The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Wednesday approved some crucial decisions, including a development package of Rs 2,000 crore for the displaced people of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), and the inclusion of 15 new castes in the central list of Other Backward Castes.
Here’s the list of Cabinet approvals
1. The government today approved a Rs 2,000 crore development package for refugees from Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) living in the country. The Union Cabinet approved the Home Ministry’s proposal to provide enhanced financial aid to 36,384 families, who are mostly living in Jammu region after their displacement from PoK post Independence.
Each of these families will get around Rs 5.5 lakh as aid, a senior official said. The amount is “one time settlement” for the displaced families and will be released to the Jammu and Kashmir government to be disbursed to eligible families through Direct Benefit Transfer. The refugees from West Pakistan, mostly from PoK, settled in different areas of Jammu, Kathua and Rajouri districts. However, they are not permanent residents of the state in terms of Jammu and Kashmir Constitution.
2. The government approved a proposal to shut down the loss-making Kota unit of Instrumentation Limited and hand over the company’s Palakkad division to the Kerala government. The employees of Kota unit will be offered a voluntary retirement or voluntary separation scheme (VRS or VSS) package as per the 2007 notional pay scale, amounting to Rs 438 crore.”The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved closure of Kota Unit of Instrumentation Ltd and transfer of Palakkad unit of Instrumentation Ltd to the Government of Kerala,” an official statement said.”In this connection, the Cabinet has approved attractive VRS/VSS package at 2007 notional pay scales to employees of Kota Unit of Instrumentation Ltd, including the payment of pending salary, statutory dues etc, which amount to approximately Rs 438 crore.”
3. The government today approved inclusion of 15 new castes and modification in 13 other castes in the Central list of Other Backward Classes (OBCs). The National Commission of Backward Classes (NCBC) had recommended a total of 28 changes in respect of 8 states —Assam, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttarakhand. Out of these 28, 15 were new entries, 9 were synonyms or sub-castes of the castes which were already in the list and 4 were corrections.”The changes will enable the persons belonging to these castes/communities to avail the benefits of reservation in Government services and posts as well as in Central Educational Institutions as per the existing policy,” according to an official statement. They will also become eligible for benefit under the various welfare schemes, scholarships etc. being administered by the Central Government, which are at present available to the persons belonging to the Other Backward Classes, it added.
On the NCBC recommendation, a total of 2479 Entries for inclusion, including its synonyms, sub-castes, etc. in the Central List of OBCs have been notified in 25 States and 6 Union Territories. The last such notification was issued till September, 2016.
4. Aiming to attract more tourists and boost trade, government today approved a new liberalised visa policy that include long-term multiple-entry comprehensive visa by merging tourist, business, medical and conference visas into one. The Union Cabinet decided to extend the e-Tourists Visa to eight more countries, taking the total number of countries which are under cover the scheme to 158.The Union Cabinet has given its approval for liberalisation, simplification and rationalisation of the existing visa regime in India and incremental changes in the visa policy decided by the Ministry of Home Affairs in consultation with various stakeholders, an official statement said.The approval will facilitate entry of foreigners for tourism, business and medical purposes. This is expected to stimulate economic growth, increase earnings from export of services like tourism, medical value travel and travel on account of business and to make ‘Skill India’, ‘Digital India’, ‘Make in India’ and other such flagship initiatives of the government successful.
This will also considerably ease the travel of foreigners to India for the above-mentioned legitimate purposes, the release said. Tourists, businessmen or people coming for treatment or to attend conferences or even for film shoots will be covered under the new category of visa, which was first mooted by the Commerce Ministry following a suggestion by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to boost services trade.
5. Union Cabinet today cleared a major suburban rail link project worth over Rs 10,000 crore as part of the ambitious urban transport project in Mumbai. The cabinet has approved the Mumbai Urban Transport Project Phase-III. The estimated cost of project is Rs 8,679 crore with completion cost of Rs 10,947 crore. The project is expected to be completed in the next 5 years during 13th Plan period.
Western Railway is running suburban services on the existing busy double line between Virar-Dahanu Road which is a part of main line Mumbai–Ahmedabad/Delhi route. Main line is already over saturated and there is no scope for supplementing suburban services on this line, says a release.
Construction of additional double line between Virar-Dahanu Road will address the demand of commuters in this region. This will provide extension of suburban services from Churchgate to Dahanu Road. Panvel-Karjat double line suburban corridor will cater to the significant urbanisation and population growth in recent years in this area.
6. The Union Cabinet also approved the decision on India being a part of pact to amend the Montreal Protocol to phase out HFCs, as agreed to in Kigali climate meet.