From giving its approval for introduction of Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill to clearing 9 projects of more than Rs 24,374 crore in 9 states for expansion of railways, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday approved several decisions. We take a look at some decisions that the Cabinet took:
1) Draft bill on surrogacy cleared: A draft bill which aims to regulate surrogacy and safeguard surrogate mothers was cleared today. According to the Health Ministry proposal, the draft Surrogacy Bill, 2016 looks to regulate commissioning surrogacy in India and also make parentage of such children legal. A Group of Ministers (GoM) which was constituted at the behest of PMO, and comprising of Health Minister J P Nadda, Food Processing Industries Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, had cleared the draft earlier.
2) Giving a big push to rail infrastructure, government today approved a line expansion programme to the tune of about Rs 21,000 crores to facilitate smooth movement of freight and passenger trains in 11 states. The Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave the green signal to create a capacity to carry 1.5 billion tonnes of goods by 2020.
- CCEA approved construction of second line between New Bongaigaon and Kamakhya of Northeast Frontier Railway in Assam
- Third line between Kharagpur (Nimpura) and Adityapur in West Singhburn districts of Jharkhand approved
- Third line between Rajnandgaon-Nagpur in Chhattisgarh to Gondia, Bhandara & Nagpur districts in Maharashtra cleared
- CCEA approved construction of third line between Mathura and Jhansi
- CCEA approved construction of third line between Jhansi and Bina
- Construction of third line between Itarsi and Nagpur cleared
- CCEA cleared construction of third line between Ballarshah and Kazipet
- CCEA approved construction of third line between Vijaywada Junction and Gudur Junction
- Construction of fourth line between Jharsuguda and Bilaspur cleared
Third line/Fourth line projects approved today are on North South and East West corridors on Golden quadrangle which is fully saturated. These lines play an important role in transportation of freight and passenger traffic from Eastern and Southern regions to Northern and Western regions and vice versa. The projects would benefit Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Assam.
3) The Cabinet also gave its approval to enhance the grant of compensation to the civilian victims under the scheme titled “Central Scheme for Assistance to Civilian Victims of Terrorist/ Communal/Left Wing Extremist (LWE), Cross Border Firing and Mine/IED blasts on Indian Territory” from Rs 3 lakhs to Rs 5 lakhs. The highlights of the scheme are as follows:
- For the first time, civilian victims of cross border firing along the Indo-Pak border will be given a compensation of Rs 5 lakh similar to those who die due to terrorism or LWE violence.
- The decision to give compensation to the victims of cross border firing and enhancing the amount from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 5 lakh to the victims of terrorism or LWE violence was taken by the Government on Wednesday.
- Now onwards, any civilian who dies anywhere in the country due to terror attack, LWE violence, firing from across the border, shelling or IED explosion will be given Rs 5 iakh as compensation uniformly. The amount will be given to the next of kin of the victim.
- Rs 5 lakh will also be given to those who receive 50 per cent or more disability or incapacitation due to the same reasons.
- The compensation amount will be given subject to the condition that no employment has been provided to any of the family members of the victims by State or Central Government.
4) Leasing out of AAI land of 4050 square metres to AIDC for setting up of Centre for Perishable Cargo at LGBI Airport (Guwahati) was also cleared by the Cabinet.
5) Cabinet approved Agreement and Protocol between India & Cyprus for Avoidance of Double Taxation & Prevention of Fiscal Evasion.
6) Signing of new Air Services Agreement between India and Fiji was also approved. The essential features of the Air Services Agreement are as follows:
- Both countries shall be entitled to designate one or more airline.
- The designated airlines of either country shall have the right to establish offices in the territory of the other country for the promotion and sale of air services.
- The designated airlines of the two countries shall have fair and equal opportunity to operate the agreed services on specified routes. The routes and frequencies shall be decided subsequently.
- The designated airline will be free to decide tariffs in respect of the agreed services at reasonable levels based on the commercial considerations.
- The designated Airline of each party can enter into cooperative marketing arrangements with the designated carriers of same party and other party.
- Apart from the above, the ASA also has the provisions relating to Revocation or Suspension of Operating Authorization, Principles governing operations of agreed services, commercial opportunities, safety related clause etc. that were incorporated in the line of Indian model ASA.
- The existing Route Schedule annex to the ASA has also been revised and new points of call have been added for enhanced connectivity. Now Indian carriers can operate to any points in Fiji from points in India whereas the carriers of Fiji can establish direct operation to Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai in India and by code share with Indian carriers to Bangalore, Kolkata, Hyderabad apart from points given for direct operation. Besides this, Kochi, Varanasi, Ahmedabad and Amritsar may be served through domestic code share operations.
7) Cadre restructuring of Indian Information Service Group A was cleared. Restructuring will involve addition of 2 posts at apex level, 5 at HAG, and 19 posts in SAG.
8) Cabinet apprised of the signing of MoU to establish cooperation between India and SouthAfrica in Grassroots Innovation. The MoU was signed on July 07, 2016 at Pretoria in pursuance to the Inter-Government Agreement between two countries for cooperation in Science & Technology. Under this MoU, both countries will jointly organise various programmes such as forums, seminars, workshops, and training on matters related to innovation; share open source technologies with each other and jointly develop projects (and including partnering with relevant industries in the respective countries) to assist innovators in converting their ideas into commercially viable innovations leading to joint technology development and transfer of technology for Societal benefit.
9) CCEA also gave its approval for waiver of penal interest on GOI loans availed by Cochin Port Trust of Rs 897 crore.