Cabinet decides to strengthen NE autonomous councils
• The Union Cabinet has approved the landmark amendment to Article 280 of the Constitution to increase powers of Autonomous Councils in Sixth Schedule areas of North East.
• The proposed amendment will give more powers to Autonomous District Councils of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura.
• The state finance commissions will be set up in Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura, Karbi Anglong Autonomous Territorial Council and Dima Hasao Autonomous Territorial Council.
• The finance commission will recommend devolution of financial resources to ten autonomous district councils, and village and municipal councils in sixth schedule areas.
• More funds will be given to local government institutions for development works in these tribal areas. The proposed amendments will have elected village and municipal councils ensuring grass root democracy.
Cabinet approves MoC between India, Japan in the field of food processing
• The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 23, 2019 gave its approval to the Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) signed between India and Japan in the Food Processing sector.
• The bilateral cooperation in the field of food processing between India and Japan will be mutually beneficial to the food processing sectors of both countries.
• It will promote understanding of best practices in food processing in the two countries and will help in improving the food processing sector as well as improved market access, leading to equity and inclusiveness.
• The agreement will also lead to the betterment of the food processing sector in the country by introducing innovative techniques and processes. It will also help in increasing food processing in the country by getting access to best practices and better markets.
Cabinet approves MoU between India, Kuwait on recruitment of domestic workers
• The Union Cabinet has approved the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Kuwait for cooperation on the recruitment of Domestic Workers.
• The MOU provides a structured framework for cooperation on domestic workers related matters and provides strengthened safeguards for Indian domestic workers including female workers deployed in Kuwait.
• The MOU is initially valid for a period of five years and incorporates provision for automatic renewal. It will promote bilateral cooperation in domestic workers related matters between the two countries.
• The Government would be setting up a joint committee to follow up on the implementation of this MOU.
• Around 3,00,000 Indian domestic workers are deployed in Kuwait. The number includes around 90,000 female domestic workers.
Cabinet approves amendment to framework on Currency Swap Arrangement for SAARC nations
• The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval for amendment to the ‘Framework on Currency Swap Arrangement for SAARC Member Countries’ to incorporate a ‘Standby Swap’ amounting to USD 400 million operated within the overall size of the facility of USD 2 billion and build in flexibility with respect to modalities of its operation, such as period of swap and roll over.
• Due to heightened financial risk and volatility in the global economy, short term swap requirements of SAARC countries could be higher than the agreed lines.
• The incorporation of ‘Standby Swap’ within the approved SAARC Swap Framework would provide the necessary flexibility to the framework and would enable India to provide a prompt response to the current request from SAARC member countries for availing the swap amount exceeding the present limit prescribed under the SAARC Swap Framework.
• The Cabinet had previously approved the Framework on Currency Swap Arrangement for SAARC Member Countries on March 1, 2012 with the intention to provide a line of funding for short term foreign exchange requirements or to meet the balance of payments crises till long-term arrangements are made or the issue is resolved in the short-term itself.
• Under the Facility, RBI offers swaps of varying sizes in USD, Euro or INR to each SAARC member country depending on their two months import requirement and not exceeding US$ 2 billion in total.
Cabinet approves creation of National Bench of the Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT)
• The Union Cabinet has approved the creation of National Bench of the Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT).
• The National Bench of the Appellate Tribunal will be situated at New Delhi. It will be presided over by its President and shall comprise one Technical Member (Centre) and one Technical Member (State).
• The creation of the national bench of the GSTAT would amount to one-time expenditure of Rs 92.50 lakh while the recurring expenditure would be Rs 6.86 crore per annum.
• The Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal is the forum of second appeal in GST laws and the first common forum of dispute resolution between Centre and States.
• Being a common forum, GST Appellate Tribunal will ensure that there is uniformity in redressal of disputes arising under GST, and therefore, in the implementation of GST across the country.
Cabinet approves extension of Delhi Metro corridor from Dilshad Garden to New Bus Adda Ghaziabad
• The Union Cabinet has approved the extension of Delhi Metro corridor from Dilshad Garden to New Bus Adda Ghaziabad. The total distance of the extended line will be 9.41 km.
• The Cabinet also approved contribution of Rs 324.87 crore as central financial assistance for the extension at the total completion cost of Rs 1,781.21 crore.
• The implementation of the project would provide the much needed additional public transport infrastructure to NCR.
• The project is being implemented by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (DMRC), the existing Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) of the Government of India and Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD).
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