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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


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

Cabinet approves amendments in the Central List of Other Backward Classes applicable to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
Aug 04,2016

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for making suitable amendments in the Central List of OBCs by way of inclusion/correction/deletion of castes/communities applicable to the State of Andhra Pradesh and the newly formed State of Telangana as per the advice received from the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC).

A total of 35 changes recommended by NCBC in respect of Andhra Pradesh and 86 New Entries in respect of Telangana State will be notified. The changes will enable the persons belonging to these castes/ communities in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana to avail the benefits of reservation in Government services and posts as well as in Central Educational Institutions as per extant policy. They will also become eligible for benefit under the various welfare schemes, scholarships etc. being administered by the Central Government, which are at present available to the persons belonging to the Other Backward Classes.


On the recommendation of the Commission a total of 2401 Entries for inclusion, including its synonyms, sub-castes, etc. in the Central List of Other Backward Classes have been notified in 24 States and 6 Union Territories. The last such notification was issued on 26.5.2016. Since then, several more recommendations for inclusion of castes/communities and corrections in the existing list of OBCs for the State of Andhra Pradesh and the new State of Telangana have been received from NCBC.

Under Section 9 (Functions of the Commission) of the NCBC Act 1993, the Commission examines requests for inclusion of any class of citizens as a backward class in the lists and hears complaints of over-inclusion or under-inclusion of any backward class in such lists and tenders such advice to the Central Government. The Act also stipulates that the advice of the Commission shall ordinarily be binding upon the Central Government.

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Cabinet approves signing of Air Services Agreement between India and Lao
Aug 04,2016

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for signing of new Air Services Agreement (ASA) between India and Lao Peoples Democratic Republic (Lao PDR).

The Agreement is expected to spur greater trade, investment, tourism and cultural exchange between the two countries bringing it in tune with the developments in the civil aviation sector. It will provide enabling environment for enhanced and seamless connectivity while providing commercial opportunities to the carriers of both the sides ensuring greater safety and security.

Under the agreement, the designated airlines of the two countries shall have fair and equal opportunity to operate the agreed services on specified routes. The routes and frequencies shall be decided subsequently. ASA is the basic legal framework for any air operation between the two countries.

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Cabinet approves the terms and conditions for transfer of 12 acres of land of Indu-6 Mill land vested in NTCL to Government of Maharashtra
Aug 04,2016

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for the terms and conditions for transfer of 12 acres of National Textile Corporation (NTCL), Indu-6 Mill land to Government of Maharashtra for construction of a memorial of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.


The Chaityabhoomi of Bharat Ratna Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar is situated in the vicinity of the land of Indu-6 Mill of National Textile Construction (NTCL), Mumbai; a place of pilgrimage for millions of Indians.

The Union Cabinet had already approved the transfer of 12 acres of Indu-6 Mill land, vested in National Textile Corporation, to Government of Maharashtra for construction of a befitting Memorial for Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar on payment of compensation as required under section 11A of the Sick Textile Undertakings (Nationalisation) Amendment Act, 1995 and ratified tripartite Memorandum of Understanding signed between Government of India, Government of Maharashtra and National Textile Corporation.

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Cabinet approves Spectrum Usage Charge for the spectrum in various bands held by various operators or to be acquired by them in forthcoming auction
Aug 04,2016

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the rates for Spectrum Usage Charge (SUC) for various bands of spectrum for which auction are going to be conducted shortly. With this decision the path is clear for issuance of the Notice Inviting Application for spectrum auction by the Department of Telecommunications.

As per the decision of the cabinet, the Spectrum Usage Charge is to be prescribed as given below:

(i) Spectrum acquired in forthcoming auction in 700, 800, 900, 1800, 2100, 2300 & 2500 MHz band is to be charged at the rate of 3% of Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) excluding the revenue from wire-line services.

(ii) The weighted average of SUC rates across all spectrum assigned to an operator (whether assigned administratively or through auction or through trading) in all access spectrum bands including BWA spectrum obtained in 2010 auction shall be applied for charging SUC subject to a minimum of 3% of AGR excluding revenues from wire-line services. The weighted average is to be derived by sum of product of spectrum holdings and applicable SUC rate divided by total spectrum holding. The Weighted Average Rate shall be determined operator wise for each service area.

(iii) The amount of SUC payable by the operators during 2015-16 at weighted average derived after taking into consideration the spectrum acquired in the coming auction and excluding the spectrum in 2300 MHz/2500 MHz band acquired/ allocated prior to 2015-16, shall be treated as the floor amount of the SUC to be paid by the operators. Further, in case there is a reduction in AGR of the service provider, the floor amount of SUC shall be reduced proportionately.

This will facilitate to move to a simple, transparent and flat ad-valorem SUC regime in accordance with the law and avoid creative accounting to bypass the revenues.

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Demand for global air freight picks up in June 2016: IATA
Aug 03,2016

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released data for global air freight demand in June 2016 showing a rise in freight tonne kilometers (FTK) of 4.3% year-on-year. This was the fastest pace of growth in 14 months. Freight capacity measured in available freight tonne kilometers (AFTKs) increased by 4.9% year-on-year, keeping yields under downward pressure.

Freight demand increased year-on-year in June across all regions with the exception of Latin America which recorded a 9.8% decrease, compared to the same period last year. The Middle East and Europe posted the fastest demand growth in June with year-on-year increases of 8.0% and 5.1% respectively.

June saw an improvement in demand for air freight. Thats good news. However, we cannot read too much into one months performance. Air cargo markets have been in the doldrums for several years during which there were several false starts on indications for improvement. We will continue watching developments closely, keeping in mind that the air freight business environment is fragile. Global economic growth remains sluggish, world trade volumes continue to trend downwards and the industry faces heightened uncertainty in the aftermath of the Brexit vote, said Tony Tyler, IATAs Director General and CEO.

Regional Performance

Asia-Pacific airlines reported a 3.5% increase in demand for air cargo in June compared to last year. Capacity expanded 3.6%. The Asia-Pacific air freight market has been improving in recent months, most notably the large within Asia market. Nonetheless freight volumes from emerging Asia continue to face headwinds from weak trade in the region and globally.

North American carriers saw freight volumes expand 4.3% in June 2016 compared to the same period last year. Capacity increased 4.0%. International freight volumes continue to suffer from the strength of the US dollar which has kept the US export market under pressure.

European airlines witnessed a 5.1% increase in freight volumes and a 4.9% increase in capacity in June 2016. The positive European performance corresponds with signs of an increase in export orders in Germany over the last few months. Seasonally adjusted freight results for Europe are now trending upwards.

Middle Eastern carriers posted the largest increase in freight volumes of all regions for the 16th consecutive month in June - 8.0% year on year. Capacity increased by 8.7%. Although the leader in market growth, the Middle Easts international freight growth rate (6.5%) for the first six months of 2016 is less than half the 14.3% average growth for the same period in 2015.

Latin American airlines reported a decline in demand of 9.8% and a decrease in capacity of 2.6%. The region continues to be blighted by weak economic and political conditions, particularly in the regions largest economy, Brazil.

African carriers recorded 0.4% freight growth in June 2016 compared to the same period last year. African airlines capacity surged by 19.9% year-on-year on the back of long-haul expansion, continuing the trend seen since December 2015.

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Further import of 30,000 MT pulses approved
Aug 03,2016

The Government has decided to import further 30,000 MT pulses, consisting of 20,000 MT tur and 10,000 MT Urad, for the buffer stock. The decision to this effect was taken in a meeting of Price Stabilization Fund chaired by Union Consumer Affairs Secretary, Shri Hem Pande here today. The meeting reviewed the procurement and distribution of pulses from buffer stock.

So far, the Government agencies have procured about 1, 19, 572 MT pulses from the domestic market and farmers and 56,000 MT pulses have been contracted for import. Thus 1, 75, 572 MT pulses are available with the buffer stock.

The Department of Consumer Affairs has requested State Governments repeatedly to lift the pulses Tur and Urad from the buffer stock for distribution not more than Rs. 120/kg. These pulses are provided to the States- Tur at the rate of Rs. 67/kg and Urad at the rate of Rs. 82/kg. On the request of the State Governments, over 29,000 MT pulses have been allocated to the states as on 18.01.2016 but only 3 states have lifted some quantities against their allotments. State wise allocations and lifting of pulses are as follows:

(as on 01.08.2016)

A.    State/UT

AllocationLifted1Chhattisgarh1064.0832Maharashtra4352.2863Bihar5995.3254Andaman & Nicobar559.3445Andhra Pradesh4426.5192221.7416Tamil Nadu4090.8475007Telangana3958.6651999.3658Madhya Pradesh1674.029Rajasthan100010Gujarat1306.16211Karnataka705.093Total29132.344721.106

B.     Delhi

AllocationLifted1Kendriya Bhandar4002002.Safal3001003.NCCF100 40



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Shipping Corporation of India Signs MoU with Government of India
Aug 03,2016

Shipping Corporation of India has signed the Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Shipping for the financial year 2016-17. The MoU was signed by Shri Rajive Kumar, IAS, Secretary (Shipping) and Capt. B.B. Sinha, Chairman and Managing Director, Shipping Corporation of India.

The MOU is based on the MOU guidelines 2016-17 issued by the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE). It consists of parameters drawn on the prescribed evaluation criteria and factors such as capacity and its expansion, business environment, projects under implementation have been considered. SCI has set ambitious, growth oriented and aspirational targets against these parameters keeping its growth plans and objectives in view. These are also in line with the vision of the Ministry of Shipping and the Government of India to escalate the growth for the Maritime sector in India. The MoU will be periodically reviewed by the Ministry and the performance of the PSU would be evaluated and ratings awarded at the end of the financial year.

The shipping industry is cyclical and is presently experiencing a down turn. The freight rates have come under pressure due to overcapacity of ships and are subject to a lot of volatility. Despite unfavourable market conditions and down turn being faced by the shipping industry in general, the SCI has taken proactive measures for sustained growth in these challenging times including costs-saving and has reported a consolidated net profit of Rs.389.4 crores for the financial year 2015-16.

SCI has ambitious CAPEX plans in 2016-17 to augment its tonnage through acquisition of second hand vessels. SCI has been entrusted with the management of ONGCs MODUs Sagar Vijay and Sagar Bhushan for a period of six years. It has also been entrusted with the technical management of A&N owned 17 Foreshore vessels.

SCI is maintaining its focus on coastal trade mainly in coastal crude transportation and transportation of coal to meet increased demand of power generation. It is also concentrating on increasing its presence on coastal and near coastal trade and has restructured its SMILE service synergizing SCIs services with M/s. Shreyas services to seamlessly link the East Coast and West Coast of India to Persian Gulf. It has also restarted India-Myanmar shipping service and talks are on for including South East Asian ports in the service. SCI is also participating in the movement of project cargo especially in the defense and power sector.

To take advantage of the increasing opportunities in Inland Waterways, SCI has signed an MOU with Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) during the Maritime India Summit 2016 to undertake inland waterways transportation on National Waterways 1, 2 & 5. n++

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Dredging Corporation of India Ltd. signs MoU with Government of India
Aug 03,2016

Dredging Corporation of India (DCI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the financial year 2016-17. The MoU was signed by Shri Rajive Kumar, Secretary, Shipping and Shri Rajesh Tripathi, Chairman & Managing Director, Dredging Corporation of India Ltd, in New Delhi.

The MoU broadly consists of the performance evaluation parameters and targets for Dredging Corporation of India Ltd. for the ensuing year. The MoU will be reviewed by the Ministry on a regular basis and the performance of the PSU would be evaluated and ratings awarded at the end of the financial year. The targets agreed in the MoU are in line with the aggressive growth plans of DCI for making forays internationally in line with the Ministry of Shippings ambitious plans.

DCI has posted n++Very Goodn++ performance during the last financial year (2015-16) as against n++Goodn++ for the year 2014-15, despite very difficult market conditions. In the year ended 31st March 2016, DCI posted a turnover of Rs.676 crores. The Profit Before Tax (PBT) and Profit After Tax (PAT) figures are Rs.83 crores. and Rs.80 crores respectively, representing an increase of 28% and 29 % respectively over the previous year.

DCI MUTLICAT an ancillary vessel has been added to the fleet of DCI. DCI has further placed order for an inland cutter suction dredger which will join the fleet very shortly. This would facilitate the Company to take up inland dredging works once again after a long gap. In continuation of the steps taken for capacity augmentation of its core dredging activity, the detailed Project Report is being prepared for higher capacity trailing suction dredgers.

During the year under review, maintenance dredging contracts were executed for Kolkata Port, Haldia, Kandla, Cochin Port Trust, Ernakulam, RGPPL-Dabhol and NST and its approaches of VPT. Capital Dredging Contracts were executed at Kandla Port, Kamarajar Port and Visakhapatnam Port. The works were executed either under the existing contracts or renewal of the contracts entered into with the Ports etc., during the previous years or new contracts entered into during the year.

As per the targets set in the MoU for 2016-17 that was signed today, DCI is to achieve a turnover of Rs.770 crores. The target for operating profit is Rs.65 crores for 2016-17 as against the actual of Rs.45 crores for 2015-16. Further in the current year 2016-17, finalization of a contract is in the final stages for deployment of a dredger outside India and this will enable the company to earn income in foreign exchange for the first time in many years.

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Over 25 lakh LPG connections released under PM Ujjwala Yojana
Aug 03,2016

25.44 lakh LPG connections have been released to women of BPL families as on today under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana. The scheme which was launched by Honorable Prime Minister in Balia, Uttar Pradesh on 01st May, 2016 is currently under operation in 553 districts of 24 States.

Under the scheme, 5 crores LPG connections will be provided to BPL families with a support of Rs. 1600 per connection in the next 3 years. Identification of the BPL families is being done through Socio-Economic Caste Census data.

The official website of the Yojana contains the details about the scheme and the form to be filled by the intended beneficiaries. It has been brought to the notice of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas that a number of fake and misleading websites have come up on the internet on the PMUY. General public and other stakeholders may consult only the official website for any information with regard to the scheme.

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Rs.4,404cr more investment in basic urban infrastructure approved in 8 States/UTs for 2016-17
Aug 03,2016

Ministry of Urban Development today approved an investment of Rs.4,404cr in augmenting water supply, sewerage networks, drainage, urban transport and public and green spaces in urban areas in 8 States and UTs under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) for the current financial year. An inter-ministerial Apex Committee chaired by Shri Rajiv Gauba, Secretary(Urban Development) has approved the State Level Annual Action Plans (SAAP) of these 8 States/UTs.

Investments approved were; Karnataka - Rs.1,625 cr, Andhra Pradesh-Rs.877 cr, Bihar-Rs.775 cr, Telangana-Rs.555 cr, Haryana-Rs.525 cr, Nagaland-Rs.40 cr, Dadra, Nagar & Haveli-Rs.3.70 cr and Andaman & Nicobar Islands-Rs.3.18 cr.

Total central assistance to be provided to these 8 States and UTs is Rs.2,085 cr and the details are: Karnataka-Rs.772 cr, Bihar-Rs.388 cr, Andhra Pradesh-Rs.352 cr, Telangana-Rs.277 cr, Nagaland-Rs.36 cr besides the total project to be borne by the central government for the two Union Territories.

Under AMRUT, committed total central assistance of Rs. 50,000 cr for the five-year mission period is allocated among the States/UTs based on urban population and number of statutory Urban Local Bodies in each State/UT and SAAP are accordingly formulated by States/UTs. Remainder of the project cost is to be born States, UTs and ULBs.

Earlier during the current financial year i.e 2016-17, the Ministry of Urban Development approved total investments of Rs.19,213 cr under Atal Mission for 20 States/UTs taking the total investments approved to Rs.23,627 cr with a central assistance commitment of Rs.8,655 cr.

Under Atal Mission which was launched in June last year, the total investment approved in basic infrastructure in urban areas in 500 mission cities stands at Rs.44,401 cr with total central assistance commitment of Rs.20,634 cr.

Under Atal Mission, States/UTs have proposed an investment of Rs.1,146cr in improving drainage networks in urban areas. As against the investment approved of Rs.281 cr in this regard during 2015-16, the Ministry of Urban Development has so far approved and investment of Rs.759 cr so far during the current financial year.

During the Apex Committee meeting, Shri Rajiv Gauba, Secretary(UD) informed the States/UTs that annual action plans for the remaining three years of Atal Mission will be considered and approved in one go in the last quarter of this financial year to enable States/UTs for proper planning and execution of the project to realise the mission goals as envisaged by the last year of the mission i.e 2019-20.

Under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), ensuring water supply connections to all the urban households besides water supply @ 135 liters per capita per day is accorded top priority followed by improving sewerage networks, storm water drains and urban transport with focus on non-motorised transport. Every mission city is required to provide/ develop at least one park each year.

Details of annual action plans approved under AMRUT today are as below:

Rs. Cr)

State/UTTotal investment
spaceskarnataka1,6257727267271191735Andhra Pradesh  8773524882691021818Bihar  775388628-124-24Telangana  555277502  40--13Harayana  525255245154  98-  4Nagaland    40  36    4-  35-   1Dadra, Nagar& Haveli      3.70    3.70   3.51---  0.09Andaman & Nicobar Islands     3.18   3.18  3.10---  0.08

Under AMRUT, central assistance is provided to the tune of 50% of project cost if the population of mission cities is less than 10 lakhs each and one third of project cost if the population is more than 10 lakhs each, 90% of the project cost for hilly and North-Eastern States and total project cost for UTs.

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Detailed feasibility study underway for setting up of Mega Oil Refinery on west coast of Maharashtra
Aug 03,2016

The Oil PSUs namely Indian Oil Corporation (IOCL), Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) have announced the plan to jointly set up an integrated refinery-cum-petrochemical complex with a refining capacity of 60 MMTPA (million metric tonnes per annum) in 2 phases in Maharashtra. Engineers India (EIL) is carrying out detailed feasibility study.

Oil PSUs and EIL are in the process of site selection for the refinery in consultation with Govt. of Maharashtra. Setting of operationalisation targets depend on land availability, environment clearance etc.

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An in-principle decision has been given by the CCEA for Sale of Surplus Land of PSUs
Aug 03,2016

An in-principle decision has been given by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) in respect of four closing companies, viz. HMT Chinar Watches, HMT Watches, HMT Bearings and Tungabhadra Steel Products (TSPL) that after their closure, their land would be transferred/sold to Central Government Ministries / Departments / CPSEs / Public Sector Banks/State Government Departments or their entities. The land will be sold/transferred by following the Expression of Interest (EOI) route. In case of land taken on lease from state governments, the same has been approved for being returned to them as per lease conditions.

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Growth of private sector activity reaches three-month high in July 2016: Nikkei India Services PMI
Aug 03,2016

Indian service providers enjoyed a welcome upturn in demand during July, with a faster increase in new business underpinning stronger growth of output and boosting confidence. Part of the upswing in incoming new work was supported by price discounts. Output charges were lowered for the first time in nine months, while input costs also decreased.

At 51.9 in July, the seasonally adjusted Nikkei India Services Business Activity Index posted above the no-change mark of 50.0 for the thirteenth month running, highlighting ongoing growth of output in the sector. Up from 50.3 in June, the headline index was at a three-month high and indicative of a modest rate of expansion.

With growth of manufacturing production also quickening, the seasonally adjusted Nikkei India Composite PMI Output Index climbed to a three-month high of 52.4 in July (June: 51.1). This reading was consistent with a moderate increase in private sector activity overall.

Leading services output to rise was a further expansion in incoming new business, one that was the most pronounced since April. According to survey participants, the upturn was supported by successful price negotiations with clients as well as improved marketing campaigns. Manufacturing order books increased at the quickest pace since March.

Employment was broadly unchanged in both the manufacturing and service sectors during July, as indicated by the respective indices recording only fractionally above the crucial 50.0 threshold. It has now been over two-and-a-half years since the private sector has seen meaningful job creation.

Amid reports of lower prices paid for fuel and some commodities, average input costs facing service providers fell in July. The decrease was the first since September 2015 and the rate of reduction was slight overall. Conversely, purchasing costs at goods producers continued to rise, although the rate of inflation softened to a five-month low.

Lower services costs were passed on to clients as indicated by an overall decline in selling prices, the first in nine months. However, output charges fell at only a slight pace as the vast majority of survey respondents signalled no change in prices charged. By comparison, factory gate prices rose at a slight pace, which was nevertheless the quickest since April.

July data highlighted a second successive monthly increase in unfinished business volumes at Indian service providers. The rate of accumulation was moderate, but above the long-run survey average. At manufacturers, work-in-hand rose at the fastest pace in one-and-a-half years. Higher backlogs were linked by private sector firms to delayed payments from clients.

Business sentiment among Indian service providers improved during July, with the degree of optimism reaching a four-month high. Those survey participants forecasting higher levels of output in the coming 12 months commented on expectations of better economic conditions and planned increases in marketing budgets.

Commenting on the Indian Services PMI survey data, Pollyanna De Lima, economist at Markit, which compiles the survey, said: The Indian service economy started the second semester on a solid footing, posting its strongest performance since April and thereby indicating that underlying demand conditions remained reasonably firm. Nevertheless, growth remains below-par compared with the long-run survey trend and, although expansion has been sustained for 13 consecutive months, the sector has so far failed to generate jobs. Service providers signalled declining price pressures, with output charges being cut in line with an overall decrease in input costs.

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Horticulture Production Assessment under the Project CHAMAN
Aug 03,2016

The nature of horticulture crops is such that it is not easy to make assessment of their production. These crops, especially vegetables are grown in small plots, fields or in the back of the houses, do not have single harvesting in most of the cases which makes their assessment difficult. Many horticulture crops have multiple pickings in a single season. Similarly many fruit trees are scattered, which do not count for assessment.

In view of above difficulties several research studies were taken up by agricultural scientists in the past. Recently Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare has launched a new project called CHAMAN. Under this project sound methodology for estimation of Horticulture crops is being developed and implemented on pilot basis using Sample Survey methodology and Remote Sensing technology.

Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute (IASRI) has developed a Sample Survey methodology which is now being implemented on pilot basis in 5 states for estimation of area & production in respect of major horticulture crops under the project CHAMAN.

Simultaneously under CHAMAN, another project for area and production assessment of seven major horticulture crops through Remote Sensing, is being carried out by Mahalanobis National Crop Forecast Centre (MNCFC). Besides estimation of crops, MNCFC is carrying out several developmental studies and is also conducting some research studies for precision farming and developing signatures for horticulture crops like vegetables, being grown in smaller plots, for their assessment.

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