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Draft Model GST Law, Draft IGST Law and Draft Compensation Law placed in the public domain for information of trade, industry and other stake holders
Nov 28,2016

The Draft Model GST Law, Draft IGST Law and Draft Compensation Law which would be considered by the GST Council for approval are placed in the public domain for information of trade, industry and other stake holders. The Draft Model Laws can be accessed at the following websites: www.cbec.gov.in, www.dor.gov.in and www.gst.gov.in

Earlier, the Draft Model GST Law was put in public domain in the month of June, 2016 for comments. A large number of comments were received on the Draft Model GST Law from various stake holders including the trade and industry associations and public.

A Technical Committee of officers from some of the States and the Central Government was constituted to examine the inputs from the stake holders and make suitable amendments in the Draft Model GST Law. The Revised Draft submitted by this Technical Committee on law was further discussed in a meeting held on 21st and 22nd of November, 2016 in Delhi where officers from all States and Central Government were present. The revised and improved version of this Model GST laws shall now be considered by the GST Council for approval on 2nd and 3rd of December, 2016.

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Indias crude oil production declines 3.2% in October 2016
Nov 28,2016

Indias crude oil production declined 3.2% to 3.05 million tonnes (mt) in October 2016 over October 2015. Crude oil output of ONGC fell 1.9% to 1.87 mt, while that of private and joint venture (JV) companies dipped 7.5% to 0.90 mt. However, the crude oil production of Oil India improved 3.6% to 0.28 mt in October 2016. ONGCs offshore output declined 3.2% to 1.37 mt, while onshore production rose 1.7% to 0.50 mt.

Crude oil output fell 3.3% to 21.11 mt in April-October period of the fiscal year ending March 2017 (April-October 2016), snapping marginal 0.1% rise recorded in the corresponding period of last year. Output of ONGC eased 1.9% to 12.90 mt, while that of Oil India declined 1.8% to 1.88 mt and private companies fell 6.4% to 6.33 mt in April-October 2016 over April-October 2015.

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All 4,041 cities/towns asked to shift to cashless transactions; Madhya Pradesh to do so by March next year
Nov 28,2016

As a part of the ongoing efforts to move towards cashless transactions of all kind, the Ministry of Urban Development has asked all the statutory 4,041 Urban Local Bodies to shift to e-payments at the earliest. These cities and towns account for about 75% of the total 40 crore urban population in the country.

Central Governments message to the officials of these 4,041 urban local bodies was conveyed by Shri Rajiv Gauba, Secretary(Urban Development) through interactive video-conferencing. Senior officials of concerned States also participated during the half day long interaction on various aspects of ensuring cashless transactions.

State and city level officials were asked to promote internet banking (RTGS/NEFT), online banking using credit and debit cards for cashless transactions besides using Public Finance Management Systems(PFMS) developed by the Ministry of Financing for fund transfer, accounting and reconciliation up to the level of cities and towns.

Shri Gauba emphasized that all transactions relating to both income and expenditure of urban local bodies needs to be shifted to e-payment mode. These include payment of Property Tax, Professional Tax, all user charges like water and power bills, all kinds of fee and license charges, online booking of community halls, issue and renewal of birth and death certificates, registration of shops and other establishments, enrollment of library membership etc.

Expenditure to be made cashless include payment of salaries and wages to all regular and contractual employees, all contract and work relate payments, procurements, beneficiary payments like social security etc.

City governments were asked to take up necessary infrastructure and capacity building, awareness campaigns for opening of accounts for employees of all categories and their family members.

States have been asked to adopt Public Finance Management systems (PFMS) up to city level to enable transfer, accounting, reconciliation and monitoring of transfer of funds under various government schemes.

To illustrate the transaction volumes, 59 cities have collected tax revenues of Rs.1,722 cr during November so far including dues payable. These include; Ahmedabad-Rs.187 cr, Bhopal-Rs.27 cr, Chennai-Rs.80 cr, Faridabad- Rs.17 cr, Guwahaty-R.s. 14 cr, Hyderabad-Rs.208 cr, Indore-Rs.32 cr, Kakinada (AP)-Rs.20 cr, Kalyan(Maharashtra)-Rs.170 cr, Lucknow-Rs.23 cr, Raipur-Rs.17 cr, Visakhapatnam-Rs.16 cr, Amritsar-Rs.12 cr, Kanpur-Rs.30 cr, Mumbai-Rs.167 cr and New Delhi Municipal Council-Rs.84 cr.

Officials from Madhya Pradesh informed that the major 7 cities have already enabled cashless transactions and all the 378 cities and towns would do so by March next year. Uttar Pradesh and Goa have reported using PFMS up to city level and found it to be very useful.

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RBI announces an incremental cash reserve ratio (CRR) as a purely temporary measure to absorb surplus liquidity
Nov 28,2016

RBI Announces Measures to Manage Liquidity Conditions With the withdrawal of the legal tender status of ₹ 500 and ₹ 1,000 denomination bank notes (hereafter referred to as Specified Bank Notes - SBNs) beginning November 9, 2016, there has been a surge in deposits relative to the expansion in bank credit, leading to large excess liquidity in the system. The magnitude of surplus liquidity available with the banking system is expected to increase further in the fortnights ahead. In view of this, it has been decided to absorb a part of this surplus liquidity by applying an incremental cash reserve ratio (CRR) as a purely temporary measure, as under:

a. The CRR remains unchanged at 4 per cent of outstanding net demand and time liabilities (NDTL);

b. On the increase in NDTL between September 16, 2016 and November 11, 2016, scheduled banks shall maintain an incremental CRR of 100 per cent, effective the fortnight beginning November 26, 2016. This is intended to absorb a part of the surplus liquidity arising from the return of SBNs to the banking system, while leaving adequate liquidity with banks to meet the credit needs of the productive sectors of the economy. As the incremental CRR is intended to be a temporary measure within the Reserve Banks liquidity management framework to drain excess liquidity in the system, it shall be reviewed on December 9, 2016 or even earlier.

c. The Reserve Bank has separately revived the Guarantee Scheme to enable deposit of SBN balances at the Reserve Bank or at currency chests and get immediate value. This measure should also facilitate banks compliance with the incremental CRR.

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Mainstreaming New Coal-based Capacities To Require Market Corrections
Nov 25,2016

Favourable government policies have boosted private investments in power generation over the last decade and resulted in significant capacity additions, says FICCI. From 17 GW in 2006-07, private capacity has moved up to 124 GW in 2015-16, constituting 41% of the total generation portfolio of 302 GW in the country.

To examine the business environment in which the commissioned plants are being operationalised and the new capacities in pipeline to be mainstreamed, FICCI took up a unit-wise analysis of the project shelf of base load generation taken up by Independent Power Producers (IPPs) with coal as fuel. Constraints of Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) as well as Fuel Supply Agreements (FSA) are majorly restricting these plants from approaching the power market and finding buyers, the study reveals. An aberration is that while investments have been made in new generating assets, the IPP industry stands fragmented in various capacity compartments according to their FSA and PPA status with limited or no market access.

The study also shows that 46 GW out of installed capacity of 71 GW of coal-based IPP plants are in operational stress attributable largely to absent FSA and PPA, but also to financial and regulatory issues. Taking together the commissioned and pipeline projects of private developers as at August 2016, aggregate coal-based capacities without FSA and PPA are seen to be in the range of 26-28 GW and 41-43 GW respectively. Market corrections are necessary to optimally utilise these generating assets and avoid stress on the banking system by ensuring the operational cash flows. Meanwhile, financing issues have proved to be the major impediment to progressing with 21 GW of 33 GW projects taken up for construction, further straining the lending operations.

n++Government has been pro-actively addressing the refinancing options of the stressed assets in the economy and new guidelines have been recently issued by RBI to recast the debt restructuring schemes and repayment schedules based on asset-liability management risk. For coal-based IPP generating plants, however, the eco-system of fuel tie-up and market access for selling power will have to concurrently improve if financial re-engineering is to have any effectn++ said Dr. A. Didar Singh, Secretary General, FICCI. While the demand for power will be muted till private investments and industrial activity pick-up momentum, an immediate measure is to liberalise the regime of open access by removing the tariff and non-tariff barriers so that large consumers, when faced with unreliable and high-cost power supply, can procure directly from generators, feels Dr. Singh.

The benefit will be economy-wide as it will support Make in India initiative as has been observed by Economic Survey and will result in reducing the cost of power as the plants with unutilised capacities will be able to spread their fixed costs over a larger base of consumers. The new capacities, when operationalised, will also act as a buffer against old plants which do not meet the current-day emission norms and are to be retired in furtherance of countrys climate change goals.

FICCI also suggests a performance metric to be assigned under the UDAY Scheme so that Discoms can transparently demonstrate the efficacy of their power procurement planning to meet the demand estimates and account for un served loads, if any. However, to maximise fuel supply and supplement CILs coal production, FICCI recommends opening up of the coal sector and ushering in commercial mining, which will also be a Make in India initiative. FICCI had earlier proposed the concept of a Clearing House as a market construct for over-the-counter selling of coal under a system of daily trade monitoring and real time liability and collateral management.

FICCI believes that forward trades via term-ahead contracts for procurement of power combined with voluntary spot purchases at the exchange will generally provide the market fundamentals, but with the advent of renewables, lower Plant Load Factors (PLF) will be the new normal for base load generating stations. In future, inclusion of financial products along with physical trading and capacity contracts will be necessary to enable risk management of output and demand, improve liquidity and secure the revenue streams.

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The Government has approved domestic procurement of 10 lakh tonnes of pulses
Nov 25,2016

The Government has approved domestic procurement of 10 lakh tonnes of pulses consisting of 5 lakh tonnes of pulses from Kharif Marketing Season 2016-17 and 5 lakh tonnes from Rabi Marketing Season 2017-18 for building the buffer.

As on 21 November 2016, a buffer of 638,205.55 MT of pulses, viz. 130,492.33 MT of Chana; 204,030.859 MT of Tur; 143,555.76 MT of Masur; 83,181.792 MT of Urad; and 76,943.81 MT of Moong, have been built through domestic procurement and import contracts. Of the 20 lakh tonnes of buffer stock of pulses approved by the Government, the tentative target is 10 lakh tonne through domestic procurement from farmers and another 10 lakh tonnes from imports.

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Withdrawal of Legal Tender Status of ₹ 500 and ₹ 1000: Exchange Facility at RBI to continue
Nov 25,2016

The Reserve Bank of India advises members of public that exchange of banknotes in ₹ 500 and ₹ 1000 denominations, whose legal tender status has been withdrawn, will continue to be available at the counters of the Reserve Bank upto the current limits per person as hitherto. (However such exchange facility is no longer available at other banks counters).

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An amount of 47040.57 lakh released for Sabla Scheme during 2015-16
Nov 25,2016

The funds under Sabla Scheme of WCD Ministry are released as per actual number of beneficiaries and in accordance with the financial norms laid down under the scheme. While deciding quantum of funds to be released, the past liability/ unspent balance, if any is taken into consideration. Hence, the total utilization in a particular year may appear to be more than the funds released in that financial year. However, the total utilization of funds is always less or equal to the total funds released to States. The details of funds released, utilized and beneficiaries covered during 2015-16 and current year is as under:-

YearTotal Funds (Rs. in lakh)Nutrition Beneficiaries
(in lakh)ReleasedUtilized2015-1647040.5749479.06110.032016-17 (as on 30.06.2016)39516.7513870.9054.50

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NITI Aayog leads initiative to convert 100% Government - Citizen Transactions to the digital platform
Nov 25,2016

In a transformative attempt to weed out black money and corruption from public life, the Government of India has constituted a Committee of Officers to enable 100 per cent conversion of Government - Citizen Transactions to the digital platform.

The Committee, under the leadership of NITI Aayog CEO Mr. Amitabh Kant, will identify and operationalize in the earliest possible time frame user-friendly digital payment options in all sectors of the economy. This is integral part of the Governments strategy to transform India into a cashless economy.

The aim of the committee is to identify various digital payment systems appropriate to different sectors of the economy and coordinate efforts to make them accessible and user-friendly. The committee will also identify and access infrastructural and bottlenecks affecting the access and utility of digital payment options.

To achieve expeditious movement into the cashless, digital payments economy across all States and sectors, it will engage regularly with Central Ministries, regulators, State governments, district administration, local bodies, trade and industry associations etc. to promote rapid adoption of digital payment systems. The attempt is to establish and monitor an implementation framework with strict timelines to ensure that nearly 80 per cent of the transaction in India moves to the digital-only platform. The committee will also attempt to estimate costs involved in various digital payments options and oversee implementation of measures to make such transaction between Government and Citizens cheaper than cash transaction.

The Committee led by NITI Aayog will also implement an action plan on advocacy, awareness and handholding efforts among public, micro enterprises and other stakeholders. That apart, it will organize training and capacity building of various states/UTs, Ministries/Departments of the Government of India, representatives of States/UTs, Trade and Industry Bodies as well as other stakeholders.

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Improving Health Indicators In India
Nov 25,2016

The country has demonstrated reduction in key health indicators such as Infant Mortality Rate, Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR), Under 5 Mortality Rate. Further, the annual average pace of decline in MMR (for the period 1990 to 2013) was much faster in India (4.5%) as compared to global rate (2.6%).

Additionally, mortality due to various diseases has reduced too. For instance, the Global Burden of Disease (2015) reports a decrease in mortality (between the years 2005 and 2015) on account of lower respiratory infections (by 22.6%), diarrhoeal diseases (by 31.7%), tuberculosis (by 30.7%), neonatal preterm birth (by 39.5%), neonatal encephalopathy (by 31%) and road injuries (by 2.7%).

As per the Global Burden of Disease report for India, the deaths due to self-harm for the period 2005 to 2015 have declined by 3.9%. The Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) National Health Mission (NHM), has two sub-missions, viz. the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and the National Urban Health Mission (NUHM). While NRHM was launched in April 2005, launch of NUHM was approved by the Cabinet on 1st May 2013. NHM envisages achievement of universal access to equitable, affordable & quality healthcare services that are accountable and responsive to peoples needs. The main programmatic components include Health System strengthening in rural and urban areas, Reproductive-Maternal-Neonatal-Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCH+A) interventions and control of Communicable and Non-Communicable Diseases. Under NHM, support is provided to the States/UTs to strengthen their health care system based on the requirements posed by them under Programme Implementation Plans. Funds allocated, released and expenditure incurred State/UT wise are given below:

National Health Mission

Statement showing States/UTs wise Allocation, Release and Expenditure during 2013-14 to 2015-16 (Rs in crore)

Sl. No.States2013-142014-152015-16AllocationReleaseExpenditureAllocationReleaseExpenditureAllocationReleaseExpenditure1

Andaman & Nicobar Islands

23.8329.0629.1228.2223.3624.3328.2137.3011.472

Andhra Pradesh

1184.24878.731044.81707.15519.73902.91616.23643.521090.173

Arunachal Pradesh

86.3178.6092.03185.65139.4169.50160.01162.65146.274

Assam

1214.831077.81956.891095.38877.13915.88941.29971.351186.015

Bihar

1487.651110.321480.681292.131148.321427.401108.611159.491621.676

Chandigarh

18.5311.4614.4219.4012.1515.2614.2423.8920.987

Chattisgarh

500.72355.98805.50555.66500.41716.04479.38412.26758.288

Dadra & Nagar Haveli

8.739.239.8313.998.408.5611.3714.3715.549

Daman & Diu

6.486.508.409.696.917.679.1110.5315.6910

Delhi

211.46129.78132.59192.59154.04222.64142.81163.80137.2911

Goa

27.1219.3530.5827.6326.0329.5019.4116.7724.9212

Gujarat

833.94833.72977.48858.47832.86873.66677.65693.781272.4213

Water level of 91 major reservoirs of the country goes down by one percent
Nov 25,2016

The water storage available in 91 major reservoirs of the country for the week ending on November 24, 2016 was 105.209 BCM, which is 67% of total storage capacity of these reservoirs. This was 125% of the storage of corresponding period of last year and 97% of storage of average of last ten years.

The total storage capacity of these 91 reservoirs is 157.799 BCM which is about 62% of the total storage capacity of 253.388 BCM which is estimated to have been created in the country. 37 Reservoirs out of these 91 have hydropower benefit with installed capacity of more than 60 MW.

REGION WISE STORAGE STATUS:-

NORTHERN REGION

The northern region includes States of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan. There are six reservoirs under Central Water Commission (CWC) monitoring having total live storage capacity of 18.01 BCM. The total live storage available in these reservoirs is 10.84 BCM which is 60% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 69% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 70% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs. Thus, storage during current year is less than the corresponding period of last year and is also less than the average storage of last ten years during the corresponding period.

EASTERN REGION

The Eastern region includes States of Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal and Tripura. There are 15 reservoirs under CWC monitoring having total live storage capacity of 18.83 BCM. The total live storage available in these reservoirs is 15.45 BCM which is 82% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 61% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 73% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs. Thus, storage during current year is better than the corresponding period of last year and is also better than the average storage of last ten years during the corresponding period.

WESTERN REGION

The Western region includes States of Gujarat and Maharashtra. There are 27 reservoirs under CWC monitoring having total live storage capacity of 27.07 BCM. The total live storage available in these reservoirs is 21.66 BCM which is 80% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 51% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 74% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs. Thus, storage during current year is better than the storage of last year and is also better than the average storage of last ten years during the corresponding period.

CENTRAL REGION

The Central region includes States of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. There are 12 reservoirs under CWC monitoring having total live storage capacity of 42.30 BCM. The total live storage available in these reservoirs is 35.75 BCM which is 85% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 66% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 63% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs. Thus, storage during current year is better than the storage of last year and is also better than the average storage of last ten years during the corresponding period.

SOUTHERN REGION

The Southern region includes States of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, AP&TG (Two combined projects in both states) Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. There are 31 reservoirs under CWC monitoring having total live storage capacity of 51.59 BCM. The total live storage available in these reservoirs is 21.51 BCM which is 42% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 35% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 68% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs. Thus, storage during current year is better than the corresponding period of last year but is less than the average storage of last ten years during the corresponding period.

States having better storage than last year for corresponding period are Punjab, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, AP&TG (Two combined projects in both states), Telangana and Karnataka. State having equal storage than last year for corresponding period is Uttarakhand. States having lesser storage than last year for corresponding period are Himachal Pradesh, Tripura, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

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Labour Identification Number (LIN) touches the mark of 18 Lakh
Nov 25,2016

LIN (Labour Identification Number) provided by Shram Suvidha Portal has been issued to about 18 Lakh units covered under various labour laws. The LIN number so allotted was communicated by using the email addresses and mobile numbers of the unit representatives available in our database.

Shram Suvidha Portal facilitates businessmen to get all kinds of registrations and submit returns that are required under labour laws at a single online window. It also makes available to them the inspection reports prepared by the enforcement agency inspectors online. The procedures have been simplified; returns and registration forms have been unified to provide a business environment that encourages compliance by reducing transaction costs and promoting ease of business.

To be able to provide all of the above unified services Shram Suvidha Portal can be accessed at the URL https://ShramSuvidha.Gov.in . A unit registered with different labour enforcement agencies is identified uniquely and allotted a single unique LIN. It would not be an overstatement to say that LIN is the pivot around which all other services work. The LIN would gradually subsume the multiple registration numbers presently being issued separately by Labour Enforcement Agencies i.e. ESIC registration Number, EPFO number, Registration or license number issued under Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act, 1970, etc. This indeed would meet an objective of ease of business itself as maintenance of multiple registration numbers by businessmen itself is a cumbersome task.

It is possible due to incomplete contact details or changes in contact details some of the emails and SMSs could not be delivered to the intended recipient. Any such employer which is oblivious of the LIN allotted can know the LIN using the facility available on n++Know Your LINn++ tab on the home page of the ShramSuvidha Portal. Search for LIN can be done either using any of the identifiers such as EPFO code/ESIC Code/ PAN or a part of the name of the establishment too.

All the units need to verify their data and report any alteration or correction to us for modification through n++LIN Verificationn++ Service that has been made available on the ShramSuvidha Portal. An Establishment Representative can request to update the establishment related details by selecting Verify Data option from main menu of ShramSuvidha Portal. Modifications sought by the units are verified by the Regional Head(s) of one of the Labour Enforcement Agencies using the updated record available with them and then approved in the ShramSuvidha Portal.

It is in the interest of the businessmen covered under any of the labour laws to verify the details at the earliest so that all necessary communication reaches them in time, they are able to use all the services being provided by ShramSuvidha Portal and they are not caught unawares when the existing registration numbers are done away with.

Moreover, the last date of filing returns (01 February 2017) under the following labour laws for units having Central Government as the Appropriate Government is fast approaching.

1. Payment of Wages Act, 1936

(i). Payment of Wages (Mines) Rules, 1956 (Form-V - [See Rule 18])

(ii). Payment of Wages (Railways) Rules, 1938 (Form-III - [See Rule 17])

(iii). Payment of Wages (Air Transport Services) Rules, 1968 (Form-VIII - [See Rule 16])

2. Minimum Wages Act, 1948

(i). Minimum Wages (Central) Rules, 1950) (Form-III - [See Rule 21 (4A)]

3. Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970

(i). Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) (Central) Rules, 1971) (Form- XXIV [See rule 82(1) and (2)])

4. Maternity Benefit Act, 1961

(i). Maternity Benefit (Mines and Circus) Rules 1963 (Rule 16 (1))

5. Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Condition of Service) Act, 1996

(i). Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Condition of Service) Central Rules, 1998

6. Payment of Bonus Act, 1965

(i). Payment of Bonus Rules, 1975 (Form-D [See rule 5])

7. Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and conditions of Service) Act, 1979

(i). Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and conditions of Service) Central Rules, 1980 (Form - XXIII [See rule 56(1) and (2)])

8. Industrial Disputes Act, 1947

(i). Industrial Dispute (Central) Rules, 1957 (Form-G1 [See Rule 56A])

8. Earlier separate monthly returns were required to be filed by employers to ESIC and EPFO. The monthly Electronic Challan-cum-Return (ECR) for Employees Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) and Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) has now been unified and can be filed at a single place on ShramSuvidha Portal.

9. We encourage businesses/units to verify their LIN on priority and avail the single Online Return filing facility available on ShramSuvidha Portal. Ministry is also interacting with employer associations to encourage participate in the new, easier and digital platform for labour law compliance.

Shram Suvidha Portal was launched by Honourable Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi on 16 October 2014. The portal has been created with the mission to become one-stop-shop for labour law compliance and is a platform that can be shared by all the labour enforcement agencies under control of Central and State governments.

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Farm produce worth Rs 3.8K crore traded through e-NAM till 16 November: Radha Mohan Singh
Nov 25,2016

Farm produce worth Rs 3,841 crore has been traded through electronic-National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) till 16 November in 250 wholesale markets connected to this platform, Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister, Mr Radha Mohan Singh said at an ASSOCHAM event.

n++About 5.5 lakh farmers have sold their produce, while 54,000 traders have made purchases and 28,000 commission agents have registered themselves till about eight days before today,n++ said Mr Singh while inaugurating an ASSOCHAM conference on Linking farmers with market.

n++We had started it on a pilot project basis and have tried to remove all the anomalies related to both hardware and software and it is now moving very fast towards empowering farmers to allow them to sell their produce,n++ said the Union Minister.

He informed that the Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Ministry is working towards setting up hub centres for providing milk, eggs, fruits, vegetables, flowers and other such things near metros as part of the online trading platform.

n++Chinese capital has population twice as much that of Delhi but everything is available within a radius of 150 kilometres, while in Delhi milk comes from Andhra Pradesh and vegetables from Kolkata,n++ said Mr Singh.

n++As such we are going to make provision under the mandi laws and we have conducted 3-4 meetings in NCR (National Capital Region) to make Gurgaon a hub for flowers, while Sonepat and Panipat would be made hub for vegetables and Karnal for indigenous cows milk and we are also in talks with UP (Uttar Pradesh) in this regard,n++ he added.

He also informed that laboratories are also being set up in electronic wholesale markets to check quality of the farmers produce so that any trader or farmer can purchase or sell the same across India.

n++These facilities are already available within the states but now we are working towards making it feasible inter-state and the GST (goods and services tax) will play a significant role in this regard,n++ informed Mr Singh.

He said that the government will also work towards improving the mandi laws and try to establish them in private sector by improving marketing related laws.

n++We have made amendments in marketing related laws in about 22 states and licenses are being issued to set up mandis in the private sector,n++ said the Minister.

Talking about impact of demonetisation on agriculture sector, he said that the Centres move to ban 500 and 1,000 notes has not affected sowing of rabi crops.

n++It is such a huge decision that some inconvenience being caused is quite natural, opposition to demonetisation is equivalent to supporting black money, terrorism and fake currency as such people should refrain from taking political benefit of this issue,n++ said Mr Singh.

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Central Government takes various decisions relating to certain operational aspects of Scheme relating to cancellation of old Rs. 500 & Rs. 1000 notes
Nov 25,2016

The Central Government has been reviewing the issues related to the cancellation of legal tender character of old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes. The Government has also been receiving various suggestions in this regard. After due consideration of all relevant aspects, the following decisions relating to certain operational aspects of the Scheme have now been taken:

(i) It has been observed that over the counter exchange of the old currency notes of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 denomination has shown a declining trend. It has further been felt that people may be encouraged and facilitated to deposit their old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes in their bank accounts. This will encourage people who are still unbanked, to open new bank accounts. Consequently, there will be no over the counter exchange of old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes after midnight of 24.11.2016.

(ii) Government had also permitted various exemptions for certain transactions and activities wherein payment could be made through old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes. It has been decided that all these exemptions, with the additions and modifications as detailed below, may be continued for a further period from the midnight of 24 November 2016 up to and inclusive of 15 December 2016 :-

(a) Payments for the transactions under all the exempted categories will now be accepted only through old Rs. 500 notes;

(b) Payment of School fees up to Rs. 2000 per student in Central Government, State Government, Municipality and local body schools;

(c) Payment of fees in Central or State Government colleges;

(d) Payments towards pre paid mobile top-up to a limit of Rs. 500 per top-up;

(e) Purchase from Consumer Cooperative Stores will be limited to Rs. 5000 at a time;

(f) Payment of current and arrear dues to utilities will be limited to only water and electricity. This facility will continue to be available only for individuals and households;

(g) Considering that the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways have continued the toll free arrangement at the toll plazas up to 2 December 2016, it has been decided that toll payment at these toll plazas may be made through old Rs. 500 notes from 3 December 2016 to 15 December 2016.

(h) Foreign citizens will be permitted to exchange foreign currency up to Rs. 5000 per week. Necessary entry to this effect will be made in their passports. (Necessary instructions in this regard will be issued by the RBI.)

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LED Bulbs procurement price drops to Rs 38 per unit
Nov 24,2016

The procurement price of LED Bulbs is reduced from Rs 310 per unit in February 2014 to Rs 38 per unit in August 2016 due to the aggregation of demand and bulk procurement. This amounts to reduction of about 88% in procurement prices.

17.89 crore bulbs have been distributed by Energy Efficiency Services Limited ( EESL)  under Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme (DELP) and 14.45 lakh street lights have been replaced by LED bulbs under Street Light National Programme (SLNP) as on 21st November 2016.

Progress of Implementation of National LED Programme as on 21.11.2016 is given below :-

Parameters

DELP

SLNP

Total number of bulbs/street lights replaced

17.89 crores

14.45 lakhs

Avoided capacity generation

4649 MW

47.69 MW

Energy saved

23.2 billion kWh/year

512959 kWh/day

Reduction in carbon foot print

18.8 million tonnes CO2 / year

435 tonnes CO2  /day

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi launched the National LED programme on 5th January, 2015. The programme is being implemented by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a joint venture company of Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) under the Ministry of Power. Two initiatives, viz., Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme (DELP) and Street Light National Programme (SLNP), have been initiated under this programme, wherein household lighting and street lights respectively are replaced with LEDs. EESL has developed an innovative business model in which the entire investment in these programmes is made by it and the investment is paid back over a time from energy savings. This obviates a need for any Government funding for this programme.

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