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Cabinet approves Closure of Hindustan Cables, Kolkata
Sep 28,2016

The Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for closure of Hindustan Cables (HCL), Kolkata as per the provisions of the Companies Act, 1956/2013, Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 and other relevant Acts. The employees will be offered attractive VRS/ VSS Package at notional 2007 pay scales and other employees related liabilities including payment of salary and wages from April 2015 till they are separated from the Company on VRS/VSS will be settled as well. The disposal of assets of company will be in terms of the guidelines of Department of Public Enterprises on time bound closure of sick/loss making Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) and disposal of movable and immovable assets.

Total cash infusion for closure of company will be Rs. 1309.90 crore and non-cash infusion of Rs. 3467.15 crore in the form of conversion into equity of Government of Indias loan (including interest) outstanding as on 30.09.2016.

Secured creditors of HCL, Kolkata, led by SBI as consortium lenders to the company, have been generous in their support. The One Time Settlement (OTS) terms include complete waiver of interest and settle on principal amount of Rs. 305.63 crore in settlement of all pari-passu collateral held by them.

There is no production activity in the company since January 2003. The employees of the company are in 1997 pay scales. Due to non-payment of salary & wages, it is very difficult for the employees to survive and meet their immediate financial obligations. With the VRS/VSS package and clearance of other outstanding liabilities, the employees will come out of their present financial crisis. It will also help the employees in their post retirement rehabilitation. With the present time bound closure of the company, the valuable assets of the company will be available for other optimum utilization.

Background:-

HCL was established in the year 1952. It had four manufacturing units at Rupnarainpur (West Bengal), Hyderabad (Telengana), Naini (U.P.) and Narendrapur (West Bengal). Registered office of HCL is located at Kolkata. The company was set up to cater to the needs of Government-owned telecom companies BSNL and MTNL for manufacture of telecom cables. Due to rapid change in telecommunication technology (wire-line to wireless), the demand for telecom cables has been drastically reduced. Several attempts were made by Department of Heavy Industries for revival of the company but failed. Attempts to transfer HCL units to Ministry of Defence/Department of Defence Production also did not yield results. The proposal for closure of the company has been made as per the recommendations of BIFR, BRPSE and the Roadmap approved by CCEA on 29.12.2014 for phasing out non-plan budgetary support to sick CPSEs.

The company is a BIFR referred company since 2002. Government of Indias decision for closure of the company will be conveyed to BIFR for seeking their approval. The employees of the Company will be offered attractive VRS/VSS. Retrenchment process will also be followed as per Industrial Disputes Act 1947. OTS with secured creditors will be made to free the land assets of the Company. The other liabilities of the company including statutory liabilities arising during the process of closure of company will be taken care of as per the provisions of law and the aforesaid guidelines of Department of Public Enterprises.

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Cabinet approves an Undertaking between India and Korea on Mutual Recognition of Certificates for Seafarers, 1978
Sep 28,2016

The Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for signing of an Undertaking between India and Korea on Mutual Recognition of Certificates. It is in pursuance of the Regulation 1/10 of International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) for Seafarers, 1978, as amended.

Signing of the Undertaking will pave way for recognition of maritime education and training, certificates of competency, endorsements, training documentary evidence and medical fitness certificates for seafarers issued by the Government of the other country. It is done in accordance with the provisions of regulation 1/10 of the STCW Convention, and cooperation between the two countries in the training, certification and management of seafarers.

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Cabinet gives ex-post facto approval to Varistha Pension Bima Yojana, 2003 and Varistha Pension Bima Yojana, 2014
Sep 28,2016

The Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval for the Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana (VPBY) 2003 launched on 14th July, 2003 and Varistha Pension Bima Yojana (VPBY) 2014 launched on 14th August, 2014. The Cabinet also granted approval for expenditure incurred on subsidy amount released to LIC during the period of 2003-04 to 2014-15 for VPBY, 2003 and approval to incur expenditure on VPBY, 2003 and 2014 from the financial year 2015-16 onwards.

The Schemes are implemented through Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India, and the difference between the actual yield earned by LIC on the funds invested under the Scheme and the assured return committed by the Government is paid as subsidy to LIC.

Both are pension schemes intended to give an assured minimum pension to the Senior Citizens based on an assured minimum return on the subscription amount. The pension is envisaged until death from the date of subscription, with payback of the subscription amount on death of the subscriber to the nominee.

Both the schemes VPBY - 2003 and VPBY - 2014 are closed for future subscriptions. However, policies sold during the currency of policy are being serviced as per the commitment of guaranteed 9% return assured by the Government under the schemes. VPBY-2014 was open from 14th August, 2014 to 14th August, 2015. As on 31sl March, 2016, a total number of 3,17,991 annuitants are being benefited under VPBY 2014. Similarly, a total number of 2,84,699 annuitants are being benefited under VPBY- 2003 as on 31st March, 2016.

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Cabinet approves India - Singapore MoU to give a boost to Innovation, Creativity and Technological Advancement
Sep 28,2016

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the field of Industrial Property Cooperation between Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion under the Ministry of Commerce & Industry and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), Ministry of Law, Government of Singapore. The MoU will be signed at the upcoming visit of Singapores Prime Minister to India from 4-7 October, 2016.

The MoU will enhance bilateral cooperation activities in the arena of Industrial Property Rights of Patents, Trademarks and Industrial Designs. It is intended to give a boost to innovation, creativity and technological advancement in both regions. The Priority initiatives under the MoU would be:

n++ Exchange of best practices, experiences and knowledge on Intellectual Property awareness among the public, businesses and educational institutions of both countries

n++ Exchange of experts specialized in the field of intellectual property

n++ Exchange and dissemination of best practices, experiences and knowledge on IP with the industry, universities, R & D organizations and Small and Medium Enterprises

n++ Cooperation in the development of automation and implementation of modernization projects

n++ Partnership in IP-related training for local IP and business communities

The MoU will enable India to exchange experiences in the innovation and IP ecosystems that will substantially benefit entrepreneurs, investor and businesses on both sides. The exchange of best practices between the two countries will lead to improved protection and awareness about Indias range of Intellectual creations which are as diverse as its people. It will be a landmark step forward in Indias journey towards becoming a major player in global innovation and will further the objectives of the National IPR Policy, 2016.

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Cabinet approves ratification of the Paris Agreement
Sep 28,2016

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to ratify the Paris Agreement (on Climate Change) on 2nd October 2016, the day of Gandhi Jayanti.

Paris Agreement was adopted by 185 nations last year on 12th December 2015 and India signed the Paris Agreement in New York early this year on 22nd April 2016. A total of 191 countries have signed to the Paris Agreement so far. As per the provisions of the Paris Agreement, the treaty will come into force as and when 55 countries contributing to 55 % of total global emission ratify the agreement. So far, 61 countries have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval accounting in total for 47.79% of the total global greenhouse gas emissions.

Indias decision to ratify the agreement will take the number of cumulative level of emission of countries that have ratified the agreement so far to 51.89%. With the gathering momentum and willingness expressed by several other countries to ratify the agreement before the end of this year, it is expected that the Agreement will enter into force soon and give a thrust to the global actions to address climate change.

With its decision to ratify the Agreement, India will be one of the key countries that will be instrumental in bringing the Paris Agreement into force. Given the critical role that India played in securing international consensus on Paris Agreement, todays decision will further underline Indias responsive leadership in the community of nations committed to global cause of environmental protection and climate justice.

While agreeing to ratify the Paris Agreement, the Cabinet has also decided that India should declare that India will treat its national laws, its development agenda, availability of means of implementation, its assessment of global commitment to combating climate change, and predictable and affordable access to cleaner source of energy as the context in which the Agreement is being ratified.

Paris Agreement pertains to post-2020 climate actions. In the pre-2020 period, developed countries are to act as per Kyoto Protocol and some developing countries have taken voluntary pledges.

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Cabinet approves acquisition of 29.9 percent stake in LLC Taas-Yuryakh Neftegazodobycha and 23.9 percent stake in JSC Vankorneft by Indian Consortium
Sep 28,2016

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval to an Indian Consortium comprising Oil India (OIL), Indian Oil Corporation (IOCL) and Bharat Petro Resources (BPRL) for acquiring 23.9 percent stake in JSC Vankorneft and 29.9 percent stake in LLC Taas-Yuryakh from M/s Rosneft Oil Company (Rosneft), the National Oil Company (NOC) of Russian Federation (Russia). Rosneft operates Vankor and Tass-Yuryakh fields and are its wholly owned subsidiaries.

The acquisition of stake in Vankorneft will provide 6.56 Million Metric Ton of Oil Equivalent (MMTOE) and 29.9 percent stake in Taas-Yuryakh will provide 0.5 MMTOE initially and 1.5 MMTOE by 2019. The acquisition is in line with Indias stated objective of adding high quality international assets to its Exploration & Production portfolio and thereby augmenting Indias energy security. The Consortium will be paying US $ 2020.35 million for acquiring stake in Vankorneft and US $ 1242 million for acquiring stake in Taas-Yuryakh. Earlier in May 2016 ONGC Videsh (OVL) completed the formalities of acquiring15% stake in Vankorneft at the cost of US $ 1.284 billion which gave OVL 4.11 MMTOE.

The acquisition will add 8.06 MMTOE to Indias overseas oil and gas asset. It will also provide an opportunity to Indian public sector Oil and Gas companies to absorb newer technologies with Rosneft and British Petroleum (BP). BP acquired 20% stake in Taas-Yuryakh from Rosneft last year.

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Cabinet approves financial assistance to retired employees of Bharat Pumps and Compressors, Allahabad
Sep 28,2016

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the proposal of Department of Heavy Industry for providing financial assistance amounting to Rs. 111.59 crore as Non-Plan loan to Bharat Pumps and Compressors Limited, Allahabad.

The CCEA also accorded in principle approval for strategic disinvestment of the company.

The statutory dues such as provident fund and gratuity of retired employees will be discharged and the outstanding dues of CISF will be cleared. It will motivate the employees and improve the performance of the Company. This will put an end to further legal complications and penal action against the Company.

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Cabinet approves Administrative and Financial Sanction towards the implementation of the Project SAKSHAM
Sep 28,2016

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved Project SAKSHAM, a New Indirect Tax Network (Systems Integration) of the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC).

The total project cost involved is Rs.2256 crore which will be incurred over a period of seven years.

It will help in:

n++ implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST),

n++ extension of the Indian Customs Single Window Interface for Facilitating Trade (SWIFT) and

n++ other taxpayer-friendly initiatives under Digital India and Ease of Doing Business of Central Board of Excise and Customs.

The implementation strategy for the project will be to ensure readiness of CBECs IT systems by April, 1, 2017, when GST is to be introduced. The upgrade of the IT systems will be carried out while keeping the existing Tax-payer services running.

All Taxpayers/lmporters/Exporters/Dealers under various indirect tax laws administered by CBEC- presently about 36 lakhs, likely to go up to over 65 lakhs after introduction of GST.

CBECs IT systems need to integrate with the Goods & Services Tax Network (GSTN) for processing of registration, payment and returns data sent by GSTN systems to CBEC, as well as act as a front-end for other modules like Audit, Appeal, Investigation. There is no overlap in the GST-related systems of CBEC and GSTN.

This IT infrastructure is also urgently required for continuation of CBECs e-Services in Customs, Central Excise & Service Tax, implementation of taxn++payer services such as scanned document upload facility, extension of Indian Customs Single Window Interface for Facilitating Trade (SWIFT) initiative and integration with Government initiatives such as E-Nivesh, E-Taal, e-Sign.

Background:

Introduction of GST will result in a several-fold increase in the number of taxpayers and resultant document load on the system. CBECs current IT system was set up in 2008. It cannot cater to the increased load under GST without an immediate upgrade of its IT Infrastructure. Further, CBEC has implemented the Indian Customs Single Window Interface for Facilitating Trade (SWIFT) and is integrating other partner agencies involved in Customs clearance in order to make the process simple and fast. The Customs EDI system which is currently operational at about 140 locations in India has to be extended to many more locations with improved response time and better service delivery. Taxpayers have to be given a facility for Upload of Digitally Signed Scanned Documents in order to reduce the physical interface with tax authorities and to increase the speed of clearance. CBEC also aims to introduce mobile services for taxpayers and departmental users to increase the outreach of its services.

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Cabinet approves Productivity Linked Bonus to railway employees
Sep 28,2016

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval to pay Productivity Linked Bonus (PLB) equivalent to 78 days wages to eligible non-gazetted railway employees (excluding RPF/RPSF personnel) for the financial year 2015-16. The approval entails a financial implication of approximately Rs.2090.96 crore.

Payment of PLB would result in motivating a large number of railway employees to improve the performance of the Railways and enhance the productivity levels further besides maintaining industrial peace.

The payment of this Bonus to eligible Railway Employees will be made before Dussehra/Puja holidays.

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DPE issues guidelines to expedite the process for clousure of CPSEs
Sep 28,2016

Department of Public Enterprises (DPE), Ministry of Heavy Industries & Public Enterprise has recently issued guidelines to expedite the process for closure of CPSEs so that all administrative Ministries would follow uniform procedure for closure of the CPSEs. Earlier, DPE had issued guidelines for n++streamlining the mechanism for revival and restructuring of sick/ incipient sick and weak Central Public Sector Enterprises: General principles and mechanism of restrictingn++. As per these guidelines, the CPSEs were to be categorized into strategic and non-strategic and revival/restructuring strategy was prescribed. However, there are certain CPSEs in non-strategic sector which have no scope for revival and are to be closed in a time bound manner. Since there are employees working in these CPSEs, Government decided that closure should not cause hardship to them and has now laid down a uniform policy to give workers VRS at 2007 notional pay scale irrespective of the pay scale in which they are working.

The guidelines also prescribe the modalities for disposal of movable assets and immovable assets. The guidelines prescribe that leasehold land would be dealt as per the terms of the lease and freehold land would be offered in following order of priority:-

(i) Central Government Departments.

(ii) Central Government bodies/CPSEs.

(iii) State Government Departments.

(iv) State Government bodies/State PSEs/State authorities.

In case the above categories are not interested in taking the land for six months, then the land would be auctioned through MSTC to any entity so that it can be put to productive use.

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New Coal Distribution Policy amended to increase annual cap of coal through State Nominated Agencies and amend phrase of Small and Medium Sector
Sep 28,2016

Union Ministry of Coal has issued an order with respect to the amendment to the New Coal Distribution Policy (NCDP), 2007 to increase the annual cap of coal from 4200 tonnes per annum for sale through State Nominated Agencies (SNA) to 10,000 tonnes per annum. In addition to raising the annual cap of coal, the Ministry has also amended the phrase, small and medium sector, as mentioned in the NCDP to small, medium and others.

The Ministrys order issued yesterday states that the above guidelines will also stand applicable to the distribution of coal from Singareni Collieries Company (SCCL).

The NCDP was issued vide Ministry of Coal Office Memorandum No. 23011/4/2007-CPD dated 18th October, 2007, laying down the guidelines for distribution and pricing of coal to various sectors. As per the policy, the scope of coverage through State Nominated Agencies was increased up to 4200 tonnes per annum.

There have been requests from consumers and state governments for reconsideration of guidelines as mentioned in NCDP, 2007 for upward revision of annual cap on coal through SNAs and also for amending the condition of the small and medium sector to include other sectors where annual coal requirement is very low.

The rationale for the amendment, as cited in the order, is that only small and medium sector consumers, having requirement less than 4200 tonnes per annum were entitled to take coal through SNA, large units having requirement of less than 4200 tonnes per annum were not recommended for coal by the District Industries Centre (DIC). Moreover, the limit of requirement of less than 4200 tonnes per annum needed to be revised as small units might have expanded over a period of time.

As adequate quantity of coal at notified price through SNA would be available for this sector , this amendment is seen as one of the many steps taken by the Government to improve ease of doing business in the country and make more coal available for the small , medium and other sectors.

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Assistance to cities to improve energy use efficiency to tap Rs.6,000 cr saving potential per year
Sep 28,2016

Ministry of Urban Development has embarked on a major programme to improve energy use efficiency in bulk water supply, public lighting, transportation and domestic consumption in cities and towns across the country. The Ministry today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Energy Efficiency Services, a public sector enterprise in this regard.

The MoU was signed in the presence of the Minister of Urban Development Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu, Minister of Power, New and Renewable Energy Sources and Coal Shri Piyush Goyal and Shri Rajiv Gauba, Secretary (Urban Development).

Shri Naidu said that energy audit and improving energy use efficiency is one of the mandated reforms under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and this initiative would help the cities significantly. n++This will substantially reduce costs of operation of water supply schemes and public lighting and will benefit citizensn++ Shri Naidu said.

Shri Piyush Goyal said that n++EESL has done a great job over the last one year in promoting energy use efficiency programmes across the country and has done much better than private sector. EESL will ensure supply of latest technology for municipal programmesn++.

In the MoU, it has been stated that energy costs account for 40% to 60% of cost of water supply in urban areas and energy efficiency interventions can reduce this cost by 25% to 40%, depending on the type and age of machines being used for bulk water supply. Quoting Central Electricity Authority (CEA) it has been stated that urban local bodies can save about Rs.6,000 cr per year through such interventions in water supply and public lighting alone besides avoiding the need for 1,150 MW of power.

Savings in water supply is said to be Rs.3,200 cr and 600 MW of power while it would be Rs.2,800 cr and 550 MW in case of public lighting per year. Emission of Carbon Dioxide, a climate change agent is estimated to be reduced by over 7 million tonnes per year.

Necessary interventions would be undertaken by EESL without any financial burden on urban local bodies as cost of the proposed Municipal Energy Efficiency Programmes would be borne from out of the savings. MoU states that performance contracting offers a mechanism for urban local bodies to finance these projects without upfront investment.

As per the MoU, EESL will develop overall strategy for taking up Energy Efficient Projects in urban areas and to start with, will take up implementation of energy efficient pump sets in public water works and sewage systems to be followed by similar interventions for public lighting, public transport systems and buildings.

Cities selected under Smart City Mission would be targeted first to be followed by AMRUT cities and others in a phased manner.

Ministry of Urban Development would facilitate signing of agreements between the State Governments, urban local bodies and EESL for conducting Investment Grade Energy Audit, preparation of technical reports and for implementation after the reports are approved.

EESL will provide or arrange project funding for implementation as required and will procure latest technological equipment and materials in a transparent manner besides ensuring repair and maintenance services for the goods installed by it.

It has been proposed in the MoU that after selection of cities, Investment Grade Energy Audit will be prepared by EESL in six months and after approval, project will be implemented in nine months from the date of signing of tri-partite agreement.

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Govt. exploring opportunities to set up nuclear power plants in Ukhand, Punjab & Haryana: Dr Jitendra Singh
Sep 28,2016

The government is exploring possibilities of establishing nuclear power plants in northern states of Uttarakhand, Punjab and Haryana, union Minister for Atomic Energy, Dr Jitendra Singh said at an ASSOCHAM event.

n++The present government can stake claim of having set up an atomic energy plant in Gorakhpur in Haryana, so we have brought atomic energy northwards which it had been waiting for 60-70 years and we made it to cross through Delhi because atomic energy never had the opportunity to see the capital of this country,n++ said Dr Singh while inaugurating an ASSOCHAM conference on nuclear power in India.

He said that atomic energy remained confined only to Maharashtra, the western coast, Tamil Nadu, parts of Andhra Pradesh. n++So now we are exploring the possibilities of having such establishments in other possible places for example, near Dehradun in Uttarakhand, in Punjab near Patiala and in Bhiwandi in Haryana are being explored as venues for atomic plants.n++

Highlighting the cost-effective aspect of nuclear energy, he said n++The nuclear power plant being set up in Haryana will become operational by about next year at the cost of just Rs 6 per unit.n++

n++Atomic energy had remained confined to certain parts of the country, in Tarapur for obvious reasons because Dr Bhabha had set up his first establishment in Mumbai then we had south but we hardly had any presence in north India,n++ he said.

He also said that the government had diversified nuclear energy and got it into a huge way in academics through Bhabha National Institute.

n++The Bhabha National Institute has got into an understanding with Tata Atomic Institute in Mumbai and we are now helping it to award degrees in cancer,n++ said the Minister.

He also said that within a period of next ten years India will have at least 25 per cent source of energy from nuclear sector. n++That is going to be a remarkable achievement because energy needs of the country are growing very fast and it is going to be cost-effective.n++

n++The challenge would be to how best to put it (nuclear energy) to use,n++ said Dr Singh.

He also said that the government was using space technology to safeguard the thorium which will come to be utilised very soon in the years to come when India will have new sets of nuclear reactors.

n++While we will have this advantage of being the part of the Department of Atomic Energy which was perhaps not so visible earlier, we will also have the challenge and responsibility about how best to use this increasing availability of energy with wider application and how to safeguard the pilferage of the energy as well as the energy source by way of pilferage,n++ said the minister.

He also said that Dr Homi J. Bhabha had a vision to establish a nuclear centre and also to declare to the world that it would be devoted to the peaceful purposes at a time when peaceful purposes of nuclear energy were hardly known and it was only known as a creator of atomic bomb.

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BSNL should connect 1 lakh Gram Panchayats with broadband connectivity at the earliest-Manoj Sinha
Sep 28,2016

The Telecom Minister Shri Manoj Sinha today gave a stern message to BSNL that he will not tolerate any delay and the Telecom PSU should connect one lakh Gram Panchayats (GPs) through Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) to set up a network infrastructure to serve the rural masses. He said, all are working with zeal to achieve the target of connecting 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats with Broadband Network within stipulated timeframe, which is the vision of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for Digital India. Speaking at an award ceremony function of BSNL here, Shri Sinha said, those who are working with zeal should be rewarded and those should take VRS from where reports of negative growth is coming on a continuous basis.

The Minister urged the BSNL to find new invention, new research and new technology and to give World Class products for achieving Prime Ministers vision of Transforming India through Digital Revolution. He said that there is need for innovation as India cannot afford to emulate the Developed Economies due to limited resources. He said, if India will lag in catching up with emerging technologies, the very existence of the country will be at stake. He exhorted the officials and other stakeholders to n++Walk the Talkn++ and underlined that it is our bounden duty to digitally empower the huge chunk of population particularly in rural areas who are still deprived of IT revolution.

Shri Sinha asked BSNL officers and employees to set an ambitious target of 15 percent Telecom penetration within a time frame from the existing 10.4 percent and asked the PSU to any competition head on and compete with other big Telecom Operators as BSNL is now equipped with new technology, dedicated work force, equipment and financial resources. He also expressed concern that despite the worldwide trend, the number of land line connections in India is decreasing every day and BSNL should think seriously about this issue.

He said, unless the BSNL will not improve its service quality, Plan-49 or Plan-II-49 will not succeed to have connection at Rs 49. BSNL through the above two plans have made call free on Sunday and from 9.00 pm to 7 am each day and the Telco PSU is also providing Broadband connectivity at cheaper rates. He also asked BSNL to resolve all the complaints promptly and any reluctance on this front will not be tolerated.

Shri Sinha said that the Country is on the verge of Data Revolution, and if India will lag behind on this front, history will not forgive us. He said, it is easy to befool through jugglery of data and facts, but ultimately work should be seen to have been done.

Speaking on the occasion, Secretary, Telecom Shri J.S.Deepak said that it is a matter of pride that since April, 2015, BSNL has come to operating profit it is gaining market share on a regular basis but it should work hard to become the global giant. Referring to connectivity initiatives in North East, Left Wing Extremist areas, where 2200 towers were installed for better connectivity for the security forces and for the rural masses living in the remotest areas, Shri Deepak said that in the 2nd phase 2,000 additional towers will be installed in the naxal-hit areas. He also called for performance audit of the PSU from time to time.

In his address, the CMD of BSNL Shri Anupam Srivastav said that the revenue of BSNL IN 2015-16 was Rs 28,450 crore, which is 4.4 percent more than the revenue in the year 2014-15. He assured the Minister that BSNL is ready to compete tariff to tariff with any Telecom Operator and also called for collaborative efforts where the countrys interest is involved.

Shri Srivastav said that due to paucity of instruments and equipment from 2006-2012, BSNL missed the voice bus, but in the last two years several initiatives were taken and BSNL is ready for any challenge. He informed that in the last two years 26,000 mobile towers were installed and in this financial year 20,000 additional towers will be installed.

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Proposed Multi-Modal Terminal at Haldia Holds Huge Cargo Potential
Sep 28,2016

Even before the construction of Multi-Modal terminal at Haldia in West Bengal kicks off, it has received a commitment of 5.92 million tons (MT) per annum of cargo volume by the year 2018 from the Industry, indicating huge cargo potential of the proposed terminal. 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.

In a series of consultations with Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) held at Haldia last month, various industries, firms, shipping lines, cargo operators, shippers, and manufacturers committed transportation of cargo like Fly ash, Edible oil, Vegetable oil, Gypsum etc. by 2018, the year Haldia terminal is ready for operation.

Earlier, a workshop on issues pertaining to the opportunities and prospects of inland waterways-cargo potential for IWT terminal at Haldia was held in March, 2015 in which various shippers, freight forwarders, vessel operators etc. participated. The participants had indicated that the immediate demand for transportation was about 1.8 MT per annum for Fly Ash and 1.7 MT per annum for Edible oil, if Haldia Multi-Modal Terminal was constructed.

In June, 2016, M/s HPC & Uniconsult, Germany (Consultants engaged for IWT Sector development strategy and business development study for the Jal Marg Vikas Project) forecasted a cargo potential of 7.95 MT for the year 2020.

Haldia terminal is one of the three Multi-Modal terminals being constructed under the World Bank assisted Jal Marg Vikas Project, being implemented by Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), Ministry of Shipping, Government of India for the capacity augmentation of National Waterway-1 i.e. on River Ganga from Haldia-Varanasi for navigation.

Government is developing National Waterway-1 (NW-1) under the Jal Marg Vikas Project, with assistance from the World Bank at an estimated cost of Rs. 4,200 crore. The project would enable commercial navigation of vessels with capacity of 1500-2,000 DWT Tonnage.

Earlier tender for Phase-I of the terminal was published on 3rd March,2016. Six firms submitted their technical and financial proposals, and the evaluation is in progress.

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