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CBDT issues Guiding Principles for determination of Place of Effective Management (POEM) of a Company
Jan 30,2017

The concept of Place of Effective Management (POEM) for deciding the Residential Status of a company was introduced by the Finance Act, 2015. It is effective from 01 April 2016 and accordingly shall apply from assessment year 2017-18 onwards. The guidelines for determining the POEM has been uploaded on website of the Income-tax Department (www.incometaxindia.gov.in). These guidelines of POEM have been finalised, after placing draft guidelines in public domain for seeking comments from stakeholders and general public, and with extensive consultations thereafter.

The Final Guidelines on POEM contain some unique features. Active Business outside India (ABOI) test has been provided, so as not to cover companies outside India which are engaged in active business. The intent is not to target Indian Multi Nationals which are engaged in business activity outside India. The intent is to target shell companies and companies which are created for retaining income outside India although real control and management of affairs is located in India. It is emphasised that these guidelines are not intended to cover foreign companies or to tax their global income, merely on the ground of presence of Permanent Establishment or Business connection in India.

Adequate administrative safeguards have been incorporated in the guidelines by mandating that the Assessing officer (AO), before initiating inquiry for POEM in a case of a taxpayer, will seek approval from Principal Commissioner of Income Tax/ Commissioner of Income-tax. The AO shall also obtain approval from Collegium of Principal Commissioners of Income-tax before holding that POEM of a non-resident company is in India.

It has been further decided that the POEM guidelines shall not apply to companies having turnover or gross receipts of Rs. Fifty (50) Crore or less in a financial year.

The guidelines also contain illustrations to clarify the situations whether POEM shall or shall not apply.

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IIMs to be declared as Institutions of National Importance
Jan 30,2017

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Bill, 2017, under which the IIMs would be declared as Institutions of National Importance which will enable them to grant degrees to their students.

Following are the salient features of the Bill:

i. IIMs can grant degrees to their students

ii. The Bill provides for complete autonomy to the Institutions, combined with adequate accountability.

iii. Management of these Institutions would be Board driven, with the Chairperson and Director of an Institution which will be selected by the Board.

iv. A greater participation of experts and alumni in the Board is amongst otherimportant features of the Bill.

v. Provision has also been made for inclusion of women and members from Scheduled Castes/Tribes in the Board.

vi. The Bill also provides for periodic review of the performance of Institutions by independent agencies, and placing the results of the same on public domain.

vii. The Annual Report of the Institutions will be placed in the Parliament and CAG will be auditing their accounts.

viii. There is also a provision of Coordination Forum of IIMs as an advisory body.

Background:

Indian Institutes of Management are the countrys premier institutions imparting best quality education in management on globally benchmarked processes of education and training in management. IIMs are recognized as world-class management Institutions and Centers of Excellence and have brought laurels to the country. All IIMs are separate autonomous bodies registered under the Societies Act.

Being societies, IIMs are not authorized to award degrees and, hence, they have been awarding Post Graduate Diploma and Fellow Programme in Management. While these awards are treated as equivalent to MBAs and Ph.D, respectively, the equivalence is not universally acceptable, especially for the Fellow Programme.

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Cabinet approves exchanging of AAIs land 11.35 acres with equivalent land of Govt. of Bihar for expansion / development purpose
Jan 30,2017

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to transfer 11.35 acres of land to Airports Authority of India (AAI) by way of exchanging equivalent land of AAI at Anisabad. The proposed land at Patna Airport will be used for expansion of the airport and construction of new terminal building along-with other associated infrastructures. The State Government has also agreed in principle for transfer of the land.

The new terminal building will be having a capacity of 3 million passengers per annum which will not only enhance the airport capacity but also provide convenience to general public.

Background:

The existing terminal building at Patna Airport was built for a capacity of 0.5 million passengers per annum, against which 1.5 million passengers per annum are already using the airport. This has led to extreme crowding in the terminal building.

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Cabinet approves Short term market borrowing by NABARD for on lending to Cooperative Banks
Jan 30,2017

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its post-facto approval for the following decisions:

i. National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD) will make short term borrowings at prevailing market rate of interest for approx. Rs.20,000 crore for on-lending to Cooperative Banks at 4.5% rate of interest.

ii. Additional capital of Rs.2,000 crore to be provided to NABARD for this purpose through the Union Budget. To start with, additional capital of Rs.500 crore may be released to NABARD during 2016-17 itself.

iii. Interest Subvention of about 1.8% and NABARDs administrative cost of 0.2% to be provided as per the scheme of Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare (DAC&FW). The extent of interest subvention may vary depending on the rate at which NABARD raises funds.

iv. NABARD will coordinate the conversion of operative/live KCCs into RuPay/ATM-enabled Kisan Credit Cards (KCCs) by Cooperative Banks and Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) in a mission mode.

In the light of good monsoon and expectation of increased credit demand and in order to boost agricultural production, the farmers need to be supported through Cooperative Banks, which purvey credit at their doorstep, to enable them to scale up their agricultural operation.

The approval will ensure increased availability of short term crop loans to farmers through Cooperative banks at reduced rate of interest. The conversion of operative/live KCCs into RuPay/ATM-enabled KCCs will enable easy and hassle free availability of credit and in keeping with the spirit of Digital India, will facilitate digital and cashless transactions by farmers.

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List of Agreements/MOUs exchanged during the State visit of Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi to India
Jan 30,2017

 S. No.Name of Agreement/MoUDetails1.

Agreement on Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between the Republic of India and the UAE

This is a general framework agreement which highlights the areas of bilateral cooperation identified under the comprehensive strategic partnership as agreed upon in the high level joint statements issued in the August 2015 and February 2016.

2..

MoU between the Ministry of Defence of the Government of the Republic of India and the Ministry of Defence of the Government of UAE on cooperation in the field of Defence Industry

This MoU aims to establish cooperation in the identified fields of defence manufacturing and technology, including through studies, research, development, innovation and cooperation between public and private sector institutions of the two countries. The two sides will cooperate in areas of armaments, defence industries and transfer of technology.

3.

MoU between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the UAE on Institutional Cooperation on Maritime Transport

This MoU provides a framework for enhancing bilateral maritime trade ties through facilitating maritime transport, free transfer of monies between contracting parties and reciprocal recognition of ships documents.

4.

MOU between the Directorate General of Shipping, Republic of India and the Federal Transport Authority- Land and Maritime in the UAE on Mutual Recognition of Certificates of Competency as per the provisions of the Standards of Training, Certification and Watch-keeping Convention (STCW78) and amendments thereof

This MoU aims to deepen the maritime economic activities in general by establishing a framework for Mutual Recognition of Certificates of Competency of marine officers, engineers and crews.

5.

MoU between the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways of the Republic of India and the Federal Transport Authority, Land and Maritime of the UAE on Bilateral Cooperation in the Road Transport and Highways Sector

This MoU aims to establish cooperation in the sectors of Highways and Road transport through sharing of technologies, systems and best practices in freight logistics, warehousing and value added services.

6.

MOU between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of UAE on cooperation in prevention and combating of human trafficking

This MoU aims to enhance bilateral cooperation on the issue of prevention, rescue, recovery and repatriation related to human trafficking, especially of women and children expeditiously.

7.

MoU for the cooperation in the field of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and innovation between the Ministry of Economy of United Arab Emirates and Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MoSMSME) of the Republic of India

This MoU aims at promoting cooperation in MSMEs Sectors, including in joint projects, R & D and related activities.

8.

MoU between the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare of the Republic of India and the Ministry of Climate Change & Environment of UAE in agriculture and Allied sectors

This MoU aims to develop a framework for cooperation in various agricultural fields of mutual interest, including through enhancement of cooperation in food processing and transfer of technology in cultivation methods.

9.

MOU between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of UAE on mutual exemption of entry visa requirements to the holders of Diplomatic, special and Official Passports

The agreement allows holders of diplomatic, special and official passports visa free travel between the two countries.

10.

MoU between Prasar Bharati, India and Emirates News Agency (WAM), UAE for cooperation in programme exchange

This MoU aims to strengthen ties between Prasar Bharati and Emirates News Agency (WAM), UAE through cooperation in the field of broadcasting, mutual exchange of programmes, news and best practices.

11.

MoU between the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of India and the Ministry of Economy of United Arab Emirates on trade remedial measures to promote cooperation in areas of mutual interest

This MoU aims to enhance cooperation in the field of anti-dumping and allied duties through exchange of information, capacity-building, seminars and trainings in mutually indentified areas related to trade remedial measures.

12.

Agreement on Oil Storage And Management
between Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Limited and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company

This agreement aims to establish a framework for the storage of crude oil by Abu Dhabi National Oil Company in India and to further strengthen the strategic relationship between the two countries in the field of energy.

13.

MOU between National Productivity Council and Al Etihad Energy Services Co. LLC

This MOU is on Cooperation in Energy Efficiency Services.

14.

MOU between National Security Council Secretariat of India & National Electronic Security Authority of the UAE

This MoU is on technology development and cooperation in cyberspace.

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MoU signed between POWERGRID and Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (ADWEA)
Jan 30,2017

Power Grid Corporation of India (POWERGRID), a central Power Sector PSU and CTU has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (ADWEA) & its group of companies on 25th January, 2017. The MoU was signed by His Excellency Saeed Al Suwaidi, Managing Director, Abu Dhabi Distribution Co. (UAE) and Shri Anil Mehra, Executive Director- International Business, POWERGRID in the presence of Shri I.S Jha CMD, POWERGRID and Senior officials from both sides.

The MoU inter alia envisages cooperation between ADWEA & its group of companies and POWERGRID to work in areas like smart grid, Transmission technology & providing capability development and training in the field of Operation & Maintenance (O&M), Asset Management, Project Management, Power Transmission & Distribution, etc. POWERGRID shall also assist ADWEA in setting up an advanced n++World Class Capability Development instituten++ in UAE.

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Cabinet approves ratification of the Second Commitment Period of Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
Jan 30,2017

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to ratify the Second Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol on containing the emission of Green House Gases (GHGs). The second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 2012. So far, 75 countries have ratified the Second Commitment Period.

In view of the critical role played by India in securing international consensus on climate change issues, this decision further underlines Indias leadership in the comity of nations committed to global cause of environmental protection and climate justice. Ratification of the Kyoto Protocol by India will encourage other developing countries also to undertake this exercise. Implementation of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects under this commitment period in accordance with Suslainable Development priorities will attract some investments in India as well.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) seeks to stabilise Green House Gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would minimize interference with the climate system. Recognizing that developed countries are principally responsible for the current high levels of Greenhouse Gas (GHGs) in the atmosphere, the Kyoto Protocol places commitments on developed nations to undertake mitigation targets and to provide financial resources and transfer of technology to the developing nations. Developing countries like India have no mandatory mitigation obligations or targets under the Kyoto Protocol.

Background

The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 1997 and the 1st commitment period was from 2008-2012. At Doha in 2012, the amendments to Kyoto Protocol for the 2nd commitment period (the Doha Amendment) were successfully adopted for the period 2013- 2020. Developed countries have already started implementing their commitments under the opt-in provisions of the Doha Amendment.

India has always emphasized the importance of climate actions by developed country Parties in the pre-2020 period. Besides, it has advocated climate actions based on the principles and provisions of the Convention, such as the principle of Equity and Common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR & RC).

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UIDAI Achieves 111 Crore Mark on Aadhaar Generation Unique Identity Covers to Over 99% Adult Residents of India
Jan 30,2017

Following is the statement by Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Electronics & IT and Law & Justice: With 68th Republic Day, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has achieved another landmark by generating 111 crore Aadhaar in a population of 125 crore plus.

The Worlds largest and unique biometrics based identification programme with a real time online authentication infrastructure - the Aadhaar has been recognized in the recent UN Report on World Social Situation, 2016 as a developmental tool with tremendous potential to foster inclusion by giving all people, including the poorest and most marginalized, an official identity and a wonderful critical step in enabling fairer access of the people to government benefits and services, thereby enhancing social and economic distributive justice leaving no one behind.

Aadhaar generation has crossed the 111+ crore mark. Its a great achievement towards inclusion of everyone into national development fabric. It has come a long way in less than six and a half years of its journey from being a unique identification programme to transform itself into a critical development tool of public-centric good governance and targeted delivery of services/benefits/subsidies; Such a transformation became possible, because of the unique initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modis government, to use Aadhaar, for the financial and social inclusion.

Aadhaar enrolment ecosystem with 135 registrars and 612 enrolment agencies working at 47,192 enrolment stations has been enrolling and updating7-8 lakhs requests per day. Aadhaar generation as on 31stMay 2014 was 63.22 crore with a per day enrolment/update trend of about 3-4 lakh which remained around 5-6 lakh per day till October 2016.However, since demonetization the Aadhaar enrolment and update requests are in the range of 7-8 lakhs per day. With over 47.8 crore Aadhaars generated since June 2014, Aadhaar now stands at 111+ crore. UIDAI has 28,332 Permanent Enrolment Centres where people may go for enrolment, updation and other Aadhaar related services. UIDAI has a capacity of generating and dispatching over 15 lakh Aadhaars every day.

Aadhaar which began in its first phase as a unique identification programme with an authentication infrastructure grew into its second phase as the tool of public sector delivery reforms by becoming the permanent financial address of the Aadhaar holder;and as a tool for de-duplication, e-KYC anddirect benefit transfer in its third phase, it started contributing to the management of the fiscal budget by generating saving to the Government exchequer to the tune of 36,144 crore in a few welfare schemes only in just two years. (Details in Annexure)

Now in its fourth phase, with demonetisation and Digital India drive towards less-cash economy, Aadhaar is all set to be the game changer with Aadhaar Pay - a non-traditional digital payment system without a need of card, pin, password or mobile with the consumer,

Aadhaar has empowered people by increasing convenience and making their life hassle-free towards a presenceless, paperless and cashless environment.

Dispelling apprehensions on privacy and data security, Prasad said, The Government is vigilant towards privacy protection and database security which is our paramount concern. We have Aadhaar Act 2016 which has strict provisions for protection of data and privacy.

As on date, Aadhaars total saturation percentage is 91.7% (as per Census 2011) while over 99% adult population above the age of 18 have been assigned Aadhaar numbers. Twenty two States/UTs have more than 90% saturation.

Aadhaar has become an extraordinary institution to connect the ordinary people of India into the banking system in a flawless manner.

Firstly, Aadhaar Enabled Payment System ( AEPS ) on which 119 banks are live. This helps the Banking Correspondents to go to the doorsteps in rural villages, facilitating banking transactions, with the help of Micro-ATMs, linked with Aadhaar. More than 33.87 crore transactions have taken place through AEPS, which was only 46 lakhs in May 2014. While only 7,406 AEPS points were available in May 2014, we now have over 1,65,000 agents available in the villages.

Secondly, the opening of bank accounts with Aadhaar eKYC, in which 97 banks are live and 4.47 crore bank accounts have been opened till now, which was only 1 lakh in May 2014.

Thirdly, Aadhaar Payment Bridge (APB), a seamless payment facility, which enables disbursal of benefits /other payments directly to the beneficiarys account, popularly known as Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT), has shown considerable growth in the past two years. Total number of transactions on the APB were logged at 167.36 crore worth Rs.44,967 crore which has risen by ten folds in value since 31st May 2014 ( 7 crore transactions, worth 4000 crores ).

Fourthly, with the Aadhaar Pay, soon to be launched, any person with his Aadhaar number linked to Bank account, can make and / or receive payment, with his thumb impression alone. There is absolutely no need for him to have any phone, debit card etc.. This will be available to all the persons having Aadhaar linked bank accounts, whose number stands at 39 crores now, which was only 6.7 crores in May 2014. About 2 crore Aadhaar numbers are linked to Bank accounts every month.

Benefit accrued on account for DBT/ Aadhaar since 2014

For FY 2014-15 *

S.NO.Central Ministry /DepartmentScheme / AreaSavings1MoPNGPAHAL14,672 croreS.NO.State/UTScheme / AreaSavings1RajasthanNSAP (IGNOAPS, IGNWPS, IGNDPS)19.85 Lakh2UPSocial Security Schemes520 cr.Total Savings in FY 2014-15 = Rs. 15,192.2 crore

For FY 2015-16 *

S.NO.Central Ministry /DepartmentScheme / AreaSavings1MoPNGPAHAL6,912 crore2D/o Food & Public DistributionFood subsidy10,191 crore3KendriyaSainik Board- M/o DefencePrime Minister Scholarship Scheme1.01 LakhRMDF scheme10.95 Lakhs4M/o CultureScheme on International Relations20 Lakhs

Rabi Crops Sowing Crosess 637 Lakh Hactare
Jan 30,2017

As per preliminary reports received from the States, the total area sown under Rabi crops as on 27th January 2017 stands at 637.34 lakh hectares as compared to 600.02 lakh hectare this time in 2016.

Wheat has been sown/transplanted in 315.55 lakh hectares, rice in 21.77 lakh hectares, pulses in 159.28 lakh hectares, coarse cereals in 56.90 lakh hectares and area sown under oilseeds is 83.84 lakh hectares.

  The area sown so far and that sown during last year this time is as follows:

Lakh hectare 

CropArea sown in 2016-17Area sown in 2015-16Wheat315.55292.52Rice21.7725.64Pulses159.28143.05Coarse Cereals56.9060.24Oilseeds83.8478.58Total637.34600.02

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CWC Signs MoU with IIT Madras and IIS Bengaluru to Support Their Dam Safety Capacity Building
Jan 30,2017

Central Water Commission (CWC) under the Ministry of Water Resources River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation signed two separate MoUs with IIT Madras and IIS Bengaluru. This will help them for the procurement of specified equipment and software for enhancing their capability to support dam rehabilitation efforts of CWC.

The Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has taken on board selected premier academic and research institutes, for capacity building in the areas of dam safety through World Bank assisted Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP). The scope includes strengthening the testing laboratories, enhancing analytical capabilities, exposure visits to best global institutions and on ground exposure to dam safety concerns to the faculty of these institutions.

DRIP is assisting rehabilitation of 250 dams in seven States which are experiencing different levels of distress. Owners of these dams require technical support for the investigation of site conditions and supporting rehabilitation efforts. The Government of India has decided to enhance the capability of select premier institutes in dam safety areas so that they, in turn, carry out field investigations at dam sites and provide training and consulting services to assist the dam owners in their dam rehabilitation efforts. It is a holistic effort of the Government of India to equip our national institutions to develop capability and expertise at par with global institutions in the times to come.

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National MSME Policy to be formulated for the First Time in India
Jan 30,2017

Dr.Prabhat Kumar, former Cabinet Secretary and Chairman One Member Committee for formulating National MSME Policy today presented its report to Shri Kalraj Mishra, Union Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. The One Member Committee under the chairmanship of Dr. Prabhat Kumar was constituted by the Ministry of MSME on 31 December 2015 to help in formulating National MSME Policy. The country does not have an MSME policy till date.

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Clarifications on implementation of GAAR provisions under the Income Tax Act, 1961
Jan 30,2017

The General Anti Avoidance Rule (GAAR) provisions shall be effective from the Assessment Year 2018-19 onwards, i.e. Financial Year 2017-18 onwards. The necessary procedures for application of GAAR and conditions under which it shall not apply, have been enumerated in Rules 10U to 10UC of the Income-tax Rules, 1962.The provisions of General Anti Avoidance Rule (GAAR) are contained in Chapter X-A of the Income Tax Act, 1961.

Stakeholders and industry associations had requested for clarifications on implementation of GAAR provisions and a Working Group was constituted by Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to examine the issues raised. Accordingly, CBDT has issued the clarifications on implementation of GAAR provisions today.

Amongst others, it has been clarified that if the jurisdiction of FPI is finalized based on non-tax commercial considerations and the main purpose of the arrangement is not to obtain tax benefit, GAAR will not apply. GAAR will not interplay with the right of the taxpayer to select or choose method of implementing a transaction. Further, grandfathering as per IT Rules will be available to compulsorily convertible instruments, bonus issuances or split / consolidation of holdings in respect of investments made prior to 1st April 2017 in the hands of same investor. It has also been clarified that adoption of anti-abuse rules in tax treaties may not be sufficient to address all tax avoidance strategies and the same are required to be tackled through domestic anti-avoidance rules. However, if a case of avoidance is sufficiently addressed by Limitation of Benefits (LoB) provisions in the tax treaty, there shall not be an occasion to invoke GAAR.

It has been clarified that if at the time of sanctioning an arrangement, the Court has explicitly and adequately considered the tax implications, GAAR will not apply to such an arrangement. It has also been clarified that GAAR will not apply if an arrangement is held as permissible by the Authority for Advance Rulings. Further, it has been clarified that if an arrangement has been held to be permissible in one year by the PCIT/CIT/Approving Panel and the facts and circumstances remain the same, GAAR will not be invoked for that arrangement in a subsequent year.

The proposal to apply GAAR will be vetted first by the Principal Commissioner of Income Tax / Commissioner of Income Tax and at the second stage by an Approving Panel headed by a judge of High Court. The stakeholders have been assured that adequate procedural safeguards are in place to ensure that GAAR is invoked in a uniform, fair and rational manner.

Government is committed to provide certainty and clarity in tax rules. Further clarifications, if any, on doubts of stakeholders regarding GAAR implementation, will also be provided.

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NEC and Ministry of Textiles sign MoU to harness the hidden potential of Cane & Bamboo of NER
Jan 30,2017

The North Eastern Council (NEC) and the Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), Ministry of Textiles signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)in Shillong today, to harness the hidden potential of Cane and Bamboo of North Eastern Region. The MoU was signed by the Secretary, NEC Shri Ram Muivah and Development Commissioner(Handicrafts) Shri Alok Kumar.

The MoU provides a push for the integrated and inclusive development of Cane & Bamboo Sector of North East Region by way of skilled manpower, technology dissemination, marketing support and institutional support required for the holistic development of Bamboo which can coordinate a mission to mobilise masses and promote Bamboo sector as a whole throughout the country.

The NEC and the Development Commissioner (Handicrafts) will promote Cane and Bamboo Technology Centre (CBTC), Assam and the Bamboo & Cane Development Institute (BCDI), Tripura, as the Centres of Excellence not only in the North East Region, but also in South East Asia.

As per the MoU, the CBTC will be transformed into a Regional Centre of Excellence and the BCDI will be converted as a separate entity under the name Indian Institute of Bamboo Technology (IIBT). CBTC and BCDI will collaborate for Institutional support for bamboo sector and will generate awareness and cultivating knowledge base among the masses about possibilities of sustainable utilisation of the raw materials cultivated by the sector.

CBTC and BCDI will serve as a platform for generating and exchanging the knowledge base on the product development in Cane and Bamboo through the Discipline of Product Design and Innovation. The collective knowledge base of the sector would be documented and made available through library resources, multimedia, publications and online resources. The Discipline of Bamboo and Cane product Innovation will help in defining the criteria for Industry standards and certification in terms of Quality and protecting the geographical rights for traditional innovations.

To establish the presence of bamboo and cane as an economically strong industry, education will be imparted at various levels; to Craftsmen and Entrepreneurs, Designers, Farmers, Technologists and Marketing and Management professionals. Training programmes on subjects such as Entrepreneurship development among the artisan community with inputs in product innovation and design will also be provided in order to contribute in the up gradation of the socio economic status of the cane and bamboo industry in the region and at a national level. Inputs in business management and entrepreneurship development will also be a part of the curriculum. The knowledge base developed from such exercises will be fed into the educational programmes like

a) PG Diploma in Bamboo Cultivation & Resource Utilization

b) B.Tech Course in Cane & Bamboo Technology

c) Ph.D/Research Program

d) Establishing satellite Centres in the other NER states

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Cabinet approves Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana - 2017
Jan 24,2017

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its post-facto approval for launching of Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana 2017 (VPBY 2017). It is a part of Governments commitment for financial inclusion and social security.

The scheme will be implemented through Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) during the current financial year to provide social security during old age and protect elderly persons aged 60 years and above against a future fall in their interest income due to uncertain market conditions.

The scheme will provide an assured pension based on a guaranteed rate of return of 8% per annum for ten years, with an option to opt for pension on a monthly / quarterly / halfyearly and annual basis. The differential return, i.e., the difference between the return generated by LIC and the assured return of 8% per annum would be borne by Government of India as subsidy on an annual basis.

VPBY-2017 is proposed to be open for subscription for a period of one year from the date of launch.

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Cabinet approves farm interest waiver for Nov-Dec 2016 period
Jan 24,2017

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval for interest waiver for the two months of November and December 2016 for farmers accessing short term crop loans from Cooperative Banks. The decision also provides for interest subvention to National Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development (NABARD) on additional refinance by NABARD to Cooperative Banks.

Farmers in the whole of India availing short term crop loans, from Cooperative Banks will be benefitted.

The decision intends to ensure availability of resources with Cooperative Banks help farmers in easily accessing crop loans from Cooperative Banks to overcome the difficulties in view of the reduction in availability of cash for carrying out Rabi operations.

Additional resources are to be provided to Cooperative Banks through NABARD for refinance to the Cooperative Banks on account of interest waiver of two months for November and December, 2016. This will be extended by Cooperative Banks to the farmers in the current financial year 2016-17. An additional financial liability of Rs 1060.50 crore will be required for this purpose. A sum of Rs 15000 crore allocated during 2016-17 to implement the Interest Subvention Scheme (ISS) has already been utilised.

The Government of India has, since 2006-07, been implementing the Interest Subvention Scheme under which short-term crop loans upto Rs 3 lakh are made available to the farmers at an interest rate of 7% per annum by the Public Sector Banks, Regional Rural Banks and Cooperative Banks. Farmers are provided with 3% interest subvention for short term crop loan upto Rs 3 lakhs on prompt repayment of the loan. Thus, farmers have to effectively pay only 4% as interest for the said crop loan.

Due to the cancellation of legal tender character of old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes and the resulting difficulty faced by the farmers in en-cashing the cheques received against sale proceeds of their Kharif produce in the mandis; and also their constraints with adequacy of cash in carrying out Rabi operations and servicing the interest of the short term crop loans, especially in view of the restrictions imposed on Cooperative Banks, an interest waiver is being provided for a period of 2 months i.e. November & December 2016 to farmers who were disbursed crop loan from Cooperative Banks between 01 April 2016 and 30 April 2016.

The provision of additional financial resource of Rs 1060.50 crore is on account of (i) meeting the cost of interest waiver for 2 months ( November and December 2016) for crop loan disbursed by Cooperative Banks between 01 April 2016 and 30 April 2016 to farmers and (ii) providing interest subvention and administrative cost to NABARD on short term borrowing of about Rs 20000 crore for on-lending to Cooperatives Banks in the current financial year.

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