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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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Cabinet approves MOC in respect of tax matters between India and BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa
Jul 20,2017

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given the approval for the signing of Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) in respect of tax matters between India and the Revenue administrations of BRICS countries namely, Brazil, Russian Federation, China and South Africa

Objective:

The MoC aims to further promote cooperation amongst the BRICS Revenue administrations in international forum on common areas of interest in tax matters and in the area of capacity building and knowledge sharing. It envisages regular interaction amongst the heads of Revenue administration of BRICS countries to continue discussion on common areas of interest and strive towards convergence of views and meeting of the Experts on tax matters to discuss the contemporary issues in areas of international tax. In addition, the MoC accords confidentiality and protection to information exchanged under this MoC.

Impact:

The MoC will stimulate effective cooperation in tax matters. The collective stand of BRICS countries can prove to be beneficial not only to these countries but also to other developing countries in the long run in tax matters being steered by the G20.

Background:

The Heads of Revenue of the BRICS countries have been meeting regularly to discuss the potential areas of cooperation in tax matters and to exchange opinions and views based on the existing commitment to openness, solidarity, equality, mutual understanding, inclusiveness and mutually beneficial cooperation, as stated in the Goa Declaration issued on October 16, 2016. The BRICS countries have identified four areas of mutual interest on which understanding and cooperation can be further strengthened. The heads of Revenue of BRICS countries in their meeting held on the sidelines of FTA plenary at Beijing, China in May, 2016 decided to sign a MoC outlining these areas of cooperation.

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Cabinet approves Cadre Review of Indian Defence Accounts Service (IDAS)
Jul 20,2017

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the Cadre Review of the Indian Defence Accounts Service (IDAS) under the Ministry of Defence. The decision provides for an increase of 23 (twenty three) posts which includes 1 post at Apex Scale, 6 posts at HAG level, 6 posts at SAG level and 10 posts at JAG level and reduction of 1 post at HAG+, 12 posts at STS level and 10 posts at JTS level.

The Cadre review of IDAS has come in the wake of the functional requirements, cadre structure and career progression of the officials belonging to the service.

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Cabinet apprised of MoU between India and Netherlands on cooperation in space technology
Jul 20,2017

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been apprised of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Netherlands on cooperation in the exploration and uses of outer space for peaceful purposes. The MoU was signed on May 11 & 22, 2017 at Bangalore and The Hague respectively.

Benefits:

This MoU shall enable the following areas of cooperation such as, space science, technology and applications including remote sensing of the earth; satellite communication and satellite based navigation; Space science and planetary exploration; use of spacecraft and space systems and ground system; and application of space technology.

Modalities:

The MoU would lead to set up a Joint Working Group, drawing members from Department of Space/ Indian Space Research Organisation (DOS/ISRO), and the Netherlands Space Office (NSO), which will further work out the plan of action including the time-frame and the means of implementing this MoU. It will provide impetus to explore newer research activities and application possibilities in the field of remote sensing of the earth; satellite communication; satellite navigation; space science and exploration of outer space.

The MoU would lead to develop a joint activity in the field of application of space technologies for the benefit of humanity. Thus all sections and regions of the country will get benefited.

  Background:

DOS/ISRO Centres have long association with ITC (International Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation, University of Twente) Netherlands on capacity building; and with the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) for carrying out calibration/ validation experiments on earth observation. Antrix Corporation, the Commercial arm of Department of Space (DOS) launched a satellite belonging to the Netherlands (DELFI-C3) in April 2008. Officials of ISRO and the Netherlands Space Office (NSO) discussed on the modalities of building space cooperation between two countries. Accordingly, both sides arrived at mutually agreed version of MoU for cooperation in the exploration and uses of outer space for peaceful purposes.

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A total of 25 50-bedded hospitals with an outlay of Rs. 145 cr. approved in the year 2016-17
Jul 19,2017

Under Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National AYUSH Mission (NAM), there is a provision for setting up of upto 50 bedded integrated AYUSH Hospital in the  States/UTs and they may avail eligible financial assistance by projecting the proposal through State Annual Action Plan (SAAP) as per NAM guidelines.

The details of last three years of Grant-in-aid provided to the State/UT Governments along with location for setting up of upto 50 bedded integrated AYUSH Hospital underNational AYUSH Mission (NAM) are furnished below:

Status of 50 bedded integrated AYUSH Hospital approved under National AYUSH Mission (NAM) during 2014-15, 2015-16 & 2016-17

  (Rs. In lakhs)

Units Approved during 2014-15

Amount Approved during 2014-15

Units Approved during 2015-16

Amount Approved during 2015-16

Units Approved during 2016-17

Amount Approved during 2016-17

Total

2

330.00

14

2014.57

25

14556.30

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NERAMAC has engaged with some Self-Help Groups and farmers groups to serve as an aggregator and provide marketing support to them
Jul 19,2017

North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation Limited (NERAMAC), inter alia, facilitates processing of horticulture produce; assists processing units to market their products; and helps in developing linkages of farmers with the market.

The data related to total number of farmers being provided support by the said corporation is not centrally maintained. NERAMAC in pursuance of the objectives mentioned above, has provided support to large number of farmers, particularly those growing pineapple, ginger and large cardamom.

NERAMAC has engaged with some Self-Help Groups and farmers groups to serve as an aggregator and provide marketing support to them. It has also undertaken marketing of processed items sourced from local entrepreneurs.

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Bamboo policy on the anvil: Nitin Gadkari
Jul 19,2017

The Government is soon likely to bring a policy to promote bamboo sector which could be used to harness bio-fuel, Union Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister, Mr Nitin Gadkari said at an ASSOCHAM event.

n++I have been very diligently working towards diversification of agriculture into energy and power sector, I am happy to inform that I aggressively followed up with the matter and held three meetings with the Prime Ministers Office (PMO) and soon we will have a bamboo policy,n++ said Mr Gadkari.

n++Our petroleum minister has also signed 15 contracts to harness bio ethanol out of bamboo,n++ said Mr Gadkari.

He also said that second generation ethanol can be made using bamboo, cotton straw, rice straw and residual cane-waste (bagasse).

n++I do not think future of farmers can be transformed by producing wheat and rice as such carrying out innovation, entrepreneurship, technology and research is very important,n++ he added.

Suggesting certain measures aimed at ensuring growth and development of agriculture sector, Mr Gadkari said, n++There is a need to bring down costs per acre and also to promote allied sectors like dairy, fisheries, poultry and others.n++

n++In the current scenario, we need to boost productivity to promote economic viability which would lead to job generation and boost the gross domestic product (GDP), besides promoting agro-processing industries and bringing down costs of power, seeds, fertilisers and insecticides is equally imperative,n++ he added.

He further said that all of these steps together will lead to overall development of agriculture sector.

Highlighting that diversification of agriculture is most critical, he said that it is imperative to find substitute of petrol, diesel using agro-waste which would be import-substitute, cost effective, pollution-free and indigenous.

Taking a dig at the previous government regime, Mr Gadkari said, n++Had the capital cost incurred on purchase of aircrafts worth Rs 70,000 crore been used to provide irrigation facilities to farmers, it would have made a huge difference to the agriculture sector.n++

He also said that states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Odisha are grappling with water shortage and facing grave issue of farmers suicides.

n++Unless and until, we have about 55 per cent of irrigated land and 60-65 per cent drip irrigation, no one can stop farmers suicides, this is the thumb rule,n++ said Mr Gadkari.

n++You can imagine, irrigation projects with investments worth about Rs three lakh crore have remained non-starter while all the water is flowing in the sea,n++ he added.

n++It is because our policies are wrong and the state governments do not have enough funds to strengthen irrigation systems,n++ he said further.

He said that, thus for the first time, the present government in the second years budget had allocated Rs 75,000 crore for a five year term and with a view to revive the irrigation offices of state governments that have remained shut to provide funds under the aegis of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana.

The union minister also said that there is a need to promote drip irrigation as it can help boost agriculture production by 2.5 times.

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The growth rate in Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) in rupee terms in June 2017 over June 2016 was 22.6%
Jul 19,2017

Ministry of Tourism estimates monthly Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) through tourism in India, both in rupee and dollar terms. Based on the credit data of Travel Head from Balance of Payments of RBI.

The highlights of the estimates of FEEs from tourism in India for June 2017 and Jan-June 2017 are as below:

Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) through tourism (in Rs. terms)

n++ FEEs during the month of June 2017 were Rs.13,088 crore as compared to Rs. 10,677 crore in June 2016 and Rs.9,564 crore in June 2015.

n++ The growth rate in FEEs in rupee terms in June 2017 over June 2016 was 22.6% compared to growth of 11.6% in June 2016 over June 2015.

n++ FEEs during the period January- June 2017 were Rs. 87,096 crore with a growth of 19.7%, as compared to the FEE of Rs.72,749 crore with a growth of 13.6% in January- June 2016 over January- June, 2015.

Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) through tourism (in US $ terms)

n++ FEEs in US$ terms during the month of June 2017 were US$ 2.031 billion as compared to FEEs of US$ 1.587 billion during the month of June 2016 and US$ 1.498 billion in June 2015.

n++ The growth rate in FEEs in US$ terms in June 2017 over June 2016 was 28.0% compared to a positive growth of 5.9% in June 2016 over June 2015.

n++ FEEs during the period January-June 2017 were US$ 13.230 billion with a growth of 22.3% as compared to the FEE of US$ 10.818 billion with a growth of 6.0% in January- June 2016 over January- June 2015.

Note: Estimates of FEEs are based on following factors:-

(i) Per capita FEEs during April-June 2016= RBIs credit figure for travel (April-June 16)/FTAs (April-June 16)

(ii) FTAs for June 2017.

(iii) Inflation factor based on CPI (U) for June 2017.

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22.5% Growth in Foreign Tourist arrivals in June 2017 over June 2016
Jul 19,2017

Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs):

n++ The number of FTAs in June, 2017 were 6.70 lakh as compared to FTAs of 5.47 lakh in June, 2016 and 5.12 lakh in June, 2015.

n++ The growth rate in FTAs in June, 2017 over June, 2016 is 22.5% compared to 6.8% in June, 2016 over June, 2015.

n++ FTAs during the period January- June 2017 were 48.85 lakh with a growth of 17.2%, as compared to the FTAs of 41.69 lakh with a growth of 8.4% in January- June 2016 over January- June 2015.

n++ The percentage share of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during June 2017 among the top 15 source countries was highest from Bangladesh (29.23%) followed by USA (19.70%), UK (6.14%), Malaysia (3.82%), Australia (2.56%), China (2.52%), Singapore (2.31%), Sri Lanka (2.24%), Japan (2.21%), Canada (2.19%), France (1.96%), Germany (1.92%), Nepal (1.84%), Republic of Korea (1.50%) and Afghanistan (0.98%).

n++ The percentage share of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during June 2017 among the top 15 ports was highest at Delhi Airport (22.16%) followed by Haridaspur Land Check Post (17.06%), Mumbai Airport (14.98%), Chennai Airport (9.06%), Bengaluru Airport (6.72%), Kolkata Airport (4.82%), Hyderabad Airport (4.37%), Cochin Airport (3.57%), Gede Rail Land Check Post (3.09%),Ghojadanga Land Check Post (2.08%), Tiruchirapalli Airport (1.93%), Ahmadabad Airport (1.60%), Trivandrum Airport (1.35%), Hilli Land Check Post (0.94%) and Changrabandha Land Check Post (0.86%).

Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) on e-Tourist Visa :

n++ During the month of June, 2017 total of 0.67 lakh tourist arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 0.37 lakh during the month of June 2016 registering a growth of 81.7%.

n++ During January-June 2017, a total of 7.17 lakh tourist arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 4.72 lakh during January-June 2016, registering a growth of 52.0%.

n++ The percentage shares of top 15 source countries availing e- Tourist Visa facilities during June, 2017 were as follows:

USA (17.7%), UK (10.8%), China (6.8%), Australia (5.2%), Singapore (5.1%), Korea (Rep.of) (4.5%), France (4.3%), Germany (3.9%), Canada (3.4%), Malaysia (2.6%), Spain (2.2%), South Africa (1.7%), Thailand (1.6%), Netherlands (1.5%) and Italy (1.4%).

n++ The percentage shares of top 15 ports in tourist arrivals on e-Tourist Visa during June, 2017 were as follows:

New Delhi Airport (42.4%), Mumbai Airport (20.6%), Chennai Airport (10.0%), Bengaluru Airport (9.2%), Kochi Airport (3.7%), Hyderabad Airport (3.3%), Kolkata Airport (2.8%), Tirchy Airport (1.8%), Ahmadabad Airport (1.4%), Trivandrum Airport (1.3%), Amritsar Airport (0.9%), Cochin Seaport( 0.7%), Dabolim (Goa) Airport (0.5%), Pune Airport(0.3%) and Jaipur Airport (0.3%).

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EFD has been entrusted with the responsibility of enforcement action on commercial banks
Jul 19,2017

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has informed that they have set up an Enforcement Department (EFD). EFD would serve as a centralised department to speed up regulatory compliance. EFD has been set up to separate those who oversee the possible rule breaches and those who decide on punitive actions so that enforcement process operates fairly and is evidence based.

The EFD has become functional with effect from April 03, 2017. The EFD has been entrusted with the responsibility of enforcement action on commercial banks.

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Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has constituted an Internal Advisory Committee (IAC)
Jul 19,2017

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has constituted an Internal Advisory Committee (IAC), which arrived at an objective, non-discretionary criterion for referring accounts for resolution under Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC). In particular, the IAC recommended for IBC reference all accounts with fund and non-fund based outstanding amount greater than Rs.5000 crore, with 60% or more classified as non-performing by banks as of March 31, 2016.

Accordingly, Reserve Bank of India has issued directions to certain banks for referring 12 accounts, qualifying under the aforesaid criteria, to initiate insolvency process under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016. As regards the other non-performing accounts which do not qualify under the above criteria, the IAC recommended that banks should finalize a resolution plan within six months. In cases where a viable resolution plan is not agreed upon within six months, banks should be required to file for insolvency proceedings under the IBC.

However, the names and details of borrowers are not disclosed as prescribed under section 45E of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Act, 1934 and Banking Laws, which provide for the obligation of a bank or financial institution to maintain secrecy about the affairs of its constituents.

In respect of the above-mentioned 12 accounts, Reserve Bank of India has advised the banks to make provisions as under:

n++The minimum provisions required to be maintained against the said accounts would be the higher of the following:

(a) 50 per cent for secured portion of the outstanding balance plus 100 percent for the unsecured portion.

(b) Provisions required to be maintained as per the extant Asset classification norms.n++

The additional provisions, as required in each case, should be proportionately spread over the remaining quarters of the current financial year, starting Q2, so that the required provisions are fully in place by March, 2018.

The effect of the provisioning requirement prescribed in respect of the said 12 accounts would vary for each account and for the respective banks depending upon the current asset classification, current provisions held, security coverage, etc.

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Mou Signed between Department of Defence Production and HSL
Jul 19,2017

Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL), a Schedule B Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) under the administrative control of Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the financial year 2017-18 with the Ministry. The annual MoU was signed between Secretary (Defence Production) Shri Ashok Kumar Gupta on behalf of the Ministry of Defence and Chairman and Managing Director HSL Rear Adm (Retd) LV Sarat Babu.

The MoU, outlines targets on various performance parameters for the company during the year. The revenue from operations has been targeted at Rs 600 Crore.

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MoU Signed Between Department Of Defence Production And GRSE
Jul 19,2017

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Secretary (Defence Production) Shri Ashok Kumar Gupta on behalf of the Ministry of Defence and Chairman and Managing Director (CMD), Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Limited (GRSE) Rear Adm (Retd) VK Saxena. The MoU details the targets and achievements expected on various MoU performance indicators of the company during 2017-18.

The company has targeted to achieve a turnover of ₹ 1350 crore which is about 40 percent more than actual achievements of last financial year (2016-17).

During the current year, the company planned to spend ₹ 50 crore as CAPEX for further strengthening the infrastructure facilities including improving the design capabilities for construction of P-17A ships.

As part of Make in India initiative of the Government, GRSE has set a target to develop Indigenous Capability and Infrastructure for Assembly, Test & Trial of Marine Diesel Engines, at its Engine Plant at Ranchi, during the current financial year.

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