From giving its approval for setting up a GST Council and Secretariat to enhancing the buffer stock for pulses up to 20 lakh tonne, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday approved several decisions. We take a look at some decisions that the Cabinet took:
1) Setting up of GST Council: Cabinet today approved setting of GST Council and Secretariat, following assent given by President to GST Consitutional Amendment Bill. GST Council will consist of FM, MoS Revenue and State Finance Ministers. The Council will make recommendations on important issues related to GST, including items and rates etc. The GST council secretariat costs will be borne by Central Government. The GST Council Secretariat shall be manned by officers taken on deputation from both the Central and State Governments. The steps required in the direction of implementation of GST are being taken ahead of the schedule so far. The Finance Minister has also decided to call the first meeting of the GST Council on 22nd and 23rd September 2016.
2) Buffer stock of pulses: CCEA approved proposal of Department of Consumer Affairs on enhancing the buffer stock for pulses up to 20 lakh tonnes. The buffer stock will be built through domestic procurement and imports of 10 lakh tonnes each.
3) Initiation of TEQIP: CCEA approved the proposal for initiation of Third Phase of Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme (TEQIP). Project will be implemented as a ‘Central Sector Scheme’ with total project outlay of Rs 3600 crore
4) Tariff concessions: Cabinet also approved the exchange of tariff concessions, under the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement. This will be under on Margin of Preference basis, under Fourth Round of Negotiations of APTA, formerly known as Bangkok Agreement.
5) Cadre Review: CCEA cleared Cadre Review of Group ‘A’ Executive officers of BSF with net creation of 74 posts.
6) Cabinet approved extension of contract with International Seabed Authority ISA for exploration of Polymetallic Nodules for 5 more years. By extending the contract, India’s exclusive rights for exploration of Polymetallic Nodules in the allotted Area in the Central Indian Ocean Basin will continue and would open up new opportunities for resources of commercial and strategic value in area beyond national jurisdiction. Further, it would provide strategic importance for India in terms of enhanced presence in Indian Ocean where other international: players are also active.
7) Cabinet was apprised of MoU signed between India & South Africa for cooperation in the field of ICT. It was also apprised of MoU between India & Mozambique in Youth Affairs and Sports during visit of Prime Minister there.
8) Setting up of HEFA: Cabinet has approved the creation of the Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) to give a major push for creation of high quality infrastructure in premier educational institutions. The HEFA would be jointly promoted by the identified Promoter and the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) with an authorised capital of Rs 2,000 crore. The Government equity would be Rs 1,000 crore.
9) Cabinet gave expost-facto approval for MoU between India & Kenya on cooperation in National Housing Policy Development & Management (NHPDM). Under the MoU, both the sides will collaborate on all matters relating to housing and human settlements through various strategies including training of personnel, exchange visits, expos/exhibitions, conferences and workshops. The cooperation between the two countries will focus on upscaling slum upgradation and prevention initiatives based on the experience and implementation process of each country.
10) Signing of Technical Arrangement between India & Switzerland on identification & return of Swiss and Indian Nationals was also approved.