Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana - 2017



Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana - 2017

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its post-facto approval for launching of Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana 2017 (VPBY 2017).  It is a part of Government’s commitment for financial inclusion and social security.



The scheme will be implemented through Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) during the current financial year to  provide social security during old age and protect elderly persons aged 60 years and above against a future fall in their interest income due to uncertain market conditions. The scheme will provide an assured pension based on a guaranteed rate of return of 8% per annum for ten years, with an option to opt for pension on a monthly / quarterly / halfyearly and annual basis. The differential return, i.e., the difference between the return generated by LIC and the assured return of 8% per annum would be borne by Government of India as subsidy on an annual basis.



VPBY-2017 is proposed to be open for subscription for a period of one year from the date of launch.

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Cabinet approves ratification of the Second Commitment Period of Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to ratify the Second Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol on containing the emission of Green House Gases (GHGs). The second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 2012. So far, 65 countries have ratified the Second Commitment Period.

In view of the critical role played by India in securing international consensus on climate change issues, this decision further underlines India's leadership in the comity of nations committed to global cause of environmental protection and climate justice. Ratification of the Kyoto Protocol by India will encourage other developing countries also to undertake this exercise. Implementation of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects under this commitment period in accordance with Suslainable Development priorities will attract some investments in India as well.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) seeks to stabilise Green House Gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would minimize interference with the climate system. Recognizing that developed countries are principally responsible for the current high levels of Greenhouse Gas (GHGs) in the atmosphere, the Kyoto Protocol places commitments on developed nations to undertake mitigation targets and to provide financial resources and transfer of technology to the developing nations. Developing countries like India have no mandatory mitigation obligations or targets under the Kyoto Protocol.

Background

The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 1997 and the 1st commitment period was from 2008-2012. At Doha in 2012, the amendments to Kyoto Protocol for the 2nd commitment period (the Doha Amendment) were successfully adopted for the period 2013- 2020. Developed countries have already started implementing their commitments under the 'opt-in' provisions of the Doha Amendment.

India has always emphasized the importance of climate actions by developed country Parties in the pre-2020 period. Besides, it has advocated climate actions based on the principles and provisions of the Convention, such as the principle of Equity and Common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR & RC).

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Cabinet approves exchanging of Airports Authority of India's land measuring 11.35 acres with equivalent land of Govt. of Bihar at Jai Prakash Narayan International Airport, Patna for expansion / development purpose

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to transfer 11.35 acres of land to Airports Authority of India (AAI) by way of exchanging equivalent land of AAI at Anisabad. The proposed land at Patna Airport will be used for expansion of the airport and construction of new terminal building along-with other associated infrastructures. The State Government has also agreed in principle for transfer of the land.

The new terminal building will be having a capacity of 3 million passengers per annum which will not only enhance the airport capacity but also provide convenience to general public.

Background:

The existing terminal building at Patna Airport was built for a capacity of 0.5 million passengers per annum, against which 1.5 million passengers per annum are already using the airport. This has led to extreme crowding in the terminal building.

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Cabinet approves Interest waiver for the two months of November and December, 2016 for farmers accessing short term crop loans from Cooperative Banks and providing interest subvention to National Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development (NABARD) on additional refinance by NABARD to Cooperative Banks

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval for interest waiver for the two months of November and December, 2016 for farmers accessing short term crop loans from Cooperative Banks. The decision also provides for interest subvention to National Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development (NABARD) on additional refinance by NABARD to Cooperative Banks.

Farmers in the whole of India availing short term crop loans, from Cooperative Banks will be benefitted.

The decision intends to ensure availability of resources with Cooperative Banks help farmers in easily accessing crop loans from Cooperative Banks to overcome the difficulties in view of the reduction in availability of cash for carrying out Rabi operations.

Additional resources are to be provided to Cooperative Banks through NABARD for refinance to the Cooperative Banks on account of interest waiver of two months for November and December, 2016. This will be extended by Cooperative Banks to the farmers in the current financial year 2016-17. An additional financial liability of Rs. 1060.50 crore will be required for this purpose. A sum of Rs. 15, 000 crore allocated during 2016-17 to implement the Interest Subvention Scheme (ISS) has already been utilised.

Background:

a) The Government of India has, since 2006-07, been implementing the Interest Subvention Scheme under which short-term crop loans upto Rs.3 lakh are made available to the farmers at an interest rate of 7 percent per annum by the Public Sector. Banks, Regional Rural Banks and Cooperative. Banks. Farmers are provided with 3% interest subvention for short term crop loan upto Rs. 3 lakhs on prompt repayment of the loan. Thus, farmers have to effectively pay only 4% as interest for the said crop loan.

b) Due to the cancellation of legal tender character of old Rs. 500 and Rs.1000 notes and the resulting difficulty faced by the farmers in en-cashing the cheques received against sale proceeds of their Kharif produce in the mandis; and also their constraints with adequacy of cash in carrying out Rabi operations and servicing the interest of the short term crop loans, especially in view of the restrictions imposed on Cooperative Banks, an interest waiver is being provided for a period of 2 months i.e. November & December 2016 to farmers who were disbursed crop loan from Cooperative Banks between 01.04.2016 and 30.09.2016.

c) The provision of additional financial resource of Rs. 1060.50 crore is on account of (i) meeting the cost of interest waiver for 2 months ( November and December, 2016) for crop loan disbursed by Cooperative Banks between 01.04.2016 and 30. 09.2016 to farmers and (ii) providing interest subvention and administrative cost to NABARD on short term borrowing of about Rs. 20,000 crore for on-lending to Cooperatives Banks in the current financial year.

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IIMs to be declared as Institutions of National Importance

Cabinet approves Indian Institute of Management Bill, 2017

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the Indian Institute of Management(IIM) Bill, 2017, under which the IIMswould be declared as Institutions of National Importance which will enable them togrant degrees to their students.

Following are the salient features of the Bill:

         i.            IIMs can grant degrees to their students

       ii.            The Bill provides for complete autonomy to the Institutions, combined with adequate accountability.

      iii.            Management of these Institutions would be Board driven, with the Chairperson and Director of an Institution which will be selected by the Board.

     iv.            A greater participation of experts and alumni in the Board is amongst otherimportant features of the Bill.

       v.            Provision has also been made for inclusion of women and members from Scheduled Castes/Tribes in the Board.

     vi.            The Bill also provides for periodic review of the performance of Institutions by independent agencies, and placing the results of the same on public domain.

    vii.            The Annual Report of the Institutions will be placed in the Parliament and CAG will be auditing their accounts.

  viii.            There is also a provision of  Coordination Forum of IIMs as an advisory body.

Background:

Indian Institutes of Management are the country's premier institutions imparting best quality education in management on globally benchmarked processes of education and training in management. IIMs are recognized as world-class management Institutions and Centers of Excellence and have brought laurels to the country. All IIMs are separate autonomous bodies registered under the Societies Act.

Being societies, IIMs are not authorized to award degrees and, hence, they have been awarding Post Graduate Diploma and Fellow Programme in Management. While these awards are treated as equivalent to MBAs and Ph.D, respectively, the equivalence is not universally acceptable, especially for the Fellow Programme.

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Cabinet approves a New Scheme for promotion of Rural Housing in the country

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved a new scheme for promotion of Rural Housing in the country. The Government would provide interest subsidy under the scheme. Interest subsidy would be available to every rural household who is not covered under the Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojana (Grameen), PMAY(G).

The scheme would enable people in rural areas to construct new houses or add to their existing pucca houses to improve their dwelling units. The beneficiary who takes a loan under the scheme would be provided interest subsidy for loan amount upto Rs. 2 Lakhs.

National Housing Bank would implement the scheme. The Government would provide net present value of the interest subsidy of 3 percent to the National Housing Bank upfront which will, in turn, pass it to the Primary Lending Institutions (Scheduled Commercial Banks, NBFCs etc.). As a result the equated monthly installment (EMI) for the beneficiary would be reduced.

Under the scheme, the Government would also take necessary steps for proper convergence with PMAY-G including technical support to beneficiary through existing arrangements. The new scheme is expected to improve housing stock in the rural areas, as well as create employment opportunities in rural housing sector.

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Cabinet approves setting up of a world class Integrated Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi by ITPO

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the proposal of India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), a Mini Ratna Category-1 Company under the Department of Commerce, for redevelopment of Pragati Maidan by setting up of a world class Integrated Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre (IECC) at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.

The total cost of the project will be Rs.2,254 crore. ITPO will utilise Rs.1,200 crore out of its free reserves towards funding of the project. ITPO will raise institutional loan / soft loan / external aid / land monetization for the balance amount of Rs.1,054 crore with government guarantee for the amount of institutional loan.

The redevelopment of Pragati Maidan is envisaged in two phases. Phase-1 redevelopment is expected to complete by May 2019. Phase-1 of the project will result in redevelopment of nearly 3.26 lakh sq.mtrs. After redevelopment, the exhibition space will be doubled to 1.19 lakh sq.mtr. as against 65,000 sq.mtr. presently. Redevelopment will also include creation of a state-of-the-art Convention Center with seating capacity of 7,000 persons.

For execution of this mega project, ITPO has assigned the work to National Buildings Construction Corporation Ltd. (NBCC) as a Project Management Consultant. ITPO would call for global bidding for selection of project executor(s) for construction of the project.

With India’s growing international profile and increasing presence at summit, ministerial and other levels, a need has been felt to have a modern world class Integrated Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre at New Delhi to provide an appropriate venue for international events. Present facilities are far short of international standards.

To ease road congestion, grade separator will be provided at the junction of Mathura Road and Bhairon Road. Also, there will be direct connectivity through subway from Mathura Road to Ring Road across Pragati Maidan. 

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Cabinet approves Short term market borrowing by NABARD for on lending to Cooperative Banks
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its post-facto approval for the following decisions:

                     i.        National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD) will make short term borrowings at prevailing market rate of interest for approx. Rs.20,000 crore for on-lending to Cooperative Banks at 4.5% rate of interest.
                    ii.        Additional capital of Rs.2,000 crore to be provided to NABARD for this purpose through the Union Budget. To start with, additional capital of Rs.500 crore may be released to NABARD during 2016-17 itself.
                   iii.        Interest Subvention of about 1.8% and NABARD's administrative cost of 0.2% to be provided as per the scheme of Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare (DAC&FW). The extent of interest subvention may vary depending on the rate at which NABARD raises funds.
                  iv.        NABARD will coordinate the conversion of operative/live KCCs into RuPay/ATM-enabled Kisan Credit Cards (KCCs) by Cooperative Banks and Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) in a mission mode.

In the light of good monsoon and expectation of increased credit demand and in order to boost agricultural production, the farmers need to be supported through Cooperative Banks, which purvey credit at their doorstep, to enable them to scale up their agricultural operation.

The approval will ensure increased availability of short term crop loans to farmers through Cooperative banks at reduced rate of interest. The conversion of operative/live KCCs into RuPay/ATM-enabled KCCs will enable easy and hassle free availability of credit and in keeping with the spirit of 'Digital' India, will facilitate digital and cashless transactions by farmers.

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