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Eight core infrastructure sector output rises 5.0% in September 2016
Nov 01,2016

The Eight Core Infrastructure Industries comprising nearly 38% of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) has recorded 5.0% growth in its output in September 2016 over September 2015.

Its cumulative output growth was 4.6% during April to September 2016-17.

Coal production (weight: 4.38%) declined by 5.8% in September 2016 over September 2015. Its cumulative index during April to September 2016-17 increased by 1.2% over corresponding period of previous year.

Crude Oil production (weight: 5.22%) declined by 4.1% in September 2016 over September 2015. Its cumulative index during April to September 2016-17 declined by 3.3% over the corresponding period of previous year.

The Natural Gas production (weight: 1.71%) declined by 5.5% in September 2016 over September 2015. Its cumulative index during April to September 2016-17 declined by 4.4% over the corresponding period of previous year.

Petroleum Refinery production (weight: 5.94%) increased by 9.3% in September 2016 over September 2015. Its cumulative index during April to September 2016-17 increased by 7.9% over the corresponding period of previous year.

Fertilizer production (weight: 1.25%) increased by 2.0% in September 2016 over September 2015. Its cumulative index during April to September 2016-17 increased by 5.6% over the corresponding period of previous year.

Steel production (weight: 6.68%) increased by 16.3% in September 2016 over September 2015. Its cumulative index during April to September 2016-17 increased by 7.2% over the corresponding period of previous year.

Cement production (weight: 2.41%) increased by 5.5% in September 2016 over September 2015. Its cumulative index during April to September 2016-17 increased by 4.5% over the corresponding period of previous year.

Electricity generation (weight: 10.32%) increased by 2.2% in September 2016 over September 2015. Its cumulative index during April to September 2016-17 increased by 5.1% over the corresponding period of previous year.

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Crop-Specific Infrastructure Creation Scheme Soon - Food Processing Minister
Oct 28,2016

A scheme for crop specific infrastructure creation is to be introduced shortly, stated Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Minister of Food Processing Industries, at the 6th Cold Chain Summit organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in association with the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Ministry of Agriculture and National Center for Cold Chain Development (NCCD).

The Minister said that the scheme would enable farmers to become entrepreneurs and start their own food processing or cold chain transportation ventures. Cold chain development would contribute to the target of doubling farmers incomes, reduce waste, and strengthen the agri supply chains.

Badal added that with FDI in place, farm produce could be directly linked with retail outlets. She suggested creation of FPOs (Farmer Producer Organisation) for crop specific clusters for top agri and horticultural produce in the states. The Minister asked CII to create a task force to link these FPOs to Industry.

S.K. Pattanayak, Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, urged more investments in the agriculture sector and highlighted the necessity for cold chains. He added that the Government has several schemes for post harvest management and development, including cold chains.

J P Meena, Additional Secretary, MoFPI, outlined the impact of the GST regime on the food sector and associated cold chain infrastructure. He urged industry to adapt to the impending changing regime to maximize efficiencies.

T. Nanda Kumar, Former Chairman National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), Chairman-CII Jury Cold Chain Awards, called for right infrastructure support to the food processing industry. The industry needs better quality raw material both in terms of intrinsic quality and in terms of food safety. He also urged for the need of business models which are purely not price arbitrage, but will give larger benefits to farmers and which will reduce wastage and increase turnover.

Pawanexh Kohli, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Advisor, National Centre for Cold Chain Development, stated the need to increase farmers opportunity to sell more, and linking them to more markets.

Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, Confederation of Indian Industry, mentioned that CII has been working on building a strong service portfolio in cold chain and will continue to engage in training and capacity building activities, promote partnerships to strengthen the cold chain infrastructure in the country, and develop post- harvest management protocols as avenues for strengthening crop - specific cold chain infrastructure.

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84,460 more affordable houses for urban poor sanctioned for five States
Oct 28,2016

Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation has approved construction of 84,460 more affordable houses for urban poor under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana(Urban) in five States with a total investment of Rs.3,073 cr for which Central Assistance of Rs.1,256 cr has been approved.

To be built under the Beneficiary Led Construction component of PMAY (Urban), West Bengal has been sanctioned 47,379 houses with an investment of Rs.1,918 cr for which Central Assistance of Rs.711 cr has been approved.

    Punjab got 15,209 houses sanctioned with an investment of Rs.424 cr and Central Assistance of Rs. 217 cr.

    Jharkhand has been sanctioned 12,814 houses at a total cost of Rs.464 cr with Central Assistance of Rs.192 cr.

    Kerala got 5,968 houses with an investment of Rs.179 cr for which Central Assistance of Rs.89 cr has been approved.

    Manipur, for the first time has got 3,090 houses approved for construction with a total investment of Rs.88 cr with Central Assistance of Rs.46 cr.

Under the Beneficiary Led Construction component of PMAY (Urban), each eligible beneficiary belonging to Economically Weaker Sections is provided Central Assistance of Rs.1.50 lakh for expansion/upgradation of existing house as per the Guidelines.

            With these approvals, the details of affordable houses approved for the benefit of urban poor in these five States, under the four different components of PMAY (Urban) so far are:

StateTotal houses approvedTotal investment involved (Rs. Cr)Total Central Assistance

so far approved (Rs. Cr)

West Bengal1,22,2594,9461,834Jharkhand   52,9861,919  795Punjab  26,563   745  369Kerala  15,267   442  220Manipur    3,090     88    46

   With these latest approvals, a total of 10,95,804 affordable houses have been approved during the last one year under PMAY (Urban) with a total investment of Rs. 62,740 cr for which Central Assistance of Rs.16,289 cr has been approved.

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Himachal Pradesh declared Indias Second Open Defecation Free State
Oct 28,2016

The State of Himachal Pradesh was today declared Open Defecation Free (ODF), making it the second State in the country (after Sikkim) to achieve the feat.

With this, Himachal Pradesh has successfully achieved a total rural sanitation coverage of 100% in the State, with all 12 out of 12 districts in the State being both, declared as well as verified, as ODF.

Speaking at the occasion Chief Minister, Shri Virbhadra Singh, said that he was very happy and proud that his State was the first large State in the country to have achieved this milestone. He said that the State of Himachal Pradesh would be very happy to share lessons that they have learnt in this journey with other States to help realize the vision of a Swachh Bharat.

Addressing the gathering, the Union Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, said that Himachal Pradesh would not have been able to lay claim to this landmark achievement if making sanitation a priority had not become a jan aandolan, a peoples movement, in the State.

He said that he was very confident that it was thanks to the people of Himachal Pradesh that not only had the State achieved the ODF Status, but would be able to sustain it in the future as well.

The Union Ministry for Health and Family Welfare, Shri JP Nadda, in his address, said that as Himachal Pradesh was also his home State, this was an occasion that brought double joy to him. He also spoke about the close relationship between access to sanitation and good health for rural India. He said that the two Union Ministries will work closely together to achieve convergence in the pursuit of a Swachh and healthy India.

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Cargo Commitments for Multimodal Terminal at Haldia
Oct 28,2016

The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has received a commitment for transport of 5.92 million tons (MTs) of cargo volume per annum through the Multimodal Terminal at Haldia by the year 2018. This follows a series of consultations IWAI held at Haldia with various industries, firms, shipping lines, cargo operators, shippers and manufacturers. The main items for which commitments have been received are fly-ash, edible oil, vegetable oil, gypsum, etc. Fly-ash is expected to be the major cargo with a commitment of 3.8 MT followed by vegetable oil (0.63 MT), cement (0.36 MT), among others.

IWAI is to construct a Multimodal Terminal at Haldia under Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) which is being implemented with the technical and financial support of the World Bank at a cost of Rs. 4200 crore for augmenting navigation on Haldia-Varanasi segment of the National Waterway-1. To construct the terminal, land measuring 61 acres has been taken on lease at Haldia Dock Complex from Kolkata Port Trust. The terminal is located in the Coastal Regulatory Zone and requires CRZ clearance from the West Bengal Coastal Zone Management Authority. Construction work of the terminal would commence soon after CRZ clearance is received.

Addition to Haldia, two Multimodal Terminals are being constructed under JMVP. Construction has commenced at the Varanasi terminal and Sahibganj terminal has been awarded on 14th Oct, 2016. The completion of JMVP would ensure commercial navigation of vessels with capacity of 1500-2,000 DWT Tonnage on National Waterway-1.

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PNB Housing Finance Linkages with the Parent Remains Strong
Oct 28,2016

PNB Housing Finances (PNBHFL; IND AAA/Stable) linkages with its parent Punjab National Bank (PNB; IND AAA/Stable) is likely to remain strong even post the initial public offer, says India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra). The current rating of PNBHFL reflects Ind-Ras expectation of continued support from PNB.

PNBHF is planning to raise INR30bn through an IPO, the proceeds of which will be used to support its growth plans. Post the planned issuance, PNBs stake in the company would settle at around 37%-39% from 51%. Ind-Ra expects the reduced shareholding will not materially alter the strong linkages between PNB and PNBHFL.

PNB housing shares its brand name with the bank and the latter has management control as well. PNB has the authority to appoint the MD for the company and the majority of the executive directors of PNBHFL are deputed from the bank. These linkages are expected to continue post the IPO. PNB will continue to remain the single largest shareholder over the medium term.

PNBHFL offers PNB a strong foothold in the fast expanding housing finance segment which is complementarity to their respective customer segments. PNBHFLs loan book grew at a CAGR of 60% over FY13-FY16, while its profit after tax grew at a CAGR of 53% over the same period.

Ind-Ra will take appropriate action on the rating/outlook in case of a shift in PNBs willingness to support PNBHFL (e.g. by way of equity/funding/liquidity/branding). Any announcement of a significant stake sale by PNB, to the extent that it ceases to remain PNBHFLs largest shareholder and/or relinquishes control can also trigger a negative rating action on PNBHFL. A negative rating action can also result from a substantial weakening of PNBHFLs credit profile.

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Platinum and diamond jewellery preferred choice this Diwali, Dhanteras: ASSOCHAM Survey
Oct 28,2016

Diamond studded or platinum jewellery is leading the trend this Diwali on the back of growing change in the mind set of women, particularly those working , away from their important role of homemakers, who take jewellery more as a daily wearable than buying gold as investment avenue, an ASSOCHAM survey based on jewellers and consumer feedback has noted.

High gold prices and innovations on the part of jewellery firms, especially the large houses, is driving the change in the fashion trend. Even within gold jewellery, the trend is seen on lower cost wearables, though more needs to be done to tempt consumers. Small items like earring, rings and light bangles see heavy demand.

The survey, which comes on the eve of Dhanteras, found that 79 per cent jewellers are focusing on platinum-based diamond jewellery over traditional pure play gold and silver ornaments to tap the changing preferences of consumers. The demand for diamond jewellery is estimated to have grown by 30-35 per cent this season year on year Platinum too has seen an excellent growth of 25% this year, the survey said.

The survey covered 350 jewellery-makers based in Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Ahemdabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Chandigarh and Dehradun.

ASSOCHAM also interacted with about 500 working and non-working women in Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi-NCR and Mumbai to gauge their shopping habits during Dhanteras.

With high import duty and increased base price, the investment oriented consumers are seen less in the bullion market, while the business model is moving towards the wearable jewellery , easy on the pocket, even though it may not have too much of weight.

n++That is the real challenge.....Can they (jewellers) sell some decent jewellery for say, Rs 5,000-10,000 or between Rs 15,000-20,000. That is where the demand lies, ASSOCHAM Chairman of Gold Council said today.

The overall share of platinum and diamond based jewellery in the market is expected to take on a significant share of the gold jewellery sales in the near future, reports say. Demand for diamond jewellery seems to have increased by 30-35 percent on year on year basis, reports suggest

The jewellery makers using diamond and platinum are investing heavily in coming out with new designs, reflecting changing consumer taste, international trends and affordability. Even antique designs are being done in this segment, the survey noted.

One of the reasons jewellers losing interest in gold is a high level of policy regulation and tax issues like mandatory quoting of the Permanent Account Number of Income Tax, the traders in the precious metals said.

During Dhanteras the sales of gold and silver along with other metals is expected to pick up, though the mix and ratio among different precious metals may change. The share of platinum and diamond jewellery in the overall gold jewellery has increased significantly over the past one year.

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GSTN signs MoU with DGFT for sharing of foreign exchange realisation data
Oct 28,2016

The Goods and Services Network (GSTN) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) for sharing of foreign exchange realisation and Import Export code data, a move that is expected to strengthen processing of export transactions of taxpayers under GST, increase transparency and reduce human interface.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Shri Ajay K Bhalla, Director General of Foreign Trade and Shri Prakash Kumar, CEO, GSTN on 27 October 16. An electronic bank realisation certificate (eBRC) captures transaction level details of foreign exchange realised in India. The eBRC project implemented by DGFT created an integrated platform for receipt, processing and subsequent use of all Bank Realization related information by exporters, banks, central and state government departments. The e-BRC project enabled banks to upload foreign exchange realisation information related to exports on to the DGFT server under a secured protocol.

So far 100 banks operating in India, including foreign banks and cooperative banks have uploaded more than 1.9 Crore e-BRCs on to the DGFT server.

Sharing of data

1. eBRC data has proved to be a significant step in reducing the transaction cost of exporters. A Bank Realisation Certificate (BRC) is required for discharge of export obligation and claiming of incentives under Foreign Trade Policy. Its is also used by state government departments for refund of VAT. In addition, it is an important economic indicator as it quantifies transaction level export earnings.

2. DGFT has signed MOUs with 14 state governments and 2 central government agencies for sharing of the data.

3. At the state level, Commercial Tax Departments of 14 states have signed MoU with DGFT for receiving e-BRC data for VAT refund purposes. These are: (i) Maharashtra, (ii) Delhi, (iii) Andhra Pradesh,(iv) Odisha, (v) Chhattisgarh, (vi) Haryana, (vii) Tamil Nadu, (viii) Karnataka, (ix) Gujarat, (x) Uttar Pradesh, (xi) Madhya Pradesh, (xii) Kerala, (xiii) Goa, (xiv) Bihar.

In addition, Ministry of Finance, Enforcement Directorate and Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority have signed MoU with DGFT for receiving e-BRC data.

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Cabinet approves Cadre Review of Indian Posts & Telecommunications Accounts and Finance Service Group n++An++
Oct 28,2016

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved the first Cadre Review of Indian Posts & Telecommunications Accounts and Finance Service (IP&TAFS) with the following salient features:

(a) Reduction of the total strength of the cadre from 420 to 376.

(b) Creation of one Apex level post of Controller General of Communication Accounts (CGCA).

(c) Creation of one additional HAG+ level post taking the grade strength to 2.

(d) Creation of two additional HAG level posts taking the grade strength from 6 to 8.

(e) Creation of 18 additional SAG level posts taking the grade strength from 37 to 55.

(f) Reduction in JAG level posts from 111 to 90.

(g) Reduction in STS level posts from 198 to 86.

(h) Creation of 21 JTS level posts taking the grade strength from 67 to 88.

(i) Creation of 46 Posts to be operated as Reserves

Background:

Indian Posts & Telecommunications Accounts and Finance Service Group An++ was constituted in 1972 and caters to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and the Department of Posts (DoP).

In Department of Telecommunications, the IP&TAFS performs the functions of assessment and collection of license fee/ spectrum usage charges, spectrum auction, USO scheme monitoring and subsidy management, exchequer control, budgeting, accounting, pension disbursement, internal audit and finance advice. In the Department of Posts, the IP&TAFS is entrusted with the functions of finance advice, budgeting, tariff and costing, accounting and internal audit.

There has been a paradigm shift in the role of Department of Telecommunications as well as the Department of Posts in recent years. In the Telecom sector, the role of the Department of Telecommunications has transformed from primarily being a Service provider, Regulator and Policy maker into the present structure whereby the Department is primarily responsible for Policy making, Licensing and Universal Service Obligation. Receipts from Department of Telecommunications, primarily License Fee, Spectrum Usage Charges and Spectrum Auction Value constitute one of the largest source of non-tax revenue for the Government of India.

Similarly, the bundle of services offered by Department of Posts has undergone a quantitative and qualitative change and the Department has ventured into areas of retailing, banking, insurance, digitizing operations etc. Further, the audit mechanism in both the Departments needs to be strengthened.

These facts coupled with the stagnation in various grades of the service necessitated a review of the structure of IP&TAFS.

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Extension of the validity of Central Order regarding de-hoarding of sugar upto April 2017
Oct 28,2016

The Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for extending the validity of the existing Central Order in respect of Sugar for a further period of six months from 29 October 2016 to 28 April 2017.

The main objective of the decision is to enable the State Governments to issue control order with the prior concurrence of Central Government, for fixing stock limits/licensing requirements in respect of sugar, whenever need is felt by them. This is expected to help in the efforts being taken to improve the availability of these commodities to general public at reasonable rates, and control the tendencies of hoarding and profiteering.

Background

The Cabinet in its meeting held on 27 April 2016, decided to enable the States to regulate supply, distribution, sale, production, stock, storage, purchase and movement etc. in respect of sugar for a period up to six months up to 28 October 2016. Accordingly, vide Notification No. GSR 1584(E) dated 29 April 2016, Department of Consumer Affairs issued the Removal of (Licensing requirements, Stock limits and Movement Restrictions) on specified Foodstuffs Amendment Order, 2016 for enabling the State Government to impose stock limits on sugar upto 28 October 2016. Subsequently, the said Order was merged with all the existing Orders in respect of essential commodities and a consolidated Order G.S.R. 929(E) dated 29th September 2016 was issued. It has been noticed that the average retail price of sugar has escalated in the recent past, in-spite of adequate availability of sugar stock with the mills. The price rise appears artificial as being mainly due to hoarding of sugar by traders/sugar dealers etc. Such situations in past were dealt with exercising the powers to regulate stock holding limits etc. for sugar. The validity of the current Order in respect of sugar is expiring on 28.10.2016 which caused the reason for further extension of the validity of Central Order GSR No. 929(E) dated 29 September 2016 in respect of sugar up to 28 April 2017.

The current decision will be notified by the Central Government and will be communicated to all the States/UTs. The States/UTs may exercise the powers and issue control orders with prior concurrence of the Central Government.

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Cabinet approves release of instalment of DA to Central Government employees and DR to Pensioners due from 01 July 2016
Oct 27,2016

The Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to release an instalment of Dearness Allowance (DA) to Central Government employees and Dearness Relief (DR) to Pensioners w.e.f. 01 July 2016 representing an increase of 2% of the revised Basic Pay/Pension, to compensate for price rise. The increase is in accordance with the accepted formula, which is based on the recommendations of the 7th Central Pay Commission.

The combined impact on the exchequer on account of both Dearness Allowance and Dearness Relief would be Rs. 5622.10 crore per annum and in the Financial Year 2016-17 for the period of 8 months (i.e. from July 2016 to February 2017), it would be Rs.3748.06 crore. About 50.68 lakh Government employees and 54.24 lakh pensioners will be benefitted.

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Cabinet approves establishment of National Academic Depository
Oct 27,2016

The Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has accorded its approval for establishment and operationalisation of a National Academic Depository (NAD). The decision aims at bringing another dimension and enhancement of the vision of Digital India.

The NAD would be established and operationalised within the next three months and would be rolled out throughout the country in 2017-18.

The Finance Ministers Budget Speech of 2016-17, in February this year, incorporated this commitment to establish a Digital Depository for school learning certificates, degrees and other academic awards of Higher Education Institutions, on the pattern of a Securities Depository.

The NAD would be operationalised by NSDL Database Management (NDML) and CDSL Ventures, (CVL) - two of the wholly owned subsidiaries of the Depositories registered under Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Act, 1992.

Academic institutions would be responsible for the authenticity of data digitally uploaded by them into the system. The depositories will ensure the integrity of the data in the NAD. The NAD will register educational institutions/boards/eligibility assessment bodies, students and other users/verifying entities like banks, employer companies, government agencies and academic institutions.

It will provide digital or a printed copy of the academic award with security features to the students or other authorized users. NAD will verify academic awards online on the same day of request initiated by any authorized user.

Requests for access to academic awards, for example, from potential employers, and academic institutions would be only on the basis of consent of the student.

NAD shall maintain the authenticity, integrity and confidentiality of its database. It will also train and facilitate academic institutions/boards/ eligibility assessment bodies to efficiently lodge academic awards in the database.

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Cabinet approves Agreement between India and Estonia on the transfer of sentenced persons
Oct 27,2016

The Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for signing and ratification of an Agreement between India and Estonia on the transfer of sentenced persons.

Signing the Agreement shall facilitate the Indian prisoners imprisoned in Estonia or vice-versa to be near to their families, for serving remaining part of their sentence and shall facilitate their social rehabilitation.

Background:

Prior to 2004, there was no domestic Legislation under which foreign prisoners could be transferred to the country of their origin to serve the remaining part of their sentence, nor was there a provision for the transfer of prisoners of Indian origin convicted by a foreign court to serve their sentence in India. The transfer of such prisoners to their own native countries shall facilitate their social rehabilitation.

Hence, the Repatriation of Prisoners Act, 2003 was enacted for serving the above purpose. For achieving the objectives of the Act, a Treaty/Agreement is required to be signed with countries having mutual interest with India and later to the notified in the Official Gazette.

The Government of India has so far signed bilateral Agreements on Transfer of Sentenced Persons with United Kingdom, Mauritius, Bulgaria, France, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Bangladesh, Brazil, Israel, Bosnia & Herzegovina, UAE, Italy, Turkey, Maldives-, Thailand, Russian Federation, Kuwait, Viet Nam, Australia, Hong Kong, Qatar, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Bahrain. So far total 65 prisoners have been exchanged, out of which 55 were Indians.

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Cabinet approves New Productivity Linked Reward Scheme for all Major Port Trusts and Dock Labour Board employees/workers for years 2015-16 to 2017-18
Oct 27,2016

The Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to New Productivity Linked Reward Scheme for all Major Port Trusts and Dock Labour Board employees/workers for the years 2015-16 to 2017-18.

The new PLR scheme applicable from 2015-2016 to 2017-2018 will benefit about 37870 Port and Dock workers/employees in all the Major Port Trusts and the yearly outgo will be Rs. 49.58 crore.

Ministry of Shipping has formulated a New Productivity Linked Reward (PLR) Scheme for all Major Port Trusts and Dock Labour Board employees/workers for the years 2015-16 to 2017-18. PLR will be calculated on the enhanced wage ceiling for calculation of Bonus at Rs. 7000/- per month. PLR shall be paid annually on the basis of 50% weightage given to all India Performance and 50% weightage given to the individual Port Performance. The arrear payments of PLR for the year 2014-15 to the employees/workers by the Major Port Trusts and Dock Labour Board will be calculated on the enhanced wage ceiling of Rs.7000/- per month for calculation of Bonus instead of Rs.3500/- per month on the existing methodology of combined All India Port Performance.

For the year 2014-15, an amount of Rs 25.93 crore has already been paid to about 41,492 Major Ports & Dock workers/employees as per wage ceiling of Rs.3500/-. The total additional outgo for all Major Ports & Dock workers/employees on account of payment of arrear of PLR for the year 2014-15 as per enhanced wage ceiling of Rs. 7000/- will be about Rs. 25.93 crore.

There is an existing scheme of Productivity Linked Reward (PLR) for the employees/workers of Major Port Trusts and Dock Labour Board, wherein Productivity Linked Reward (PLR) was granted on yearly basis based on the settlement arrived at between Management and the Labour Federations of the Major Port Trusts.

The new PLR Scheme will foster better industrial relationship and congenial work atmosphere in the Port Sector, apart from stimulating better productivity.

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Cabinet approves one time relaxation in the cost norms and guidelines of MIDH
Oct 27,2016

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for one time relaxation of Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) cost norms for implementation of PMs Special package for Jammu & Kashmir towards restoration of damaged horticulture areas and development of horticulture in State. CCEA approved the following:

a. Import of planting material at the maximum rate of Rs.460 per plant for 329 hectares of new apple orchards and restoration of 3900 hectares of old damaged apple orchards. The rate of financial assistance shall be 90% i.e 90% shall be borne by the Government and 10% by the beneficiary farmer.

b. Import of 4 wire trellis system at the rate of Rs.9.8 lakh per ha for 329 ha of new apple orchards. The rate of financial assistance shall be 50% i.e. 50% shall be borne by the Government and 50% by the beneficiary farmer.

c. Applicability of MIDH cost norms for the interventions approved for implementation of PMs Package in J&K till financial year 2018-19.

d. Additional fund requirement of Rs. 111.89 crore, Rs. 171.66 crore, and 166.48 crore amounting to Rs. 450 crore in FY 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 respectively as 90% Government of India share in the overall package of Rs.500 crore.

PMs special package for J&K included Rs.500 crore towards restoration of damaged horticulture areas and development of horticulture in the State.

One time relaxation in MIDH cost norms was approved for import of special varieties of plants for better survival, early flowering and enhanced fruiting apple planting materials and four wire trellies system which may increase the productivity 3-4 times.

It will benefit about 21,000 orchardists located in more than 491 villages where horticulture areas of more than 5200 ha. was severely damaged by floods/landslides in September 2014.

CCEA approval would help in setting up of 329 ha of new apple orchards and restoration of 3900 ha of damaged orchards over a period of 3 years with overall financial implication of Rs. 500 crores with Rs. 450 crores as central share.

High and medium density apple plantation would generate round the year employment for 3300 and 18,000-20,000 people respectively. These initiatives will also result in employment in allied sectors such as grading/packing units. CA/Cold storage units and transportation sector etc. As the high density plantation involves technology and regular up keep of orchards, therefore, it will also result in wage enhancement n overall horticulture sector due to the increase in the farmers income as a result of the increase productivity.

It may be recalled that in 2014, the State had suffered due to the devastating floods of September, 2014. The infrastructure was destroyed due to floods. After the floods, the Prime Minister visited Kashmir on 23rd October, 2014 to spend time with those who were affected by floods and understand their problems and status of their relief and rehabilitation work. He met many delegations, from political parties, from trade representatives, from NGOs and citizens groups.

During his visit he talked about improving road connectivity and overall development of the State. He also announced to provide Rs.570 Cr. under Prime Ministers National Relief Fund (PMNRF) for providing assistance for construction of houses of the affected families. An amount of Rs. 565 Cr. has been already provided to 2.18 lakh affected families directly through their bank accounts.

The Government of India has been working on post flood long term reconstruction measures to improve the infrastructure in the State. The Government has been proposing to work towards development of key infrastructure in thrust sectors like Power, Health, Roads and Highways, Tourism, Textile, Food processing, HRD and Water resources etc.

Considering above, and the commitment for development of the State of J&K, the Honble PM on his visit to J&K State on 07.11.2015 announced Prime Ministers Development Package for the State of J&K with financial assistance of over Rs.80,000 Cr.

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