Cabinet Approvals on 2nd January, 2019

On 2nd January 2019, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi took a stock of decisions on various proposals. The details of the cabinet approvals are as follows:

Cabinet_decisionCabinet allows inclusion of merchant exporters under Interest Equalisation Scheme (1ES) for Pre and Post Shipment Rupee Export Credit
On 2nd January 2019, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi chaired the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, which gave its approval to the proposal of the Department of Commerce to provide 3 % interest subsidy to merchant exporters, to enhance liquidity with a view to boost outbound shipments.

Key Points:

  • The Department of Commerce had proposed to include merchant exporters under the Interest Equalisation Scheme (IES) for Pre and Post Shipment Rupee Export Credit by allowing them interest equalisation rate of 3% on all such credit for export of products which are covered under 416 tariff lines identified under the scheme.
  • The products that are included in this scheme include those from MSME/ labour intensive sectors such as Agriculture, Textiles, Leather, Handicraft, machinery, etc.
  • The proposal will entail benefits of around Rs 600 crore to merchant exporters on interest equalisation.
  • The scheme is expected to make exporters more competitive and encourage them to exports more products manufactured by MSMEs adding to country’s exports besides boosting employment generation in MSME sector.
  • The government had launched the interest subsidy scheme in April 2015 for five years for all manufacturing exporters. But merchant exporters were not covered under the scheme and they had been persistently demanding inclusion of the merchant exporters also in the ongoing scheme.

About Ministry of Commerce and Industry:
♦ Minister: Suresh Prabhu
♦ Minister of State: C.R.Chaudhary
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi

“Cabinet approves Continuation of Umbrella scheme for “”Family Welfare and Other Health Interventions”” during 2017-18 to 2019-20″
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, gave its approval for continuation of five schemes under the “Umbrella Scheme for Family Welfare and Other Health Interventions” during the Fourteenth Finance Commission period 2017-18 to 2019-20.

Key Points:
i. The scheme which would be funded 100% by Central Government Budgetary support will have an outlay of Rs. 2381.84 crore.
ii. The 5 schemes covered under the project are as follows:

  • Swastha Nagrik Abhiyan(SNA): For dissemination of information on health issues to create awareness among citizens of India of ail age/sex/locations and appropriately influence their health seeking behaviour to encourage healthy lifestyles and empower the citizens. SNA has been approved, with an estimated outlay of Rs.1030.15 crore for three years.
  • Free Supply of Contraceptives: For providing free supply of contraceptives including condoms, Oral Contraceptive Pills, Pregnancy Test Kits, other contraceptives, etc. to States with a view to improve Maternal and Child Health and achieving population stabilization.
  • MIS Scheme now proposed as Health Surveys and Health Research (HSHR): For sourcing of data on population, health and nutrition for India and its States through periodically conducted National Family Health Survey(NFHS), which is one of the largest surveys of its kind worldwide and will provide valuable data for policy and programmes right up to the district level.
  • Social Marketing of Contraceptives: For branding, attractively packaging, marketing arid selling of products and services related to Family Planning for low-income groups at affordable prices.
  • Population Research Centres (PRCs): For third party evaluation of the scheme on PRCs and especially of those centres which are being considered for continuation will be carried out.

iii.  The schemes are crucial to attaining the goals and objectives laid out in National Health Policy (NHP) 2017, and international commitments in the form of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
iv. It is also aimed at improving health seeking behaviour of the population through increased awareness and enhanced uptake of health services.

About Ministry of Health and Family Welfare:
♦ Minister: Jagat Prakash Nadda
♦ Minister of State: Anupriya Patel, Ashwini Kumar Choubey

Cabinet approves ‘The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2018’ for revision in list of Scheduled Tribes of Arunachal Pradesh
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi chaired the Union Cabinet which has approved the introduction of a Bill namely ‘The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2018’ in the Parliament for certain amendments in the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950 so as to modify the list of Scheduled Tribes (STs) of Arunachal Pradesh.

Key Points:

  • The Home Ministry’s had proposed to replace the generic term ‘any Naga tribes’ with the specific names of the tribes that would qualify for recognition as Scheduled Tribes in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The decision taken is likely to have a bearing on the peace talks with the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak Muivah (NSCN-IM).
  • According to the bill ‘Khampti’ would be replaced with ‘Tai Khamti’ ‘Abor’ would be deleted and ‘Mishmi-Kaman, Idu and Taraon’ would be included in the list.‘Monpa, Memba, Sartang, Sajolong’ would also be included in lieu of ‘Momba’ in the ST list of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The members of the communities newly listed in the revised list of Scheduled Tribes of Arunachal Pradesh will also be able to derive benefits meant for STs under the existing schemes of the Government after the Bill becomes an Act.

About Arunachal Pradesh:
♦ Chief Minister: Pema Khandu
♦ Capital: Itanagar
♦ Governor:  B. D. Mishra.

Cabinet approves continuation of Rastriya Yuva Sashaktikaran Karyakram Scheme for the Period 2017-18 to 2019-2020
On 2nd January 2019, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the continuation of Rastriya Yuva Sashaktikaran Karyakram Scheme for the Period 2017-18 to 2019-2020 with budget outlay of Rs.1160 crore.

Key Points:

  • In consultation with Ministry of Finance and NITI Aayog, eight youth schemes of 12th Five Year Plan period were brought under the umbrella scheme of Rashtriya Yuva Sashaktikaran Karyakram as sub-schemes as part of a rationalization exercise.
  • This helped in achieving better synergies between the Schemes and thereby, improving their effectiveness and helping in achieving better outcomes with the available resources.
  • The Scheme beneficiaries include the youth in the age-group of 15-29 years, in line with the definition of ‘youth’ in the National Youth Policy, 2014. In case of programme components specifically meant for the adolescents, the age-group is 10-19 years.
  • The eight sub-schemes included Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan, National Youth Corps, National Programme for Youth and Adolescent Development, International Cooperation, Youth Hostels, Assistance to Scouting and Guiding Organizations, National Discipline Scheme and National Young Leaders Programme.

About Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports:
♦ Minister: Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi

“Cabinet approves restructuring of National Health Agency as “”National Health Authority”” for better implementation of Pradhan Mantri – Jan Arogya Yojana”
On 2nd January 2019, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the restructuring of existing National Health Agency as “National Health Authority” for better implementation of Pradhan Mantri – Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY).

Key Points:

  • With this approval, the existing society “National Health Agency” has been dissolved and will be replaced by National Health Authority as an attached office to Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
  • National Health Authority will be chaired by Union Health Minister to enable the decision making at a faster pace, required for smooth implementation of the scheme.
  • The National Health Authority will have full accountability, authority and mandate to implement the Pradhan Mantri – Jan Arogya Yojana.
  • The proposed National Health Authority will be funded by existing budget that was approved earlier by the Cabinet for the National Health Agency, including costs related to IT, human resources, infrastructure, operational costs etc and no new funds have been approved.  

Cabinet gives ex post facto approval to India’s Approach for COP 24, Katowice, Poland (2-15 December 2018)
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi headed, Union Cabinet gave its ex-post facto approval to the negotiating stand of India at the 24th Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held in Katowice, Poland from 2-15 December 2018.

Key Points:

  • The Indian delegation to the conference was led by Union Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan.
  • The key focus of the meeting was to finalize guidelines for implementation of Paris Agreement in post 2020 period and the outcome of the talks is to limit the rise of global temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius.
  • India’s approach was guided by principles and provisions of the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, particularly the principles of Equity and Common But Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capability (CBPR-RC).
  • India had also expressed reservations on the Global Stocktake (GST) decision regarding the need for considerations of equity in output of GST process as per the mandate of the Paris Agreement to ensure that vulnerabilities, problems and challenges of the poor and marginalised are addressed.

About Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change:
♦ Minister: Dr. Harsh Vardhan
♦ Minister of State: Dr. Mahesh Sharma
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi

Cabinet apprised of Progress under NHM and Decisions of Empowered Programme Committee and Mission Steering Group of NHM
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been apprised of the Progress and new initiatives under National Health Mission (NHM) and the Decisions of the Empowered Programme Committee and Mission Steering Group of NHM.

Outcomes achieved under the NHM during the last five years and during the year 2017-18:

  • Decline by 2.7% in the Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) to 130 during 2014-16 from 178 during 2010-12.
  • Decline in the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) to 34 in 2016 as compared to 44 in 2011. The annual rate of decline of IMR between 2015 and 2018 was 8.1%.
  • Decline in the Under 5 Mortality Rate (U5MR) to 39 in 2016 from 55 in 2011. The U5MR annual rate of decline during 2015-16 was 9.3%.
  • Decline in the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) to 2.3% in 2016. The percentage annual compound rate of decline in TFR during 2011-16 has been observed as 1.7%.
  • The Annual Parasite Incidence (API) with respect of Malaria, declined to 0.84 in 2016 from 1.10 in 2011. In 2017 malaria incidence went down by 30% and deaths due to malaria decreased by 70%.
  • The incidence of Tuberculosis (TB) per 1 lakh population has been reduced to 204 in 2017, from 234 in 2013. Mortality due to TB per lakh population for India reduced to 21 in 2017 from 32 in 2016.
  • The target of prevalence of leprosy <1/one lakh population has been achieved nationally. The number of districts that achieved elimination of leprosy has increased from 554 in 2017 to 571 by March 2018.
  • Incidence of Kala Azar was to reduce it to less than 1 case per 10000 population in all blocks. The number of endemic blocks with prevalence of more than 1 case per 10000 population has been reduced to 72 in 2017, from 94 in 2016.
  • Prevalence of 4 major Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) namely Cancers, diabetes, Stroke and Cardiovascular diseases, and chronic lung diseases attributable to Tobacco use has been reduced through bringing down prevalence of tobacco use by 6% average points, to 28.6% in 2016-17 from 34.6% in 2009-10.

Cabinet approves high level committee to implement Clause 6 of Assam Accord Several Longstanding demands of Bodos also approved
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi approved the setting up of a High Level Committee for implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord and measures envisaged in the Memorandum of Settlement, 2003 and other issues related to Bodo community.

Background:
The Assam Accord was signed on 15th August, 1985 after the Assam agitation of 1979-1985. Clause 6 of the accord envisaged that appropriate constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards, shall be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people. But, Clause 6 of the Assam Accord has not been fully implemented even almost 35 years after the Accord was signed.

Key Points:

  • The Committee shall examine the effectiveness of actions since 1985 to implement Clause 6 of the Assam Accord by holding discussions with all stakeholders and assess the required quantum of reservation of seats in Assam Legislative Assembly and local bodies for Assamese people.
  • The Committee will also assess the requirement of measures to be taken to protect Assamese and other indigenous languages of Assam, quantum of reservation in employment under Government of Assam and other measures to protect, preserve and promote cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of Assamese people.
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs will decide the composition and terms of reference of the committee.
  • Besides this the Cabinet also approved a number of measures to fulfil the outstanding issues related to the Bodo community and the Bodo Accord which was signed in 2003 and resulted in the establishment of a Bodoland Territorial Council under Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India.
  • The union cabinet approved the establishment of a Bodo Musuem-cum-language and cultural study center, modernization of existing All India Radio Station and Doordarshan Kendra at Kokrajhar and naming a Superfast Train passing through Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD) as ARONAI Express.
  • The Assam Government will also take necessary measures related to appropriate land policy and land laws, besides setting up of Institutions for Research and Documentation of Customs, Traditions and Languages of indigenous communities.

About Assam:
♦ Chief Minister: Sarbananda Sonowal
♦ Governor: Jagdish Mukhi
♦ Capital: Dispur

Cabinet approves proposal to allot land to Chandigarh Housing Board for construction of apartments for 3930 allottees under Self-Financing Housing Scheme for UT Employees
The Union Cabinet approved a proposal to allot land to Chandigarh Housing Board for construction of apartments for 3,930 allottees under Self-Financing Housing Scheme (SFHS)-2008, for UT Employees.

Key Points:

  • The scheme “Self-financing Housing Scheme -2008” was approved by the Chandigarh administration in which a total land area of 73.3 acre was earmarked for construction of 3,930 dwelling units on lease hold basis for 99 years for its employees.
  • 11.8 acre of land out of 73.3 acre was already in possession of Chandigarh Housing Board and the remaining 61.5 acre of Government land is to be allotted to Chandigarh Housing Board.
  • The proposal came before the cabinet when the Chandigarh MP Kirron Kher had raised the issue which was pending since 2008, before the Centre. 

Cabinet approves first-ever three way merger in Indian Banking with amalgamation of Vijaya, Dena and Bank of Baroda
On 2nd January 2019, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi approved the scheme for the merger of state-run Vijaya Bank, Bank of Baroda(BoB) and Dena Bank, marking the first-ever three-way merger in the country’s banking sector.

Key Points:

  • The merger which will come into force on April 1, 2019 will form the third largest bank in the country, after government-owned State Bank of India and private sector lender ICICI.
  • In the merger process, Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank are transferor banks and BoB is the transferee bank. This means that all businesses, assets, rights, titles, claims, licences, approvals and other privileges and all property, all borrowings, liabilities and obligations of Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank will be transferred to Bank of Baroda.
  • The fair equity share exchange (share swap) ratio for the amalgamation is: 402 equity shares of ₹2 each of BoB for every 1,000 equity shares of ₹10 each of Vijaya Bank; and 110 equity shares of ₹2 each of BoB for every 1,000 equity shares of ₹10 each of Dena Bank.
  • The merged bank will have a combined business of Rs 14.82 lakh crore. There will be no impact on the service conditions of the employees and there will be no retrenchment following the merger.
  • Strengths of individual banks – such as Dena Bank’s relatively higher access to low-cost CASA deposits, Vijaya Bank’s profitability and availability of capital for growth, and the extensive global network and offerings of BoB will translate into advantages in terms of market reach, operational efficiencies and the ability to support a wider offering of product and services.

About Dena Bank:
♦ Managing Director and CEO: Karnam Sekar
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai
♦ Tagline: Trusted Family Bank

About Vijaya Bank:
♦ Managing Director and CEO: R. A. Sankara Narayanan
♦ Headquarters: Bengaluru
♦ Tagline: A Friend You Can Bank Upon

About Bank of Baroda (BoB):
♦ Managing Director and CEO: P S Jayakumar
♦ Headquarters: Vadodara
♦ Tagline: India’s International Bank

Cabinet approves Amendment to the Trade Unions Act, 1926 to make provisions regarding Recognition of Trade Unions
The Union Cabinet approved amendment to the Trade Unions Act, 1926 to make provisions regarding recognition and giving statutory backing to central and state-level trade unions.

Key Points:

  • The approval of the bill will facilitate recognition of Trade Unions at Central and State level and will ensure that the nomination of workers’ representatives in tripartite bodies by the government will become more transparent. 
  • Besides this the bill will check on the arbitrary nomination of workers’ representatives by the Government and reduce litigations and industrial unrest.
  • The bill will empower the Centre to frame rules for recognising unions and resolving disputes involving them.
  • Currently there is no statutory provision for either the recognition of a trade union in industry, or the establishment or recognition of a union at the central and state level.

About Ministry of Labour and Employment:
♦ Minister: Santosh Gangwar (MOS independent charge)
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi