equitable growth.

Government of India has taken up a goal of quantum shift in online delivery of Government Services across the country. This aims to further Government's efforts at revamping of Public Administration system, Public Grievance Redress Mechanism, ushering in e-Governance, Digital India, etc., more so in the context of the goal of 'Minimum Government with Maximum Governance' through e-Governance based Citizen Centric End-to-End On-line Services.

As part of its efforts in seeking international collaboration for initiatives in Good Governance and Administrative reforms, DARPG has so far entered into bilateral MoU with China, Malaysia, Singapore and with Brazil and South Africa (trilateral). The recent MoU with United Kingdom is a step in that direction as UK also ranks high in the UN E-Government Survey. 
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Swapping of Airports Authority of India land at Mumbai with land of Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai for relocation of Cemetery 
The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for swapping of Airports Authority of India’s (AAI) land out of land demised to M/s. Mumbai International Airport Pvt. Ltd. (MIAL) at CSIA measuring 2960.90 sqm. with equivalent land of Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) for relocation of Cemetery.

Swapping of the land with MCGM will enable M/s MIAL to complete the development work of CSIA, Mumbai. Further, shifting of the cemetery to new location will result in its operationalization. Since both the AAI land and the private land proposed to be swapped are of the same size and are adjacent to each other, as also the circle rate of the land is same, there is no financial implication on the Government. However, the cost on account of mutation of the alternate land after swapping shall be borne by M/s MIAL. 
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Cabinet approves amendments in Power Tariff Policy to ensure 24X7 affordable Power for all 
The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Power for amendments in the Tariff Policy. For the first time a holistic view of the power sector has been taken and comprehensive amendments have been made in the Tariff policy 2006. The amendments are also aimed at achieving the objectives of Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) with the focus on 4 Es: Electricity for all, Efficiency to ensure affordable tariffs, Environment for a sustainable future, Ease of doing business to attract investments and ensure financial viability.

Highlights of Amendments are:

Electricity:


• 24X7 supply will be ensured to all consumers and State Governments and regulators will devise a power supply trajectory to achieve this.

• Power to be provided to remote unconnected villages through micro grids with provision for purchase of power into the grid as and when the grid reaches there.

• Affordable power for people near coal mines by enabling procurement of power from coal washery reject based plants.

Efficiency:

• Reduce power cost to consumers through expansion of existing power plants.

• Benefit from sale of un-requisitioned power to be shared allowing for reduction in overall power cost.

• Transmission projects to be developed through competitive bidding process to ensure faster completion at lower cost.

• Faster installation of Smart meters to enable “Time of Day” metering, reduce theft and allow net-metering.

• Lower power cost by creating transmission capacity for accessing power from across India.

Environment:

• Renewable Power Obligation (RPO): In order to promote renewable energy and energy security, 8% of electricity consumption excluding hydro power, shall be from solar energy by March 2022.

• Renewable Generation Obligation (RGO): New coal/lignite based thermal plants after specified date to also establish/procure/purchase renewable capacity

• Affordable renewable power through bundling of renewable power with power from plants whose PPAs have expired or completed their useful life.

• No inter-State transmission charges and losses to be levied for solar and wind power.

• Swachh Bharat Mission to get a big boost with procurement of 100% power produced from Waste-to-Energy plants.

• To release clean drinking water for cities and reduce pollution of rivers like Ganga, thermal plants within 50 km of sewage treatment facilities to use treated sewage water.

• Promotion of Hydro projects through long term PPAs and exemption from competitive bidding till August 2022.

• Ancillary services to support grid operation for expansion of renewable energy.

Ease of Doing Business: 

• Generate employment in coal rich Eastern states like Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh etc. by encouraging investments. States allowed to setup plants, with up to 35% of power procured by DSICOMs on regulated tariff.

• Remove market uncertainty by allowing pass through for impact of any change in domestic duties, levies, cess and taxes in competitive bid projects.

• Clarity on tariff setting authority for multi-State sales. Central Regulator to determine tariff for composite schemes where more than 10% power sold outside State.

These amendments will benefit power consumers in multiple ways. While reducing the cost of power through efficiency, they will spur renewable power for a cleaner environment and protect India's energy security. They would also aid the objectives of Swachh Bharat Mission as well as Namami Gange Mission through conversion of waste to energy, usage of sewage water for generation and in turn ensure that clean water is available for drinking and irrigation.

These amendments will ensure availability of electricity to consumers at reasonable and competitive rates, improve ease of doing business to ensure financial viability of the sector and attract investments, promote transparency, consistency and predictability in regulatory approaches across jurisdictions. It will further facilitate competition, efficiency in operations and improvement in quality of supply of electricity. These holistic amendments to Power Tariff Policy which complement schemes like UDAY will ensure the realization of Hon'ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi's vision of 24X7 affordable power for all. 
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Ex-post-facto approval on the approach adopted by India at the Tenth Ministerial Conference of the WTO held in Nairobi, Kenya during 15-19 December 2015 
The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval for the approach adopted by India at the Tenth Ministerial Conference of the WTO held in Nairobi, Kenya during 15-19 December 2015.

Background 

The outcomes of the Conference, referred to as the 'Nairobi Package' include Ministerial Decisions on agriculture, cotton and issues related to least developed countries (LDCs). These cover a Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM) for developing countries, public stockholding for food security purposes, a commitment to abolish export subsidies for farm exports and measures related to cotton. Decisions were also made regarding preferential treatment to LDCs in the area of services and the criteria for determining whether exports from LDCs may benefit from trade preferences. A Ministerial Declaration was also adopted.

In the run-up to the Nairobi Conference, it became clear that the Conference would determine the future of the Doha Round of trade negotiations. While the Round is very important for greater integration of developing countries in the global trading system, a few developed countries were strongly opposed to the continuation of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA). India took the stand that the DDA must continue after the Nairobi Conference and no new issues must be introduced into the WTO agenda until the DDA has been completed. The Nairobi Ministerial Declaration acknowledges that members "have different views" on how to address the future of the Doha Round negotiations but noted the "strong commitment of all Members to advance negotiations on the remaining Doha issues."

In view of the reluctance of developed countries to agree to continue the Doha Development Agenda post-Nairobi, India negotiated and secured a re-affirmative Ministerial Decision on Public Stockholding for Food Security Purposes honouring both the Bali Ministerial and General Council Decisions. The decision commits Members to engage constructively in finding a permanent solution to this issue.

Similarly, India negotiated a Ministerial Decision on another very important issue which recognizes that developing countries will have the right to have recourse to an agricultural Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM) as envisaged in the Doha mandate. Members will continue to negotiate the mechanism in dedicated sessions of the Committee on Agriculture in Special Session. The WTO General Council has been mandated to regularly review the progress of these negotiations. This is a crucial decision in view of the differing views about the future of the Doha Round.

Members also agreed to the elimination of agricultural export subsidies subject to the preservation of special and differential treatment for developing countries such as a longer phase-out period for transportation and marketing subsidies for exporting agricultural products. The Ministerial Decision also contains disciplines to ensure that other export policies are not used as a disguised form of subsidies. These disciplines include terms to. limit the benefits of financing support to agriculture exporters, rules on state enterprises engaging in agriculture trade, and disciplines to ensure that food aid does not negatively affect domestic production. Developing countries have been given a longer time to implement these rules.

Another Ministerial decision extends the relevant provision to prevent 'evergreening' of patents in the pharmaceuticals sector. This decision would help in maintaining affordable as well as accessible supply of generic medicines.

India supported outcomes on issues of interest to LDCs including enhanced preferential rules of origin for LDCs and preferential treatment for LDC services providers. India already provides substantial preferences in these areas to LDCs.

Another area under negotiation in Nairobi dealt with the rules on fisheries subsidies. Like India, several other countries had strong reservations on this issue due to the lack of clarity. This was in tune with India's position. There was no outcome in this area of the negotiations. A group of 53 WTO members, including both developed and developing countries, also agreed on a timetable for implementing a deal to eliminate tariffs on 201 Information Technology products. Duty-free market access to the markets of the members eliminating tariffs on these products will be available to all WTO members. Though not a party to the Agreement, its benefits will also be available to India. 

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Six laning of Aurangabad – Bihar/Jharkhand Border – BarwaAdda section on NH-2 in Bihar and Jharkhand 
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for development of the six laning of Aurangabad – Bihar/Jharkhand Border – BarwaAdda section on National Highway-2 in Bihar and Jharkhand.

This work will be under the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) Phase-V. The approval is in BOT (Toll) mode on Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (BOT/DBFOT) basis.

The cost is estimated to be Rs.4918.48 crore including cost of land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation and other pre-construction activities. The total length of the road will be approximately 222 kms.

The main object of the project is to expedite the improvement of infrastructure in Bihar and Jharkhand and also in reducing the time and cost of travel for traffic, particularly heavy traffic, plying on the Aurangabad – Bihar/Jharkhand Border – BarwaAdda section on National Highway-2 in Bihar and Jharkhand.

The development of this stretch will also help in uplifting the socio-economic condition of the concerned regions of the State and would also increase employment potential for local labourers for project activities. The project is covered in the region of Aurangabad – Bihar/Jharkhand Border – BarwaAdda section in Bihar and Jharkhand. 
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Cabinet approves setting up of over 5,000 MW of Grid-connected Solar PV Power Projects 

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for setting up over 5,000 MW of Grid-Connected Solar PV Power Projects on build, own and operate basis.  The work will be implemented by Solar Power Developers (SPDs) with Viability Gap Funding (VGF) under Batch-lV of Phase-ll of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM).The total investments expected under this scheme is about Rs 30,000 crore.

This would help in creating additional 5000 MW capacity of Grid-connected solar PV power generation projects in four trenches of each 1,250 MW capacity during four financial years viz. 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19.   This would also help in employment generation of about 30,000 people in rural and urban areas with reduction of about 8.525 Million T of CO2 emissions into environment every year.

The tenders will be State-specific based on the demand from particular State.  States/Union Territories/Discoms/State Utilities are the beneficiaries. This will also facilitate to create employment and infrastructure in the States. Installation of 5000 MW Solar PV plants will generate about 8,300 Million units per year, which caters power to almost 2.5 Million households.

The estimated requirement of funds to provide VGF for 5,000 MW capacity solar projects is estimated to be Rs. 5,050 Crore (Rs 1.00 Cr / MW). This includes handling charges to Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI)  @ 1% of the total grant disposed and Rs. 500 crore for payment security mechanism for all three VGF schemes of 750 MW, 2000 MW and 5000 MW.




The phasing of investment is estimated as under:

Year

Total (Rs crore)

Handling & Monitoring charges for SECI @ 1% (Rs crore)

Total fund requirement (Rs crore)

2015-16
500.00
5.00
505.00
2016-17
1125.00
11.25
1136.25
2017-18
1125.00
11.25
1136.25
2018-19
1125.00
11.25
1136.25
2019-20
1125.00
11.25
1136.25
Total
5000
50.00
5050.00

The upper limit for VGF will be Rs. One Crore per MW. In case there is savings in the total VGF requirement, quantum of capacity of 5000 MW can be enhanced.

The Viability Gap Funding (VGF) scheme will be implemented for setting up over 5000 MW capacity of grid connected solar power projects by solar power developers on build, own and operate basis through open and transparent competitive bidding to provide solar power at a pre-defined tariff of Rs. 4.93 per kWh for the first year. The overall effort is to continuously reduce Government financial support for grid connected solar power as the prices of solar power comes down.

The Scheme will be implemented by SECI as per MNRE Guidelines. SECI shall prepare necessary bidding documents for inviting the proposals for setting up of projects on a competitive bidding through e-bidding. SECI will enter into Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the selected developers and the Power Sale Agreement (PSA) with the buying entities.

Requisite funds for provision of the VGF support will be made available to MNRE from the National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF), operated by Ministry of Finance.

Out of 5,000 MW, some capacity in each tranche, will be developed with mandatory condition of solar PV cells and Modules made in India. This will be called the Domestic Content Requirement (DCR) category and remaining will be in open category.

Some other important features are as follows:

a)  Project Locations: Projects could be set up in the Solar Parks being developed under a separate MNRE Scheme and also at other locations, which could be selected by the bidders on their own.
b)  Commissioning period would be 13 months from the date of signing of PPAs.
c)   MNRE will  provide   100% VGF to  SECI  to  disburse  to Solar PowerDevelopers (SPDs) immediately after commissioning, subject to availability of funds.
d) Due to competitive bidding, there may be savings in the VGF amount of Rs.5,050 crore.  In that case, the total capacity will be increased from 5,000 MW, so that, maximum capacity can be set up in the VGF of Rs.5,050 crore after accounting for grant of Rs. 500 crore to be given for payment security mechanism for all three VGF schemes of 750 MW, 2000 MW and 5000 MW.
e)  The  bidders  will   be  free  to  avail  fiscal   incentives   like  Accelerated Depreciation (AD), concessional customs and excise duties, tax holidays,    etc. available for such projects. However, no bidders will be allowed to claim both AD and VGF.

The selection of 5,000 MW Solar PV Projects will be under State Specific VGF Scheme and projects will be set up in the Solar Parks of various states,developed through coordinated efforts of Central and State Agencies. SECI will purchase the power from the selected Solar PV plants at the pre-determined tariff and sell the power to willing State Utilities/ Discoms under 25 years Power Sale Agreements (PSAs), at the applicable tariff.

The State Governments shall appoint a State Level Agencyfor providing necessary support to facilitate the required approvals and sanctions in a time bound manner to achieve commissioning of the projects within thescheduled timeline.

Background:

The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) was launched in January 2010 by the Government of India with a target to setup 20,000 MW of grid connected solar power by 2022 which is now enhanced upto 1,00,000 MW.

In addition to Government of India, several States have taken initiatives and come out with solar policies to support for setting up solar power projects. Many states have come out with tenders for procurement of solar power recently.


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