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Atal Pension Yojana (APY) reaches 53 lakhs subscribers base
May 26,2017

The subscribers base under the Atal Pension Yojana (APY) has reached about 53 Lakhs. At present 235 Banks and Department of Post are involved with the implementation of the scheme. Besides the branches of the banks and CBS-enabled offices of India Post, quite a few banks are sourcing subscribers through their internet banking portals in a paperless environment.

The APY Scheme follows the same investment pattern as applicable to the NPS contribution of Central Government employees. During the year 2016-17, it has earned a return of 13.91%.

With a view to empower the APY subscribers, new functionalities have been developed where under a subscriber can view and print the ePRAN card and Statement of Transactions.

Presently males account for 62% of the subscribers and female for about 38%. Most of the subscribers have opted for monthly contribution; about 97.5% of the subscribers are contributing at monthly intervals, about 0.8% at quarterly intervals and about 1.7% at half yearly intervals.

A majority of the subscribers have opted for a monthly pension of Rs. 1000/-. Presently 51.5% subscribers have opted for a monthly pension of Rs.1000/- and 34.5% of the subscribers have opted for a monthly pension of Rs.5000.

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FICCI calls for Strong Blue Economy Ties with Pacific Island Nations
May 26,2017

India engages with the Pacific Island Countries on a wide range of issues including climate change. Forum for India Pacific Islands Co-operation (FIPIC) was formed in November 2014, to strengthen Indias relationship with the Pacific Island Countries. The first FIPIC summit was held at the level of Heads of Government in November 2014 in Suva, Fiji, followed by the FIPIC-II summit held in August 2015, in Jaipur, India.

Blue Economy has increasingly occupied a central place in international discourse on oceanic affairs.

n++Blue Economy needs to secure sustainable management and protection of marine and coastal ecosystems, while achieving inclusive economic growthn++, said Ambassador Anup Mudgal, Member, FICCI Task Force on Blue Economy & Former Indian High Commissioner to Mauritius.

There is a need for these island nations a balanced approach, combining imperatives for growth and sustainability. The focus of the sessions would be to stress on the value of Public-Private Partnership for generating additional investment, deploying technology for optimal development of Blue Economic opportunities for India Inc and its international partners and capacity building including MSME development, education and a skills repository.

Following Honble PM Shri Narendra Modis policy initiative SAGAR - Security and Growth for All in the Region, FICCI has created a Special Task Force on Blue Economy to explore Indias business engagement with ocean neighbours.

The Task Force has had several stakeholder consultations throughout India especially coastal areas to understand the economic potential of Blue Economy.

The potential for economic ties with FIPIC will be explored during

FICCI will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF). PIDF is Pacifics first and truly representative and participatory platform with a mission to enable Green-Blue Pacific economies through inclusive strategies, multi-stakeholder governance, and genuine partnerships. The MoU aims to strengthen Indias economic and strategic engagement with the Pacific Islands countries and promote trade and investment relations, exchange of information, cooperate in identifying and discussing areas with export/import potential amongst many others.

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Fitch: OPEC Deal to Cut Oil Inventories, But Shale Key Long-Term
May 26,2017

OPECs decision to extend production cuts by nine months should provide some support for oil prices around the average year-to-date levels and help digest a significant part of excessive inventories during the rest of the year, Fitch Ratings says. However, a production surplus could return in 2018 if the deal is not rolled over again, as new projects continue to come online and US shale production is set to grow.

The extension, which also includes Russia and other non-OPEC countries, was widely expected and had already been factored into oil prices. Brent slipped below USD53/bbl after news of the agreement broke.

We believe average annual prices for the year are likely to remain around USD50-55/bbl for Brent, given impressive US shale production growth, and potentially worse compliance with the output cuts than in 1H17. US production could be up to 800-1,000mbpd higher year on year by end-2017. This is half of the roughly 1,800mbpd taken off the market by the OPEC-led cuts.

The deal originally agreed in November 2016 has had mixed results. Compliance rates among OPEC members have been unprecedentedly high, and based on IEA data for 1Q17 global consumption exceeded production by 300mbpd.

But there has been little visible impact on excess stocks, as the deficit has probably been covered, largely from less transparent non-OECD and floating storage. We estimate that in 2H17 the deficit could average 600-800mbpd. However, it may be lower if demand underwhelms, OPEC compliance deteriorates significantly, US production growth proves more robust, or if Libya and Nigeria are able to increase production faster than expected.

OPECs appetite to extend cuts further into 2018 may be reduced if crude stocks remain resilient and market prices subdued. OPEC could decide to return production to pre-cut levels as the cartel may not want to lose its market share and look to raise revenues through volumetric growth.

Fitchs base case expectation is that the market will gradually recover, leading to Brent crude market prices in the mid-USD50 range in 2018 and at around USD60 in 2019. This is likely to come from a combination of steady demand growth and an improvement in crude stocks.

Non-shale non-OPEC production, which has been resilient so far, is likely to require material reinvestment in new and existing projects over the coming years. Long-term oil prices will depend on whether US shale, with its short investment cycle, will be able to fill any potential supply gaps in 2019-2020. Our current long-term assumption is USD65/bbl for Brent.

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Power Ministry Proposes Compensation for Grid Curtailment; Positive for Renewables
May 26,2017

The government has proposed a compensation mechanism for existing renewable energy projects, which will protect the cash flows to an extent from grid curtailments says India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra). Ind-Ra believes that if the proposal is adopted this will also ensure a favourable operational environment for renewable energy projects. The proposal if adopted will be positive for wind and solar energy developers.

The absence of clarity on two possible reasons for grid curtailment - low system demand and grid security- could however pose new challenges for developers. Further clarity by the authority/utilities to define the terms and spell out when these measures will need to be opted for could allay possible apprehensions of the developers and make the process more transparent.

Historically, Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) signed for renewable energy projects have failed to address the grid issues and lacked a mechanism to compensate for energy loss. Ind-Ra estimates that the annual debt service coverage ratio (DSCR) slips by 0.12x for 10% of energy curtailment and the 50% proposed compensation at PPA tariff, will restrict the fall by half (at 0.06x). The developers have bridged any cash flow shortfall in debt service through a combination of or individually tapping debt service reserve or drawing working capital limits or sponsor support.

At the conference of Power, Renewable Energy and Mines Ministers of States and UTs held on 3-4 May, 2017 the same was proposed as the framework for awarding compensation for existing renewable projects in case of grid curtailment. The provision for curtailment is proposed to be applicable only to renewable power plants providing day-ahead forecast and schedule. The compensation is suggested to be part of the PPA provision for future projects. Decisions on curtailment are recommended to be made on considering the balancing cost for accepting renewable energy in the grid, where major balancing cost will be additional cost to run thermal plants below their technical limits. For existing projects, the compensation mechanism may be notified by the respective Electricity Regulatory Commission.

The recent reverse auction of 750MW solar capacity in Rewa solar bid included the provisions for compensation for deemed generation in case of curtailment. The recommended PPA format for future wind and solar projects should also include provisions for curtailment compensation.

In the proposed framework, it is unclear which situations will be identified as low system demand incidences, since the network operators have the option to shut down a thermal plant which is falling below its technical minimum operating level. For example, Tamil Nadu discom reportedly shuts down one or two of the state owned thermal plants during high wind season to enable full evacuation of wind power generation. There is a possibility of utilities taking refuge under the low system demand and curtail high costs renewables to save costs leading to reduced cash flows. Ind-Ra believes that utilities should project demand for the next six months to one year along with definition of low system demand for example a 15% dip from the projection and that could be defined as low system demand. This transparent process could allay the fears of developers when actually the demand plummets.

Ind-Ra believes that the compensation to renewable projects will incentivise grid operators and distribution utilities to reduce curtailments, will benefit renewable energy developers in scheduling and forecasting and enable integration of increasing renewable energy capacity. In FY17, grid curtailment was prevalent for wind projects in Rajasthan (up to even 45% energy curtailed compared to P90 plant load factor) and solar projects in Tamil Nadu.

The falling levelised cost of energy of renewable energy in the current national energy surplus situation fuels the debate of gaps in implementation of n++must-run statusn++ of renewable energy compared to merit order dispatch of conventional energy. n++Must run statusn++ of renewable projects emanates from India Electricity Grid Code notified by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission and adopted by the State Electricity Regulatory Commissions.

The share of renewable energy in the Indian power market is set to rise, given the projected renewable capacity addition.

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Proposed GST Tax rates would be lesser than the prevailing taxes in case of Sugar, Tea and Coffee (other than instant coffee) and Milk Powder
May 25,2017

Proposed GST Tax rates would be much lesser than the prevailing incidence of taxes in case of Sugar, Tea and Coffee (other than instant coffee) and Milk Powder. Details in this regard are as follows:

1. Sugar: Sugar attracts specific central excise duty of Rs.71 per quintal plus Sugar Cess of Rs.124 per quintal, which translates to ad valorem rate of more than 6%. Including incidence on account of account of CST, octroi, and entry tax etc., the present total tax incidence would work out to more than 8%. As against this, the proposed GST rate on sugar is only 5% i.e. 3% less than present incidence of taxes.

2. Tea and coffee (other than instant coffee): Tea and coffee attract Nil central excise duty and VAT rate of 5%. Considering embedded taxes in production of tea and coffee and the incidence on account of CST, octroi and entry tax etc., the present total tax incidence works out to more than 7%. As against this, the proposed GST rate for tea and coffee (other than instant coffee) is only 5%.

3. Milk powder: Milk powder attracts Nil central excise duty and 5% VAT. Considering embedded taxes in production of milk powder and the incidence on account of CST, octroi, and entry tax etc., the present total tax incidence works out to more than 7%. As against this, the proposed GST rate on milk powder is only 5%.

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Regulators must open up space in a bigger way to develop vibrant debt market in India in 3 yrs: SEBI official
May 25,2017

The financial regulators have to open up their space in a bigger way for developing a vibrant debt market in India in the next three years, a top Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) official said at an ASSOCHAM event.

n++It must be seen whether regulators like IRDA (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority), PFRDA (Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority) have created that kind of a bandwidth for the insurance companies, for the pension funds, provident funds to invest in the bond market,n++ said Mr G. Mahalingam while addressing an ASSOCHAM National Conference on Bond Market.

He said that on an average, the portfolio return cannot be more than 200-300 basis points in corporate bonds and it is important for people to understand this reality and it is not practical to earn a return which is double-triple of the bank deposits.

He said that it is important for the people to realise that bond markets are growing, more so as bond markets growth this year has out-stripped the bank credit growth, which is quite surprising, as nothing of this sort had happened in the past.

He informed that bank deposit growth this year is almost close to about 10 per cent, the bank deposits are standing at Rs 105 lakh crores. While the bank credit has grown by an abysmal 4.8 per cent this year and it is at around Rs 73 lakh crores, so looking at correspondingly at the bond market, it can be seen that it has really grown by leaps and bounds.

Talking about the initiatives taken by the government with a view to boost the corporate bond markets in India, Mr Mahalingam informed that the insolvency regime is finally in place, besides the enablers have also been put in place so today there is no reason why people should feel sceptical about investments in bonds.

Further he said that governments borrowing budget in the current year has come down by almost Rs two lakh crore which is going to be a great enabler for the corporate bonds to come into the picture.

He said that the government is actually vacating the huge amount of space which is developing so automatically and thus the corporate bond scenario is going to grow in a very robust way.

The SEBI Whole Time Member also said that people should be allowed to move around freely from one segment to another segment with free connectivity as that would create and open up the entire market in a robust manner which could not be imagined.

n++If we can open up this connectivity, if the banks can play a role in the exchange traded platform segment, we are going to have a bond market where perhaps the liquidity will go unchallenged and perhaps match the liquidity levels in the US,n++ said Mr Mahalingam.

He further said that infusing some amount of secondary market liquidity can help attract retail investors to enter the corporate bonds space.

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Dhola-Sadia: A Bridge of New Hope for the North East
May 25,2017

Road connectivity in the North-East will see a major transformation when Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurates the countrys longest river bridge -the Dhola- Sadia Bridge in Assam tomorrow. This new, three lane, 9.15 kilometre bridge has been built over river Lohit, a tributary of the Brahmaputra, linking Dhola in Assam to Sadia in Arunachal Pradesh. The bridge will fill a huge connectivity gap that has existed in the region. Till now, the only means to cross the Brahmaputra at this location has been by ferry only in day-time and even this is not possible during floods. The last bridge over the Brahmaputra was the Kalia Bhomora Bridge at Tejpur. This will however change from tomorrow with the Dhola-Sadiya bridge ensuring 24X7 connectivity between upper Assam and Eastern part of Arunachal Pradesh.

The bridge will also reduce the distance from Rupai on NH- 37 in Assam to Meka/Roing on NH-52 in Arunachal Pradesh by 165 KM. The travel time between the two places will come down from the current six hours to just one hour - a total five hour reduction. This will result in saving of petrol and diesel worth Rs 10 Lakh per day.

The Dhola-Sadia bridge promises to usher in prosperity in the North-East. It will provide efficient road connectivity to remote and backward areas which have poor road infrastructure. This bridge will also give a major boost to overall economic development of the areas north of Brahmaputra in upper Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. It will also cater to the strategic requirements of the country in the border areas of Arunachal Pradesh, besides facilitating numerous hydro power projects coming up in the state , as it is the most sought after route for various power project developers.

The total length of the Dhola-Sadia Bridge project, including the approach roads on each side, is 28.50 km. The length of the bridge itself is 9.15 Km. It has been constructed on BOT Annuity basis at a total cost of Rs 2,056 crore, as part of the Arunachal Package of Roads and Highways under the Ministrys SPECIAL ACCELERATED ROAD DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME for NORTH EAST (SARDP-NE). The objective was to bring the people of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh closer to each other.

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Progress of new urban missions in Chattisgarh to be reviewed tomorrow in Raipur
May 25,2017

Progress of new urban missions launched during the last three years in Chattisgarh will be reviewed in a high level meeting in Raipur tomorrow.

Five Urban Missions viz., Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), Smart City Mission, Swachh Bharat Mission, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) and Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana-NULM in Chattisgarh will be reviewed in detail.

In a new initiative to ensure timely implementation of projects under new urban missions, Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu has undertaken such joint reviews with Chief Ministers in respective capital cities in 19 States that accounted for an investment of about Rs.3.00 lakh cr approved under different missions out of the total investment of over Rs.4.00 lakh cr so far approved. Chattisgarh will be the twentieth to be reviewed tomorrow.

The States that were so far reviewed during the last three months are ; Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Goa, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and Uttar Pradesh.

Progress of metro projects and heritage infrastructure development projects is also reviewed wherever they are being implemented.

These reviews are aimed at ensuring timely execution and completion of projects within the mission period i.e by 2019-20 except in case of PMAY(Urban) under which all the eligible beneficiaries are to be enabled to own a house by 2022. Each review meeting lasts over four hours.

Ahead of Chattisgarh review tomorrow, Shri Venkaiah Naidu today said that he was delighted over the useful reviews in 19 States as they proved to be beneficial for both the central and state governments in the implementation.

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Cabinet approves transfer of property of Hotel Janpath, New Delhi to Ministry of Urban Development
May 25,2017

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its In Principle approval to transfer the property of Hotel Janpath, New Delhi to Ministry of Urban Development.

Hotel Janpath is located in a prime central location of the city. The property can be considered for construction of Government offices and similar purposes which would save government funds spent in hiring of government offices.

Details of implementation of the project, land usages, etc. would be taken subsequently by a Committee of Secretaries to be constituted under the chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary.

The building of Hotel Janpath has to undergo major rehabilitation work since the building structure of Hotel Janpath has been found to be unserviceable, in distressed condition and deficit in the context of seismic requirements, according to the inspection report of IIT Roorkee.

Background:

The Government of India has initiated the process of disinvestment of hotels / properties of the India Tourism Development Corporation Ltd. (ITDC). The decision on disinvestment-has been made, keeping in view that running and managing hotels on professional lines is not the work of the Government or its entities.

As part of the disinvestment policy, it has been decided to lease/sub-lease the hotels / properties jointly with the concerned States or return the properties to the States, after fair valuation. The States would then, have the option to upgrade and operate the Motels by involving the private sector or to utilize the properties as per their requirements. States have exercised their options accordingly, in each case going forward with, the option best suited to their needs.

In the first stage of the disinvestment process, it was decided to disinvest three hotels, viz. Hotel Lake View Ashok, Bhopal, Hotel Brahmaputra Ashok, Guwahati and Hotel Bharatpur Ashok. Hotel Janpath, New Delhi is next in the list.

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Income Tax Department Steps-up actions under Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016
May 25,2017

The Income-tax Department (ITD) has initiated actions under the new Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016 (the Act) w.e.f. 1st November, 2016. The Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Rules, 2016 have been framed in this regard. As per the Act, Benami property includes movable or immovable property, tangible or intangible property, corporeal or incorporeal property. It empowers provisional attachment and subsequent confiscation of benami properties. It also allows for prosecution of the beneficial owner, the benamidar, the abettor and the inducer to benami transactions, which may result in rigorous imprisonment up to 7 years and fine up to 25% of fair market value of the property.

The Income-tax Directorates of Investigation have identified more than 400 benami transactions up to 23 May, 2017. These include deposits in bank accounts, plots of land, flat and jewellery. Provisional attachment of properties under the Act has been done in more than 240 cases. The market value of properties under attachment is more than Rs. 600 crore. Immovable properties have been attached in 40 cases with total value of more than Rs. 530 crore in Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

In one case in Jabalpur, the benamidar, a driver, was found to be owner of land worth Rs 7.7 crore. The beneficial owner is a Madhya Pradesh based listed company, his employer. In Mumbai a professional was found to be holding several immovable properties in the name of shell companies which exist only on paper. In another case in Sanganer, Rajasthan a jeweller was found to be beneficial owner of nine immovable properties in the name of his former employee, a man of no means. Certain properties purchased through shell companies have also been attached by the Department in Kolkata.

The Government is keen to implement the new Benami Act in an effective manner with visible outcomes on the ground. For this purpose, 24 dedicated Benami Prohibition Units (BPUs) have been set up all over India in the last week. These units are under the overall supervision of the Principal Directors of Investigation in the Income-tax Department to enable swift action and follow up, especially in cases where criminality has been detected.

In addition, the Income-tax Department, has undertaken searches on 10 senior government officials during the past one month, keeping in view its policy to unearth black money earned through corrupt practices and introduce accountability and probity in public life. The crackdown on all forms of illicit wealth is being spearheaded by the ITD to ensure that any economic misdeed is immediately identified and actions as per law follows.

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Cabinet approves Fair and Remunerative Price payable by sugar mills for 2017-18 sugar season
May 25,2017

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for fixing the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) of sugarcane at Rs. 255/- per quintal (qt) for sugar season 2017-18 linked to a basic recovery rate of 9.5% subject to a premium of Rs. 2.68 per qtl for every 0.1% point increase in recovery above that level. The approved FRP reflects an increase of 10.87% over the FRP of sugar season 2016-17. The FRP so approved shall be applicable for purchase of sugarcane from the farmers in the sugar season 2017-18 by the sugar mills. The move is a reflection of the Governments pro-farmer initiatives, keeping in mind the interest of sugarcane farmers and importance of the sugar industry.

Details

The sugar industry is an important agro-based industry that impacts the livelihood of about 50 million sugarcane farmers and around 5 lakh workers directly employed in sugar mills, apart from those employed in various ancillary activities including farm labour and transporters. This decision has been taken to provide appropriate price to the farmers for their cane.

FRP of sugarcane has been determined on the basis of recommendations of Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) and after consultation with State Governments and other stake-holders. Recommended FRP has been arrived at by taking into account various factors such as cost of production, overall demand-supply situation, domestic and international prices, inter-crop price parity, terms of trade prices of primary by-products, and likely impact of FRP on general price level and resource use efficiency.

During the last 3 years, in order to support the sugarcane farmers and to ensure that their dues are paid by the sugar mills, the Government of India introduced schemes such as SEFASU; Soft Loan, Incentive for Raw Sugar Export and Production Subsidy. Through these interventions, the funds made available to the mills were utilized for payment of the cane price arrears of the farmers. Direct credit into the farmers bank accounts of their dues was also mandated.

As a consequence, clearance of cane price arrears of farmers reached 99.33% for 2014-15 sugar season and 98.5% for 2015-16 sugar season. Cane price arrears for the current sugar season 2016-17 is the lowest as compared to last five years of the corresponding period.

In order to address the current sugar seasons shortfall in production and any possible adverse price sentiment, the Government has allowed import of only 5 lakh MT of raw sugar at zero duty. However, to protect the Indian farmers, import quantity has been restricted along with zonal restrictions so as to make it available only in actually deficient areas and safeguard the interest of cane farmers.

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Cabinet approves allocation of 2.5% of Central Road Fund for development & maintenance of National Waterways (NWs)
May 25,2017

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has accorded its approval today to a proposal jointly mooted by the Ministry of Shipping and the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) for amendment of Central Road Fund Act, 2000 to allocate 2.5 per cent of the proceeds of Central Road Fund (CRF) for development and maintenance of National Waterways (NWs) and a reduction in the share provided for development of National Highways. The Cabinet has also directed that while implementing viable National Waterways projects, all such components that can be done on PPP basis, should be explored accordingly and government funding may be used only if private investment is not forthcoming for any component

The Central Road Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2017 would be moved by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways in the ensuing Monsoon Session, 2017 of the Parliament.

Impact

An allocation of 2.5 per cent of CRF proceeds would provide approximately Rs.2000 crore per annum for the development and maintenance of NWs at existing rates of duties funding the CRF. The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has estimated that approximately Rs. 25,000 crores would be required for development of identified projects on NWs till 2022-23. In this regard, works for construction of multi modal terminals, new navigation lock, River Information System, development of fairway etc., have already commenced under the Jal Marg Vikas Project being implemented on NW-1 (River Ganga). IWAI also has planned to undertake work on the development of 24 NWs during the next three years.

It is estimated that 1.8 lakh persons would be provided employment in the Inland Waterways Transport (IWT) sector in the next five years. New employment opportunities are expected to be generated for operation and management of fairway, terminals, aids to navigation, barges, training, etc. Further, development of additional 106 NWs will create additional job opportunities.

Background

The Government has been emphasizing the importance of developing Inland Water Transport Sector for the national economy. The National Waterways Act, 2016 for developing and maintaining the existing five NWs and new 106 NWs has been passed by Parliament and is now enforced. The arrangement approved by the Cabinet; would make available adequate and sustainable source of funding for NWs through institutional means of CRF. This is one more step towards promotion of Inland Water Transport sector as a cost effective, logistically efficient and environment friendly sector which would contribute in diverting traffic from the over congested roads and railways and offer an incentive and provide certainty for private companies to invest in the sector. It is estimated that a standard 2000 DWT vessel has the potential to transport 125 Truck Loads and almost one complete train rake (40 rail wagons) load on existing road and rail infrastructure.

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Cabinet approves setting up of new AIIMS in Kamrup, Assam
May 25,2017

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for establishment of new AIIMS at Kamrup (North Guwahati Revenue circle). The cost of the project is Rs.1123 crore and it will be set up under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY).

The new AIIMS will be completed in a period of 48 months from the zero date (that is the date of the approval of Government of India), broadly comprising a pre-construction phase of 15 months, a construction phase of 30 months and stabilization / commissioning phase of three months.

Details:

The Institution will consist of a hospital with a capacity of 750 beds, trauma center facilities, medical college with an intake of 100 MBBS students per year, nursing college with an intake of 60 B.Sc. (Nursing) students per year, residential complexes and allied facilities / services, broadly on the pattern of AIIMS, New Delhi. The hospital will have 22 Speciality/Super-Speciality Departments including 16 Operation Theaters. It will also have an AYUSH department with 30 beds for providing treatment facilities in traditional system of medicine.

Impact:

The establishment of new AIIMS will serve the dual purpose of providing super speciality health care to the population while also help create a large pool of doctors and other health workers in this region that can be available for primary and secondary level institutions / facilities being created under National Health Mission (NHM).

Background:

Under this scheme, AIIMS have been established in Bhubaneshwar, Bhopal, Raipur, Jodhpur, Rishikesh and Patna while work of AIIMS Rae Bareli is in progress. Also, three AIIMS in Nagpur (Maharashtra), Kalyani (West Bengal) and Mangalagiri in Guntur (Andhra Pradesh) have been sanctioned in 2015 and two AIIMS have been sanctioned at Bathinda and Gorakhpur in 2016.

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Cabinet approves MoU between Spain and India on cooperation in the field of Organ Transplant Services
May 25,2017

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the National Transplant Organization, Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality, Spain and the Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, India on cooperation in the field of

The MoU would facilitate bilateral cooperation in the field of organ and tissue procurement and transplantation and better understanding between the two countries. The knowledge gained will help in improving the services rendered to the patients suffering from end stage organ failure.

The Memorandum of Understanding is proposed to be signed during the forthcoming bilateral meeting with the Spanish side.

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Cabinet approves Joint Declaration of Intent between Germany and India regarding cooperation in the sector of alternative medicine
May 25,2017

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the Joint Declaration of Intent (JDI) between Germany and India regarding cooperation in the sector of alternative medicine.

The signing of the JDl will enhance bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the areas of traditional/alternative medicine. Initiation of collaborative research, training and scientific capacity building in the field of alternative medicine under the JDI between the two countries would contribute to the enhanced employment opportunities in the AYUSH sector.

There are no additional financial implications involved. The financial resources necessary to conduct research, training courses, conferences / meetings will be met from the existing allocated budget and existing plan schemes of Ministry of AYUSH.

Background:

India is blessed with well-developed systems of traditional medicine which hold tremendous potential in the global health scenario. Germany has considerable interest in Traditional Systems of Medicine. The Ministry of AYUSH as a part of its mandate to propagate Indian systems of Medicine globally has taken effective steps by entering into MoU with China, Malaysia, Trinidad & Tobago Hungary, Bangladesh, Nepal, Mauritius, Mongolia and Myanmar.

The Ministry has taken many initiatives for promotion of Ayurveda in Germany with the recommendation and cooperation of the Indian Embassy in Berlin. One of the major initiatives is the collaborative research Project between the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS) and Charite University, Berlin on Osteoarthritis of the knee. The results of the trial are encouraging and the clinical trial demonstrates significant improvement in patients. The study has been completed successfully and is under publication.

A delegation led by Shri Shripad Yesso Naik, Honble Minister of State, (Independent Charge). Ministry of AYUSH had visited Germany from 15-19 October 2016 to participate in the 2nd European World Ayurveda Congress (EWAC) and have interactions with the authorities in Germany. The Congress was supported by the Ministry of AYUSH. During the visit a bilateral meeting was held between Honble MoS(IC), AYUSH with the Parliamentary State Secretary Ms. Ingrid Fischbach during which both sides had unanimously agreed to begin the process of drafting and negotiating a JDl in the field of AYUSH and Natural medicine. It is expected that the JDI would give a boost to India-Germany ties and enhance cooperation between the two countries.

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