New Delhi: The union cabinet of India in a meeting on Thursday took up major decisions, which can be seen as a move to woo voters, before the reigning National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government goes out. The initiave taken by the Modi government can also be seen as an initiative, which terms India as ‘Naya Bharat’ (New India), and a developing country, which would someday leave the leading economies like the United States, Germany, France, and other countries behind.
The cabinet approved several major projects before the general election takes place between April and May 2019.
Here are some of the projects that the government had approved:-
Cabinet approves three corridors of Delhi Metro Phase IV
The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved three out of six corridors of the Delhi Metro's proposed Phase IV, Finance Minister Arun Jaitely said.
According to the government, corridors of Mukundpur-Maujpur, RK Ashram-Janakpuri West and Aero City-Tughlakabad have been approved by the Cabinet. There will be 17 underground and 29 elevated stations in the three corridors whose total length will be 61.679 km.
Cabinet clears ordinance on reservation roster for faculty positions in varsities
The Cabinet on Thursday cleared an ordinance on reservation mechanism for appointment of faculties in universities, Union minister Arun Jaitley said.
Earlier this week, Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar said the Centre was committed to restoring the reservation roster in educational institutions following a series of protests over the issue by various students' and teachers' organisations. They had been urging the government to bring an ordinance to restore the 200-point roster taking college or university as a unit for reservation in teaching posts.
The University Grants Commission had announced in March last year that an individual department should be considered as the base unit to calculate the number of teaching posts to be reserved for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes candidates, following an order by the Allahabad High Court in April 2017.
The Supreme Court had last month dismissed a review petition filed by the HRD Ministry after its special leave petition against the court order was rejected by the apex court. Javadekar had said in the Lok Sabha on February 11 that the government can "bring an ordinance if its review petition filed in the top court is rejected".
Green Signal to GoM related to stressed projects
The Union Cabinet on Thursday also gave green signal to recommendations of a group of ministers (GoM) relating to stressed power projects including grant of coal linkage for short-term power purchase agreements (PPAs).
The decision was taken by Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA). Briefing reporters, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the recommendations approved include grant of coal linkage for short-term PPAs, allowing existing coal linkage to be used in case of termination of PPAs due to payment default by distribution companies and procurement of bulk power by a modal agency against pre-declared linkages. Central/state generation companies may act as aggregator of power.
Cabinet permits Alternative Mechanism to decide on price, timing of CPSE strategic sale
To fast-track strategic sale of CPSEs, the Cabinet Thursday allowed Alternative Mechanism to decide on the timing, price and quantum of shares of a state-run company to be put on the block for outright sale.
"The CCEA (Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs) has approved delegation of the following Alternative Mechanism in all the cases of strategic disinvestment of CPSEs where CCEA has given 'in principle' approval for strategic disinvestment," an official statement said.
The Alternative Mechanism (AM) on strategic disinvestment consists of the Finance Minister, Minister for Road Transport and Highways and minister representing respective administrative department, to decide on the matters relating to terms and conditions of the sale.
The CCEA, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Thursday decided to allow the Alternative Mechanism to decide on the quantum of shares to be transacted, mode of sale and final pricing of the transaction or lay down the principles/guidelines for such pricing, and the selection of strategic partner/buyer, terms and condtions of sale.
The AM will also decide on the proposals of the Core Group of Secretaries on Disinvestment with regard to the timing, price, the terms and conditions of sale and any other related issue to the transaction.
"This will facilitate quick decision-making and obviate the need for multiple instances of approval by CCEA for the same CPSE," the statement said.
The government on Thursday approved a proposal for state-run hydro power giant NHPC to take over debt-laden Lanco's 500 MW Teesta hydro-electric power project in Sikkim.
Cabinet clears third railway line for busy section between Bengal and Odisha
"Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) gives approval for the investment sanction for acquisition of LancoTeesta Hydro Power Ltd (LTHPL) and execution of balance work of the Teesta Stage-Vl Hydro Electric Project by the NHPC Ltd in Sikkim," according to an official statement.
Earlier, briefing reporters on the decision taken by the Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that NHPC has also been allowed to spend Rs 574.04 crore to complete the balance work at the project. The project would be implemented with an estimated cost of Rs 5,748.04 crore (at July 2018 price level).
The project would generate 2,400 million units of power in 90 per cent dependable year with installed capacity of 500 MW (125 MWX4). Teesta Stage-VI hydro-electric project is a run of river (RoR) scheme in Sirwani Village of Sikkim to utilise the power potential of Teesta river basin in cascade manner. The project shall help in meeting peaking demand of energy, balancing and ramping requirement of the grid.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the construction of a third railway line between Narayangarh in West Bengal and Bhadrak in Odisha. Addressing the media, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the new 155-km railway line will ease congestion on the route.
"The third line will help generate additional optimum capacity to cope with the existing as well as additional traffic," he said.
According to government estimates, the project would cost Rs 1,866.31 crore and would be completed by 2023-24. It is expected to generate direct employment for around 37.2 lakh man days.
CCEA accepts Rs 2,790 cr interest subvention on loans to sugar mills
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on Thursday approved Rs 2,790 crore interest subvention for extending loans by banks to sugar mills, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.
This is in addition to Rs 1,332 crore already approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) in June 2018. The interest subvention is for extending loans of Rs 12,900 crore by banks to sugar mills under the scheme for extending financial assistance to sugar mills for enhancement and augmentation of ethanol production capacity, he said.
Cabinet sanctions Rs 4,500 cr to revive 'un-served, under-served' airports
In a bid to boost regional air connectivity, the Cabinet on Thursday approved a proposal to "revive and develop" a number of "un-served and under-served airports" across the country at a cost of Rs 4,500 crore.
"Cabinet approves revival and development of un-served and under-served air strips of state governments, Airports Authority of India (AAI), civil enclaves, Central Public Sector Units (CPSU), helipads and water aerodromes," a government statement read.
According to the statement, the government would spend Rs 4,500 crore on the entire exercise.
"As an outcome, small cities/towns shall be connected on commencement of operation of flights to under-served/un-served airports," the statement said.
The government said the move will further boost economic development in these cities or towns as well as surrounding areas in terms of job creation and related infrastructure development.
The regional connectivity scheme UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) seeks to connect unserved and under-served airports as well as make flying affordable. The revival of airports under UDAN is demand driven, depending on firm commitment from airlines and state governments for providing various concessions.
"Under UDAN phase 1 and phase 2, 56 unserved airports are to be operationalised. Out of these 56 airports, 23 airports have been operationalised. Under UDAN 3, routes connecting 13 unique unserved airports have been awarded on January 25, 2019," Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha had told the Rajya Sabha on February 13.