To boost railway connectivity and ease congestion in eastern and central India, the CCEA on Tuesday approved doubling, new-line and electrification projects worth Rs 11,662 crore, which are expected to create 211.74 lakh mandays of work. These projects will likely ease commuting in states such as Bihar, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal, apart from northeastern parts of the country. The projects include doubling and electrification of Muzaffarpur-Sagauli (100.6 km), Sagauli-Valmiki Nagar (109.7 km), the 425-km long Jhansi-Manikpur and Bhimsen-Khairar, and Bhatni-Aurnihar (116.95 km) lines. The districts covered under the projects include Muzaffarpur, East Champaran (Motihari) and West Champaran (Bettiah) in Bihar, Jhansi, Mahoba, Banda, Chitrakut Dham, Deoria, Ballia, Mau and Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh, and Chhatarpur in Madhya Pradesh. In addition, 130-km long Jeypore-Malkangiri new line will be laid which will cover Koraput and Malkangiri districts in Odisha.
Most of the projects are expected to be completed by 2022-23. The Cabinet also gave its ex-post facto approval to the cooperation agreement signed on December 14, 2017 between India and the Moroccan National Railways Office to develop long-term cooperation and partnership in different areas of the railway sector.
Housing fund gets nod
The Union Cabinet on Tuesday approved the setting up of a National Urban Housing Fund (NUHF) amounting to Rs 60,000 crore over a period of four years, which would finance the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna (Urban). “This will provide an added momentum to the pace of implementation of the scheme,” minister of housing and Urban affairs, Hardeep Singh Puri said.
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Law to check Ponzi schemes
In a major policy initiative to protect the savings of gullible investors, the government on Tuesday approved a Bill that proposed stringent provisions to clamp down on Ponzi schemes, including deterrent punishment for wrongdoers and confiscation of assets of firms found to have accepted deposits without authorisation.
Clearly differentiating regulated and unregulated deposit-taking, the Bill — “Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2018” — under which specified offences will be cognisable and non-bailable.