The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi met in the national capital on Wednesday and took several key decisions. These included the provision of mobile connectivity in Left Wing Extremism areas and approval of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Turkey over the import of poppy seeds. Besides, the government has also approved the waiver of Penal Interest on government loans advanced to Visakhapatnam Port Trust and Paradip Port Trust.
Here are the key decisions taken by the Union Cabinet:
1. Mobile connectivity in Left Wing Extremism areas: The Union Cabinet has approved a proposal of providing mobile connectivity in 10-Naxal affected states. It approved the installation of 4,072 mobile towers with an outlay of Rs 7,330 crores. In the first phase, 2,329 mobile towers were installed at a cost of Rs 3,167 crores. The additional mobile towers will strengthen the telecom network in the Naxal areas. The expenses of the project will be borne by the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), a part of the Department of Telecommunications.
2. MoU between India and Turkey over poppy seeds: The Union Cabinet has given its approval to Memorandum of Understanding between India and Turkey over the import of poppy seeds. According to the agreement, the government will import quantity of poppy seeds each year from Turkey. The exporting firms have to get the registration of Turkish Grain Board (TGB).
3. MoU between India and France in Renewable Energy: The Union Cabinet has also given its approval to Memorandum of Understanding between India and France in the field of Renewable Energy. The MoU was signed on March 10, 2018. According to the agreement, both the nations will identify research, demonstration etc. Both sides will work for implementation and deployment of a pilot project in ISA member countries. The move will also help to strengthen the bilateral relationship between the two countries.
4. Waiving of Penal Interest on government loans to two ports: The Union Cabinet has waived off the Penal Interest on government loans to two ports- Visakhapatnam Port Trust and Paradip Port Trust. In respect of Visakhapatnam Port Trust, the government has waived Rs 250.89 crores as on 31.03.2017. The port has to pay a penalty of 0.25 percent of penal interest. It has to pay the outstanding principal of Rs 44.69 crore and outstanding interest in one single instalment in the financial year 2018-19. While in respect of Paradip Port Trust, the cabinet has waived of penal interest amounting to Rs 1076.59 crore as on 31.03.2017. Paradip Port Trust has to start the repayment of outstanding principal of Rs 387.74 and it should be completed in two instalments in 2018-19 and 2019-20.
5. Restructuring of a balance sheet of Scooters India Limited, Lucknow: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved a proposal on the restructuring of the balance sheet of Lucknow’s Scooters India Limited (SIL). With this approval, the balance sheets of SIL from 2012-13 will be regularised. The move is likely to clear a hurdle in the process of disinvestment of the firm.
6. USOF scheme for the provision of mobile services in Meghalaya: The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal of Implementation of a Comprehensive Telecom Development Plan (CTDP) for the North Eastern Region(NER) in Meghalaya. The project is estimated to cost Rs 3,911 crore. The move is expected to benefit the people of Meghalaya at large. The proposal will provide 2G+4G mobile coverage in identified uncovered areas of the state.