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Adequate availability of cotton is ensured through domestic production
Jul 21,2017

Government reviews the cotton availability position from time to time. Adequate availability of cotton is ensured through domestic production and textile mills are able to source their requirement of cotton from the domestic market. In this regard, Government of India had directed Cotton Corporation of India Ltd. to sell its stock of cotton (cotton season 2015-16), purchased under MSP, to Spinning Mills in the Micro Small Medium Enterprise (MSME) category to contain fluctuation in cotton prices.

There is no shortage of cotton/yarn in the country.

The details of policy initiatives/schemes/incentives/subsidies/working capital/interest subvention that are being provided to the domestic manufacturers/exporters are as under:

i) The Government has been implementing various policy initiatives and schemes like Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (TUFS), Schemes for the development of the Power-loom Sector, Schemes for Technical Textiles, Scheme for Integrated Textile Parks (SITP) and Scheme for Integrated Textile Processing Development (IPDS) to enable the textile industry, including the small industries, to upgrade and make them competitive.

ii) The Government has also launched a Rs. 6000 crore Scheme for Production and Employment Linked Support for Garmenting Units (SPELSGU) under ATUFS to incentivize production and employment generation in the garmenting Sector. These initiatives and schemes will help in the development of the downstream value added segments which in turn will create increased demand for yarn and thereby lead to increased production of yarn.

iii) Government has introduced special packages for apparel and made-ups sector in June, 2016 and December, 2016 respectively which include schemes like Amended Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (ATUFS), Pradhan Mantri Paridhan Rojgar Protsahan Yojna (PMPRPY) and Scheme of Rebate of State Levies (RoSL) on export of garments. Besides, with a view to modernize textile industry, increase production and global competitiveness schemes such as Schemes for Technical textiles, Scheme for Integrated Textile Parks (SITP) and Integrated Skill Development Scheme are also being run by the Government.

iv) MEIS Scheme under new Foreign Trade Policy 2015-20

v) Restoring Interest rate subvention for pre and post shipment credit for the textile sector

vi) Expanding the scope of Merchandise Export from India Scheme (MEIS) since 29.10.2015 to 110 new tariff lines and increasing rates or country coverage or both for 2,228 existing tariff lines.

vii) Increased Duty Drawback rates for some textile articles

viii) Market Access Initiative (MAI) and Market Development Assistance (MDA) Scheme

ix) Duty Free import of trimmings, embellishments and other specified items under Export Performance Certificate Entitlement Scheme

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Government of India (GoI), Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has granted in principle approval for setting up of 18 Greenfield Airports
Jul 21,2017

Government of India (GoI), Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has granted in principle approval for setting up of 18 Greenfield Airports in the country. The list of these airport along with the estimated cost is as under: Mopa in Goa (approx. Rs. 3100 cr), Navi Mumbai (approx. Rs. 16704 cr), Shirdi (approx. Rs. 320.54 cr) and Sindhudurg (approx. Rs. 520 cr) in Maharashtra, Bijapur (approx. Rs. 150 cr), Gulbarga (approx. Rs. 13.78 cr in initial phase), Hasan (approx. Rs. 592 cr) and Shimoga (approx. Rs. 38.91 cr) in Karnataka, Kannur in Kerala (approx. Rs. 1892 cr), Durgapur in West Bengal (approx. Rs. 670 cr), Dabra in Madhya Pradesh (approx. Rs. 200 cr), Pakyong in Sikkim (approx. Rs. 553.53 cr), Karaikal in Puducherry (approx. Rs.170 cr), Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh (approx. Rs. 448 cr), Dholera in Gujarat (approx. Rs. 1712 cr) and Dagadarthi Mendal, Nellore Dist. (approx. Rs. 293 cr), Bhogapuram in Vizianagaram District near Visakhapatnam (approx. Rs. 2260 cr) and Oravakallu in Kurnool District (approx. Rs. 200 cr), Andhra Pradesh. The timeline for construction of airport projects depends upon many factors such as land acquisition, availability of mandatory clearances, financial closure, etc. by the individual operator.

The construction of airport project depends upon many factors such as land acquisition, availability of mandatory clearances, financial closure, etc. by the individual operator. The State Government of Maharashtra has completed the tendering process and M/s. MIAL is the highest bidder.

During the last three years and the current year, MoCA, GoI has received the following proposals for setting up of Greenfield Airports: Ankleshwar in Gujarat, Bhiwadi (district Alwar) in Rajasthan, Dagadarthi (Nellore), Bhogapuram (Vizianagaram), Tadepalligudem (West Godavari), Oravakallu (Kurnool) and Kuppam (Chittor) in Andhra Pradesh, Chingleput near Chennai, Gwalior and Singrauli in Madhya Pradesh, Hisar in Haryana, Kothagudem (Khammam) in Telangana, Noida International Airport near Jewar, Saifai (Etawah) in Uttar Pradesh, Shivdaspur in Jaipur, Karwar and Chickmagaluru in Karnataka and Rajkot in Gujarat. GoI has granted site clearance approval for setting up of Greenfield Airport at Bhiwadi (district Alwar) in Rajasthan, Kothagudem (Khammam) in Telangana, Rajkot in Gujarat and Noida International Airport near Jewar in Uttar Pradesh and in principle approval for setting up of Dagadarthi (Nellore), Bhogapuram (Vizianagaram) and Oravakallu (Kurnool) in Andhra Pradesh.

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PMVVY is a Pension Scheme announced by the GOI exclusively for the senior citizens available from 4th May 2017 to 3rd May 2018
Jul 20,2017

The Union Minister for Finance, Defence and Corporate Affairs will formally launchthe Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY) tomorrow in the national capital. PMVVY is a Pension Scheme announced by the Government of India (GOI) exclusivelyfor the senior citizens aged 60 years and above which is available from 4th May 2017 to 3rdMay 2018. The Scheme can be purchased offline as well as online through Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India which has been given the sole privilege to operate this Scheme.

Following are the major benefits under thePradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY):

 n++         Scheme provides an assured return of 8% p.a. payable monthly (equivalent to 8.30% p.a. effective) for 10 years.

n++         Pension is payable at the end of each period, during the policy term of 10 years, as per the frequency of monthly/ quarterly/ half-yearly/ yearly as chosen by the pensioner at the time of purchase.

n++         The scheme is exempted from Service Tax/ GST.

n++         On survival of the pensioner to the end of the policy term of 10 years, Purchase price along with final pension installment shall be payable.

n++         Loan upto 75% of Purchase Price shall be allowed after 3 policy years (to meet the liquidity needs). Loan interest shall be recovered from the pension installments and loan to be recovered from claim proceeds.

n++         The scheme also allows for premature exit for the treatment of any critical/ terminal illness of self or spouse. On such premature exit, 98% of the Purchase Price shall be refunded.

n++         On death of the pensioner during the policy term of 10 years, the Purchase Price shall be paid to the beneficiary.

n++         Minimum / Maximum Purchase Price and Pension Amount:

Mode of PensionMinimum
Purchase Price
Maximum
Purchase Price
Minimum
Pension amount
Maximum
Pension amount
YearlyRs. 1,44,578/-Rs. 7,22,892/-Rs. 12,000/-Rs. 60,000/-Half-yearlyRs. 1,47,601/-Rs. 7,38,007/-Rs. 6,000/-Rs. 30,000/-QuarterlyRs. 1,49,068/-Rs. 7,45,342/-Rs. 3,000/-Rs. 15,000/-MonthlyRs. 1,50,000/-Rs. 7,50,000/-Rs. 1,000/-Rs. 5,000/-

n++         The ceiling of maximum pension is for a family as a whole, the family will comprise of pensioner, his/her spouse and dependants.

n++         The shortfall owing to the difference between the interest guaranteed and the actual interest earned and the expenses relating to administration shall be subsidized by the Government of India and reimbursed to the Corporation.

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Draft Guidelines for implementation of Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana have been prepared by WCD Ministry
Jul 20,2017

Draft guidelines for implementation of Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) have been prepared by the Ministry. The draft guidelines inter-alia provide Aadhaar linkage, Direct Benefit Transfer of Rs. 5000 in beneficiarys bank/post office account in three instalments at the stage of early registration of pregnancy, after six months of pregnancy on at least one antenatal check-up and registration of child birth & first cycle of immunisation of the child.

The PMMVY is Centrally Sponsored Scheme under which the cost sharing ratio between the Centre and the States & UTs with Legislature is 60:40, for North-Eastern States & three Himalayan States, it is 90:10 and 100% Central assistance for Union Territories without Legislature.

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Adequate Supply of Coal to Power Sector
Jul 20,2017

During the period April, 2016 to December, 2016, the coal based power generation grew by 6.18 per cent to 674.492 Billion Units over the same period in the previous year. Dispatch of coal and coal products to power sector from Coal India Limited (CIL) sources in October, 2016 was 31.91 Million Tonnes (MT) as against 34.50 MT in October, 2015. This was due to more than adequate availability of coal in stock at power plants and better quality of coal resulting in improvement of Station Heat Rate and reduction in coal consumption per unit of power, despite higher generation.

The target of coal production for CIL for 2017-18 has been as 600 MT. The coal production of CIL have been 462.422 MT, 494.238 MT, 538.754 MT and 554.14 MT in the years 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16 & 2016-17 respectively. There is a continuous annual growth in coal production by CIL, the Minister added.

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Rs. 3653 Crore of Amount Received from Allocation of Coal Blocks
Jul 20,2017

The Coal bearing State Governments have received an amount of Rs. 3653 crores till June 2017 from the allocation of Coal blocks/Mines under the provisions of Coal mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015. Under the aforesaid Act, provisions of the entire revenue from allocation (auction and allotment) of coal blocks / mines under the accrues to the coal bearing State Government concerned.

The utilization of the revenue generated from the allocation of coal mines / blocks under the provisions of the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015 is the prerogative of the coal bearing State Government, the Minister added.

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About 85,000 candidates placed after skill training in DDU-GKY IN 2016-17
Jul 20,2017

Deendayal Upadhayaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY) is a placement linked skill development programme for the rural poor youth being implemented by the Ministry of Rural Development. The Minister of State for Rural Development Shri Ram Kripal Yadav said that training under this scheme enables a youth to seek wage employment. He said that during the financial year 2016-17, a total of 1,62,586 candidates have been skilled and 84,900 placed.

Another component is skill development through Rural Self Employment and Training Institutes (RSETI) which enables a trainee to seek self-employment with bank credit. A total of 4,45,106 candidates have been trained and 3,63,111 settled in the financial year 2016-17.

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Inclusion of more holidays in national calendar
Jul 20,2017

The Government has received proposal to make Patriots Day, observed on 13th August, and Ningol Chakkouba, which coincides with Bhai Duj, as restricted holidays and include them in the National Calendar.

As per existing policy, the Central Government administrative offices observe 17 holidays in a year. Out of these 17 holidays, 14 are pre-notified, compulsory holidays, which include three National holidays, namely, Republic Day, Independence Day and Mahatma Gandhis birthday. The remaining three holidays are required to be selected, by the Central Government Employees Welfare Coordination Committee (CGEWCC), functioning in respective states, from another list of 12 occasions. In addition, individual employees are allowed two restricted holidays in a year to be selected from a notified list of such Restricted Holidays.

In view of the ceiling on the total number of holidays that can be declared in a year by the Government, it has not been found possible to declare additional Restricted Holiday for the above occasions.

As per policy, the Central Government Employees Welfare Coordination Committee in the State Capitals choose three holidays keeping in view the occasions of local importance. The Coordination Committees at the State Capitals may draw up separate list of Restricted Holidays keeping in view the occasions of local importance.

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Relax bank guarantee norms for ship construction orders by Navy: ASSOCHAM
Jul 20,2017

The ASSOCHAM has approached the Defence Ministry, seeking relaxation for stringent bank guarantee norms required for the private sector shipyards which want to bid for construction of ships for the Indian Navy.

As per the latest policy changes brought in June this year, the shipyards to whom the contract is awarded are required to furnish Performance cum Warranty Bank Guarantee (PWBG) of 10% of the value of the Contract. Besides, the shipyards also need to furnish Advance Bank Guarantee (ABG) for all milestone payments and Integrity Pack Bank Guarantee (IPBG).

These Bank Guarantees (BGs) remain in force till delivery of the vessels. While this is a measure to safeguard the interest of the Government of India, it puts an unsustainable burden on the shipbuilding companies, which will make the projects unviable, the ASSOCHAM has written to the Defence Secretary Mr Sanjay Mitra.

The letter said the Defence Shipbuilding is possibly the only industry wherein Government contracts require all milestone payments to be backed by equivalent amount of ABG as well as PWBG. In all other industries in India such as infrastructure, the BG requirement is restricted to a PWBG of about 5 % and / or an ABG for the first advance.

n++Given the programme size, this is a very challenging task for any shipyard. There are restrictions imposed through RBI guidelines on the maximum credit exposure that a bank can take on a single entity or a single group. The total amount of Bank Guarantees issued by all schedule commercial banks in India across all industries in India and outside India as of March 31, 2016 was Rs. 10,58,116 crore. The Total value of Naval Defence contracts awarded and to be awarded in the next few years is in several lakhs of crores. Hence, the requirement of Bank Guarantees for Defence shipbuilding alone would be a substantial percentage of the total Bank Guarantees issued by the banks in Indian++.

Presently, the Defence PSUs in case of orders on a nomination basis from the MoD are allowed to submit indemnity bonds in lieu of BGs. n++It is recommended that similar provision may be made applicable in case of Private Sector Shipyards.n++

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Ministry of Rural Development to launch Aajeevika Grameen Express Yojana
Jul 20,2017

The Ministry of Rural Development will launch a new sub-scheme under Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana - National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) which will be named as n++Aajeevika Grameen Express Yojana (AGEY)n++. The Minister of State for Rural Development Shri Ram Kripal Yadav said that the main objectives of AGEY are to provide an alternative source of livelihoods to members of Self Help Groups (SHGs) under DAY-NRLM by facilitating them to operate public transport services in backward rural areas. This will provide safe, affordable and community monitored rural transport services like e-rickshaws, 3 and 4 wheeler motorised transport vehicles to connect remote villages with key services and amenities including access to markets, education and health for the overall economic development of the area.

The Minister said that the sub-scheme will be implemented in 250 blocks in the country on a pilot basis for a period of 3 years from 2017-18 to 2019-20. The States have been informed about the number of blocks allocated to them to take up this sub-scheme in the pilot phases. One of the options proposed to be given under the sub-scheme is that the Community Based Organisation (CBO) will provide interest free loan from its own corpus to Self Help Group member for purchase of the vehicle.

The Government is implementing DAY-NRLM across the country in all States and Union Territories (except Delhi and Chandigarh). Under DAY-NRLM, till date, 34.4 lakh women SHGs have been promoted under the programme. The financial support under the programme is mainly in the form of Revolving Fund and Community Investment Funds, given as grants to the Self Help Groups (SHGs) and their federations. So far, the total amount released to SHGs is Rs. 1815 crore to about 3.96 lakh SHGs. A sum of Rs. 1088 crore has also been disbursed to 7.28 lakh SHGs as revolving Fund. DAY-NRLM also focuses on bank linkage of the institutions to enable their income The Cumulative Bank Credit mobilized for women SHGs and their federations since inception is to the tune of Rs 1.19 lakh crores.

The programme has a special focus on women empowerment including a dedicated component for promoting farm and non-farm based livelihoods for women farmers in rural areas. About 34 lakh women farmers have benefited under this programme. In addition, start-up enterprises at village levels are also supported to promote entrepreneurial activities in those areas. Projects have been sanctioned for setting up 79,814 enterprises in 5209 villages in 17 states in the country.

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Cabinet approves alternative mechanism for creation and launch of a New Exchange Traded Fund
Jul 20,2017

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has authorized the Alternative Mechanism on the following:

i. To take decision for divestment through Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) out of all the listed CPSEs including CPSEs listed subsequently subject to GoI retaining 51% in these CPSEs;

ii. To take decision on the divestment in respect of Public Sector Banks, other listed Public Sector Financial Institutions and Public Sector Insurance Companies (when listed) through ETF or other methods subject to GoI retaining 52%; and

iii. To take decision on matters related to divestment through ETF like constitution of ETF portfolio; the price/net asset value at which share of listed companies forming the ETF basket will be placed by the Govt. for divestment at the disposal of the ETF provider (AMC); the incentive structure for investors - upfront discount, loyalty bonus etc.; and any other aspect of pricing and the mode of disinvestment as required to be taken by the Government.

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Cabinet approves revision of Indian Community Welfare Fund guidelines
Jul 20,2017

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved revision of the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) guidelines.

ICWF, set up in 2009, is aimed at assisting Overseas Indian nationals in times of distress and emergency in the most deserving cases on a means tested basis. The revised guidelines being made broad-based seek to expand the scope of welfare measures that can be extended through the Fund. The guidelines would cover three key areas namely Assisting Overseas Indian nationals in distress situations, Community Welfare activities and Improvement in Consular services. They are expected to provide Indian Missions and Posts abroad greater flexibility in swiftly addressing to requests for assistance by Overseas Indian nationals.

Apart from assisting Indian nationals in distress abroad, ICWF has been a critical support in emergency evacuation of Indian nationals in conflict zones in Libya, Iraq, Yemen, South Sudan and other challenging situations like assistance extended to undocumented Indian workers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during the Nitaqat drive in 2013 and the ongoing Amnesty drive in 2017.

The scale and speed of these evacuations and assistance rendered through the Fund has been universally appreciated. It has also created a sense of confidence among the migrant workers going overseas about the support they can expect from India during critical times.

ICWF stands extended to all Indian Missions and Posts abroad and is primarily funded by levying service charge on various consular services rendered by Indian Missions and Posts abroad.

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Cabinet approves revalidation of permission to raise EBRs of Rs. 660 crore as Government of India Bonds by IWAI in 2017-18
Jul 20,2017

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the Revalidation of permission to raise Extra Budgetary Resource (EBRs) of Rs. 660 crore as Government of India Bonds by Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) in 2017-18.

The proceeds from the bonds will be utilized by IWAI for development and maintenance of National Waterways (NWs) under National Waterways Act, 2016 (effective from 12.4.2016). Funds received through issue of bonds will be used exclusively for capital expenditure to improve infrastructure funding.

Modalities

The investment to be undertaken for development of NWs on identified projects in 2017-18 is estimated to be approximately Rs. 2412.50 crore. The World Bank has sanctioned a loan of USD 375 million for Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) on 12.04.2017. During 2017-18, out of estimated expenditure of Rs.1715 crore for JMVP, it is expected that the World Bank would remit a loan amount of Rs. 857.50 crore. Accordingly, the total requirement of funds in 2017-18 is Rs. 2412.50 crore. During the year 2016-17, IWAI was allocated a sum of Rs. 296.60 crore for creation of capital assets which has been reduced to Rs.228 crore in BE, 2017-18. Raising bonds is intended to bridge this gap.

The principal and interest in respect of the EBRs worth Rs. 660 crore shall be financed by the Government of India by making suitable budgetary provisions in the Demand of the Ministry of Shipping to meet the bond servicing requirements as and when the need arises. The interest payment will be on semi-annual basis and the principal on maturity.

The whole exercise would be undertaken by IWAI through appointment of lead managers and coordination with SEBI. Funds will be released in 02 tranches keeping the size to get attractive yield from the borrowers. Borrowing in the last quarter of the year 2017-18, especially during the last two months of the year 2017-18 would be avoided.

Background:

Gross budgetary support from the Government of India and external financial support for funding development and maintenance of 106 new National Waterways under National Waterway Act, 2016, is grossly inadequate. There is, therefore, dire need for revalidation of permission to raise EBRs of balance amount of Rs 660 crore (Rs. 1000 cr - Rs. 340 crore raised and utilized during 2016-17).

In his budget speech, 2016-17, the Honble Finance Minister announced as under:

To augment infrastructure funding further, Government will permit mobilization of additional finances to the extent of Rs. 31.300 crore by NHAI, RFC, REG, IREDA, NABARD and IWAI through raising bonds during 2016-17.

In accordance with this announcement, IWAI was allowed to issue infrastructure bonds worth Rs.1000 crore for the first time during 2016-17. As it was their maiden effort, they could succeed to raise Rs.340 crore on 01.03.2017 through e-bidding for development of inland waterways and shipping infrastructure during 2016-17 at coupon rate of 7.9 per cent.

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Cabinet approves Central Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2017
Jul 20,2017

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval for the promulgation of the Central Goods and Services Tax (Extension to Jammu & Kashmir) Ordinance, 2017 and replacement of the Ordinance by the Central Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2017.

The Ordinance has extended the provisions of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 referred to as (CGST Act) to the State of Jammu & Kashmir.

The Ordinance has been promulgated on 8th July, 2017 and the Central Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2017 will be tabled in the current session of the Parliament.

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Cabinet approves IRDAIs admission as a signatory to IAIS, MMOU
Jul 20,2017

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval for IRDAIs admission as a signatory to International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS), Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MMoU)

The International Association of Insurance Supervisors is a global framework for cooperation and information exchange between insurance supervisors. International Association of Insurance Supervisors, Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding is a statement of its signatories intent to cooperate in the Field of information exchange as well as procedure for handling information requests. With increasing integration of financial market and growing number of internationally active insurance companies there is an increased need for mutual cooperation and information exchange between insurance industry supervisors. In this background the IRDAI had become a signatory member of the International Association of Insurance Supervisors, Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding. In the absence of any bilateral agreements the IAIS, MMoU provides a formal basis for cooperation and information exchange between the Signatory Authorities regarding the supervision of insurance companies where cross-border aspects arise. The scope of the IAIS MMoU is wider than the existing agreements as this agreement also provides for supervision of other regulated entities such as insurance intermediaries under Anti Money Laundering, (AML) and Combating the Finance of Terrorism (CFT).

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