Cabinet approves Mechanism for procurement of ethanol by Public Sector Oil Marketing Companies under Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme –
New Delhi. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the following, including fixing higher ethanol price derived from different sugarcane based raw materials under the Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme for the forthcoming sugar season 2020-21 during Ethanol Supply Year (ESY) 2020-21 from 1st December 2020 to 30th November 2021:
(i) The price of ethanol from C heavy molasses route be increased from Rs.43.75 per lit to Rs.45.69 per litre,
(ii) The price of ethanol from B heavy molasses route be increased from Rs.54.27 per lit to Rs.57.61 per litre,
(iii) The price of ethanol from sugarcane juice / sugar / sugar syrup route be increased from Rs.59.48 per lit to Rs.62.65 per litre,
(iv) Additionally, GST and transportation charges will also be payable. OMCs have been advised to fix realistic transportation charges so that long distance transportation of ethanol is not disincentivised,
(v) In order to offer fair opportunity to the localized industry within the State and reduce crisscross movement of ethanol, Oil Marketing Companies(OMCs) shall decide the criteria for priority of ethanol from various sources taking in account various factors like cost of transportation, availability, etc. This priority will limit to the excisable boundaries of the State / UT for production in that State / UT. Same order of preference will be given thereafter for import of ethanol from other States wherever required.
All distilleries will be able to take benefit of the scheme and large number of them are expected to supply ethanol for the EBP programme. Remunerative price to ethanol suppliers will help in reduction of cane farmer’s arrears, in the process contributing to minimizing difficulty of sugarcane farmers.
Government has been implementing Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme wherein OMCs sell petrol blended with ethanol up to 10%. This programme has been extended to whole of India except Union Territories of Andaman Nicobar and Lakshadweep islands with effect from 01st April, 2019 to promote the use of alternative and environment friendly fuels. This intervention also seeks to reduce import dependence for energy requirements and give boost to agriculture sector.
Government has notified administered price of ethanol since 2014. For the first time during 2018, differential price of ethanol based on raw material utilized for ethanol production was announced by the Government. These decisions have significantly improved the supply of ethanol thereby ethanol procurement by Public Sector OMCs has increased from 38 crore litre in Ethanol Supply Year (ESY) 2013-14 to contracted over 195 crore litre in ESY 2019-20.
With a view to provide long term perspective to the stake holders, MoP&NG has published “Ethanol Procurement Policy on a long term basis under EBP Programme”. In line with this, OMCs have already completed the one time registration of ethanol suppliers. OMCs have further reduced the Security Deposit amount from 5% to 1% extending a benefit of around Rs. 400 Cr. to ethanol suppliers. OMCs have also reduced the applicable penalty on non-supplied quantity from earlier 5% to 1% extending a benefit of around Rs.35 Cr. to suppliers. All these would facilitate ease of doing business and achieve the objectives of Atmanirbhar Bharat initiatives.
Consistent surplus of sugar production is depressing sugar price. Consequently, sugarcane farmer’s dues have increased due to lower capability of sugar industry to pay the farmers. Government has taken many decisions for reduction of cane farmer’s dues.
With a view to limit sugar production in the Country and to increase domestic production of ethanol, Government has taken multiple steps including, allowing diversion of B heavy molasses, sugarcane juice, sugar and sugar syrup for ethanol production. As the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) of sugarcane and ex-mill price of sugar have undergone changes, there is a need to revise the ex-mill price of ethanol derived from different sugarcane based raw materials.
Cabinet approves Memorandum of Cooperation between India and Japan on cooperation in the field of Information and Communication Technologies
The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for signing Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) between India and Japan on bilateral cooperation in the field of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).
The MoC will contribute in strengthening bilateral cooperation and mutual understanding in the field of communications and will serve as a strategic initiative for India as Japan is an important partner with “Special Strategic and Global Partnership” status.
The MoC will help in cooperation between two countries in various fields like 5G network, telecom security, Submarine cable, standard certification of communication equipment, utilization of latest Wireless Technologies and ICTs, ICTs capacity building, Public Protection and Disaster Relief, Artificial Intelligence (AI) / Block Chain, Spectrum Chain, Spectrum Management, Cooperation on Multilateral platforms etc.
The MoC will further enhance opportunities for India to get into global standardization process. Cooperation in ICTs technologies will help in strengthening ICTs infrastructure in the country. Cooperation in the development of future submarine cable networks and technologies will help in boosting connectivity of mainland India to remote areas. The MoC aims to promote human capacity building in field of ICTs and further development of startup ecosystem which will contribute in realizing the objectives of Atmanirbhar Bharat.
Cabinet approves the Memorandum of Understanding between India and Cambodia on cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has approved the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Cambodia on cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine.
The bilateral MoU will encourage cooperation between the two countries through joint initiatives and technology development n the health sector. It will strengthen bilateral ties between India and Cambodia. The MoU shall become effective on the date of its signature and shall remain in force for a period of five years.
The main areas of cooperation between the two Governments include:
- Mother and child health;
- Family Planning;
- HIV/AIDS and TB;
- Drugs and Pharmaceuticals;
- Technology Transfer;
- Public Health and Epidemiology;
- Disease Control (Communicable and Non-Communicable);
- Medical Research and Development, subject to the approval of the National Ethic Committee of Cambodia and to the clearance by concerned Department/Ministry in India;
- Medical Education;
- Health manpower development in the field of public health;
- Training in clinical, para-clinical and management skills; and
- Any other area of cooperation as may be mutually decided upon.
Cabinet approves Extension of Norms for Mandatory Packaging in Jute Materials
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved that 100% of the foodgrains and 20% of the sugar shall be mandatorily packed in diversified jute bags.
The decision to pack sugar in diversified jute bags will give an impetus to the diversification of the jute industry. Further, the decision also mandates that initially 10% of the indents of jute bags for packing foodgrains would be placed through reverse auction on the Gem portal. This will gradually usher in a regime of price discovery. The Government has expanded the scope of mandatory packaging norms under the Jute Packaging Material (JPM) Act, 1987.
In case of any shortage or disruption in supply of jute packaging material or in other contingency/exigency, the Ministry of Textiles may, in consultation with the user Ministries concerned, relax these provisions further, up to a maximum of 30% of the production of foodgrains over and above the provisions.
Considering that nearly 3.7 lakh workers and several lakh farm families are dependent for their livelihood on the jute sectors, the government has been making concerted efforts for the development of jute sector; increasing the quality and productivity of raw jute, diversification of jute sector and also boosting and sustaining demand for jute products.
The approval will benefit farmers and workers located in the Eastern and North Eastern regions of the country particularly in the states of West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Meghalaya and Tripura.
Under the Jute Packaging Materials (Compulsory use in Packing Commodities) Act, 1987 (hereinafter “the JPM Act”), the Government is required to consider and provide for the compulsory use of jute packaging material in the supply and distribution of certain commodities in the interest of production of raw jute and jute packaging material and of persons engaged in the production thereof. Therefore, the reservation norms in present proposal would further the interest of domestic production of raw jute and jute packaging material in India, thereby, making India self-reliant in consonance with Aatma Nirbhar Bharat.
The jute industry is predominantly dependent on Government sector which purchases jute bags of value of more than Rs. 7,500 crore every year for packing foodgrains. This is done in order to sustain the core demand for the jute sector and to support the livelihood of the workers and farmers dependent on the sector.
Other Support provided to the Jute Sector:
In order to improve the productivity and quality of raw jute through a carefully designed intervention, called the Jute ICARE, the Government has been supporting close to approx. two lakh jute farmers by disseminating improved agronomic practices such as line sowing using seed drills, weed management by using wheel-hoeing and nail-weeders, distribution of quality certified seeds and also providing microbial assisted retting. These interventions have resulted in enhancing the quality and productivity of raw jute and increasing income of jute farmers by Rs. 10,000 per hectare.
Recently, the Jute Corporation of India has entered into MoU with National Seeds Corporation for distribution of 10,000 quintals of certified seeds on commercial basis also. The intervention of Technology up-gradation and distribution of certified seeds would increase the productivity and quality of jute crops and also increase the income of the farmers.
With a view to support diversification of jute sector, the National Jute Board has collaborated with National Institute of Design and a Jute Design Cell has been opened at Gandhinagar. Further, promotion of Jute Geo Textiles and Agro-Textiles has been taken up with the State Governments particularly those in the North Eastern region and also with departments such as Ministry of Road Transport and Ministry of Water Resources.
With a view to boost demand in the jute sector, Government of India has imposed Definitive Anti-Dumping Duty on import of jute goods from Bangladesh and Nepal with effect from 5th January, 2017.
With a view to promoting transparency in jute sector, Jute SMART, an e-govt initiative was launched in December, 2016, providing an integrated platform for procurement of B-Twill sacking by Government agencies. Further, the JCI is transferring 100% funds to jute farmers online for jute procurement under MSP and commercial operations.
Union Cabinet approves nationwide project for rehabilitation and improvement of dams worth Rs. 10,211 crore
Projects to ensure safety of dams, enhance water security of the country and support sustainable development while creating employment opportunities
The Union Cabinet approved externally aided DRIP Phase II and Phase III in its meeting held on October 29, 2020. The project will initially cover Nineteen (19) States and three (3) Central Agencies. The Budget Outlay is Rs 10,211 Cr for an implementation period of ten (10) years. The scheme will be implemented in two Phases, each of six (6) years duration, with two (2) years’ overlap. The programme will fund physical rehabilitation of key dams as well as capacity building of dam operators in order to ensure availability of trained and skilled manpower for better operation of dams.
India ranks third globally after China and the United States of America, with 5334 large dams in operation. In addition, about 411 dams are under construction at present. There are also several thousand smaller dams. These dams are vital for ensuring the water security of the Country. Indian dams and reservoirs play an important role in the economic and agricultural growth of our country by storing approximately 300 billion cubic meter of water annually.
These dams present a major responsibility in terms of asset management and safety. Due to deferred maintenance and other health issues, these dams have associated risks in case of failure. The consequences of dam failure can be catastrophic, in terms of loss of human life and property, and damage to ecology. The first phase of the DRIP programme, which covered 223 dams in 7 states, improved the safety and operational performance of selected dams, along with institutional strengthening through a system wide management approach. This programme strengthened the overall culture of dam safety in the country.
Apart from structural measures to improve hydrologic safety, hydro-mechanical measures, seepage reduction, structural stability etc., non structural measures such as dam break analyses, emergency action plans, O&M manuals, were put in place for the selected dams. In addition, DHARMA (Dam Health and Rehabilitation Monitoring), a system to monitor the health of dams, has been developed and is, at present, being used by 18 states. A seismic hazard analysis information system (SHAISYS) has also been developed.
In order to carry forward the momentum gained through the ongoing DRIP, and expand it vertically and horizontally, the new Scheme, DRIP Phase II, co-financed by World Bank (WB) and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) with US$250 million each, covers large dams in 19 states of the country.
This Scheme is especially focused on mitigating the risks of dam failure and ensuring safety of people, riverine ecology and property located downstream of these selected dams, through structural as well as non-structural measures like physical rehabilitation, preparation of Operation and Maintenance Manuals, Emergency Action Plans, Early Warning System and various other measures.
Life of these selected reservoirs will be extended further by addressing health and safety concerns of these selected dams; in turn, these assets will provide planned benefits efficiently for longer period to public at large in terms of various direct benefits like irrigation, drinking water, hydel power, flood control etc.
In addition to physical rehabilitation, as mentioned before, equal emphasis has been given to capacity building of dam owners in order to ensure availability of trained and skilled manpower for better operation of dams. Customized training programmes for various technical and managerial aspects will assist dam owners to create a pool of knowledge to deal with matters of dam safety confidently and scientifically.
This programme is a model of cooperative federalism. States will borrow from the external agencies to rehabilitate their dams, based on their assessed needs. Government of India facilitates access to external financing, and also provides technical support to assess risk and strengthen dam safety in the state.
In view of the size of India’s dam portfolio and challenges in operating and maintaining these existing assets, Government of India is making all out efforts to ensure the availability of a pool of dam safety professionals across the country. The provision for partnerships with premier Academic Institutions like IISc and IITs and capacity building of five (5) Central Agencies along with dam owners will strengthen “Atma Nirbhar Bharat”. It will ensure long term sustainability of required knowledge and human resources to assist our dam owners. India will also position herself as a knowledge leader on dam safety, particularly in South and South East Asia.
The programme will enable states and dam owners to extend these safety protocols and activities beyond the selected dams to all other dams within their jurisdiction, overall enhancing the culture of dam safety in the country.
This programme complements the provisions in the Dam Safety Bill 2019, by ensuring capacity building of the dam owners as well as the proposed regulators, as well as creating necessary protocols for dam safety. It is likely to generate employment opportunities equivalent to approximately 10,00,000 person days for unskilled workers, and 2,50,000 person days for working professionals. This programme will enhance water security in the country, and support sustainable development.