Decision taken by the Union Cabinet

Cabinet approves signing of Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement between India and France
 
The Union Cabinet chaired by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the signing of Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement between India and France. The Agreement is expected to be signed during the forthcoming State visit of the French President to India. The Agreement represents a major milestone in enhancing people-to -people contacts, fostering mobility of students, academics, researchers and skilled professionals and strengthening cooperation on issues related to irregular migration and human trafficking between the two sides. The Agreement is a testimony to India’s rapidly expanding multi-faceted relationship with France and symbolizes the increasing trust and confidence between the two sides.The Agreement is initially valid for a period of seven years, incorporates provision for automatic renewal and a monitoring mechanism through a Joint Working Group.
 
Cabinet approves signing of an Agreement between India and France to facilitate “Mutual Recognition of Academic Qualifications”
 
The Union Cabinet chaired by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for signing of an Agreement between India and France to facilitate Mutual Recognition of educational qualifications and periods of study undertaken by students in duly approved, recognized and/or accredited educational Institutions within the two countries. The Agreement is expected to be signed during the forthcoming State visit of the French President to India.
 
The signing of the agreement will help in deepening the educational ties between India and France and will go a long way in boosting the educational relationship between the two countries. The agreement will be instrumental in encouraging mobility of students from both the countries by facilitating possibilities for them to continue their studies in the other country and would also promote excellence in higher education through innovative partnerships/collaborations and research activities which will be leading to the improvement of the quality of education in India.
 
Cabinet approves an MoU between India and Hellenic on Renewable Energy Cooperation
 
The Union Cabinet chaired by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been apprised of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation in the field of Renewable Energy between India and Hellenic. The MoU was signed by the External Affairs Minister, Smt. Sushma Swaraj, Government of India and H.E. Nikos Kotzias, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic during the latter’s visit to New Delhi in November, 2017. Both sides aim to establish the basis for a cooperative institutional relationship to encourage and promote technical bilateral cooperation on new and renewable issues on the basis of mutual benefit equality and reciprocity. The MoU envisages establishing a Joint Working Group to review, monitor and discuss matters relation to areas of cooperation. The MoU aims for exchange of expertise and networking of information.
 
 Cabinet approves an agreement between India and France to prevent illicit consumption and reduction of illicit traffic in Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Chemical Precursors and related offences
The Union Cabinet chaired by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved an Agreement between India and France on the Prevention of the Illicit Consumption and Reduction of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Chemical Precursors, and related offences. The Agreement is aimed at enhancing mutual cooperation between the two countries in the prevention of the illicit consumption of, and reduction of illicit traffic, in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and chemical precursors and related offences through exchange of information, expertise and capacity building. Establishment of effective institutional interaction and curbing transnational narcotics trafficking including disruption of terrorist financing structures is also envisaged through this Agreement.
 
Cabinet approves the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2018
 
The Union Cabinet chaired by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2018 for introduction in the Parliament. It is a part of the efforts of the Government to encourage institutional arbitration for settlement of disputes and make India a centre of robust Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism.
 
Benefits:
 
The Amendments in the Act of 1996 will facilitate achieving the goal of improving institutional arbitration by establishing an independent body to lay down standards, make arbitration process more party friendly, cost effective and ensure timely disposal of arbitration cases.
 
Salient features:
 
i. To facilitate speedy appointment of arbitrators through designated arbitral institutions by the Supreme Court or the High Court, without having any requirement to approach the court in this regard. It is envisaged that parties may directly approach arbitral institutions designated by the Supreme Court for International Commercial arbitration and in other cases the concerned High Courts.
 
ii. The amendment provides for creation of an independent body namely the Arbitration Council of India (ACI) which will grade arbitral institution and accredit arbitrators by laying down norms and take all such steps as may be necessary to promote and encourage arbitration, conciliation, mediation and other ADR Mechanism and for that purpose evolve policy and guidelines for the establishment., operation and maintenance of uniform professional standards in respect of all matters relating to arbitration and ADR mechanism. The Council shall also maintain an electronic depository of all arbitral awards,
 
iii. The ACI shall be a body corporate. The Chairperson of ACI shall be a person who has been a Judge of the Supreme Court or Chief Justice or Judge of any High Court or any eminent person. Further, the other Members would include an eminent academician etc. besides other Government nominees,
 
iv. It is proposed to amend sub section (1) of section 29A by excluding International Arbitration from the bounds of timeline and further to provide that the time limit for arbitral award in other arbitrations shall be within 12 months from the completion of the pleadings of the parties.
 
v. A new section 42A is proposed to be inserted to provide that the arbitrator and the arbitral institutions shall keep confidentiality of all arbitral proceedings except award. Further, a new section 42B protects an Arbitrator from suit or other legal proceedings for any action or omission done in good faith in the course of arbitration proceedings.
 
vi. A new section 87 is proposed to be inserted to clarify that unless parties agree otherwise the Amendment Act 2015 shall not apply to (a) Arbitral proceedings .which have commenced before the commencement of the Amendment Act of 2015 (b) Court proceedings arising out of or in relation to such arbitral proceedings irrespective of whether such court proceedings are commenced prior to or after the commencement of the Amendment Act of 2015 and shall apply only to Arbitral proceedings commenced on or after the commencement of the Amendment Act of 2015 and to court proceedings arising out of or in relation to such Arbitral proceedings.
 
Cabinet approves two percent Dearness Allowance to Central Government employees
 
The Union Cabinet chaired by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to release an additional instalment of Dearness Allowance (DA) to Central Government employees and Dearness Relief (DR) to pensioners w.e.f. 01.01.2018 representing an increase of 2% over the existing rate of 5% of the Basic Pay/Pension, to compensate for price rise. This will benefit about 48.41 lakh Central Government employees and 61.17 lakh pensioners.
 
The combined impact on the exchequer on account of both Dearness Allowance and Dearness Relief would be Rs.6077.72 crore per annum and Rs.7090.68 crore in the financial year 2018-19 (for a period of 14 months from January, 2018 to February, 2019).This increase is in accordance with the accepted formula, which is based on the recommendations of the 7thCentral Pay Commission.
 Cabinet approves Recommendations of Inter-Ministerial Group on Stressed Assets in Telecom Sector
The Union Cabinet chaired by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved two key measures in telecom sector to facilitate investments, consolidation in the sector and enhancing ease of doing business. These include restructuring the deferred payment liabilities of spectrum auction of telecom service providers and revising the limit of the cap for spectrum holding for telecom service providers.
Details:
 
1. Restructuring of Deferred Payment Liabilities of telecom Service providers for spectrum
 
By giving one-time opportunity to opt for higher number of instalment (max. 16 instalment) apart from currently permitted 10 instalments. The increased instalment is based upon the principle that the Net Present Value (NPV) of the Payment Due is protected as per respective notice inviting application for auction of spectrum from 2012. The total amount received will be higher by Rs. 74446.01 crore till 2034-35.
2. Revision of limits of cap for spectrum holding
Based upon the recommendations of TRAI and Telecom Commission, the Cabinet also approved the revision of limits of cap for spectrum holding as follows:-
 
The overall spectrum cap is revised from the current limit of 25% to 35%.
 
The current intra-band cap is removed. Instead, there is a cap of 50% on the combined spectrum holding in the sub-1 GHz bands (700 MHz, 800 MHz and 900 MHz bands).
 
There will be no cap for individual or combined spectrum holding in above 1 GHz band.
 
The revised spectrum caps limits may be revisited after Final Acts of World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) 2019.
 
TRAI had recommended revision in the existing limits of cap for spectrum holding taking into consideration the technological advancement, efficient use of spectrum, measures to facilitate consolidation etc
Impact:
 
With the restructuring of the deferred payment liability, the cash flow for the telecom service providers will increase in the immediate timeframe providing them some relief. Revising the limit for the spectrum cap holding will facilitate consolidation of telecom licensees and may encourage the participation in the future auction.
 Cabinet approves the Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Division of High Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2018
 
 The Union Cabinet chaired by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2018 for introduction in the Parliament.
The Bill seeks to achieve the following objectives:
 
· The Bill brings down the specified value of a commercial dispute to 3 Lakhs from the present one Crore: Therefore, commercial disputes of a reasonable value can be decided by commercial courts. This would bring down the time taken (presently 1445 days) in resolution of commercial disputes of lesser value and thus further improve India’s ranking in the Ease of Doing Business.
 
· The amendment provides for establishment of Commercial Courts at district Judge level for the territories over which respective High Courts have ordinary original civil jurisdiction i.e in the cities of Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and State of Himachal Pradesh. The State Governments, in such territories may by notification specify such pecuniary value of commercial disputes to be adjudicated at the district level, which shall ‘not be less than three lakhs rupees and not more than the pecuniary jurisdiction of the district court. In the jurisdiction of High Courts other than those exercising ordinary original jurisdiction a forum of Appeal in commercial dispute decided by commercial courts below the level of District judge is being provided, in the form of Commercial Appellate Courts to be at district judge level.
 
· The introduction of the Pre-Institution Mediation process in cases where no urgent, interim relief is contemplated will provide an opportunity to the parties to resolve the commercial disputes outside the ambit of the courts through the authorities constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987.will also help in reinforcing investor’s confidence in the resolution of commercial disputes.
 
· Insertion of new section of 21A which enables the Central Government to make rules and procedures for PIM.
 
· To give prospective effect to the amendment so as not to disturb the authority of the judicial forum presently adjudicating the commercial disputes as per the extant provisions of the Act.
 
 Cabinet approves continuation of Swatantra Sainik Samman Yojana (SSSY) during 2017-2020
The Union Cabinet chaired by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the continuation of Swatantra Sainik Samman Yojana (SSSY) during 2017-2020 beyond the 12th Five Year Plan whichended on 31/03/2017. The approval provides for a monthly Samman Pension to freedom fighters, as a token of respect for their contribution in the national freedom struggle and on their demise, to their eligible dependents viz. spouses and thereafter, unmarried and unemployed daughters and dependent parents, as per prescribed eligibility norms and procedure.
 
 Cabinet approves a Memorandum of Cooperation between India and France in the field of environment
 
 The Union Cabinet chaired by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation between India and France in the field of environment. The Memorandum of Cooperation will enable establishment and promotion of closer and long-term cooperation between the countries in the field of environment protection and management of natural resources on the basis of equity, reciprocity and mutual benefits, taking into account the applicable laws and legal provisions in each country. The Memorandum of Cooperation is expected to bring in the latest technologies and best practices suited to bringing about better environment protection, better conservation, better management of climate change and wildlife protection/conservation.
 
 Cabinet approves MoU between UPSC and Public Service Commission of Mauritius
The Union Cabinet chaired by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and Public Service Commission of Mauritius. The MoU will strengthen the existing relationship between UPSC and Public Service Commission of Mauritius. It will facilitate sharing of experience and expertise of both the parties in the area of recruitment. The MoU will develop institutionalized linkage between the Public Service Commissions of two countries. It defines the scope of cooperation between the PSC, Mauritius and the UPSC and sets out the areas of cooperation and obligations of the Parties. The areas of co-operation include the following-
i. exchange of experience on modern approach to public service recruitment and selection, particularly the functions of the UPSC and the PSC;
 
ii. exchange of information and expertise including books, manuals and other documents which are not of a confidential nature;
 
iii. sharing of expertise in the use of Information Technology (IT) in the preparation of written examinations and holding of Computer Based Recruitment Tests and Online Examinations;
 
iv. sharing of experience in Single Window System for expeditious scrutiny and speedy disposal of applications;
 
v. sharing of experience and expertise on the various processes involved in the examination system which are routine in nature;
 
vi. organizing training sessions for officials, including through short attachments to the Parties secretariat/headquarters on air matters concerned by the respective mandate of the Parties.
 
(vii) sharing of experience on the modalities adopted on audit of processes and procedures followed by various Government Agencies in recruitment of posts under the delegated powers.
 Cabinet approves the proposals for promulgation of the Daman and Diu Municipalities (Amendment) Regulation, 2018
The Union Cabinet chaired by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the proposal for promulgation of:
 
 (i) the Daman and Diu Municipalities (Amendment) Regulation, 2018;
 
(ii) the Dadra and Nagar Haveli Municipal Council (Amendment) Regulation, 2018; and
 
(iii) the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Municipal) Amendment Regulation 2018
 Impact:
It will help ensure better provisions for the constitution, administration and powers of the Municipalities in the Union Territories of Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
 
Details:
 
a. Provisions relating to anti-defection, constructive no confidence motion, establishment of ombudsman etc. will be inserted in “the Daman and Diu Municipalities Regulation, 1968”, “the Dadra and Nagar Haveli Municipal Council Regulation, 2004” and “the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Municipal) Regulation, 1994, respectively.
The regulations also include other amendments like (i)replacement of term ‘servant’ by ’employee’ to remove colonial connotation, (ii) provisions for voting through Electronic Voting Machines, (iii) making CCS(CCA) Rules, 1965 applicable to penalty proceedings and (iv) revision in the amount of fines which were fixed many years back.
 
 Cabinet approves promotion of agricultural mechanisation for in-situ management of crop residue in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi
 
 The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for promotion of Agricultural Mechanization for in-situ Management of Crop Residue in the States of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi. The total outgo from the Central funds would be Rs. 1151.80 crore (Rs. 591.65 crore in 2018-19 and Rs. 560.15 crore in 2019-20).
 
 Components of the Scheme
 
Establish Farm Machinery Banks for Custom Hiring of in -situ crop residue management machinery. Financial assistance @80% of the project cost will be provided to the cooperative societies of the farmers, FPOs, Self Help Groups, Registered Farmers Societies/ Farmers Group, Private Entrepreneurs, Group of Women Farmers.
 Financial Assistance to the farmers for Procurement of Agriculture Machinery and Equipment for in -situ crop residue management. Financial assistance @50% of the machinery/ equipment will be provided to individual farmer for crop residue management.
 Information, Education and Communication for awareness on in-situ crop residue management. Financial assistance will be provided to the State Government/ KVKs, ICAR Institutes, Central Government Institutes, PSUs, etc. for the activities to be undertaken towards information, education and communication. The activities will involve mass awareness campaigns through short and long films, documents, radio and TV programmes, demonstration camps at various levels, capacity building programme, advertisement in print media, star campaigning, award for Village/ Gram Panchayat for achieving Zero Straw Burning, panel discussions on Doordarshan, DD Kisan and other private channels, etc.
 Beneficiaries
 
Respective State Governments through District Level Executive Committee (DLEC) will identify various beneficiaries and location – specific agricultural equipment depending on the farming system and will identify and select beneficiaries for establishment of Farm Machinery Bank for Custom Hiring and procurement of machines on individual ownership basis to avail the benefit in transparent and time bound manner.
The State Nodal Department / DLEC may tie up with the Banks for credit requirements of the beneficiaries. Name and details of selected beneficiaries will be documented at district level indicating Aadhar/UID numbers and the financial assistance will be paid through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT).
Implementing Agencies
 
i. At the Central level the scheme will be administered by Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare.
 
A National Steering Committee headed by Secretary, DAC&FW will formulate the policy and give overall directions and guidance to the implementation of the scheme by the State Government and will monitor and review its progress and performance.
Executive Committee chaired by Additional Secretary will oversee the activities of the scheme.
At the State level the nodal implementing agency will be the Department of Agriculture of the concerned State Government. State Level Executive Committee (SLEC) chaired by Principle Secretary (Agriculture)/ Agriculture Production Commissioner shall oversee the implementation of the scheme in their State through regular meeting and will provide inputs to Executive Committee for appropriate policy formulation. The SLEC shall ensure that no crop residue burning takes place in the farmer field.
The District Level Executive Committee shall be responsible for carrying forward the objectives of the scheme for project formulation, implementation and monitoring in the districts and will constitute Surveillance Committees involving farmers group / progressive farmers to mobilize farmers for not burning the crop residue and will also ensure active participation of Panchayati Raj Institutions.
The DAC&FW will empanel the manufacturer of machines and equipment, identified for in-situ management of crop residue alongwith their costs.

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