On the eve of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s birth anniversary, the Union cabinet on Tuesday approved the World Bank-funded Atal Bhujal Yojana (Atal Jal), which aims to improve ground water management in seven states.
The scheme will be launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday. Briefing about the cabinet decisions, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said that Modi, along with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, will also unveil a statue of Vajpayee in Lucknow.
The Atal Jal scheme had been approved by the World Bank board in June 2018. It was waiting for the Union cabinet’s approval for the last several months.
Sharing details, Javadekar said the total budget of the scheme will be Rs 6,000 crore, of which Rs 3,000 crore will be contributed by the World Bank. He said the scheme will benefit seven states – Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
Implementation of the scheme is expected to benefit nearly 8,350 Gram Panchayats in 78 districts in these states, an official statement issued by the government said.
In a separate decision, the Union cabinet also approved the strategic tunnel under Rohtang Pass to be renamed after Vajpayee.
“The historic decision to construct a strategic tunnel below the Rohtang Pass was taken on June 3, 2000, when late Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister. The foundation stone for the access road to the south portal of the tunnel was laid on May 26, 2002,” said a statement issued by the government after the cabinet meeting.
The statement further said that the tunnel is now nearing completion and is a step in the direction of providing all-weather connectivity to remote border areas of Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh, which otherwise remained cut-off from the rest of the country for about six months during winters.
The 8.8-km tunnel is the world’s longest tunnel above an altitude of 3,000 metres, the statement said, adding that it will reduce the distance between Manali and Leh by 46 km and save crores of rupees in transport costs.
In another decision, the cabinet approved the Promulgation of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019, which seeks to remove certain ambiguities in the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016, and ensure smooth implementation of the code.
The cabinet also granted ex-post facto approval to amend Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873 (BEFR). The amendment will extend BEFR to the state of Manipur to give its indigenous people protection from the provisions of Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019, and make necessary changes in the said regulation.
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