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Cabinet approves construction of third line between Mathura and Jhansi
Aug 25,2016

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for construction of third line between Mathura and Jhansi at an estimated cost of Rs.3,677.76 crore and expected completion cost of Rs.4,377.13 crore.

The 273.80 km long railway line is expected to be completed in six years.

Besides facilitating the travel, goods trains passing through this section will get adequate capacity for smooth running. Mathura, Agra, Jhansi districts of Uttar Pradesh, Datiya, Gwalior, Morena districts of Madhya Pradesh and Dholpur district of Rajasthan will be covered by this line.

Background:

Mathura-Jhansi section is a BG double line on New Delhi-Mumbai CST route. This project will enhance capacity, reduce detention and cater for future growth of traffic. At present, number of passenger and goods train in this section are far more than its capacity, resulting in heavy detention to trains.

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Cabinet approves construction of third line between Vijaywada Jn and Gudur Jn
Aug 24,2016

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for construction of third line between Vijaywada Junction and Gudur Junction at an estimated cost of Rs.3,246.26 crore and expected completion cost of Rs.3,875.68 crore.

The 287.67 km long railway line is expected to be completed in six years.

Besides facilitating the travel, foodgrains traffic to southern states and goods traffic for Krishnapatnam and nearby ports will have additional transport capacity to meet their requirement. Krishna, Guntur, Prakasham and P.S. Nellore districts of Andhra Pradesh will be covered by this line.

Background:

Vijawada Junction-Gudur Junction line is a part of grand trunk route connecting north and south states. This section serves freight trains catering to demands of various loading points. Foodgrains to southern states are moved through this section. Besides this, goods traffic from Krishnapatnam and nearby ports will increase in the section necessitating for construction third line of Vijayawada Junction and Gudur Junction.

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Cabinet approves construction of third line between Jhansi and Bina
Aug 24,2016

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for construction of third line between Jhansi and Bina at an estimated cost of Rs.2001.63 crore and expected completion cost of Rs.2,273.84 crore.

The 152.57 km long railway line is expected to be completed in four years.

Besides facilitating the travel, goods trains passing through this section will get adequate capacity for smooth running. Jhansi and Lalitpur districts of Uttar Pradesh and Sagar district (Bina) of Madhya Pradesh will be covered by this line.

Background:

Jhansi-Bina section is a BG double line on New Delhi-Mumbai CST route. This project will enhance capacity, reduce detention and cater for future growth of traffic. At present, number of passenger and goods train in this section are far more than its capacity, resulting in heavy detention to trains.

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Cabinet approves waiver of penal interest on GoI loans availed by Cochin Port
Aug 24,2016

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for waiver of penal interest on Government of India (GOI) loans availed by Cochin Port Trust to the tune of Rs. 897.23 crore. The CCEA also gave its approval by freezing the liability on account of GOI loans, interest thereon and penal interest @ 0.25% as on 31.3.2016 amounting to Rs.557.16 crore (Rs.258.14 crore + Rs.281.45 crore + Rs.17.57 crore). The CCEA, further approved the rescheduling of repayment of the amount frozen in 10 years commencing from 2018-19.

The Cochin Port Trust availed loans for various developmental activities from Govt. of India amounting to Rs.168.15 crore between1936-37 to 1994-95. Non-repayment of these loans has attracted penal interest to the tune of Rs. 914.80 crore. The Port could not repay the loans since the projected revenue from the capital investment done was not sufficient to cover the interest component.

The move comes in the backdrop of a series of steps taken by Cochin Port. The Cochin Port has undertaken a series of remedial measures to improve its financial conditions, apart from the measures ordered by Government of India, such as ban on recruitments, stoppage of vehicle purchases and the like, measures adopted by the Port include steps unprecedented in other Major Ports, like freezing of Variable DA for all employees and Dearness Relief for pensioners, stoppage of HBA, conveyance advance, and LTC, stoppage of overtime posting for non-operating areas, reduction of uniform allowance to single set basis, and deferment of Leave Encashment.

With these recent initiatives taken by the Cochin Port, several income streams, long awaited by the Port, are now beginning to bear fruit and this would improve the financial status of the Port in future and its ability to repay in future.

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Cabinet approves construction of third line between Ballarshah-Kazipet
Aug 24,2016

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for construction of third line between Ballarshah and Kazipet at an estimated cost of Rs.2,063.03 crore and expected completion cost of Rs.2,403.22 crore.

The 201.04 km long railway line is expected to be completed in five years.

Besides facilitating the travel, power plants, coal and cement traffic will have additional transport capacity to meet their requirement. Warangal, Adilabad and Karimnagar districts of Telengana and Chandrapur district of Maharashtra will be covered by this line.

Background:

Ballarshah-Kazipet third line is a part of the New Delhi-Chennai Grant trunk route and golden quadrangle. The section between Ballarshah-Kazipet has reached saturation level with utilisation of section capacity at 127%. The section is extremely important from goods loading point of view with FCI siding at Jammikunta, Kesoram Cement Siding at Raghavpuram, Thermal Power Station and SCCL siding at Manchiryal, Coal loading sidings at Bellampalli, Rechni Road, Asifabad and Cement loading siding at Manikgarh, Ghatchandur. Keeping in view the growth in freight and passenger traffic, third line between Ballarshah-Kazipet is essential.

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Cabinet approves construction of third line between Itarsi and Nagpur
Aug 24,2016

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for construction of third line between Itarsi and Nagpur at an estimated cost of Rs.2,449.91 crore and expected completion cost of Rs.2,882.94 crore.

The 280 km long railway line is expected to be completed in five years.

Besides facilitating the travel, industries in and around Itarsi-Nagpur route will have additional transport capacity to meet their requirements. Hoshangabad, Chhindwara and Betul districts of Madhya Pradesh and Nagpur district of Maharashtra will be covered by this line.

Background:

Itarsi-Nagpur route is a BG double electrified line serving passenger as well as Goods traffic from North to South. The line capacity utilization of the section is saturated and running of additional Mail/Express and Goods traffic over the section cause detention to the trains. On this route Teegaon-Chichonda project has already been sanctioned. To cope up with the local demands and to have smooth movement of goods traffic, it is essential to construct 3rd line on Dharakoh-Maramjhiri Ghat Section (12.75 km) and balance on the Itarsi-Nagpur section (267 km).

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Indias fuel product consumption rises 3.9% in July 2016
Aug 24,2016

Indias fuel product consumption or sales increased 3.9% to 14.92 mt in July 2016 over a year ago. LPG sales jumped 8.7% to 1.71 mt, while petrol sales galloped 14.7% to 1.92 mt. Sales of petcoke advanced 6.8% to 1.66 mt and diesel improved 1.8% to 5.81 mt. Consumption of ATF gained 11.1% to 0.56 mt, while that of others moved up 7.2% to 0.52 mt. The consumption of fuel oil also gained 6.5% to 0.57 mt, and LDO 2.3% to 0.04 mt. However, the consumption of bitumen declined 1.0% to 0.28 mt, lubes/greases 1.2% to 0.26 mt, naphtha 6.3% to 1.10 mt, and kerosene 12.9% to 0.50 mt in July 2016.

Consumption or sales of fuel product increased 7.3% to 63.66 mt in April-July 2016 over April-July 2015. Sales of LPG increased 7.9%, petcoke 23.3%, diesel 4.0%, and petrol 11.1%. Consumption of fuel oil also moved up 18.4%, bitumen 15.9%, ATF 12.3%, lubes/greases 3.9%, naphtha 0.8% and LDO 13.2%, but declined for others 0.9% and kerosene 9.0% in April-July 2016.

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Indias natural gas production rises 3.3% in July 2016
Aug 24,2016

Indias natural gas production rose 3.3% to 2.70 billion cubic meters (bcm) in July 2016 over a year ago. Natural gas output of ONGC moved up 8.2% to 1.82 bcm, while that of private and JV companies declined 11.0% to 0.62 bcm. Meanwhile, the natural gas production of Oil India increased 10.1% to 0.26 bcm in July 2016.

Natural gas output declined -3.8% to 10.45 bcm in April-July 2016 over April-July 2015.

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Indias crude oil refinery output rises 7.7% in July 2016
Aug 24,2016

Indias crude oil refinery output increased 7.7% to 20.41 mt in July 2016 over July 2015. The output of public sector refineries surged 15.5% to 10.97 mt, while the output of private refineries also gained 2.0% to 8.11 mt. The refinery output of public-private JV refiners declined 11.8% to 1.33 mt in July 2016.

Among public refineries, the output of Chennai Petroleum Corporation jumped 32.4% to 0.93 mt, while the output of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation moved up 28.5% to 1.34 mt, and Mangalore Refineries 19.7% to 1.23 mt in July 2016 over July 2015. The output of Indian Oil Corporation also inched up 14.4% to 5.19 mt, and Bharat Petroleum Corporation 5.3% to 2.03 mt, but that of Numaligarh Refineries declined 3.6% to 0.24 mt in July 2016.

Among private refiners, the output of Reliance Petroleum increased 3.8% to 6.44 mt, while that of Essar Oil declined 4.4% to 1.67 mt in July 2016 over July 2015.

Among JV refineries, the output of Bharat Oman declined 30.5% to 0.42 mt, while the output of HPCL Mittal rose 0.8% to 0.91 mt in July 2015.

The cumulative refinery output increased 8.5% to 79.42 mt in April-July 2016. The output of public refineries increased 11.9% to 42.73 mt, while that of private refineries rose 4.5% to 31.22 mt. The refinery output of JV refineries moved up 7.4% to 5.46 mt in April-July 2016. Among public refineries, the output of Numaligarh Refineries, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation, Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation, and Chennai Petroleum Corporation rose, while that of Mangalore Refineries was flat.

The overall capacity utilization was higher at 108.6% in July 2016 compared with 102.5% in July 2015, while it was also higher at 106.0% in April-July 2016 compared with 104.5% in April-July 2015.

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Cabinet approves introduction of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016
Aug 24,2016

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for introduction of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016.

The Bill will regulate surrogacy in India by establishing National Surrogacy Board at the central level and State Surrogacy Boards and Appropriate Authorities in the State and Union Territories. The legislation will ensure effective regulation of surrogacy, prohibit commercial surrogacy and allow ethical surrogacy to the needy infertile couples.

All infertile Indian married couple who want to avail ethical surrogacy will be benefited. Further the rights of surrogate mother and children born out of surrogacy will be protected. The Bill shall apply to whole of India, except the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The major benefits of the Act would be that it will regulate the surrogacy services in the country. While commercial surrogacy will be prohibited including sale and purchase of human embryo and gametes, ethical surrogacy to the needy infertile couples will be allowed on fulfilment of certain conditions and for specific purposes. As such, it will control the unethical practices in surrogacy, prevent commercialization of surrogacy and will prohibit potential exploitation of surrogate mothers and children born through surrogacy.

No permanent structure is proposed to be created in the Draft Bill. Neither there are proposals for creating new posts. The proposed legislation, while covering an important area is framed in such a manner that it ensures effective regulation but does not add much vertically to the current regulatory structure already in place at the central as well as states. Accordingly, there will not be any financial implications except for the meetings of the National and State surrogacy Boards and Appropriate Authorities which will be met out of the regular budget of Central and State governments.

Background:

India has emerged as a surrogacy hub for couples from different countries and there have been reported incidents concerning unethical practices, exploitation of surrogate mothers, abandonment of children born out of surrogacy and rackets of intermediaries importing human embryos and gametes. Widespread condemnation of commercial surrogacy prevalent in India has also been regularly published in different print-and electronic media since last few years highlighting the need to prohibit commercial surrogacy and allow ethical altruistic surrogacy. The 228th report of the Law Commission of India has also recommended for prohibiting commercial surrogacy and allowing ethical altruistic surrogacy to the needy Indian citizens by enacting a suitable legislation.

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Indias crude oil production declines 1.8% in July 2016
Aug 24,2016

Indias crude oil production declined 1.8% to 3.08 million tonnes (mt) in July 2016 over July 2015. Crude oil output of ONGC fell 0.7% to 1.87 mt, while that of Oil India also eased 0.9% to 0.27 mt. Further, the crude oil production of private and joint venture (JV) companies dipped 4.2% to 0.94 mt. ONGCs offshore output declined 2.4% to 1.37 mt, while onshore production rose at 4.3% to 0.50 mt.

Crude oil output fell 2.9% to 12.08 mt in April-July period of the fiscal year ending March 2017 (April-July 2016), in addition to 0.7% decline recorded in the corresponding period of last year. Output of ONGC eased 1.3% to 7.36 mt, while that of Oil India declined 3.7% to 1.07 mt and private companies fell 5.9% to 3.65 mt in April-July 2016 over April-July 2015.

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Cabinet approves Leasing out of AAI land to AIDC
Aug 24,2016

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for leasing out of AAI land measuring 4050 sq. Mtrs. to Assam Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC), a Government of Assam Undertaking. This will be utilised for setting up of Centre for Perishable Cargo (CPC) and its future expansion at Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport (LGBI Airport), Guwahati.

The land is to be leased by AAI on a token licence fee of Rs.1/- per annum for a period of seven years subject to signing of Lease Agreement. After expiry of initial period of seven years, the future lease period will be made afresh as per AAI policy in-vogue.

Background:

North Eastern Region (NER) in India is rich in flora and fauna. Revenue from export of agriculture and horticulture items will improve economic conditions of NER. There is a need for promotions of perishable cargo export from this region, which will generate employment opportunities directly or indirectly. Facilities for air upliftment of perishable cargo from Guwahati are required to be more effective. Therefore, it has been decided to lease land measuring 4050 sq. Mtrs. to AIDC, by AAI for setting up of CPC and its future expansion at LGBI Airport, Guwahati.

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Cabinet approves Central Scheme for Assistance to Civilian Victims
Aug 24,2016

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to enhance the grant of compensation to the civilian victims under the scheme titled n++Central Scheme for Assistance to Civilian Victims of Terrorist/ Communal/Left Wing Extremist (LWE), Cross Border Firing and Mine/IED blasts on Indian Territoryn++ from Rs.3 lakhs to Rs.5 lakhs. The highlights of the scheme are as follows:-

1. For the first time, civilian victims of cross border firing along the Indo-Pak border will be given a compensation of Rs. 5 lakh similar to those who die due to terrorism or LWE violence.

2. The decision to give compensation to the victims of cross border firing and enhancing the amount from Rs.3 lakh to Rs.5 lakh to the victims of terrorism or LWE violence was taken by the Government on Wednesday.

3. Now onwards, any civilian who dies anywhere in the country due to terror attack, LWE violence, firing from across the border, shelling or IED explosion will be given Rs.5 iakh as compensation uniformly. The amount will be given to the next of kin of the victim.

4. Rs.5 lakh will also be given to those who receive 50 per cent or more disability or incapacitation due to the same reasons.

5. The compensation amount will be given subject to the condition that no employment has been provided to any of the family members of the victims by State or Central Government.

6. Till now the next of kin of persons killed or civilians who suffered permanent incapacitation as a result of such violence were paid Rs.3 lakh as per provisions of the Central Scheme for Assistance to Civilian Victims of Terrorist, Communal, Naxal violence since 2008. Families of the victims would be eligible to get assistance under the scheme even if they have received any other assistance, by way of payment of ex-gratia or any other type of relief from the Government or any other source except when a similar scheme is already being implemented by the Central Government. So far, the Government has disbursed Rs.35.89 crore as compensation to civilian victims since inception of this Scheme in 2008.

Background:

During the Prime Ministers visit to Jammu and Kashmir on 23.10.2014, the issue of financial assistance to the people killed in cross border firing was raised. For the first time in 70 years since independence, realizing the problem of Indian population residing in border areas, the Government analyzed their plight as they suffer due to frequent violations of ceasefire specifically on the North Western border of Jammu and Kashmir with Pakistan. Approximately 770 km of the Line of Control (LC) and approximately 220 km of International Border (IB) have been a witness to frequent ceasefire violation and the influx of terrorists since 1990. 13921 civilians have lost their lives till 2015. In view of the hardships faced by the civilian populations, the Government decided to include the civilian victims of cross border firing under the Scheme.

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Cabinet approves MoU with South Africa to establish cooperation in Grassroots Innovation
Aug 24,2016

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been apprised of the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and South Africa to establish cooperation in Grassroots Innovation. The MoU was signed on July 07, 2016 at Pretoria in pursuance to the Inter-Government Agreement between two countries for cooperation in Science & Technology.

Under this MoU, both countries will jointly organise various programmes such as forums, seminars, workshops, and training on matters related to innovation; share open source technologies with each other and jointly develop projects (and including partnering with relevant industries in the respective countries) to assist innovators in converting their ideas into commercially viable innovations leading to joint technology development and transfer of technology for Societal benefit.

The MoU will provide a mechanism and help in creating an ecosystem that will promote inclusive innovation and entrepreneurship at the grassroot level in both countries with particular focus on Indigenous knowledge systems and Agriculture Biotechnology.

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Cabinet approves Cadre Review of Indian Information Service
Aug 24,2016

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the cadre restructuring of the Indian Information Service (IIS) Group A.

The restructuring will involve addition of two posts at Apex level, five at Higher Administrative Grade and 19 posts at Senior Administrative Grade level with matching reduction at other levels. The restructuring will address the problem of existing stagnation in the IIS Cadre and will improve the career prospects of IIS officers. The Cadre review exercise will result in better functioning of media and communication arms of the government.

The Cadre review comes in the backdrop of ongoing efforts to expand the outreach of pro-people policies of the government and the need to disseminate the information of such measures which have grown manifold in the recent years.

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