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Online platform soon for SEZs to raise issues & concerns: Commerce Ministry official
Aug 05,2016

The union government will soon roll out a web-based platform for special economic zones (SEZs) to raise their concerns and action taken may be provided by the concerned authority, a top Union Commerce Ministry official said at an ASSOCHAM event.

n++This will provide a platform for constant dialogue and transparency in resolution of issues. I intend to roll it out as soon as possible,n++ said Mr Alok V. Chaturvedi, additional secretary, Department of Commerce while inaugurating 10th SEZ Convention organized by ASSOCHAM.

n++The software is already in place, we need to adopt it for our requirement, efforts have already been made in this direction,n++ said Mr Chaturvedi.

He added that the online platform would be on the lines of a Project Monitoring Group system in the Cabinet Secretariat.

Highlighting the issue of lifting of Minimum Alternative Tax (MAT) and Dividend Distribution Tax (DDT) concerning the SEZ sector, Mr Chaturvedi said, n++MAT appears to be unfair for SEZ units and it is not in tune with the Government philosophy of stable tax regime, we have taken up the issue with Finance Ministry.n++

n++According to Finance Ministry, MAT has been imposed to partly recoup the loss of revenue due to profit-linked exemptions. They are bringing down average rate of corporate tax. However, we have taken it up again in view of adverse export conditions and the stellar role played by SEZ in the export growth and the employment generation,n++ he said.

n++Alternative suggestions regarding reduction of MAT from 20.5 per cent to 7.5 per cent or extension of period of ten years till the entire MAT credit is adjusted against the tax liability of SEZ will also be taken up with Finance Department,n++ he added.

Talking about the issue of permitting SEZ units, to perform job work for units in Domestic Tariff Area, which at present is not permissible, Mr Chaturvedi said, n++In order to facilitate integration of SEZs with domestic economy, the procedure for job work and domestic clearances from SEZs need to be streamlined by amending SEZ Rules. There is an issue there as SEZs are primarily for exports and they have taken the benefit of concessions.n++

He however, said that it is nobodys case, that there should be an idle capacity within or outside SEZs. n++We need to resolve these issues. This is all the more important since it is becoming increasing difficult to have land for setting up industries elsewhere. The issue is being examined in consultation with Finance Ministry.n++

On the issue of permitting exports from SEZs to the domestic tariff area, at the most favourable tariff rates as given to Indias Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partners, he said, n++This would give a boost to the Make in India, campaign and our import requirement can be met through manufacturing in SEZs rather than through import of the same goods from FTA partners such as Japan, South Korea, ASEAN, etc. We have taken up this issue also with the Finance Ministry.n++

He also said that there is a need to have a relook at the Free Trade Warehousing Zone Policy.

n++Proposals regarding permission for keeping goods on behalf of foreign buyer, DTA buyer and DTA supplier in addition to foreign supplier, allowing drawback on export of goods from DTA supplier to FTWZ unit, on account of the foreign buyer, and Net Foreign Exchange calculation criteria, all these proposals have been sent to the Department of Revenue and are under active consideration of the Government,n++ said Mr Chaturvedi.

On the issue of phasing out of exemptions, he said that CBDT has proposed to provide a sunset date of March 31, 2017 for tax exemption in respect of SEZ projects having non-operational by then. n++This matter has also been taken up with CBDT and we are following up with them.n++

Talking about the contribution of SEZs in growth of Indias economy, he said that over 200 SEZs are operational while over 400 SEZs have been formally approved. Total investment in SEZs is over $50 billion and they are providing direct employment to over 1.5 million persons. Exports from SEZs have increased from about $3.5 billion in 2005-06 to over $65 billion in 2014-15 that is about 20 times in the last ten years and nearly 16% of countrys exports are from SEZs.

He also sought industrys views and suggestions on how to further improve the business environment for the units in SEZ.

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Interest Free Loans to IIT Students
Aug 04,2016

It has been decided to provide interest subvention on the education loans, for all students admitted for undergraduate and the 5-year integrated degree programmes in IITs, covering the period of the study plus one year of moratorium under the Vidyalaxmi Scheme, subject to the following guidelines:

(i) The facility shall be made available to all the students whose household income does not exceed Rs. 9 lakh per annum.

(ii) The education loan, for this purpose, shall cover only the tuition fee payable by the student as per his eligibility. The portion of the tuition fee paid by the student from his own sources at the time of securing admission could be reimbursed from the overall loan.

(iii) The terms of the loan shall be in accordance with the broad contours of the Educational loan Scheme of the Indian Banks Association (IBA) for pursuing Technical/Professional Education studies in India.

(iv) The term of the loans sanctioned under this dispensation shall be 10 years.

(v) There shall be no collateral for sanction of the loan except the personal guarantee of the student (applicant) and the parent/guardian (co-applicant).

(vi) The subvention of interest (on equated basis) shall be applicable for a maximum period of 5 years (which may include a one year moratorium).

(vii) After the expiry of the above period, the interest on the outstanding loan amount shall be paid by the student, in accordance with the provisions of the existing educational loan scheme of the Banks and as may be amended from time to time.

(viii) This facility is applicable only to the loans taken by the students who secured admission into the undergraduate courses of IITs (including the integrated courses) starting from the academic year 2016-17.

(ix) The interest subvention is subject to the satisfactory performance of the student in the institution.

(x) Payment of the interest subvention shall be from the internal accruals of the IIT.

However a Central Sector Scheme to provide interest subsidy on educational loan (CSSIS) is presently operational which provides full interest subsidy during the period of moratorium (course period + one year) on loans taken by students belonging to EWS from Scheduled banks under the Model Educational loan Scheme of the IBA for pursuing any of the approved courses of studies in technical & professional streams, from recognized institutes in India.

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More than 44235 MW accumulative capacity of Renewable Energy installed in the Country
Aug 04,2016

Total accumulative capacity of over 44235 MW have been installed in the country from various renewable energy sources. These sources include 27151 MW of Wind Power, 7805 MW of Solar Power, 4304 MW of Small Hydro Power and 4975 MW of Biopower.

Government of India is implementing several scheme for the promotion of Solar Power in the country including hilly/ mountain states like solar rooftop Scheme, scheme on Off-grid & Decentralized Solar Applications, solar Park Scheme for setting up of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects targeting over 20,000 MW of solar power projects, scheme for setting up 1000 MW of Grid-Connected Solar PV Power Projects by Central Public Sector Undertakings (CPSUs) and Government of India organisations with Viability Gap Funding (VGF), scheme for setting up over 300 MW of Grid-Connected Solar PV Power Projects by Defence Establishments and Para Military Forces with Viability Gap Funding (VGF), pilot-cum-demonstration project for development of grid connected solar PV power plants on canal banks and canal tops, bundling Scheme - 15000 MW grid-connected solar PV power plants through NTPC/ NVVN and VGF Scheme for setting up of 2000 MW of Grid Connected Solar PV Power Projects through SECI.

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All Child Care Institutions must be registered under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act
Aug 04,2016

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 (JJ Act, 2015) has come into effect from 15th January, 2016. As per Section 41(1) of JJ Act, 2015 all institutions, whether run by the State Government or by voluntary or non-governmental organisations, which are meant, either wholly or partially, for housing children in need of care and protection and those in conflict with law, shall, be registered under the Act within a period of six months from the date of commencement of the Act, regardless of whether they are receiving grants from the Central Government or, as the case may be the State Government or not, provided that the institutions having valid registration under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 (56 of 2000) on the date of commencement of the Act shall be deemed to have been registered under the Act. The primary responsibility of managing the Child Care Institutions (CCIs) lies with the State Governments/UT Administrations concerned. The Ministry has been requesting the State Governments/UT Administrations from time to time to identify and register all Child Care Institutions under the provisions of JJ Act, 2000/2015 so as to ensure that minimum standards of care can be maintained.

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Signing of Bilateral Advance Pricing Agreement by CBDT
Aug 04,2016

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) entered into a Bilateral Advance Pricing Agreement (APA) on 2nd August, 2016 with the Indian subsidiary of a Japanese trading company. This is the first Bilateral Advance Pricing agreement with a Japanese company having a n++Rollbackn++ provision in it. Overall, it is fourth bilateral APA signed by CBDT. Signing of this bilateral APA is an important step towards ascertaining certainty in transfer pricing matters of multinational company cases and dispute resolution.

The APA Scheme was introduced in the Income-tax Act in 2012 and the n++Rollbackn++ provisions were introduced in 2014. The scheme endeavours to provide certainty to taxpayers in the domain of transfer pricing by specifying the methods of pricing and setting the prices of international transactions in advance.

The progress of the APA Scheme strengthens the Governments mission of fostering a non-adversarial tax regime. The CBDT expects more APAs to be concluded and signed in the near future.

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NLCPR funds allocated for Development of NER
Aug 04,2016

Funds are allocated to NE States under Non-Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR) scheme for bridging infrastructure gaps based on Priority Lists submitted by respective State Governments. As on 31.07.2016, under NLCPR,  1,581 projects at a cost of Rs.14,516.64 crore have been sanctioned, out of which 919 projects at a cost of Rs. 6,111.83 crore have been completed and 662 projects at a cost of Rs. 8,404.82 crore are ongoing at various stages of completion. In addition, a total of 247 projects have been retained during last three years at a cost of Rs. 3,867.90 crore.

A total of 85 nos. of projects have been retained and 45 nos. of projects have been sanctioned in the last two years. State-wise details are as given below:-

State-wise details of projects retained & sanctioned during last two years

(2014-15 and  2015-16)

Sl. No.StateTotal  no. of projects retained during last two yearsTotal  no. of projects sanctioned  during last two years1.

Arunachal Pradesh

23

7

2.

Manipur

2

4

3.

Sikkim

7

5

4.

Meghalaya

6

4

5.

Assam

20

11

6.

Nagaland

9

4

7.

Tripura

7

2

8.

Mizoram

11

8

Total

85

45

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NEEFP and NEEAPP Schemes - A Novel Step Towards Achieving Energy Efficiency
Aug 04,2016

The Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a joint venture company of four Power Sector PSUs, has designed innovative programmes, namely, Energy Efficient Fans Programme (EEFP) and Energy Efficient Agriculture Pumps Programme (EEAPP) for enhancing energy efficiency in domestic and agriculture sectors.

The EEFP has been launched from Andhra Pradesh followed by Uttar Pradesh. Under this programme, 50 watt fans are provided by EESL at Rs. 1,150 per unit on upfront payment, or at total of Rs. 1,200, if taken on equated monthly instalments (EMI). The EMI is adjusted against electricity bills of consumers. About 9,000 and 50,000 fans have already been distributed in the States of Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh respectively. EESL has also signed an agreement with Govt. of Tripura for distribution of energy efficient fans in the State.

The EEAPP has been launched by EESL to replace the old and inefficient pump sets of farmers free of cost. EESL would also provide smart control panels to enhance the ease of operation of pumps by the farmers. The energy efficient pumps, which are 4 or 5 star rated, ensure a minimum of 30% reduction in energy consumption. The reduction of energy consumption in agriculture would result in reduction in subsidy that the State Government provides to distribution companies. A part of the savings in subsidy is leveraged to service the investment of EESL over a 5-10-year period.

Details of proposals submitted by EESL to various States for implementation of EEAPP are given below:

Name of the StateNumber of Agriculture Pumps (Lakhs)Andhra Pradesh

2

Maharashtra

5

Punjab

1

Karnataka

5

Rajasthan

2

Jharkhand

1.6

Haryana

1

Madhya Pradesh

1

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Cabinet approves upgradation of 13 government medical colleges
Aug 04,2016

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved upgradation of 13 existing Government Medical Colleges / Institutes (GMCIs) under Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY).

The upgradation will be done at a cost of Rs.200 crore for each GMCI (Central share: Rs.120 crore and State Share Rs.80 crore). Accordingly the total upgradation cost shall be Rs.2,600 crore out of which Central Share will be Rs.1,560 crore and that of State will be Rs.1,040 crore. It will be completed in time period of 36 months. The following GMCIs will be upgraded:

S.No.Government Medical Colleges/InstitutesState1

PMCH, Patna

n++

Bihar

2

GMC Bhagalpur

3

GMC Gaya

4

GMC Bilaspur

Chhattisgarh

5

GMC, Jagdalpur

6

UCMS-GTB Hospital

Delhi

7

GMC, Surat

Gujarat

8

GMC, Bhavnagar

9

GMC, Indore

Madhya Pradesh

10

GMC, Cuttack

Odisha

11

GMC, Jaipur

Rajasthan

12

GMC Agra

Uttar Pradesh

13

GMC Kanpur

Upgradation of existing GMCIs will create tertiary care facilities. The Tertiary Care Institutions will serve as composite centres for continued professional education, treatment, patient care and multi skilling of health workers.

The upgradation of medical colleges under PMSSY broadly involves strengthening of the existing departments as well as building Super Speciality Blocks / Trauma Centres or other necessary facilities as Centres of Excellence etc. However, the upgradation process will vary from one institution to another as per the specific local needs. The facilities to be augmented during upgradation will be decided after proper gap analysis involving all stakeholders.

The population in eight States namely Uttar Padesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Odisha will be benefited where these colleges are located.

Background:

The Central Scheme, PMSSY was first announced in August 2003 with the primary objective of correcting the imbalances in availability of affordable / reliable tertiary level healthcare in the country in general, and to augment facilities for quality medical education in under-served or backward States, in particular. This scheme had two components (a) establishment of new AIIMS and (b) Upgradation of existing government medical colleges.

Under PMSSY, 58 Government Medical Colleges have been approved for upgradation. Of these, work has been completed in 16 colleges while it is in progress at other places.

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30 Coal Mines Allocated to Private Sector in three Tranches of Auction
Aug 04,2016

Under the provisions of the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015, 75 coal mines (31 by way of auction and 44 by way of allotment) have been allocated so far. The number of coal mines allocated to private sector in the three tranches of auction for utilization in specified end uses i.e. Power (Regulated Sector) and Steel, Cement, Captive Power Production (Non-Regulated Sector) is 30, out of a total of 31. Mining operations have commenced/mine opening permission granted in 11 auctioned coal mines as on 20.07.2016.

The enabling provisions have been made in the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015 and the Mines and Mineral (Development & Regulations) Act, 1957 for allocation of coal mines/blocks by way of auction and allotment inter alia for sale of coal.

In the financial year 2015-16 &2016-17, 8.488 Million Tonnes (Provisional) of coal has been produced.

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Cut-off Date for Submission of Insurance Proposals Extended till 10th August, 2016
Aug 04,2016

Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare have received a number of requests from various States for extension of cut-off date on account of various reasons including delay in carrying out the requisite preliminaries and consequential delay in notification, this being the first season for implementation of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana(PMFBY). The matter has been considered and Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare today decided to extend the cut-off date for submission of insurance proposals upto and including 10th August, 2016 by relaxing provision of Para IX (3 & 4) of Operational Guidelines of PMFBY & Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme.

All cut-off dates for subsequent activities should accordingly be extended. This extension is valid only for crops where cut-off date earlier was 31st July, 2016. Earlier also Ministry extended the cut-off date for submission of insurance proposals under PMFBY upto 2nd August, 2016.

This is a one-time extension only and should not to be quoted as precedent in future. State Government may consider taking appropriate action regarding extension of cut-off date accordingly as deemed fit and inform all stakeholders including SLBC/Banks.

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Cabinet approves discontinuation of the services of DGS&D for procuring jute bags for food grains
Aug 04,2016

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved to discontinue the services of Directorate General of Supplies and Disposals (DGS&D) in the operation of purchase of jute bags by Government Agencies for procurement of food grains.

The CCEA further approved that from 1st November, 2016 onwards, jute bags will be procured by the Jute Commissioner of India, Ministry of Textiles.

The approval would help in eliminating multiple bodies and the Ministries which are involved for single action of jute bags procurements. It will also strengthen the scope of work vested with Jute Commissioner of India.

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Cabinet approves recommendations of the Sub-Group of Chief Minsters on Rationalisation of Centrally Sponsored Schemes
Aug 04,2016

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has accepted the major recommendations of the Sub-Group of Chief Minsters on Rationalization of Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSSs). The Sub-Group had examined 66 CSSs and recommended that the number of CSSs should not normally exceed 30. A consensus was reached on many contentious issues not only between the States represented on the Sub- Group but other States/UTs also through regional consultations and meetings with Union Ministries/Departments.

The rationalization of the CSSs would ensure optimum utilization of resources with better outcomes through area specific interventions. This would also ensure wider reach of the benefits to the target groups.

The Sub-Group was set up in pursuance of the decision taken in the first meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog held on 8th February 2015. The Guiding Principles of the Sub-Group had been to resolve the issues between Union and the States /UTs and to work as Team India in the spirit of Cooperative Federalism towards realization of the goals of VISION 2022 when we will celebrate the 75th year of Independence. The objectives of the VISION are broadly: (a) providing basic amenities to all citizens in an equitable and just manner for ensuring a life with self-respect and dignity, and (b) providing appropriate opportunities to every citizen to realize his/her potential.

4. The major recommendations of the Sub-Group are as under:

a) No. of Schemes: The total number of schemes should not exceed 30.

b) Categorisation of Schemes: Existing CSSs should be divided into Core and Optional Schemes.

i. Core schemes: Focus of CSSs should be on schemes that comprise the National Development Agenda where the Centre and States will work together in the spirit of Team India.

ii. Core of the Core Schemes: Those schemes which are for social protection and social inclusion should form the core of core and be the first charge on available funds for the National Development Agenda.

iii. Optional Schemes: The Schemes where States would be free to choose the ones they wish to implement. Funds for these schemes would be allocated to States by the Ministry of Finance as a lump sum.

List of Centrally Sponsored Schemes in accordance with the National Development Agenda:

SI.No.n++

n++

Name of the Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSSs)(A)

n++

n++

n++

Core of the Core Schemes

n++

1

n++

n++

n++

National Social Assistance Programme

n++

2

n++

n++

n++

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme

n++

3

n++

n++

n++

Umbrella Scheme for Development of Scheduled Castes

n++

4

n++

n++

n++

Umbrella Scheme for Development of Scheduled Tribes

n++

5

n++

n++

n++

Umbrella Programme for Development of Minorities

n++

6

n++

n++

n++

Umbrella Scheme for Development of Backward Classes, Differently Abled and other Vulnerable Groups

n++

(B)

n++

n++

n++

Core Schemes

n++

7

n++

n++

n++

Green Revolution (Krishi Unnati Schemes and Rashtriya KrishiVikas Yojana)

n++

8

n++

n++

n++

White Revolution (Animal Husbandry and Dairying)

n++

9

n++

n++

n++

Blue Revolution (Integrated Development of Fisheries)

n++

10

n++

n++

n++

Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana

n++

n++

n++

a

n++

Har Khet ko Pani

n++

n++

n++

b

n++

Per Drop More Crop

n++

n++

n++

c

n++

Integrated Watershed Development Programme

n++

n++

d

n++

Accelerated Irrigation Benefit and Flood Management Programme

n++

11

n++

n++

n++

Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY)

n++

12

n++

n++

n++

Pradhan Mantri A was Yojana (PMAY)

n++

n++

n++

a

n++

PMAY-Rural

n++

n++

n++

b

n++

Cabinet approves formula to provide production subsidy to sugar mills
Aug 04,2016

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has decided to extend production subsidy to sugar mills which achieve expected performance in respect of export of sugar and supply of ethanol. This has been done to offset cost of cane and facilitate timely payment of cane price dues of farmers.

Due to drought situation, there has been significant decline in sugarcane/sugar production in the country by about 1.8 million MT (mMT) and 0.8 mMT respectively. Drought affected States requested to reduce the target of sugar export and ethanol supply due to non-availability of sufficient sugarcane and molasses. Initially, the export quota target was scaled at 15.70 kg of sugar for each tonne of estimated cane crushing. Now, the export quota would be revised on a scale of 15.70 kg of sugar for each tonne of cane actually crushed by the mills during current sugar season or previously notified Minimum Indicative Export Quota (MIEQ) target, whichever is lower.

Similarly, mill/distillery-wise ethanol supply target will be revised to actual quantity contracted by them for supply to Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs). In case of mills/distillery not offering supplies ethanol so far, the existing allocation already notified, will remain unchanged. Performance of ethanol supply would be assessed on the basis of actual supply made against pro-rated supply schedule fixed by OMCs till June, 2016 with respect to contracted quantities.

As the production subsidy scheme was withdrawn before time, the sugar mills which have exported at least 50% of their export target (80% of MIEQ) and in case of mills having distillation capacity have supplied ethanol as per revised schedule shall be eligible for production subsidy. However, production subsidy on actual cane crushing would be provided to sugar mills proportionate to their achievement on export and ethanol supply targets with equal weightage.

Surplus production over domestic consumption during the last few years leading to subdued sugar price had stressed the liquidity position of the sugar industry resulting in accumulation of huge cane arrears of farmers in 2014 15 sugar season. Government had taken various measures like providing incentive on raw sugar export, extending financial assistance to the sugar mills through soft loan scheme, facilitating sugar mills for supply of ethanol under Ethanol Blending Programme (EBP), to improve the liquidity position of sugar mills enabling them to clear cane price arrears of farmers. Mill-wise Minimum Indicative Export Quota were fixed for evacuation of surplus stocks from the country and mill/distillery-wise ethanol supply target was also fixed to achieve national blending target of 10%.

Production subsidy @ Rs.4.50 per quintal of cane crushed during the sugar season 2015-16 was also provided to offset the cost of cane; contingent on mills performance in respect of export quota and ethanol blending targets. It was observed that sugar prices were ruling substantially higher than levels required for operational viability of the sugar industry and accordingly production subsidy scheme was withdrawn w.e.f. 19.5.2016. Further, to ensure sufficient availability of sugar to meet the domestic requirements, it was deemed necessary to conserve stocks in the country, and accordingly the MIEQ Order dated 18th September, 2015 was also withdrawn.

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Cabinet authorized National Highways Authority of India to monetize public funded national highway projects
Aug 04,2016

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has authorized National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to monetize public funded National Highway (NH) projects which are operational and are generating toll revenues for at least two years after the Commercial Operations Date (COD) through the Toll Operate Transfer (TOT) Model. The monetization will be subject to approval of the Competent Authority in Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) / NHAI on a case to case basis.

Around 75 operational NH projects completed under public funding have been preliminarily identified for potential monetization using the TOT Model.

This Model would provide an efficient Operation and Maintenance (O&M) framework requiring reduced involvement of NHAI in projects post construction completion. Further, the corpus generated from proceeds of such project monetization could be utilized by the Government to meet its fund requirements regarding future development and O&M of highways in the country. This could address development/strengthening of highways in unviable geographies. The Model would facilitate efficient toll realization through private sector. It would also create new business opportunities for the following:

a. A new vertical of developers who specialize in O&M of highways,

b. Category of investors (Institutional Investors including Pension & Insurance Funds, Sovereign Funds, etc.) which is .averse to taking construction risks but is adequately equipped for making long term investments in road infrastructure.

This approval would ensure better O&M of public funded NH stretches resulting in enhanced quality of service for highway users across the country. Further, the fund generated from such monetization shall be utilized for development/O&M of highways in the country, which would benefit highway users throughout the country.

Background:

For the traditional public funded NH projects i.e. projects constructed under erstwhile Item Rate Contracts or the current Engineering, Procurement, Construction (EPC) lump -sum contracts, after completion of construction and completion of defects liability period of up to four years, the contractors exit the completed projects and the entire responsibility of regular and periodic maintenance and day - to - day operations including toll collection comes on to NHAI. NHAI generally outsources such services through various vendors and contractors. With continuous growth of the sector, number of public funded operational highway projects is likely to increase over time. Such completed and operational public funded projects in some cases have been bid out under the Operate, Maintain and Transfer (OMT) contracts wherein the selected concessionaire is required to take care of the project O&M for a period of around 6-9 years depending on when the major periodic maintenance is due. The OMT model has only been partially successful. Limitations of the model include relatively short tenure of O&M obligations for the concessionaire and participation mostly being restricted to contractors and developers only.

Monetization of public funded NH roads is expected to create a framework for attracting long term institutional investment on the strength of future toll receivables. Market feedback indicates that certain institutional investors from outside the country have a long term investment appetite and are keen to participate in operational highway projects with stable toll revenue outlook. These investors generally hesitate from taking construction risk but are willing to look at de-risked Brownfield road assets.

Accordingly, the Model for monetization of public funded, operational NH projects has been developed to address above needs. Under this Model, also referred to as the TOT Model, the right of collection of user fee (toll) in respect of selected operational NH stretches constructed through public funding is proposed to be assigned for a specific time period, to developers/investors against upfront payment of a lump-sum amount to the Government. Further, during the tenure of the contract, the O&M responsibility would remain with the assigned developer/investor.

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Cabinet approves Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016 Historical Step towards making roads safe and save lakhs of innocent lives
Aug 04,2016

Every year 5 lakh road accidents are reported in the country in which 1.5 lakh people lose their lives. Government is committed to reduce the accidents and fatalities by 50% in five years.

To address the issue of road safety, a draft Road Transport & Safety Bill was prepared soon after NDA Government came to power. However, most of the States have expressed reservations.

To address the issue of road safety and to improve the facilitation of the citizens while dealing with transport departments, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways constituted a Group of Transport Ministers (GoM) of the States. The GoM headed by Sh. Yoonus Khan, Hon. Transport Minister of Rajasthan held three meetings. A total of 18 Transport Ministers from different political parties participated in these meetings and they have submitted three interim reports.

The GoM recommended that to address the pressing issue of road safety and improving transport scenario, Government should immediately bring amendments to the present Motor Vehicle Act. On the basis of recommendations of the GoM and other pressing requirements, MoRTH introduced the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016 for consideration of the Cabinet. Today Cabinet Chaired by Honble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the bill.

In the present Motor Vehicle Act, there are 223 Sections out of which the Bill aims to amend 68 sections whereas Chapters 10 has been deleted and a Chapter 11 is being replaced with new provisions to simplify third party insurance claims and settlement process.

The important provisions include increase in compensation for Hit & Run cases from Rs. 25000 to Rs. 2 lakhs. It also has provision for payment of compensation upto Rs 10 lakh in road accidents fatalities.

The Bill also proposes insertion of 28 new sections. The amendments mainly focus on issues relating to improving road safety, citizens facilitation while dealing with the Transport Department. Strengthening rural transport, last mile connectivity and public transport, automation and computerization and enabling online services.

The Bill propose to improve the transport scenario in the country by permitting the States to grant exemptions in Stage carriage and contract carriage permits for promoting rural transport, public transport, last mile connectivity and for passenger convenience and road safety.

The Bill proposes that the State Government can specify a multiplier, not less than one and not greater than ten, to be applied to each fine under this Act and such modified fine.

The bill proposes that the State Government can regulate the activities in a public place of pedestrians and such means of transport.

Improving delivery of services to the stakeholders using e-Governance is one of the major focuses of this Bill. This include enabling online learning licenses, increasing validity period for driving licenses, doing away with the requirements of educational qualifications for transport licenses are some of the features.

The Bill proposes offences committed by Juveniles. The Guardian / owner shall be deemed to be guilty in cases of offences by the Juveniles and Juvenile to be tried under JJ Act. Registration of Motor Vehicle to be cancelled

To improve the registration process for new vehicles, registration at the end of the dealer is being enabled and restrictions have been imposed on temporary registration.

In the area of road safety, bill proposes to increase penalties to act as deterrent against traffic violations. Stricter provisions are being proposed in respect of offences like juvenile driving, drunken driving, driving without licence, dangerous driving, over-speeding, overloading etc. Stricter provisions for helmets have been introduced along with provisions for electronic detection of violations. To help the road accident victims, Good Samaritan guidelines have been incorporated in the Bill. The Bill also proposes to mandate the automated fitness testing for the transport vehicles with effect from 1st October 2018. This would reduce corruption in the Transport Department while improving the road worthiness of the vehicle. The penalties are also proposed for deliberate violation of safety/environmental regulations as well as body builders and spare part suppliers.

To bring harmony of the registration and licensing process, it is proposed to create National Register for Driving Licence and National Register for Vehicle registration through Vahan & Sarathi platforms. This will facilitate uniformity of the process across the country.

The process for testing and certification for automobiles is proposed to be regulated more effectively. The testing agencies issuing automobile approvals have been brought under the ambit of the Act.

The driving training process has been strengthened enabling faster issuance of transport licenses. This will help in reducing the shortage of commercial drivers in the country.

To facilitate transport solutions for Divyang, the bottlenecks have been removed in respect of grant of driving licenses as well as alterations in the vehicles to make it fit for use of Divyang.

Honble Transport Minister Shri Nitin Gadkari has termed the Motor vehicle (Amendment) 2016 passed by cabinet as biggest reforms in the Road Safety & transport sector. He has expressed his gratitude to Honble Prime Minister for his guidance & Support. He has also expressed his special appreciation for the efforts put in by Group of State Transport Ministers to formulate these amendments. He has also expressed his confidence that parliament shall take up the amendments next week and has appealed to all parties to support the bill which a step in right direction to provide safe & public friendly transport eco system.

Proposed Amendments in Various Penalties under Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill - 2016

Section

Old Provision / Penalty

New Proposed Provision / Minimum Penalties

177GeneralRs 100 Rs 500 New 177ARules of road regulation violationRs 100Rs 500 178Travel without ticketRS 200Rs 500179Disobedience of orders of authoritiesRs 500Rs 2000180Unautorized use of vehicles without licenceRs 1000Rs 5000181Driving without licenceRs 500Rs 5000182Driving despite disqualificationRs 500Rs 10,000182 BOversize vehiclesNewRs 5000 183Over speedingRs 400Rs 1000 for LMV Rs 2000 for Medium passenger vehicle