Decisions taken by the Union Cabinet

 

Cabinet approves Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification 2018

The Union Cabinet chaired by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 2018 which was last reviewed and issued in 2011, with periodic amendments to some clauses. The move comes in the backdrop of a series of representations received by the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change from various Coastal States/UTs, besides other stakeholders, for a comprehensive review of the provisions of the CRZ Notification, 2011, particularly related to the management and conservation of marine and coastal eco-systems, development in coastal areas, eco-tourism, livelihood option and sustainable development of coastal communities etc.

Benefits

The proposed CRZ Notification, 2018 will lead to enhanced activities in the coastal regions thereby promoting economic growth while also respecting the conservation principles of coastal regions. It will not only result in significant employment generation but also to better life and add value to the economy of India. The new notification is expected to rejuvenate the coastal areas while reducing their vulnerabilities.

Salient Features:

o Allowing FSI as per current norms in CRZ areas: As per CRZ, 2011 Notification, for CRZ-II (Urban) areas, Floor Space Index (FSI) or the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) had been frozen as per 1991 Development Control Regulation (DCR) levels. In the CRZ, 2018 Notification, it has been decided to de-freeze the same and permit FSI for construction projects, as prevailing on the date of the new Notification. This will enable redevelopment of these areas to meet the emerging needs.

o Densely populated rural areas to be afforded greater opportunity for development: For CRZ-III (Rural) areas, two separate categories have now been stipulated as below:

o CRZ-III A – These are densely populated rural areas with a population density of 2161 per square kilometre as per 2011 Census. Such areas shall have a No Development Zone (NDZ) of 50 meters from the HTL as against 200 meters from the High Tide Line stipulated in the CRZ Notification, 2011 since such areas have similar characteristics as urban areas.

o CRZ-III B – Rural areas with population density of below 2161 per square kilometre as per 2011 Census. Such areas shall continue to have an NDZ of 200 meters from the HTL.

o Tourism infrastructure for basic amenities to be promoted: Temporary tourism facilities such as shacks, toilet blocks, change rooms, drinking water facilities etc. have now been permitted in Beaches. Such temporary tourism facilities are also now permissible in the “No Development Zone” (NDZ) of the CRZ-III areas as per the Notification. However, a minimum distance of 10 m from HTL should be maintained for setting up of such facilities.

o CRZ Clearances streamlined: The procedure for CRZ clearances has been streamlined. Only such projects/activities, which are located in the CRZ-I (Ecologically Sensitive Areas) and CRZ IV (area covered between Low Tide Line and 12 Nautical Miles seaward) shall be dealt with for CRZ clearance by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. The powers for clearances with respect to CRZ-II and III have been delegated at the State level with necessary guidance.

o A No Development Zone (NDZ) of 20 meters has been stipulated for all Islands: For islands close to the main land coast and for all Backwater Islands in the main land, in wake of space limitations and unique geography of such regions, bringing uniformity in treatment of such regions, NDZ of 20 m has been stipulated.

o All Ecologically Sensitive Areas have been accorded special importance: Specific guidelines related to their conservation and management plans have been drawn up as a part of the CRZ Notification.

o Pollution abatement has been accorded special focus: In order to address pollution in Coastal areas treatment facilities have been made permissible activities in CRZ-I B area subject to necessary safeguards.

o Defence and strategic projects have been accorded necessary dispensation.

· Cabinet approves Amendment in the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012

The Union Cabinet chaired by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the proposal for Amendment in the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 to make punishment more stringent for committing sexual crimes against children.

Salient Features:

o The POCSO Act, 2012 was enacted to Protect the Children from Offences of Sexual Assault, Sexual harassment and pornography with due regard for safeguarding the interest and well-being of children. The Act defines a child as any person below eighteen years of age, and regards the best interests and welfare of the child as matter of paramount importance at every stage, to ensure the healthy physical, emotional, intellectual and social development of the child. The act is gender neutral.

o The amendment in Section-4, Section-5, Section-6, Section-9, Section-14, Section-15 and Section-42 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, is made to address the aspects of child sexual abuse in appropriate manner. The modification is made to address the need for stringent measures required to deter the rising trend of child sex abuse in the country.

o To discourage the trend of child sexual abuse by acting as a deterrent Section-4, Section-5 and Section-6 are proposed to be amended to provide option of stringent punishment, including death penalty, for committing aggravated penetrative sexual assault crime on a child to protect the children from sexual abuse.

o The amendments are also proposed in section-9 to protect children from sexual offences in times of natural calamities and disasters and in cases where children are administered, in any way, any hormone or any chemical substance, to attains early sexual maturity for the purpose of penetrative sexual assault.

o Section-14 and Section-15 of the POCSO Act, 2012 are also proposed to be amended to address the menace of the child pornography. It is proposed to levy fine for not destroying/or deleting/ or reporting the pornographic material involving a child. The person can be further penalized with jail term or fine or both for transmitting/propagating/administrating such material in any manner except for the purpose of reporting as may be prescribed and for use as evidence in court. Penal provisions have been made more stringent for storing/possessing any pornographic material in any form involving a child for commercial purpose.

Benefits:

The amendment is expected to discourage the trend of child sexual abuse by acting as a deterrent due to strong penal provisions incorporated in the Act. It may protect the interest of vulnerable children in times of distress and ensures their safety and dignity. The amendment aims to establish clarity regarding the aspects of child abuse and punishment thereof.

· Cabinet approves listing of certain unlisted CPSEs on Stock Exchange

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval to list the following seven Central Public Sector Enterprises(CPSE) on the Stock Exchange through Initial Public Offering (IPO) /Further Public Offer (FPO):

o Telecommunication Consultants (India) Ltd.[TCIL]- IPO

o RailTel Corporation India Ltd. – IPO

o National Seed Corporation India Ltd. (NSC) – IPO

o Tehri Hydro Development Corporation Limited (THDC) – IPO

o Water & Power Consultancy Services (India) Limited [WAPCOS Ltd.] – IPO

o FCI Aravali Gypsum and Minerals (India) Limited [FAGMIL]- IPO

o Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Limited (KIOCL) – FPO

The listing of CPSEs on the exchange shall unlock their value and encourage investor participation in the CPSEs. Further, Alternative Mechanism comprising of the Finance Minister, Minister of Road Transport & Shipping and the Minster of concerned administrative ministry has been empowered to decide on extent, mode of disinvestment, pricing, time etc. of listed CPSEs (including CPSEs to be listed in future).

The scope of eligibility criteria for listing of CPSEs has been expanded. CPSEs with positive net worth and net profit in any of the immediately three preceding financial years shall be eligible for listing on the Stock Exchange.

· Cabinet approves hike in MSP for Copra by more than Rs.2000 per quintal for 2019 season

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for increase in the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for Fair Average Quality (FAQ) of “Milling Copra” has been increased to Rs.9521/- per quintal for 2019 season from Rs. 7511/-per quintal in 2018 and the MSP of “Ball Copra” has been increased to Rs.9920/- per quintal for 2019 season from Rs. 7750/- per quintal in 2018.

The MSP of Copra is expected to ensure appropriate minimum prices to the farmers and step up investment in Coconut cultivation and thereby production and productivity in the country.

The approval is based on recommendations of Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP). CACP, an expert body, which takes into account the cost of production, trends in the domestic and international prices of edible oils, overall demand and supply of copra and coconut oil, cost of processing of copra into coconut oil and the likely impact of the recommended MSPs on consumers, while recommending the MSPs.

The National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited (NAFED) and National Cooperative Consumer Federation of India Limited (NCCF) would continue to act as Central Nodal Agencies to undertake price support operations at the Minimum Support Prices in the Coconut growing states.

· Cabinet approves Submission of India’s Second Biennial Update Report (BUR) to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

The Union Cabinet chaired by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved Submission of India’s second Biennial Update Report (BUR) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change towards fulfilment of the reporting obligation under the Convention.

Salient Features:

o The scope of BUR is to provide an update to India’s first BUR to UNFCCC. The BUR contains five major components — National Circumstances; National Greenhouse Gas Inventory; Mitigation Actions; Finance, Technology and Capacity Building Needs and Support Received and Domestic Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) arrangements.

o BUR has been prepared based on a range of studies conducted at the national level.

o The BUR has undergone multitier review process, through peer review, review by Technical Advisory Committee of Experts chaired by Additional Secretary (Climate Change) and by National Steering Committee chaired by Secretary (EF&CC). The National Steering Committee is an inter-ministerial body comprising NITI Aayog, Agricultural Research and Education, Agriculture Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, Economic Affairs, External Affairs, New and Renewable Energy, Science & Technology, Coal, Power, Railway Board, Road Transport & Highways, Shipping, Petroleum & Natural Gas, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Health & Family Welfare, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Rural Development, Housing and Urban Affairs, Industrial Policy & Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Steel, Civil Aviation, Statistics and Programme Implementation and India Meteorological Department. The BUR has been finalized after addressing all the relevant comments and modifications as per the multi-tier review process.

· Cabinet approves setting up of the National Commission for Homoeopathy (NCH) Bill, 2018

The Union Cabinet chaired by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the draft National Commission for Homoeopathy, Bill, 2018, which seeks to replace the existing regulator Central Council for Homoeopathy (CCH) with a new body to ensure transparency.

The draft bill provides for the constitution of a National Commission with three autonomous boards entrusted with conducting overall education of Homoeopathy by Homoeopathy Education Board. The Board of assessment and rating to assess and grant permission to educational institutions of Homoeopathy and Board of ethics and registration of practitioners of Homoeopathy to maintain National Register and ethical issues relating to practice are under the National Commission for Homoeopathy.

It also proposes a common entrance exam and an exit exam which all graduates will have to clear to get practicing licenses. Further, a teacher’s eligibility test has been proposed to assess the standard of teachers before appointment and promotions.

It further aims at bringing reforms in the medical education of Homoeopathy in lines with the National Medical Commission proposed for setting up for Allopathy system of medicine. The CCH had been earlier superseded by Board of Governors through an Ordinance and subsequent amendment of Act.

· Cabinet apprised of two Bilateral MoUs between India and Cuba, and India and Korea in the area of Biotechnology

The Union Cabinet chaired by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been apprised of two Bilateral Memorandums of Understanding signed between India and Cuba, and India and Korea in the area of Biotechnology. The MoUs were signed on 22nd June 2018 at Havana, Cuba and on 9th July 2018 at New Delhi, respectively. The MoUs signed with Cuba and Korea respectively, are in the agreed areas of collaboration and objectives in the field of Science & Technology, wherever the expertise in these areas exist in the country.

Major impact

The MoUs have been signed to strengthen the Indo-Cuba and Indo-Republic of Korea bilateral ties, to work out the future agenda for the collaboration for Innovation in S&T Diplomacy to evolve a concrete strategic plan in the area of biotechnology education, training and research. The proposal has the potential towards employment generation for more than 50 postgraduates and Ph.Ds in biological sciences and related areas for a period of upto five years.

Background:

Indo-Cuba Collaboration

India and Cuba signed a bilateral MoU to deepen collaboration on biotechnology on 22nd June 2018 during the visit of Hon’ble President of India to Havana, Cuba. The Ministry of Science and Technology of the Republic of India and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment of the Republic of Cuba, have signed the MoU on 22nd June,2018 at Havana.

India-Republic of Korea Collaboration

India and Korea have signed an MoU in the area of Biotechnology and Bio-economy. The MoU aims to broaden and deepen cooperation between the two countries in Science & Technology, in the fields of Biotechnology and encouraging industrial R&D and related bilateral investment flows.

· Cabinet approves setting up of the National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Bill, 2018

The Cabinet approved the draft National Commission for Indian Systems of Medicine (NCIM) Bill, 2018, which seeks to replace the existing regulator Central Council for Indian Medicine (CCIM) with a new body to ensure transparency.

Salient features:

The draft bill provides for the constitution of a National Commission with four autonomous boards entrusted with conducting overall education of Ayurveda, under Board of Ayurveda and Unani, Siddha &Sowarigpa under Board of Unaini, Siddha and Sowarigpa. There are two common Boards namely, Board of assessment and rating to assess and grant permission to educational institutions of Indian systems of Medicine and Board of ethics and registration of practitioners of Indian systems of medicine to maintain National Register and ethical issues relating to practice under the National Commission for Indian Medicine.

It also proposes a common entrance exam and an exit exam, which all graduates will have to clear to get practicing licenses. Further, a teacher’s eligibility test has been proposed in the Bill to assess the standard of teachers before appointment and promotions.

The draft bill is aimed at bringing reforms in the medical education of Indian medicine sector in lines with the National Medical Commission proposed for setting up for Allopathy system of medicine.

The proposed regulatory structure will enable transparency and accountability for protecting the interest of the general public. The NCIM will promote availability of affordable healthcare services in all parts of the country.

· Cabinet apprised of Framework Agreement between India and Sao Tome &Principe for Cooperation in the Exploration and Uses of Outer Space for Peaceful Purposes

The Union Cabinet chaired by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been apprised of Framework Agreement between India and Sao Tome & Principe on Cooperation in the Exploration and Uses of Outer Space for Peaceful Purposes. The Framework Agreement was signed in New Delhi, on 7th September 2018.

Major Impact:

The Framework Agreement will provide impetus to explore newer research activities and application possibilities in the field of remote sensing of the earth; satellite communication; satellite navigation; space science and exploration of outer space. It would lead to develop a host of joint activities in the field of application of space technologies for the benefit of humanity. Thus all sections and regions of both the countries are benefited.

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