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Government of India is implementing yield based PMFBY
Nov 18,2016

Government of India is implementing yield based Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) which has replaced the National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS) & Modified National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (MNAIS), from Kharif 2016 season. Comprehensive risk insurance is provided under PMFBY to cover yield loss due to non-preventable risks viz. natural fire and lightening; Storm, Hailstorm, Cyclone, Typhoon, Tempest, Hurricane, Tornado etc.; Flood, Inundation and Landslide; Drought, Dry Spells; Pests/ Diseases etc. On the other hand, Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (WBCIS) provides insurance protection to the farmers against adverse weather incidence, such as deficit and excess rainfall, high or low temperature, humidity etc. which are deemed to impact adversely the crop production.

Crop insurance is a financial tool to insure the crop losses on payment of admissible premium to the insurance company. Further, under the crop insurance schemes, claims are paid to those farmers who insure their crops and pay premium under any of the notified crop/area, notified by the concerned State Govt. Admissible claims are worked out and paid as per the provisions of the respective schemes and not on any other basis like by the representation from the State Govt., team sent by the Government of India, declaration of drought/flood etc. by the State/Central Govt.

Financial assistance is also provided to farmers as per guidelines on the items and norms of assistance from State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF)/ National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) dated 8th April, 2015 of Ministry of Home Affairs, where assistance is admissible for crop loss of 33% and above due to notified natural calamities viz. Avalanches, Cyclone, Cloud burst, Drought, Earthquake/Tsunami, Fire, Flood, Hailstorm, Landslides, Pest attack, Frost and Cold wave. The norms of relief under SDRF/NDRF are Rs. 6800/- per ha for rainfed areas, Rs.13500/-per ha for assured irrigated areas and Rs.18000/-per ha for all types of perennial crops. Assistance under SDRF/NDRF provided is for immediate relief and not by way of compensation for the loss suffered.

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Foreign tourist arrivals surge 10.4% in October 2016
Nov 18,2016

The Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) during the Month of October 2016 were 7.54 lakh as compared to FTAs of 6.83 lakh during the month of October 2015 and 6.68 lakh in October 2014. There has been a growth of 10.4% in October 2016 over October 2015.

FTAs during the period January- October 2016 were 69.62 lakh with a growth of 10.5% as compared to the FTAs of 62.98 lakh with a growth of 4.5% in January- October 2015 over January- October 2014.

The Percentage share of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during October 2016 among the top 15 source countries was highest from Bangladesh (16.67%) followed by USA (12.83%), UK (11.03%), Canada (3.73%), Australia (3.50%), Sri Lanka (3.45%), Germany (3.38%), Russian Fed (3.20%), France (2.91%), China (2.70%), Malaysia (2.65%), Nepal (2.16%), Japan (2.12%), Singapore (1.54%) and Thailand (1.44%).

The Percentage share of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during October 2016 among the top 15 ports was highest at Delhi Airport (34.06%) followed by Mumbai Airport (15.69%), Haridaspur Land check post (9.22%), Chennai Airport (7.19%), Bengaluru Airport (5.50%), Kolkata Airport (4.10%), Hyderabad Airport (3.01%), Goa (2.90%), Cochin Airport (2.72%), Ahmadabad Airport (2.14%), Gede Rail (1.86%), Amritsar Airport (1.71%), Trivandrum Airport (1.28%), Ghojadanga land check post (1.16%) and Gaya Airport (1.03%).

The Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) from Tourism during the month of October 2016 were Rs 12303 crore as compared to Rs 10549 crore in October 2015 and Rs 10041 crore in October 2014.

The growth rate in FEEs in rupee terms during October 2016 over October 2015 was 16.6% as compared to the growth of 5.1% in October 2015 over October 2014.

FEEs from tourism in rupee terms during January- October 2016 were Rs 124371 crore with a growth of 14.7% as compared to the FEE of Rs 108392 crore with a growth of 9.6% during January- October 2015 over January- October 2014.

FEEs in US$ terms during the month of October 2016 were US$ 1.843 billion as compared to FEEs of US$ 1.621 billion during the month of October 2015 and US$ 1.636 billion in October 2014.

The growth rate in FEEs in US$ terms in October 2016 over October 2015 was 13.7% compared to the negative growth of 0.9% in October 2015 over October 2014.

FEE from tourism in US$ terms during January- October 2016 were US$ 18.530 billion with a growth of 8.8% as compared to the US$ 17.033 billion with a growth 4.4% during January-October 2015 over January-October 2014.

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GST Offers Industries an Opportunity to Reboot
Nov 18,2016

India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) believes that the four-rate tax slabs of 5%, 12%, 18% and 28% in GST would have a bearing on the profitability of most industries. Further, additional cess on some of the products, if absorbed by the respective businesses, would impact their margins.

GST would benefit industry as it would eliminate the cascading impact of taxes and allow unrestricted flow of input tax credit, and lower the compliance cost through simple tax regime as against the current multiple tax slabs and laws. In general, industries currently subject to taxes at a rate higher than the rates proposed in the GST Act would benefit and see margin expansions and improvements in their working capital, while those subject to a tax rate lower than the GST rates may face challenges on the margin front and increased working capital requirements.

Ind-Ra also believes that the service industries would see an increase in tax rates for most services under the new GST regime, which might have a bearing on the margins and the working capital cycle. Further, factors such as abatements, concessional duty structure, and area-wise exemptions, if not continued under GST, would have a significant bearing on the profitability of many industries.

Industries that would benefit from lower GST tax rates include cement and auto manufacturers, while those that could be impacted negatively due to GST include the cotton and downstream value chain and apparel segment of the textile industry and print media, which are currently either tax exempted or subject to concessional rates of taxes.

Abatement of tax, if not continued under the GST regime, would have a bearing on the profitability of logistics and real estate industries, while the impact on the infrastructure industry with high value contracts spanning across years would have to be assed contract-wise. Within the infrastructure industry, contracts in project phase can face viability issues if they are unable to pass on the increase in cost due to higher taxes or if the government incentives are discontinued under GST.

The central government would compensate for any revenue loss to the state governments during the first five years of the GST regime. The GST council has agreed to factor in the tax exemptions given to the industries in the eight north eastern states and the three hilly states while calculating revenue loss for determining compensation. The governments (both states and central) decision to continue with the area-based exemptions from central and state taxes can also impact the profitability of factories set up in the specified areas based on these exemptions.

The compelling rationale to switch from the current regime to the GST regime is to eliminate the cascading impact of taxes or simply put n++tax on taxn++ which leads to increase in the price of the end product. Other equally important areas which the GST would address are the multiplicity of taxes at central and state levels, leading to cumbersome and cost bearing compliance exercise for businesses, by bringing about uniformity in tax rates and structure.

Since, the input credit would be available only on taxes paid to the central or state government and after an automated reconciliation through an IT infrastructure, users of input supply would insist on tax invoices to claim the input credit, there by plugging the leakage due to non-payment of taxes or n++Kaccha Billsn++ as it is popularly known in India.

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Death Claims to be Processed within 07 Days and Retirement Claims to be Settled on the Day of Retirement
Nov 18,2016

The Prime Minister of India during the PRAGATI review meeting held on 26th October desired that claims related to death cases be prioritized and expedited and retirement claims may be settled on the day of retirement. In accordance, the processes have been reviewed and instructions have been issued to field offices to settle death claims within a period of 07 days from the date of receipt of proposal and retirement claims on the day of retirement. The officials in the facilitation centre of field offices have been instructed to scrutinize the claims and guide the claimant regarding submission of required documents in appropriate shape. An official has been posted in the facilitation centers of EPFO this category of claims.

Employers are now increasingly using internet banking to deposit statutory EPF dues since EPFO made it mandatory to use internet banking as the mode of receipt of EPF dues. 96.03% contributions in October 2016 were received online.

In an important judgment delivered by the High Court of Madras in the matter of writ petition filed by Builders Association of India, Madurai, the High Court dismissed the petition praying non enforcement of EPF & MP Act, 1952 every employee employed in or in connection with the work or that factory or establishment, other than an excluded employee, who has not become a member already shall also be entitled and required to become a member of the Fund from the date of joining the factory or establishment.

To expand the reach of convenience offered to EPF members, EPFO has joined the network of Common Services Centers (CSC). A Memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed between EPFO and CSC e-Governance Services India (CSC SPV) on 25th October 2016. The MoU is initially for a period of five years. Every year on 14st November, pensioners were required to submit their life certificates. From this year onward, pensioners can submit digital life certificates via Jeevan Pramaan Patra programme through a large number of points of Presence (PoP) of CSC network in addition to those available at EPFO offices. The pensioners living in remote areas can avoid cost and inconvenience of travelling down to the EPF offices or their banks for filing paper based life certificate through this arrangement.

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E-Tourist Visa issuance jump 86.4% in October 2016
Nov 18,2016

A total of 105268 foreign tourists arrived in October 2016 on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 56477 during the month of September 2015 registering a growth of 86.4%. UK (22.9%) continues to occupy top slot followed by USA (12.1%) and France (6.6%) amongst countries availing e-tourist visa facility During October 2016.

The facility of e-Tourist Visa has been made available by the Government of India to the citizens of 150 countries, arriving at 16 International Airports in India. The number of e-Tourist Visa availed by foreign tourists visiting India during the month of October 2016 has registered a substantial growth rate over the corresponding month of 2015.

During January- October 2016, a total of 780570 tourists arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 258182 during January-October 2015, registering a growth of 202.3%.

This high growth may be attributed to introduction of e-Tourist Visa for 150 countries as against the earlier coverage of 113 countries.

The percentage shares of top 10 source countries availing e-Tourist Visa facilities during October 2016 were as follows: UK (22.9%), USA (12.1%), France (6.6%), China (5.8%), Russian Fed (5.6%), Germany (5.5%), Australia (4.5%), Canada (3.6%), Spain (2.3%) and Netherlands (2.1%).

The percentage shares of top 10 ports in tourist arrivals on e-Tourist Visa during October, 2016 were as follows: New Delhi Airport (51.67%), Mumbai Airport (18.65%), Dabolim (Goa) Airport (6.20%), Bengaluru Airport (5.18%), Chennai Airport (4.97%), Kochi Airport (3.15%), Amritsar Airport (2.42%) Hyderabad Airport (2.18%), Kolkata Airport (2.08%) and Trivandrum Airport (1.28%).

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86.4% Growth in Foreign Tourists Arrival on E-Tourist Visa in October 2016 over the same period in 2015
Nov 18,2016

A total of 1,05,268 foreign tourists arrived in October 2016 on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 56,477 during the month of September 2015 registering a growth of 86.4%. UK (22.9%) continues to occupy top slot followed by USA (12.1%) and France (6.6%) amongst countries availing e-tourist visa facility During October 2016.

The facility of e-Tourist Visa has been made available by the Government of India to the citizens of 150 countries, arriving at 16 International Airports in India. The number of e-Tourist Visa availed by foreign tourists visiting India during the month of October, 2016 has registered a substantial growth rate over the corresponding month of 2015. The salient highlights of e-Tourist Visa for and upto the month of October during 2016 are as follows:-

(i) During the month of October, 2016 a total of 1,05,268 foreign tourists arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 56,477 during the month of October, 2015 registering a growth of 86.4%.

(ii) During January- October 2016, a total of 7,80,570 tourist arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 2,58,182 during January-October 2015, registering a growth of 202.3% .

(iii) This high growth may be attributed to introduction of e-Tourist Visa for 150 countries as against the earlier coverage of 113 countries.

(iv) The percentage shares of top 10 source countries availing e-Tourist Visa facilities during October, 2016 were as follows:

UK (22.9%), USA (12.1%), France (6.6%), China (5.8%), Russian Fed (5.6%), Germany (5.5%), Australia (4.5%), Canada (3.6%), Spain (2.3%) and Netherlands (2.1%).

(v) The percentage shares of top 10 ports in tourist arrivals on e-Tourist Visa during October, 2016 were as follows:-

New Delhi Airport (51.67%), Mumbai Airport (18.65%), Dabolim (Goa) Airport (6.20%), Bengaluru Airport (5.18%), Chennai Airport (4.97%), Kochi Airport (3.15%), Amritsar Airport (2.42%) Hyderabad Airport (2.18%), Kolkata Airport (2.08%) and Trivandrum Airport (1.28%).

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Fitch: Trumps US Election Victory Raises Global Uncertainties
Nov 18,2016

Republican nominee Donald Trumps victory in the US presidential election in November and the uncertainty over aspects of future US policy automatically creates uncertainty for many other sovereigns, to varying degrees, Fitch Ratings says in a new report.

Wide-ranging sovereign rating implications from the election are unlikely to arise in the near term. But shifts in US policy can have global ramifications given the countrys role as the worlds largest economy and its pre-eminent diplomatic and military power. Clarity on how much of Trumps campaign rhetoric will translate into policy will take time to emerge, but his emphasis on greater protectionism and a more unilateral foreign policy highlight two potential sources of spill-over.

President-elect Trumps plan to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) would have a direct impact on Canada and Mexico. A major shift towards trade protectionism in the US could also have a significant impact on China and on Asian economies that supply intermediate goods to China.

If the new administration pursued more aggressive tariff policies towards China, we would expect China to take counter measures, with adverse consequences for growth and inflation in both countries and potentially RMB depreciation and risk aversion in financial markets that would likely spill over into other emerging markets. However, a sharp increase in protectionism would be resisted by US corporate lobbyists and mainstream Republican legislators, and we think incremental measures, such as bringing trade cases, are more likely.

Trumps campaign rhetoric on foreign policy also lacked detail. He has spoken favourably about Russian President Vladimir Putin, and may take a more accommodative stance towards attempts to extend Russias sphere of influence. Potential US military retrenchment could increase defence spending in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, adding to pressures for looser fiscal policy. It could also give China an opportunity to expand its regional strategic presence.

The US election outcome highlights the growth of anti-establishment populism, which is also evident in Europe. The Trump phenomenon may boost support for European political leaders and parties outside the traditional centre-left and centre-right. In response, mainstream parties may accelerate fiscal loosening or pull back from structural economic reform.

The reaction in financial and commodity markets could also affect sovereigns outside the US. Some commodity prices rose in anticipation of US fiscal stimulus. But higher US Treasury yields could push up funding costs for other sovereigns, while a stronger dollar may be negative for emerging markets with significant foreign currency debt burdens.

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Standing against black money; ASSOCHAM urges Govt for relief to SMEs, trade
Nov 18,2016

Assuring the Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi of India Incs full support in the fight against black money and corruption, the ASSOCHAM said though the short - term hardship would lead to long-term cleaning up of the economy, some immediate relief should be considered for the industry, SMEs and the trade.

The ASSOCHAM reiterated the full industry commitment to join the Prime Minister in his determined fight against black money and corruption and several initiatives in the past with regard to income disclosures and foreign money have all been received well by all the right thinking people.

Suggesting a number of relief measures to deal with the current situation, the ASSOCHAM said the Non-Banking Finance Companies (NBFCs) should also be allowed to accept old notes till December 31, subject to certain safeguards like crediting the amount only to the borrowers accounts and strict adherence to the money laundering laws.

It said the weekly limit of Rs 50,000 per week from the current account is too meagre. Besides, banks are not clear about it as yet and several of them are not implementing the current account limit. The small and medium enterprises, which employ casual labour on a big scale should be provided a special dispensation.

n++A limit can be fixed according to size of the sales turnover of a company and depending on the sectors,n++ the ASSOCHAM said.

Even though India Inc itself operates in the organised sector of the economy which is connected electronically or through banking transactions like cheque payments, it has strong linkages with a large part of the unorganised sectors including agriculture, casual labour, transportation and other services.

Likewise, for the entire distribution chain for the items of mass consumption, the value chain from the retail to the large distributors is not totally cheque or electronically payment driven.

n++The government may consider extending the same facilities as are being given to state-owned petrol pumps and cooperative stores for temporary trade in Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes, subject a ceiling of Rs 5,000 per customer who will leave a proper ID with the retailers. Besides, the traders can also be asked to maintain strict stock details with fool proof system against back-dated transactions and other misuses. Considering the limitations of the Income Tax Departments, the staff of the state governments and other Central departments can be deployed with a provision of strict penalties on any misuse,n++ the chamber said.

It said, the chamber has also received queries from its members regarding exchange of currency by NRIs. n++Can they exchange notes from the branches of Indian banks branches operating overseas as well as from the other international banks.n++

The ASSOCHAM reiterated full industry commitment to join the Prime Minister in his determined fight against black money and corruption and several initiatives in the past with regard to income disclosures and foreign money have all been received well by all the right thinking people.

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PGCIL Seeks US$ 1,000 Million Loan for Green Energy Corridor From ADB
Nov 18,2016

Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCIL) has sought a loan assistance of US$ 1,000 million from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) comprising of Sovereign guaranteed loan of US$ 500 million and Non-Sovereign loan of US$ 500 million.

The Loan would be utilized for funding of the following transmission projects including a project under Green Energy Corridor projects in next 3-4 years:

(i) HVDC Bipole link between Western Region (Raigarh, Chhattisgarh) and Southern Region (Pugalur, Tamil Nadu) - North Trichur (Kerala) - Scheme 1: Raigarh-Pugalur 6000 MW HVDC System.

(ii) HVDC Bipole link between Western Region (Raigarh, Chhattisgarh) and Southern Region (Pugalur, Tamil Nadu) - North Trichur (Kerala)- Scheme 3: Pugalur- Trichur 2000 MW VSC based HVDC System.

(iii) Real Time Measurement/ monitoring scheme.

(iv) Inter State Transmission System (ISTS) associated with Green Energy Corridor as under:

a) Ajmer(New) - Bikaner (New) 765 kV D/c

b) Bikaner(New) - Moga (PG) 765 kV D/c

c) LILO of one circuit of 400kV Bhadla- Bikaner (RVPN) line at Bikaner(New)

d) Establishment of 2x1500 MVA, 765/400 kV S/s at Bikaner (New)

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Inclusion of Large Hydro Power Projects Under the Ambit of Renewable Energy
Nov 18,2016

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is examining the prospects of including all hydro power projects under Renewable Energy Sector. Hydro power can be called renewable energy because it uses water for generation of electricity without any consumption and leaves this vital resource available for other uses.

The norms of Small Hydro Power Projects (SHP) differ from country to country. In some countries station capacity with more than 25 MW is classified as SHP, example- Brazil -30 MW, Canada-50 MW, China- 50 MW, Pakistan- 50 MW, Vietnam- 30MW and Eastern Europe / Russian countries - 30 MW. The implementation of Hydro Power up to 25 MW station capacity was brought under the ambit of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy from Ministry of Power during 1999.

Government has set the target to reach 175 GW of Renewable Energy capacity by the year 2022 which includes 5 GW from Small Hydro (up to 25 MW station capacity). So far larger hydro plants are not considered as Renewable Energy. In case of large hydro capacity (above 25MW) being added to the renewable category, Indias Renewable Energy capacity could reach 225MW.

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Launch of online portal for facilitating trade between India and Iran
Nov 17,2016

An Online Portal for facilitating trade between India and Iran was launched by Dr. Inder Jit Singh, Additional Secretary, Department of Commerce in the presence of H.E. Mr. Gholamreza Ansari, Ambassador of Islamic Republic of Iran, Mr. Khaleel Rahim, CMD, STC, and other Directors of STC. The Hind-Iran portal (hindirantrade.org) is a joint initiative of STC and Douman Queshm, Iran. The objective of the trade portal is to disseminate information relevant to Indo-Iran Trade, and to provide an e-marketplace for the buyers and sellers of the two countries.

Addressing the gathering at the event, Mr. Khaleel Rahim said that Iran and India have enjoyed deep social, cultural, economic and political connections and relations that have enriched both countries. The two countries have grown closer in the turbulent times at the peak of the economic sanctions against Iran, when it was India which emerged as a valuable trading partner of Iran. The portal is aimed at bridging the communication divide which the business communities face, and which are very interested in trading with each other. Mr. Gholamreza Ansari also acknowledged India as a friend who stood by Iran in tough times, and supported this initiative.

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Approval for Flexibility in use of Domestic Coal
Nov 17,2016

The Government has approved a proposal to create flexibility in the use of domestic coal.

Further, the Minister informed that the Cabinet, on 4th May, 2016, approved the proposal of the Ministry of Power for flexibility in utilization of domestic coal for reducing the cost of power generation.

As per the policy, the Annual Contracted Quantity (ACQ) of each individual coal linkage (as per respective Fuel Supply Agreements) are to be aggregated as consolidated ACQ for each State or the company owning the Central Generating Stations (CGS). For such consolidated ACQ, a Supplementary agreement shall be signed for each State/Company owning the CGS.

The mechanism envisages to reduce the cost of power generation by using coal in an optimal manner depending upon the efficiency of the generating stations. Central/State generating companies may utilize coal in its own generating stations by considering various factors such as operational efficiency of the generating stations, transportation logistics/ feasibility depending upon location of generating stations, fixed variable charges including transportation cost, relative merit order dispatch of power etc.

There shall be a flexibility, in the revised arrangement, for use of such coal amongst the generating stations of the state owned utilities, plants of other state power utilities, company owing the Central Generating Stations and Independent Power Producers, amongst each other as per the methodology issued by CEA.

A methodology for implementing the above proposal has been prepared by a committee consisting of the members from Ministries of Power, Coal and Railways, CERC, NTPC, CIL, POSOCO in consultation with the stakeholders. This methodology has been issued on 8th June, 2016.

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UDAN to promote Regional Connectivity
Nov 17,2016

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) launched the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS)-UDAN in October, 2016, to promote regional air connectivity in the country including North Eastern region and creating additional infrastructure by revival of unserved and underserved airports/airstrips. The scheme has been finalized after extensive consultation with all the stakeholders including State Governments. Suggestions were received from stakeholders including the states at the time of consultation with public/stakeholders on the draft Scheme.

The indicative list of underserved and unserved airports in India of the Scheme also includes Defence airports. However, for such airports, approval from Ministry of Defence needs to be obtained for permitting joint use/civil operation under the Scheme.

The primary objective of RCS is to facilitate / stimulate regional air connectivity by making it affordable. Promoting affordability of Regional air connectivity is envisioned under RCS by supporting airline operators through (i) concessions by Central Government, State Governments and airport operators to reduce the cost of airline operations on regional routes and (ii) financial support (Viability Gap Funding or VGF) to meet the gap, if any, between the cost of airline operations and expected revenues on such routes. RCS-UDAN is a demand-driven scheme, where airline operators undertake assessment of demand on particular routes.

A Regional Connectivity Fund (RCF) has been created under powers conferred under Rule 88-B of the Aircraft Rules, 1937 to provide the VGF requirements under the scheme. The Central Government has decided to impose a levy on the scheduled flights being operated within India to fund the Regional Connectivity Fund. However, following flights has been exempted from the above mentioned levy:;

i) Flights operated on CAT II/ CAT IIA routes as specified in Route Dispersal Guidelines issued under Rule 134 (1A).;

ii) Flights operated on RCS routes.;

iii) Flights operated with aircraft having maximum certified take off mass not exceeding 40,000 kg.

The payment of VGF will be made to selected airline operators from the RCF.

For imposing levy, amendment was done after consulting all stakeholders. Observations/ comments from different stakeholders including Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) were considered before amending the rule ibid. The Ministry has signed MoU on RCS-UDAN with the states of Mizoram, Puducherry, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Assam, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh. A pre-bid meeting was held on 11-11-2016 with all the stakeholders including states and airline operators to facilitate the effective and efficient implementation of the scheme.

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Nagpur Metro gets Euro 130 million AFD credit
Nov 17,2016

Nagpur Metro achieved financial closure of the project by securing a credit of Euro 130 million from AFD (French Development Agency).

A Credit Facility Agreement in this regard was today signed between the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance and AFD. Shri Selvakumar, Joint Secretary (DEA) and Shri Nicolas Fornage, Regional Director for South Asia, AFD signed the agreement in the presence of French Ambassador Shri Alexandre Ziegler.

The 20 year period credit with a moratorium of five years, will be used for funding Signalling, Telecom, Automatic Fare Collection Systems and Lifts and Escalators.

Earlier, in April, 2016, Government of India signed a loan agreement with KfW Germany for 500 million Euro for Nagpur Metro.

With todays credit agreement, Nagpur Metro which was incorporated in February,2015 and commenced civil works in May last year has achieved financial closure in a record 18 months. Order for rolling stock has already been placed and tendering of other packages for power supply, traction systems, signaling, telecom, automatic fare collection system etc., are in advanced stages.

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The Central Government decides to reduce the limit of exchange of old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes across the counter in banks from Rs 4500 to Rs 2000
Nov 17,2016

In the aftermath of the cancellation of the legal tender character of the old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes, the Government of India has been receiving several suggestions including those from the State Governments. The Government has considered various suggestions and the following decisions relating to certain operational aspects of this scheme have been taken:

i. We are now at the beginning of the Rabi season. The farmers need various inputs for their agricultural activities. While the Government is keen on promoting payment through the banking or digital system, it is felt necessary to make some quantum of cash available with farmers to meet various expenses in connection with agricultural operations. It has, therefore, been decided that farmers would be permitted to draw upto Rs. 25000/- per week in cash from their KYC compliant accounts only. These cash withdrawals would be subject to the normal loan limits and conditions. This facility will also apply to the Kisan Credit Cards (KCC).

ii. Farmers are currently selling their produce from the Kharif season in the APMC markets/mandis. The farmers who receive such payments in their bank accounts through cheque/ RTGS will be permitted to draw up to Rs. 25000/- per week in cash. These accounts will have to be KYC compliant. This facility will enable the farmers to meet their various expenses connected with agriculture. This will also infuse lot of liquidity into the rural sector.

iii. Traders registered with APMC markets/mandis will be permitted to draw up to Rs. 50,000/- per week in cash from their KYC compliant accounts as in the case of business entities. This will enable these traders to pay wages and facilitate easy loading, unloading and other activities at the mandis.

iv. For payment of crop insurance premium, States fix time limits depending on their local requirements and conditions. Consequently, the last date for payment expires on different dates. It has now been decided to extend the last date for payment of crop insurance premium by 15 days.

v. While encouraging families to incur wedding expenses through cheques or digital means, it has been decided to permit families celebrating weddings to draw up to Rs. 2,50,000/- in cash from their own bank accounts. These accounts have to be necessarily KYC compliant. The amounts can be drawn only by either of the parents or the person getting married. Only one of them will be permitted to draw this amount. This limit of Rs. 2,50,000/- will apply separately to the girls family and the boys family. The person drawing such amount has to furnish the PAN details. Further, a self-declaration will have to be submitted by the person to the effect that only one person from his/her family is drawing the amount. It is expected that members of the public will fully cooperate to ensure that the above guidelines are adhered to. Any misuse of this facility will invite appropriate action based on the self-declaration and other details.

vi. At present, over the counter exchange of old Rs. 500/- and Rs. 1000/- notes is limited up to maximum of Rs. 4500/- per person. Reports have been received that the same persons are going back to the counter again and again, thereby cornering the facility and depriving many other people from exchanging old notes. There are also reports of organized groups indulging in such practices to convert their black money into white. It is now expected and desirable that people put their old notes into their bank accounts. However, for convenience of the people who may be on temporary visit either for work or otherwise, it has been decided to reduce this limit of exchange of old Rs. 500/- and Rs. 1000/- notes across the counter in banks from Rs. 4500/- to Rs. 2000/-. This facility will be available only once per person. The reduced limit of Rs. 2000/- will take effect from 18th November, 2016.

vii. Central Government employees up to Group `C including equivalent levels in the Defence and Para Military Forces, Railways and Central Public Sector Enterprises will be given an option to draw salary advance up to Rs. 10,000/- in cash. This amount will be adjusted in their salary for November, 2016. It is expected that this decision will ease the pressure on the banks.

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