Prime Minister Narendra Modi led Union Cabinet today took several important decisions including a raise in ‘creamy layer’ income cap among Other Backward Classes(OBCs). The decisions came amid speculations of possible expansion in the Union Cabinet. The change was necessitated after then Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar moved to Goa following Assembly elections in the state early this year. With JD(U) joining the NDA once again, the former is also expected to get a berth in the Cabinet. Meanwhile, there are also rumors of inclusion of Tamil Nadu’s AIADMK in the Cabinet.
Here we take a look at the major decisions taken by the Cabinet today:
‘Creamy layer’ income cap among OBCs: The Union cabinet increased the ‘creamy layer’ ceiling for the OBC category to Rs 8 lakh per annum from the existing Rs 6 lakh for central government jobs. This means those in the OBC category earning up to Rs 8 lakh per annum would now get the reservation benefits.
Sub-categorisation of OBC in central list: The Cabinet approved setting up of a commission to examine the sub categorisation of backward communities in the central list to ensure that the benefits extended to OBCs reach all the communities, PTI reported Union Minister Arun Jaitley as saying. The minister said as many as 11 states, including Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Jharkhand, West Bengal and the Jammu region in Jammu and Kashmir already have such categorisation in state government jobs. At present, there is no sub categorisation in the central list.
The Commission shall submit its report within 12 weeks from the date of appointment of the Chairperson of the Commission. The Commission shall be known as the Commission to examine the sub-categorization of Other Backward Classes.
MoU between India and Nepal: The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Nepal on Drug Demand Reduction and Prevention of Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances and precursor chemicals and related matters. According to PIB release, the MoU lists out the areas of cooperation on drug matters between the two countries. It also indicates the mechanism of information exchange and the competent authorities in the two countries who are responsible for the implementation of the MoU and exchange of any information.
Approval for Public Sector Banks to amalgamate through an Alternative Mechanism (AM): The Union Cabinet has given in-principle approval for Public Sector Banks to amalgamate through an Alternative Mechanism (AM). The decision would facilitate consolidation among the Nationalised Banks to create strong and competitive banks.
Transfer of 40 acres of AAI land at RR station, Dahisar to MMRDA: The Union Cabinet gave its approval for transfer of 40 acres of Airports Authority of India (AAI) land at RR station, Dahisar to Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) for its metro shed swapping with 40 acres of State Government land at Gorai, Mumbai. The land transaction will enable MMRDA to complete the Metro rail project in Mumbai.
Closure of loss making Bharat Wagon and Engineering Company: Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the proposal of Ministry of Railways to close the Bharat Wagon and Engineering Company Limited (BWEL) – a Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) under Ministry of Railways. As part of the proposal, 626 employees of BWEL will benefit from the voluntary retirement scheme to be offered at 2007 pay scale. The Government will also provide one time grant of 151.18 crore towards severance package and for clearing the current liabilities of the company.
Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the renaming of new Central Sector Scheme – SAMPADA (Scheme for Agro-Marine Processing and Development of Agro-Processing Clusters) as “Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY) ” for the period of 2016-20 coterminous with the 14th Finance Commission cycle. Earlier, CCEA in its meeting held in May, 2017 approved the new Central Sector Scheme – SAMPADA (Scheme for Agro-Marine Processing and Development of Agro-Processing Clusters) with same allocation and period.
New Bridge over Mechi River at the Indo-Nepal border: The Union Cabinet approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to be signed between India and Nepal for laying down implementation arrangement on Cost sharing, Schedules and Safeguard issues for starting construction of a new Bridge over Mechi River at Indo-Nepal border. The cost of construction of the bridge is expected to be Rs 158.65 crore, which would be funded by Government of India through ADB loan. The new bridge is part of up-gradation of Kakarvitta (Nepal) to Panitanki Bypass (India) on NH 327B covering a length of 1500 meters including a 6 lane approach road of 825 meters. Mechi Bridge is the ending point of Asian Highway 02 in India leading to Nepal and provides critical connectivity to Nepal.
The construction of the bridge will improve regional connectivity and has potential to strengthen cross border trade between both the countries and cementing ties by strengthening industrial, social and cultural exchanges, a PIB release said.
Allotment of land to Madhya Pradesh Government for construction of its State Guest House in Delhi: The Union Cabinet has given its approval to allot Plot No. 29-C & 29-D measuring 1.478 acres or 5882.96 sq. meters on the T-Junction of Jesus and Mary Marg with Dr. Radhakrishnan Marg, Chankyapuri, New Delhi to the Madhya Pradesh Government for construction of its State Guest House in Delhi as per the prevailing rates.