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More than 69 Thousand Women Covered Under Nai Roshni Scheme Till 31st January During Current Financial Year
Mar 16,2017

The Ministry of Minority Affairs is implementing three specific schemes for the welfare of Minority women under the n++Nai - Roshnin++ for Leadership Development of Minority Women, specially for development of women belonging to notified minority communities namely Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis and Jains, Rs. 14.13 Crore have been released and 69 thousand 150 women have been covered till 31st January during current financial year, Rs. 14.81 crore were released and 58 thousand 725 women were covered in 2015-16, while Rs. 13.78 Crore were released and 71 thousand 75 women were covered in 2014-16. The aim of the scheme is to empower and instill confidence in women by providing knowledge, tool and techniques for interacting with Government system and others at all levels. The scheme is implemented through selected Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) all over the country.

Begum Hazrat Mahal National Scholarship for Meritorious Girls belonging to minorities is implemented through Maulana Azad Education Foundation. Under the scheme Rs. 57.60 Crore were released and 48 thousand girls were covered in 2015-16, while Rs. 54.51 Crore were released and 45 thousand 426 girls were covered in 2014-15.

Mahila Samridhi Yojana is implemented through National Minorities Development & Finance Corporation (NMDFC) wherein skill development training is imparted to group of women in women friendly trades. Training period is of maximum six months and raw material cost of upto Rs.1,500/- per trainee and stipend @ Rs.1000/- per trainee is provided. During the period of training, the women formed into Self Help Group, followed by infusion of micro-credit maximum upto Rs.1.00 lacs per member for the purpose of using the skill developed during the training, for income generation activities.

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Artificial Intelligence is the need of the hour: ASSOCHAM-PwC study
Mar 16,2017

Effectiveness of Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, robotics and cognitive automation in direct proportion bestow rise in the quality and quantity of training data that the systems are exposed to, the conditions are ripe for India to emerge as a leader in AI, said an ASSOCHAM-PwC paper.

India is already on the path of a digital revolution and the next step is utilising the big data generated to take intelligent decisions. This requires close collaboration between academia, the private sector and public sector in order to understand problems holistically and solve them, , the ASSOCHAM-PwC joint study on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics - 2017 noted.

AI augmented manufacturing operations can employ more reliable demand forecasting, a flexible and responsive supply chain, quicker changes in operations, and more accurate scheduling and inventory optimisation. Other benefits involve creation of smarter, quicker and environmentally sound processes. This can lead to increased productivity and quality, lower costs and a more robust health and safety framework.

The application of AI in the field of defence and security includes protection of infrastructure such as airports, power plants and economic sectors that are vulnerable to attacks, detecting anomalous behaviour in individuals, and using distributed sensors and pattern recognition to predict infrastructure disruptions through natural/man-made causes, adds the study.

The security games framework is based on computational game theory, combined with elements of human behaviour modelling. Given the limited security resources and different high value targets, game-based decisions provide a randomised collection or patrolling schedule based on weights of targets and intelligent reactions of adversaries to security postures.

AI shows remarkable potential in aiding control and remedial actions in the aftermath of environmental and man-made disasters. It can assist in optimising mobile networks and smart bandwidth allocation to ensure network service continuity in the midst of catastrophic events that are usually followed by a spike in communication and jammed networks.

Unmanned drones and satellite feeds combined with image processing and recognition can be used in infrastructure damage assessments and predictions based on structural stability and traffic congestion avoidance through adaptive routing while equipping and deploying disaster management teams. Opportunities for AI intervention also reside in processing social media feeds to gauge location-specific urgency and send targeted alerts to minimise loss of life and property, pointed the study.

A key area of AI intervention in logistical operations involves adaptive scheduling of deliveries and routing of vehicles. Advanced logistics and supply chains are being created using expert decision systems. Products can be transported more efficiently through vision-based driver assist and automated/robotic systems. This has made transportation less susceptible to disruptions caused by weather, traffic and unnatural events.

Some of the major areas of application of AI in the banking and financial services sector include early detection of financial risk and systemic failures, and automation to reduce malicious intent in financial systems, such as market manipulation, fraud, anomalous trading and reduction in market volatility and trading costs.

AI can improve the efficiency of operations in the travel and transportation sector by bringing improved safety through structural health monitoring and infrastructure asset management that can pay dividends in terms of reduced cost of repairs and reconstruction and real-time route information, thereby reducing energy usage and emissions.

Agriculture is another sector that can greatly benefit from intelligent solutions by using smarter production, processing, storage, distribution and consumption mechanisms. AI solutions can also help provide site-specific and timely data about crops to enable application of appropriate inputs such as fertilisers and chemicals, highlighted joint study.

Consumer goods and services was one of the initial areas of AI adoption in India and currently accounts for a significant share of private sector application. To enable consumers to find better products at low prices, machine learning algorithms are being deployed for better matching of supply with consumer demand.

Efficient usage of bandwidth and storage, improved filtering, web searches and language translation are some of the benefits of employing AI systems in the communication and social media sector. AI can enhance scientific research and experimentation by assisting scientists and engineers in reading publications and patents, generating hypotheses and testing them through the usage of robotic systems.

Large parts of the country experience a dearth of academicians and teachers when it comes to making education effective for students across a gradient of social and cognitive abilities. AI solutions can meaningfully intervene by means of adaptive tutoring based on the receptiveness of students and accurate gauging of development of students complemented by in-person classroom learning.

Evidence-based treatment and medication require a level of precision that helps patients develop confidence and trust in their doctorsn++an area where mere manual experience and judgment may be supplemented with AI.

With the vast volume of information-processing capabilities required for fields such as bioinformatics, using AI-based algorithms and solutions is inevitable. AI application in healthcare, medicine and biotechnology includes supporting systems to identify genetic risks from large-scale genomic studies, predicting safety and efficacy of newly launched drugs, providing decision support for medical assessments and prescriptions and tailoring drug administration to the individual patient.

Some of the areas where AI can improve legal processes include improved discovery and analysis based on law case history and formulation of legal arguments based on identification of relevant evidence.

Cognitive technologies are being deployed by firms to largely automate the task of going through stacks of documents to identify key terms, which has until now been a time-consuming manual process. NLP technology reads and understands key points in the documents. Machine-learning technology makes it possible to train the system on a set of sample documents so that it learns how to identify and extract information in an automated manner.

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Government to Amend EPF Scheme, 1952 to Enable EPF Members to Withdraw upto 90 Percent Fund for Purchase of House
Mar 16,2017

The Government has taken a decision for modification in the Employees Provident Funds (EPF) Scheme, 1952 to add a new paragraph 68 BD under which a member of Employees Provident Fund (EPF), being a member of a co-operative society or a housing society having at least 10 members of EPF, can withdraw upto 90 per cent from the Fund for purchase of dwelling house/flat or construction of dwelling house/acquisition of site. Monthly installments for repayments of any outstanding payments or interest may also be paid from the amount standing to the credit of the member, to the Government/housing agency/primary lending agency or banks concerned.

The total number of Employees Provident Fund (EPF) member accounts as on 31 March 2016, as per Annual Report for 2015-16, is 17.14 crore. On an average, contributions have been received in respect of 3.76 crore members during the year 2015-16. The withdrawal facility from the Provident Fund (PF) account under the Scheme will be available to only those PF members who fulfill the conditions prescribed.

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Rs. 31734 Crore Collected as Construction Workers Welfare Cess till 31st December 2016
Mar 16,2017

Rs. 31733.76 crore have been collected as Construction Workers Welfare Cess by the States/UTs upto 31.12.2016, at the rate of 1% of the cost of construction. Out of it Rs. 6872.51 crore has been spent.

The Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Cess Act, 1996, provides for levy and collection of cess at such rate not exceeding two per cent but not less than one per cent of the cost of construction as the Central Government may notify. The cess has been levied and being collected at the rate of 1% of the cost of construction as notified by the Central Government in the Official Gazette.

The cess at the above rate is collected by the State Governments/ Union Territory Administrations and utilized for the welfare of the building and other construction workers by the State Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Boards constituted by the State Governments/Union Territory Administrations under the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996.

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Boost to Education: Cabinet approves setting up of 50 new Kendriya Vidyalayas in the country under Civil / Defence Sector
Mar 16,2017

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister ShriNarendra Modihas approved the proposal for opening of 50 new Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) under Civil / Defence Sector in the country keeping in view the high demand for these schools for their quality of education and excellent results.

The total project cost based on Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) norms for the proposed 50 new KVs is Rs.1160 crore.

New KVs will be opened from classes I to V for which 650 regular posts shall be created in all 50 Kendriya Vidyalayas. The school grows every year with addition of one more higher class and, when the school grows upto class XII and becomes a full fledged school with two sections in each class, there shall be a requirement of about 4000 regular posts of various categories i.e., about 2900 teaching posts and about 1100 non-teaching posts. These new KVs when fully functional will provide quality education to approximately 50,000 students in addition to the approximately 12 lakh students already studying in present KVs.

The new KVs will address the educational needs of eligible students with high quality standards and will play a role of pace-setting educational institutions in the districts concerned.

Background:

The main objective of KVS is to cater to the educational needs of children of transferable Central Government employees including Defence and Para-military personnel by providing a common programme of education. There are at present 1142 functional KendriyaVidyalayas under the KVS including three abroad at Moscow, Kathmandu and Tehran.

The KendriyaVidyalayas are considered as model schools in the country in terms of physical infrastructure, teaching resources, curriculum and academic performance. KendriyaVidyalayas as pace setting schools have consistently turned out excellent academic performance as is evident from the Board Results of Class X and XII exams conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).

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Cabinet approves sale of 24% equity holding in Lubrizol India Private Limited by Indian Oil to Lubrizol Corporation, USA
Mar 16,2017

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister ShriNarendra Modi gave its in-principle approval topermit Indian Oil Corporation Limited (Indian Oil) to sell its 24% equity in one of its Joint Venture Companies, M/s. Lubrizol India Private Limited (LIPL) to Lubrizol Corporation, USA (LC), the other Joint Venture Partner.

The sale will enable IOC to have long term association with its joint venture partner and thus LIPL to have access to the latest global additive technologies developed by Lubrizol Corporation, USA.

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Cabinet approves additional 2% Dearness Allowance / Dearness Relief due from January 2017
Mar 16,2017

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved release of an additional instalment of Dearness Allowance (DA) to Central Government employees and Dearness Relief (DR) to pensioners w.e.f. 01 January 2017. It has increased by 2% over the existing rate of 2% of the Basic Pay/Pension, to compensate for price rise.

This increase is in accordance with the accepted formula, which is based on the recommendations of the 7th Central Pay Commission.

The combined impact on the exchequer on account of both Dearness Allowance and Dearness Relief would be Rs. 5,857.28 crore per annum and Rs.6,833.50 crore in the Financial Year 2017-18 (for a period of 14 months from January, 2017 to February, 2018).

This will benefit about 48.85 lakh Central Government employees and 55.51 lakh pensioners.

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Cabinet approves revised MoU and Mode of Operation between India and Bangladesh for establishing Border Haats on India-Bangladesh Border
Mar 16,2017

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to the Revised Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Mode of Operation (MoO) between India and Bangladesh for establishing Border Haats on India-Bangladesh Border.

The Border Haats aim at promoting the well-being of the people dwelling in remote areas across the borders of two countries, by promoting traditional system of marketing the local produce through local markets. These measures help to improve economic well-being of marginalised sections of society.

Currently four Border Haats are operational, two each in Meghalaya and Tripura, which were established and operationalized under the MoU and Mode of operation of Border Haats earlier signed between Bangladesh and India on 23rd October, 2010, Subsequently, an Addendum to Mode of operation of Border Haats was also signed on 15th May, 2012. The Revised MoU and Mode of Operation will provide a legal framework for establishment and operationalization of additional Border Haats.

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Cabinet approves six laning of Handia-Varanasi section of NH-2 in Uttar Pradesh
Mar 16,2017

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for development of the six laning of Handia-Varanasi section of NH-2 in Uttar Pradesh.

This work will be under the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) Phase-V. The approval is in Hybrid Annuity Mode.

The cost is estimated to be Rs.2,147.33 crore including cost of land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation and other pre-construction activities. The total length of the road will be approximately 73 kms.

The project will lead to the improvement of infrastructure in Uttar Pradesh and reduce the time and cost of travel for traffic, particularly heavy traffic, plying on this stretch. The development of this stretch will also help in uplifting the socio-economic condition of the concerned regions of the State and would also increase employment potential for local labourers for project activities. It has been estimated that a total number of 4,076 mandays are required for construction of one kilometre of highways. As such, employment potential of 3,00,000 (approx.) mandays will be generated locally during the construction period of the project.

The project is covered in the region of Handia and Varanasi.

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15 Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) declared as Institutes of National Importance
Mar 16,2017

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved -

i. Introduction of the Indian Institutes of Information Technology Public Private Partnership (IIIT PPP) Bill, 2017;

ii. To grant statutory status to the fifteen Indian Institutes of Information Technology in Public Private Partnership and declare them as Institutions of National Importance;

iii. To enable these institutions to grant degrees to their students in the academic courses conducted by them.

There is no financial implication with regard to the proposed IIIT PPP Bill, 2017

The Bill will declare the existing Indian Institutes of Information Technology in Public Private Partnership as Institutions of National Importance with powers to award degrees. This will entitle them to use the nomenclature of Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) or Master of Technology (M.Tech) or Ph.D degree as issued by a University or Institution of National Importance.

The grant of a formal degree in Information Technology, Engineering or Ph.D will enhance the prospects of the graduating students in the job market and will also enable the Institutes to attract enough students required to develop a strong research base in the country in the field of information technology.

The emerging needs of the industry and the economy, as a whole for skilled technical manpower is expected to be met from the talent pool of trained personnel of the institutes.

Every Institute shall be open to all - irrespective of gender, caste, creed, disability, and domicile, and ethnicity, social or economic background. Academic Session has commenced in the following15 Institutes:-

Andhra Pradesh(Chittoor), Assam(Guwahati) Gujarat(Vadodara), Haryana(Sonipat), Himachal Pradesh(Una), Jharkhand(Ranchi), Karnataka(Dharwad), Kerala(Kottayam) Maharashtra (Nagpur & Pune), Manipur(Senapati), Rajasthan (Kota), Tamilnadu(Tiruchirappalli), Uttar Pradesh (Lucknow), Kalyani (West Bengal).

Background

The Scheme of Setting up of 20 new IIITs in Public Private Partnership (IIIT PPP) as approved by the Union Cabinet on 7.12.2010 does not have provision which empowers the Institutes set up in Public Private Partnership to grant degrees to its students. The first batch of under-graduate students enrolled in the Year 2013-14 will be passing out in the Year 2017. Academic Session has started in 15 IIITs.

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Special assistance measure for Andhra Pradesh by way of special dispensation in funding of EAPs & funding of irrigation component of Polavaram project
Mar 16,2017

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for the Special assistance measure for the Successor State of Andhra Pradesh by way of special dispensation in funding of Externally Aided Projects (EAPs) and funding of irrigation component of Polavaram project.

The modalities for implementation of the announcements for providing central assistance to the State of Andhra Pradesh are as follows:

i. The Central Government will provide special assistance measure to Government of Andhra Pradesh, which would make up for the additional Central share the State might have received during 2015-16 to 2019-20, if the funding of Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) would have been shared at the ratio of 90:10 between the Centre and the State. The special assistance will be provided by way of repayment of loan and interest for the Externally Aided Projects (EAPs) signed and disbursed during 2015-2016 to 2019-20 by the State.

ii. Funding of 100% of the remaining cost of the irrigation component only of the Polavaram project for the period starting from 1.4.2014, to the extent of the cost of the irrigation component on that date. Andhra Pradesh Government will execute the project on behalf of Government of India. However, the overall coordination, quality control, design issues, monitoring, clearances related issues etc. are to be dealt by the Polavaram Project Authority of Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation. The Polavaram Project Authority will also assess out the cost of the irrigation component as on 01.04.2014 in consultation with the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance.

This support for capital expenditure by way of repayment of EAP loans would help and assist the newly formed state of Andhra Pradesh to put the States finances on a firmer footing and promote economic growth. Further, the central funding of the irrigation component of the Polavaram Irrigation Project and its execution by the State Government shall expedite completion of the project and the increase irrigation prospects in the State benefitting the people at large.

Background:

The Government of India, while fulfilling its commitments under Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act 2014, has already provided Special Assistance of Rs.1,976.50 crore to the state during 2016-17. The amount includes Rs.1176.50 for Resource Gap, Rs.350 crore for the development of 7 backward districts covering Rayalaseema & North Coastal region and Rs.450 crore as assistance to the capital city.

Apart from this the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation has also provided Rs.2081.54 crore for the Polavaram Irrigation Project during the current financial year. Thus the Central Government, after the enactment of the Reorganisation Act, has provided central assistance of Rs.10,461.04 crore to the state of Andhra Pradesh which includes Rs.4403 crore released during 2014-15, Rs.2000 crore released during 2015-16 and Rs. 4058.04 in released in 2016-17.

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MoU between LBSNAA, Mussoorie and Namibia Institute of Public Administration and Management (NIPAM) of Namibia for capacity building
Mar 16,2017

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA), Mussoorie and Namibia Institute of Public Administration and Management (NIPAM), Namibia in the field of capacity building of public officials of Namibia and other training activities for the benefit of both the institutes.

The MOU will help the Academy to disseminate some of its experience in running a training institution for higher civil services in the country to NIPAM. It will also help the two sides to engage in collaborative activities in the sphere of public administration and capacity building.

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Cabinet approves of MoU between India and Bangladesh on Aids to Navigation (AtoNs)
Mar 16,2017

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Aids to Navigation (AtoNs) between the Directorate General of Lighthouses & Lightships (DGLL), Ministry of Shipping, Government of India and the Department of Shipping, Government of Bangladesh.

The MoU envisages cooperation between Bangladesh and India:

a. To extend advice on lighthouses and beacons;

b. To extend advice on Vessel Traffic Service and chain of Automatic Identification System (AIS); and

c. To impart training as per International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) training module to AtoN Managers and Technicians for Bangladesh.

The MoU will enable both the countries to collaborate in the following areas:

a. To provide advice on AtoNs;

b. Provide academic interaction by imparting training to AtoN personnel; and

c. Provide necessary cooperation in organizing workshops/conferences for enhancement of skills in AtoN field.

The MoU will also help in greater cooperation in capacity building in the field of AtoN training in the South Asian region. This will give a boost to imparting training on the management of marine aids to navigation based on IALA Model Course E-141/1 and accordingly facilitate the delivery of a professional training course as per the IALA guidelines.

India and Bangladesh are two important developing nations in the South Asian region. Both countries maintain a long tradition of friendly and cordial relations which has been manifested in the several bilateral visits of dignitaries from both sides during recent years.

Background:

As per International Maritime Organisations (IMOs) requirement, authorities in various countries, provide appropriate Aids to Navigation in their waters as per international recommendations and guidelines. Marine aids to navigation such as lighthouses, beacons, DGPS, navigational and mooring buoys are operated to enhance the safe and efficient navigation of vessels and/or vessel traffic. Directorate General of Lighthouses & Lightships establishes and maintains Aids to Navigation in India, for safe navigation in Indian waters. DGLL having expertise in lighthouse engineering maintains large inventory of Aids to navigation which includes 193 lighthouses, 64 Racons, 22 Deep Sea lighted buoys, 23 DGPS stations, 01 Lightship, 04 tender vessels, National AlS Network, Vessel Traffic Service in Gulf of Kutch.

IALA is the international body coordinating and harmonizing the use of all Aids to Navigation. India represented through DGLL, is a member of IALA Council. As a step towards regional cooperation, India and Bangladesh have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation on AtoN. As per the MoU, the DGLL on behalf of Ministry of Shipping, Government of India shall advise its counterpart Department of Shipping, Ministry of Shipping, Bangladesh on AtoNs including Vessel Traffic Service, Chain of Automatic Identification System. In order to train AtoN personnel of Bangladesh, DGLL shall organize training as per IALA training module to AtoN Managers and Technicians, organize Workshops/Conferences. This will help in capacity building of Bangladesh AtoN Personnel.

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Cabinet apprised of MoUs for cooperation in Youth and Sports Matters with Indonesia and the Kyrgyz Republic
Mar 16,2017

Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been apprised of the Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) signed between India and:

(i) Indonesia for cooperation in youth and sports matters, and

(ii) Kyrgyz Republic for cooperation in the field of youth development.

The MoUs envisage organizing Youth Exchange Programmes with Indonesia and Kyrgyz Republic, and cooperation in other youth and sports related matters.

International Youth Exchange programmes promote exchange of ideas, values and culture amongst youth and help in developing international perspective among the youth. Further, these Programmes promote peace and understanding, and strengthen friendly relations between countries. Cooperation in other youth and sports-related matters also helps in youth development and sports promotion in partner countries.

The benefits arising from bilateral exchange programmes in the field of Youth and Sports would be equally available to all youth irrespective of their caste, religion and gender.

The selection of youth for participation in youth exchange and other programmes shall be done in an objective and transparent manner and the outcomes of the programmes under the MoUs shall be open for public scrutiny.

Youth exchange and other programmes will help in developing international perspective among the youth and expanding their knowledge and expertise.

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Master Plan for Expansion of IGI Airport
Mar 15,2017

In compliance with the provisions of Operation, Management and Development Agreement (OMDA), M/s Delhi International Airport Private Limited (DIAL) has reviewed and updated the Master Plan of IGI Airport, New Delhi in 2016 in consultation with the Airports Authority of India, Sovereign agencies providing reserved services at the airport and with other stakeholders.

The total area of IGI Airport demised to DIAL is 4608.90 acres. The land available is sufficient for executing the expansion plan under the Master Plan, 2016.

The updated Master Plan envisages expansion of passenger handling capacity of IGI Airport from existing 62 million passenger per annum (mppa) to 109.3 mppa in a phased manner by way of both Airside and Terminal side developments. The development works include expansion of Terminal 1 and Terminal 3, construction of a new Terminal 4, construction of new runway etc. in three phases starting from 2017 and till 2034. The design, project cost and other details etc. are finalized during the finalization of the Major Development Plan in compliance with the OMDA. The development works under the updated Master Plan are based on traffic triggers, optimum utilization of Capex, induction of new technologies & best industry practices to enhance passenger experience and further improve service levels and maximization of the use of existing assets by improving operational efficiency, maintaining service levels and safety requirements, etc.

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