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UNION CABINET APPROVES ENCASHMENT OF ACCUMULATED LEAVE TO CERTAIN DFENCE SERVICES

April 20, 2017 09:23 AM

New Delhi (Face2News)

Cabinet approves encashment of accumulated leave to certain Defence Services Personnel who died or were invalidated out while in service between 30 December 1991 to 29 November 1999 with less than 15 years of serviceThe Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime  Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved leave encashment up to 180 days in respect of those Defence personnel who died or were invalidated out of service between 30.12.1991 to 29.11.1999 with less than 15 years of service.The decision will benefit the families of 9777 Officers and other personnel of Defence Services who died or were invalidated out of service during this period. This period is very significant as a large number of casualities took place during the Kargil conflict (“Operation Vijay”) and in counter insurgency operation in J&K and North East during the period.

Cabinet approves signing of the Protocol amending the Convention between India and Portugal for avoidance of Double Taxation:  Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for signing of a Protocol amending the Convention between India and Portugal for avoidance of double taxation. The Protocol will also ensure prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income.Once the Protocol enters into force, both India and Portugal would be able to exchange tax related information, which will help tax authorities of both countries to curb tax evasion.  

Cabinet approves extension of the validity of Central Order in respect of sugar for six months: Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for extending the validity of the existing Central Order dated 27.10.2016 in respect of sugar for a further period of six months from 29.04.2017 to 28.10.2017.The main objective of the decision is to enable the State Governments to issue control order with the prior concurrence of Central Government, for fixing stock limits/licensing requirements in respect of sugar, whenever need is felt by them. This is expected to help in the efforts being taken to improve the availability of these commodities to general public at reasonable rates, and control the tendencies of hoarding and profiteering.The current decision will be notified by the Government and communicated to all the States/UTs for further action at their end.

Cabinet approves encashment of accumulated leave to certain Defence Services Personnel who died or were invalidated out while in service between 30 December 1991 to 29 November 1999 with less than 15 years of serviceThe Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime  Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved leave encashment up to 180 days in respect of those Defence personnel who died or were invalidated out of service between 30.12.1991 to 29.11.1999 with less than 15 years of service.The decision will benefit the families of 9777 Officers and other personnel of Defence Services who died or were invalidated out of service during this period. This period is very significant as a large number of casualities took place during the Kargil conflict (“Operation Vijay”) and in counter insurgency operation in J&K and North East during the period.

Background:The Cabinet in its meeting held on 27.10.2016, decided to enable the States to regulate supply, distribution, sale, production, stock, storage, purchase and movement etc, in respect of sugar for a period up to six months. Accordingly, S.O. 3341(E) dated 27.10.2016 was issued, for enabling administrative department, States & UTs to decide stock limits etc. on sugar upto 28.04.2017, by amending the Removal of Licensing Requirements, Stock limits and Movement restrictions on Specified Foodstuffs Order, 2016 dated 29.09.2016 notified as G.S.R. 929(E).

The prices of sugar are being monitored by the Department of Food & Public Distribution regularly at factory gate as well as in the domestic market. In September, 2016 it was noticed that the retail prices had shown a sudden spurt. The price rise appeared to be more on sentiment than actual shortage. In order to regulate supply of sugar and address issue of speculative prices, fixing of appropriate stock limit on need basis was essential. In addition, despite adequate availability of stocks for consumption in the current season, hoarding and consequent profiteering is anticipated due to drop in production over previous year and hence further extension of stock limit would be needed.

To support the sugar sector, the Government had recently extended soft loan assistance of Rs.4305 crore to the industry which has been directly credited to farmers account on behalf of sugar mills through banks benefitting about 32 lakh farmers. Also a performance based production subsidy has been extended @Rs.4.50 per quintal of cane crushed which was directly credited to the farmers account on behalf of sugar mills.In order to maintain domestic prices at reasonable levels, the Government has allowed import of a restricted quantity of 5 lakh MT of raw sugar at zero duty by millers/refiners having their own refining capacity. This restricted quantity will help the sugar industry to augment their liquidity and enable them to pay cane dues of farmers. 

Cabinet approves procurement of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail Units for use in the General Elections, 2019: The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for procurement of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) Units for use in the General Elections, 2019 for

a) purchase of 16,15,000 Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) Units at a tentative unit cost of Rs.19,650, and at a total estimated cost of Rs. 3173.47 crore (excluding taxes and freight as applicable) during the years 2017-18 and 2018-19 from M/s Bharat Electronics Ltd., Bangalore and M/s Electronics Corporation of India Ltd., Hyderabad;
b) directing the Price Negotiation Committee to negotiate with M/s Bharat Electronics Ltd and M/s Electronics Corporation of India Ltd to rationalise the final unit price expeditiously;
c) allocation of additional funds to the tune of Rs. 1600 crore in the current financial year in the supplementaries/Revised Estimates for meeting the cash outgo envisaged for purchase of EVMs (Control Units & Ballot Units) and VVPAT Units during the year 2017-18, payment of 40% of the said amount as advance to the manufacturers and for provision of balance amount as may be required in the BE 2018-19; and
d) placement of Order by the Election Commission to the two manufacturers depending upon their production capacity so that all the VVPAT Units can be procured by September, 2018.

The decision of the Government would enable the Election Commission of India to deploy VVPAT Units in all pooling booths in the General Elections, 2019, which will act as an additional layer of transparency for the satisfaction of voters, allaying any apprehension in the minds of the voters as to the fidelity and integrity of the EVMs. This would also result in compliance of the directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court vide its Order dated 8thOctober, 2013.

Background: The idea of an additional layer of transparency for the satisfaction of voters in the form of a ‘voter verifiable paper trail’ was suggested by the political parties in a meeting taken by the ECI on 4th October, 2010. Accordingly, introduction of the VVPAT was facilitated by amending the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 vide Notification dated 14th August, 2013. Thereafter, 20,300 VVPAT Units were purchased by the ECI in 2013. Since then, these units are being deployed in elections in select Assembly and Parliamentary Constituencies. Subsequently, order for 67,000 additional Units was placed in 2015, out of which 33,500 Units have been supplied by the manufacturers. Requisite funds for purchase of the aforesaid number of VVPAT Units were provided by the Government as and when requested by the Election Commission.

VVPAT device functions like a printer to be attached to the ballot unit and kept inside the voting compartment. When the voter presses the button against the name of the candidate of his choice on the Ballot Unit, the VVPAT unit generates a paper slip, called Ballot Slip. This paper slip contains the name, serial number and symbol of the chosen candidate. The voter can see this slip through a screened window where it stays for seven seconds, and then it automatically gets cut and falls down into a sealed drop box. In this process, the slip will not go into the hands of the voter nor will others be able to see it.

Civil Appeal No.9093/2013 was filed by Dr. Subramanian Swamy pleading for directions to the Election Commission to use VVPAT Units in all polling booths. It wasalleged in the said Petition, that the Electronic Voting Machines are not reliable and that there should be some device by which the voter should get a confirmation that the vote cast by him has been recorded in favour of the candidate of his choice. In deference to the plea of the petitioner in the aforesaid CA, the Election Commission submitted that it has no objection to the introduction of VVPAT Units for conduct of free, fair and transparent elections. The Supreme Court in its Order dated 8th October, 2013 directed that for implementation of such a system of VVPAT in phased manner Government of India may provide required financial assistance for procurement of requisite number of VVPAT Units.

Cabinet approves permission to avail external assistance by State Government entities from bilateral agencies for implementation of vital infrastructure projects: The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the policy guidelines to allow financially sound State Government entities to borrow directly from bilateral ODA (Official development Assistance) partners for implementation of vital infrastructure projects. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), a State Government entity, has also been allowed to borrow directly from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan for implementation of Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) project. The estimated project cost for Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link (MTHL) is Rs.17,854 crore, out of which JICA loan portion is expected to be Rs.15,109 crore.

The guidelines will facilitate the State Government entities to directly borrow from the external bilateral funding agencies subject to fulfilment of certain conditions and all repayments of loans and interests to the funding agencies will be directly remitted by the concerned borrower. The concerned State Government will furnish guarantee for the Loan. The Government of India will provide counter guarantee for the loan.

External assistance today plays a supportive role in financing major infrastructure projects, social sector projects and in building up institutional capacity. The role of external assistance has gained further significance in view of the large gap in funding requirements for major infrastructure projects implemented by the State Governments in order to acquire competitive strength under the globalized economic framework. Presently, external development assistance from bilateral and multilateral sources is received by the Government of India (i) for projects/programmes in the Central sector; (ii) for projects executed by Central Public Sector Undertakings; and (ii) on behalf of the State Governments for State sector projects/programmes to be implemented by the State Governments and/or local bodies and public sector undertakings. The existing guidelines do not allow direct borrowings by the State Government entities from external agencies.

Several State agencies are implementing major infrastructure projects of national importance. These projects, even if viable and sound, have huge funding requirements and borrowing by the State Governments for such projects may exhaust their respective borrowing limits. Therefore, in order to accelerate the pace of investment in major infrastructure projects in the country without compromising the need for external assistance for other sectors, an enabling provision in the existing guidelines was considered necessary to facilitate direct borrowing by the State Government entities from bilateral external agencies. This dispensation will allow the financially sound State entities to directly borrow and repay the loan required for major infrastructure projects without burdening the State exchequer. The approval of these guidelines reiterates Government’s commitment to promote inclusive growth and strengthen the economy.

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