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Indias current account deficit narrows to 0.1% of GDP in Q4FY2016
Jun 16,2016

Indias current account deficit (CAD) narrowed sharply to US$ 0.3 billion (0.1% of GDP) in Q4 of 2015-16, significantly lower than US$ 7.1 billion (1.3% of GDP) in Q3 of 2015-16 and marginally lower than US$ 0.7 billion (0.1% of GDP) in Q4 of 2014-15. The contraction in CAD was primarily on account of a lower trade deficit (US$ 24.8 billion) than in Q4 of last year (US$ 31.6 billion) and US$ 34.0 billion in the preceding quarter.

Net services receipts declined on a y-o-y basis largely due to fall in exports of transport, financial services and telecommunication, computer and information services.

Private transfer receipts, mainly representing remittances by Indians employed overseas, amounted to US$ 15.7 billion, a decline from their level in the preceding quarter as well as from a year ago.

Net foreign direct investment moderated to US$ 8.8 billion in Q4 of 2015-16 from US$ 9.3 billion in Q4 of 2014-15. Portfolio investment recorded a net outflow of US$ 1.5 billion in Q4 of 2015-16 as against a net inflow of US$ 12.5 billion in the corresponding period of last year; primarily reflecting net outflow in the debt segment.

Non-resident Indian (NRI) deposits, however, increased in Q4 of 2015-16 over their level in Q4 last year as well as the preceding quarter.

Foreign exchange reserves (on a BoP basis) increased by US$ 3.3 billion in Q4 of 2015-16.

BoP during April-March 2015-16

The CAD narrowed to 1.1% of GDP in 2015-16 from 1.8% in 2014-15, on the back of contraction in the trade deficit.

Indias trade deficit narrowed to US$ 130.1 billion in 2015-16 from US$ 144.9 billion in 2014-15.

Net invisible receipts declined in 2015-16, primarily reflecting moderation in both net services earnings and private transfer receipts.

Net FDI inflows during 2015-16 (US$ 36.0 billion) rose sharply by 15.3% over the level in 2014-15.

Portfolio investment, however, recorded a net outflow US$ 4.5 billion in 2015-16 as against a net inflow of US$ 40.9 billion last year.

In 2015-16, there was an accretion of US$ 17.9 billion to foreign exchange reserves (on a BoP basis) as compared with US$ 61.4 billion in 2014-15.

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Proposed Amendments to the Shipbreaking Code, 2013: Stakeholders Comments Called for
Jun 16,2016

In pursuance of the directions of the Honble Supreme Court in CWP 657 of 1995, in the matter of Research Foundation for Science Vs Union of India and another, Government of India in the Ministry of Steel had formulated and notified the comprehensive code for ship breaking and ship recycling, namely Shipbreaking Code, 2013, vide notification dated 7th March, 2013.

Modifications to the Shipbreaking Code, 2013, are being considered at present on the basis of practical experience of the users and suggestions received from different stakeholders, viz, shipbreaking industry, State Maritime Boards/Port authorities and other regulatory agencies. A copy of the Code, indicating the proposed changes has been uploaded on the website of the Ministry. (www.shipping.nic.in).

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Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal appeals for electrifying all households in the country-says farmers must have adequate timely power
Jun 16,2016

The Union Minister for Power, Coal and Renewable Energy Shri Piyush Goyal has said that his Ministry is committed to ensuring that every household is electrified and all farmers in the country get adequate and timely power in the country. Addressing the Conference of State Power, Energy and Renewable Energy Ministers at Goa he said making a difference to the lives of poor, rural people and farmers is important in achieving our goal of 24X7 power for all-industry, commerce, households, farmers- in the country by the year 2019. He also underlined that we are committed to cheaper adequate power in a sustainable efficient manner for the poor. He said it is easy if we work in the spirit of participation and cooperation. Shri Goyal said we learn from experiences of states and I am happy that this conference has developed into a good platform for exchange of ideas and understand each others problems. Laying a lot of emphasis on the North Eastern states he said unless we develop the East and north eastern states we will not be able to develop India. Commenting on the common pool purchase policy for larger equipments such as transformers, cables he hoped his Ministry will receive help from states. He said if some states feel they can do better in purchasing of equipment and machinery they are welcome however his Ministry is of the view that the centralized system with a common procurement committee is better. He expressed happiness that 2 states Karnataka and Goa are signing the UDAI agreement today. He took pride in the fact that no states have been discriminated except preferential treatment to the North east. Reacting to the agenda items for the conference Shri Goyal said that hydro and wind energy has been neglected areas and it is important to get them on track with long term plans for growth in the deliberations. Urban areas and our cities/towns also need 24x7 power. Sharing the Gujarat experience of reduction of power thefts he said the tariff increase there had been the lowest. It is not the poor who steal and its the bigger power thefts which had corruption. He appealed to all states to reduce power thefts and said there is great political benefit in stopping power theft while asking support for the program being suggested in the conference for doing this.

The two day bi-annual conference has been organized by the Ministry for Power and Coal. Ministers from 19 states and Secretaries and officials from as many as 27 states are attending the conference. The Coal Secretary Shri Anil Swarup informed that from a shortage situation sometime back, his Ministry is now facing a situation, where they have coal but there are not many takers for the 550 MT coal stock. He appealed to the generating companies in the states to stop importing coal and said the matter would be discussed at the conference. He said Coal India Ltd has set up processes for auction of coal to public and private entities and a dispute resolution mechanism has also been set up in his Ministry wherein disputes between states can also be resolved. Narrating a story the Secretary MNRE Shri Upendra Tripathy underlined the importance of differential pricing especially for the poor and underprivileged class.

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New Mangalore Port attracts more cargo from the hinterland
Jun 16,2016

The proactive business promotion drive by the port administration of New Mangalore Port Trust by conducting business/trade meets at various locations in the hinterland have started to yield positive results.

The Port had conducted a series of business meets at Mysore and Nanjangud where various export firms are located. The recent meet conducted in the month of June, 2016 with various export firms like M/s Ranga Rao & Sons (incense sticks), M/s J.K. Tyres, M/s Nestle India & M.K. Agrotech (edible oil) has contributed to the movement of new cargo through the port. Sending of stuffing material of J.K. Tyres and Agarbatti (incense sticks) by Ranga Rao & Sons has already started. Some companies like J.K. Tyres who are already using New Mangalore Port have assured to divert more cargo through the Port.

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Fitch: Gold Price Assumptions Raised amid Global Uncertainty
Jun 16,2016

Fitch Ratings raised its gold price assumption to $1,100/oz from $1,000/oz as uncertainty, driven by negative interest rates in parts of Europe and elsewhere, combined with reduced US rate hike expectations, have driven investment sentiment for gold in first-half 2016.

Our updated global gold price assumptions incorporate upward revisions for all forecast years, reflecting the current market price environment and evidence of price support during the forecast period. Gold prices are expected to continue to be supported by strong retail investment demand, continued central bank purchasing and global financial turmoil.

Price increases will likely be limited due to reduced inflation expectations and slowing Chinese and Indian economies, the two main drivers of jewelry demand. Purchases in these two economies are highly sensitive to price movements, with demand stalling as prices rise, but recoveries in either of these two markets should lead to increased long-term demand.

Gold is a highly financialized commodity, with supply and demand heavily influenced by investment and scrap sales, as very little is used for industrial production. Price forecasting is challenging, as changes in investment demand are driven by perceptions of currency, inflation and geopolitical risk.

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Job hunters, HR managers converging on social media: ASSOCHAM survey
Jun 16,2016

Social media has emerged as an important route for hiring fresh talent by the corporates which use the micro-blogging sites for background checks as also judging the overall persona of the candidates with maximum of the HR personnel depending on the LinkedIn as a recruitment tool, an ASSOCHAM survey has noted.

It noted that while 68 per cent of the HR managers looked into LinkedIn and/or Facebook or Twitter to have an idea about the candidates, the social media is also being used by the job hunters who are becoming conscious about their posts, pictures, academic and professional achievements posted online, reveals the ASSOCHAM survey.

According to the survey, LinkedIn is the top dog for social recruitment. The findings of ASSOCHAM survey reveals that a large number of corporates using social media for recruitment based on the responses received from human resource officials representing more than 650 small, medium and large businesses from the cities like Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Pune, Dehradun etc.

The survey majorly focused on broad sectors such as BPO, IT/ITes sector, financial and other services, construction, real estate, hospitality, tourism, FMCG and infrastructure, media & advertising, manufacturing and textiles, logistics, transport operators etc.

About 68% of the human resource officials of various companies are using platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook for hiring through social media sites and other digital mediums to find and hire new talent, reveals the Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) latest survey. It reveals that social media has also been a valuable tool for recruiters and job seekers.

With employers increasingly using social media to recruit, it is a great medium for people looking for promotion or a new job to enhance their career, reveals the majority of the respondents.

The study found that as many 80-85 per cent among the high level job seekers and 40-45 percent among the low level job hunters are using some online medium for selling their professional and academic achievements in the corporate world, highlights the survey.

The Facebook is used as a tool to judge the behaviour and intellect of the candidate. An experienced HR personnel can make out from the kind of posts on the Facebook the level of intellect of the candidate. Besides, other behaviour traits such as the attitude towards society, women in particular, whether extrovert or introvert are easy to judge by a good review of the Facebook whereas the LinkedIn medium is more organised and cannot be taken as inadvertent, the ASSOCHAM survey observed.

n++Even though the social medium is a good first reference point, it cannot be fully relied upon by the HR managers, since there are chances of misrepresentation of the facts. There is no alternative to the internal checks and balance tools and further verification. After all, human resource is what makes or breaks the organisation, ASSOCHAM Secretary General Mr. D S Rawat said.

The increased use of technology, especially advances in social media related technologies, has been relentless. n++Social media, for one thing, helps individuals reach out and build their job search network. They can find people in targeted companies and connect with those who can helpn++, reveals the paper.

One of the best aspects of LinkedIn is that the site gives users the opportunity to highlight their achievements by uploading work samples to their profile pages and adding rich media files, such as blog posts, videos and links to websites featuring their work, reveals the majority of the respondents.

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Aviation policy to attract investment in the sector: ASSOCHAM
Jun 16,2016

The new aviation policy is a turning point for Indias civil aviation sector as it frees the operators from the shackles of 5/20 rule for flying overseas. The step would surely attract more investment in the aviation which in any case had become quite viable after a sharp correction in the fuel prices, said Mr. D S Rawat, Secretary General ASSOCHAM.

The capping of the air fare would propel the regional connectivity and would provide an affordable alternate to the first class railways tickets which are not available on demand. However, capping of the fares should ensure that the operators are not made to suffer losses on the short haul routes. The economics of the concept should be properly worked out, added Mr. Rawat.

The decision comes along with other key initiatives taken by the Union Cabinet which include merger of the SBI associates with the parent banks and the steps to accommodate the promoters of the companies under heavy debt, said its Secretary General.

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No retrenchment on account of API & workload
Jun 16,2016

Shri. Vinay Sheel Oberoi, Secretary Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of Higher Education, briefed the media persons on 4th amendment to UGC (Minimum Qualifications for appointment of teachers and other academic staff in universities and colleges and measures for the maintenance of standards in higher education) Regulations, 2010, as approved by the UGC in its 516th meeting.

Highlights of briefing are under:

- No retrenchment on account of API & workload

- Direct teaching workload restored to 16/14/14 hours per week for Assistant Professors/ Associate Professors/ Professors

- Direct teaching hours to include Tutorials/ Practicals / Field Work also apart from Lectures/Project Supervision

- Mentoring by Professors and teachers to be also recognized while calculating direct teaching score.

- Achieving of minimum scoring in direct teaching dimension of API possible with these changes.

Regarding research dimension of API

- Cap on API, brought in by the 2nd amendment, removed.

- The UGC shall maintain a n++List of Journalsn++ for the consideration of Journals for API score. Inclusion of journals to this list will be considered by the UGC on the basis of its Standing Committee recommendations on a list, furnished by a University, and within 60 days of its receipt by the Standing Committee.

- The University shall identify the journals subject-wise through subject expert committees and forward the recommendations to UGC in the format prescribed by UGC for approval of the UGC Standing Committee.

- The UGC Standing Committee may also, suo motu, recommend journals for inclusion in the n++List of Journalsn++.

- The list of books for consideration of API calculation will be decided by the University and intimated to the UGC.

- Scoring in research dimension of API will also include writing policy documents of Central, State and local bodies.

Reappointment of college principals

External peer review, in the format specified by the UGC, shall be taken into account by the Selection Committee while considering a second term to the incumbent Principal of a College.

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India and Switzerland agree to move towards an early agreement for the implementation of AEOI between the two countries
Jun 16,2016

Fighting the menace of Black Money stashed in offshore accounts has been a key priority area for this Government. To further this goal, the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi met with the Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann at Geneva on 6th June 2016 and discussed the need for expeditious exchange of information for combatting tax evasion together with an early start to negotiations on the Agreement for Automatic Exchange of Information. As a follow up, Revenue Secretary Dr. Hasmukh Adhia and Switzerlands State Secretary for International Financial Matters Mr. Jacques de Watteville met here today and agreed to move towards an early agreement for the implementation of AEOI between the two countries. It was decided that experts of both the countries will meet before mid-September, 2016 to further discuss the modalities for the reciprocal bilateral implementation of AEOI between India and Switzerland with a view to reaching an agreement at the earliest, possibly by the end of the year. Once this agreement is signed, it will be possible for India to receive from 2018 financial information of accounts held by Indian residents in Switzerland on automatic basis.

Noting the progress in bilateral tax cooperation since the last Secretary-level meeting in October 2014, the two Secretaries encouraged the competent authorities of both the countries to continue with regular bilateral meetings and contacts to further enhance the cooperation.The issue of requests based on n++stolen datan++ figured prominently in the talks and Revenue Secretary welcomed the decision of the Swiss Federal Council to amend the Tax Administrative Assistance Act in accordance with the OECD standard and provide administrative assistance in requests based on data obtained in breach of Swiss law. This is particularly significant in view of the recent challenges posed by the Panama Papers where voluminous information on offshore accounts has been placed in the public domain. The amended proposal is now with the Swiss Parliament. An early revision of the Swiss law in respect of stolen data would take the Indo-Swiss tax cooperation to a new level.

The two sides agreed to pursue the ongoing dialogue on tax and financial matters in a spirit of mutual friendship and cooperation. The text of the Joint Statement signed by the two Secretaries at the conclusion of the meeting is given below:

Joint Statement

In furtherance to the meeting of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and President Johann Schneider-Ammann at Geneva on 6 June 2016 and in continuation with the Secretary level talks in October 2014, Indias Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia and Switzerlands State Secretary Jacques de Watteville met today at New Delhi. They engaged in constructive dialogue on wide ranging bilateral and multilateral tax and financial issues. The talks reflected the increasing cooperation in tax matters as well as the strong political, economic and cultural ties between India and Switzerland. As a follow up of the meeting between the Indian Prime Minister and the Swiss President, representatives of both sides held in-depth discussions on current challenges relevant for both countries. Revenue Secretary Adhia and State Secretary de Watteville recognized the benefits of ongoing dialogue and mutual exchange for attaining effective and sustainable results in bilateral tax and financial cooperation.

Revenue Secretary Adhia and State Secretary de Watteville acknowledged the efforts made towards enhancing bilateral tax cooperation since the last high-level meeting in October 2014 and encouraged the competent authorities of both countries to continue with the regular bilateral meetings and contacts to further improve the cooperation under the Swiss-Indian Double Taxation Agreement, as revised by the Protocol of 30 August 2010. The Secretaries agreed that such contacts facilitate a common understanding of each others concerns so as to ensure that the requests are dealt with quickly and efficiently. To begin with, a team of officers from India would visit Switzerland for bilateral discussions towards expeditious resolution of pending exchange of information requests. On the issue of requests based on what Switzerland considers as data obtained in breach of Swiss law, Revenue Secretary Adhia, while reaffirming Indias position that Switzerland should share information in all cases in accordance with its treaty obligations, noted the progress made in a number of Indian requests based on investigations carried out independently of the stolen data. Secretary Adhia welcomed the decision of the Swiss Federal Council to dispatch to the Swiss Parliament a proposal to revise the Tax Administrative Assistance Act in order to clarify, in accordance with the OECD standard, the possibility to cooperate on requests based on data obtained in breach of Swiss law. A timely revision of the Swiss law in respect of stolen data would take the Indo-Swiss tax cooperation to a new level.

Reiterating their countries commitment to combat tax fraud and evasion within the applicable legal framework, Secretary Adhia and State Secretary de Watteville expect that the progress made by Switzerland in the field of administrative assistance in tax matters would be appropriately reflected in Switzerlands phase 2 review by the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (Global Forum). More generally, the Revenue Secretary and the State Secretary acknowledged the work of the Global Forum towards establishing a genuine worldwide level playing field for tax transparency. Referring to the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting held in Washington D.C. in April 2016, the Anti-Corruption Summit held in London in May 2016 and in view of the recent challenges posed by the Panama Papers, Secretary Adhia and State Secretary de Watteville recognized the need to take firm collective action on improving basic, legal and beneficial ownership information of legal persons and legal arrangements, while underlining the importance of full implementation of FATF standards in this regard.

The discussions showed a convergence of views with regard to tackling offshore tax evasion. State Secretary de Watteville informed that Switzerland now has the necessary legal bases to begin with the implementation of automatic exchange of information (AEOI) under common reporting standard (CRS). Recalling the commitment of both the countries to the global standard on AEOI, Secretary Adhia and State Secretary de Watteville initiated discussions for the implementation of AEOI between the two countries and agreed to work towards concluding the agreement within a reasonable timeframe keeping in view their national parliamentary procedures and the need of a level playing field. They agreed that experts of both countries would convene swiftly at technical level not later than mid-September 2016 to further discuss the modalities for the reciprocal bilateral implementation of AEOI between India and Switzerland with the view to reaching an agreement at the earliest, possibly by the end of the year.

Both representatives expressed support for the work of the G20 and the OECD in the field of international economic cooperation. They shared the view that coordinated international actions, as in the case of tax base erosion and profit shifting, are central to achieving a sustainable development path, especially for developing countries. They welcomed the recent adoption of measures to address base erosion and profit shifting under the umbrella of the OECD/G20 BEPS Project, as well as the establishment of an Inclusive Framework to assist and review the implementation of the BEPS package. Both sides look forward to working closely together under the new Inclusive Framework to ensure a smooth implementation of the minimum standard. Revenue Secretary Adhia and State Sec

Freight rates for the direct road movement of fertilizers upto 500 Km from plant/port to block level approved
Jun 16,2016

To ensure timely and adequate availability of fertilizers to farmers at affordable prices, Department of Fertilizers has approved the freight rates for the direct road movement of fertilizers upto 500 km from plant/port to block level, as recommended by the Tariff Commission. A decision has been taken to reimburse the freight cost in respect of secondary movement of fertilizers from rake point to district/ block headquarter on monthly basis at the lower of the normative Per Tonne Per Kilometer (PTPK) rate or actual expenditure incurred by the company. The decision will come into effect from today.

The decision will ensure availability of urea in remote areas, while keeping the cost under control. It will be one of the major tool to maintain the demand and supply uniformly all over the country up to the block level and will benefit farmers during the peak demand season. Fertilizer companies will not be allowed to do circuitous routing of fertilizers which will save subsidy and promote efficient transportation of fertilizers. The district wise normative road freight rates have been computed in scientific manner in line with the policy.

Freight for Urea has been always driven by considerations of serving the farming population at large including those in remote and hilly areas. The intention of the Government had never been to save subsidy by paying lower than the actual expenditure on freight. Uncertainty of freight subsidy, on the other hand, can disrupt supply and create scarcity amidst plenty. In this, distribution and movement of urea is as important as its manufacture if not more.

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Cabinet approves of 4/6 laning of Kharar-Ludhiana Section of NH-95 (New NH-05) in Punjab
Jun 16,2016

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved the development of 4/6 laning of Kharar-Ludhiana Section of NH-95 (New NH-05) in Punjab.

The cost is estimated to be Rs.2069.70 crore including cost of land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation and other pre-construction activities. The total length of the road to be developed is approximately 76 kms.

This work will be done under the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) Phase-V in Hybrid Annuity Mode.

The project will help in expediting the improvement of infrastructure in Punjab and in reducing the time and cost of travel for traffic, particularly heavy traffic, plying between Kharar and Ludhiana section. The development of this stretch will also help in uplifting the socio-economic condition of this region in the State. It would also increase employment potential for local labourers for project activities.

It has been estimated that a total number of 4,076 mandays are required for construction of one kilometre of highway. As such, employment potential of 3,09,833 (approx.) mandays will be generated locally during the construction period of this stretch.

The Sub-project (Kharar-Ludhiana) is part of the project of Chandigarh-Ludhiana. The project was divided in two sections i.e. Chandigarh-Kharar and Kharar-Ludhiana. The Chandigarh-Kharar section has already been awarded for four laning on Engineering, Procurement and Construction mode.

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Cabinet approves disinvestment of 10% paid up equity of Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO)
Jun 15,2016

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for disinvestment of 10% paid up equity of Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) out of Government of Indias shareholding of 100% through Initial Public Offering (IPO) in the domestic market as per the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Rules and Regulation.

The paid up equity capital of HUDCO is Rs.2001.90 crore and Government of India owns 100% 0f the equity at present. Net worth of the Company is approximately Rs. 7,800 Cr.

HUDCO was incorporated on 25th April 1970 as a wholly owned Government of India Enterprise under the administrative control of Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation with the objective of providing long term finance for construction of houses for residential purposes. It also finances and undertakes housing and urban development projects in the country.

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Cabinet approves Civil Aviation Policy
Jun 15,2016

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for the Civil Aviation Policy. This is the first time since Independence that an integrated Civil Aviation Policy has been brought out by the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

Highlights

The Policy aims at:

n++ India to become 3rd largest civil aviation market by 2022 from 9th

n++ Domestic ticketing to grow from 8 crore in 2015 to 30 crore by 2022

n++ Airports having scheduled commercial flights to increase from 77 in 2016 to 127 by 2019

n++ Cargo volumes to increase by 4 times to 10 million tonnes by 2027

n++ Taking flying to masses - Enabling Indians to fly at Rs. 2,500 per hour under Regional Connectivity Scheme at unserved airports

n++ Requirement of 5 years of domestic flying for starting international operations removed

n++ Flexible and liberalized open skies and code share agreements

n++ Incentives to MRO sector to develop as hub for South Asia

n++ Ensuring availability of quality certified 3.3 lakh skilled personnel by 2025

n++ Development of green-field airports and heliports

n++ Enhancing ease of doing business through deregulation, simplified procedures and e-governance

n++ Promoting Make In India in Civil Aviation Sector

Areas covered in the Policy:

i. Regional connectivity

ii. Safety

iii. Air Transport Operations

iv. Route Dispersal Guidelines

v. 5/20 Requirement for International Operations

vi. Bilateral traffic rights

vii. Code-share agreements

viii. Fiscal Support

ix. Airports developed by State Govt, Private sector or in PPP mode

x. Airports Authority of India

xi. Air Navigation Services

xii. Aviation security, Immigration and Customs

xiii. Helicopters

xiv. Charters

xv. Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul

xvi. Ground handling

xvii. Air-cargo

xviii. Aeronautical Make in India

xix. Aviation education and skill development

xx. Sustainable aviation

xxi Miscellaneous

xxiii. Essential Services Maintenance Act, 1968

Salient features of the Policy

i. The Viability Gap Funding (VGF) will be funded by a small levy per departure on all domestic routes other than Cat II/ Cat IIA routes, RCS routes and small aircraft at a rate as decided by the Ministry from time to time. A detailed scheme will be put up in the Public domain for stakeholders consultations.

ii. The 5/20 rule for commencement of international flight in operation since 2004 is replaced by a formulation which provides a level playing field and allows airlines, both new and old, to commence international operations provided they continue to meet some obligation for domestic operation. All airlines can commence international operations provided they deploy 20 aircraft or 20% of total capacity (in term of average number of seats on all departures put together), whichever is higher, for domestic operations.

iii. Necessary administrative and financial flexibility will be provided to Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for an effective aviation safety oversight system and for creating a transparent single-window system for all aviation safety related issues.

iv. The Route Dispersal Guidelines (RDG) have been rationalised by making the criteria for declaring a route as Category I (trunk route) more transparent, while the traffic to be deployed on Cat II and IIA expressed in terms of a percentage of CAT I traffic remains the same. The criteria proposed for a Cat I route are a flying distance of more than 700 km, average seat factor of more than 70% and annual traffic of 5 lakh passengers. The percentage for CAT III will be reduced in view of the Regional Connectivity Scheme coming into operation. Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh have been included as part of category II routes.

v. The regime of bilateral rights and code share agreements will be liberalised leading to greater ease of doing business and wider choice to passengers. n++Open skiesn++ will be implemented on a reciprocal basis for SAARC countries and countries beyond 5000 kms from Delhi. A method will be recommended by a Committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary for the allotment of additional capacity entitlements wherever designated Indian carriers have not utilised 80% of their bilateral rights but the foreign airlines/countries have utilised their part and are pressing for increase in the capacity.

vi. The Ministry will continue to encourage development of airports by the State Government or the private sector or in PPP mode and endeavour to provide regulatory certainty. Future greenfield and brownfield airports will have cost efficient functionality with no compromise on safety and security.

vii. Airport Authority of India (AAI) will continue to develop and modernise its airports and upgrade quality of services. AAI will be suitably compensated in case a new greenfield airport is approved in future within 150 km radius of an existing operational AAI airport which is not yet saturated.

viii. Upgradation and modernisation of Air Navigation Services will continue in line with global trends. AAI will provide a fully harmonised Air Navigation System considering International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Global Air Navigation Plan, Aviation system Block Upgrade and modern performance based technologies and procedures.

ix. The Government will promote helicopter usage by issuing separate regulations for helicopters and development of four heli-hubs initially. Ministry of Civil Aviation will also coordinate with all the agencies and stakeholders concerned to facilitate Helicopter Emergency Medical Services.

x. In the budget for 2016-17, the customs duty for MROs has been rationalised and the procedure for clearance of goods simplified, in particular duty on tools and tool kits. Further incentives have been proposed in the policy to give a push to this sector :-

n++ MoCA will persuade State Governments to make VAT zero-rated on MRO activities

n++ Provision for adequate land for MRO service providers will be made in all future airport/heliport projects where potential for such MRO services exists.

n++ Airport royalty and additional charges will not be levied on MRO service providers for a period of five years from the date of approval of the policy.

xi. The existing ground handling policy is being replaced with a new framework to ensure fair competition. The airport operator will ensure that there will be three Ground Handling Agencies (GHA) including Air Indias subsidiary/JV at all major airports as defined in AERA Act 2008. At non-major airports, the airport operator to decide on the number of ground handling agencies, based on the traffic output, airside and terminal building capacity. All domestic scheduled airline operators including helicopter operators will be free to carry out self-handling at all airports. Hiring of employees through manpower supplier will not be permitted.

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Cabinet approves Agreement between India and Saudi Arabia on Labour Co-operation for General Category Workers Recruitment
Jun 15,2016

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval for the Agreement on Labour Co-operation between India and Saudi Arabia. The Agreement was signed in Riyadh on 2-3 April, 2016 during the visit of the Prime Minister to Saudi Arabia.

The Agreement would benefit the Indian emigrant workers, especially in the unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled categories of workers who are working in Saudi Arabia without consideration of caste, creed, religion or gender.

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Cabinet approves enhancement of age of superannuation to 65 years
Jun 15,2016

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for enhancement of the age of superannuation of (i) Non-Teaching and Public Health Specialists of Central Health Service from 62 years to 65 years and (ii) Doctors of General Duty Medical Officers (GDMOs) sub-cadre of Central Health Service (CHS) to 65 years.

The target group would be officers of Non-Teaching, Public Health and GDMO sub-cadres of CHS. The decision would help in better patient care, proper academic activities in Medical colleges as also in effective implementation of National Health Programmes for delivery of health care services.

There is no financial implications as the vacant posts would have to be filled up quickly to ensure continuity of patient care.

Background:

n++ The age of superannuation in respect of all four sub-cadres of Central Health Service was 60 years prior to 2006.

n++ The age of superannuation of the three specialists sub-cadres (Teaching, Non-Teaching and Public Health), except GDMO sub cadre, was enhanced, with the approval of the Cabinet in its meeting held on 2.11.2006, from 60 to 62 years.

n++ The age of superannuation of teaching sub-cadre was further enhanced from 62 to 65 years with the approval of the Cabinet in its meeting held on 05.06.2008 in view of huge shortfall of teaching specialists. The approval was limited to Teaching specialists engaged in teaching activities only and not occupying administrative positions.

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