Cabinet approves MoU between India and South Africa for cooperation in the field of Tourism
The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval for a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and South Africa for cooperation in the field of Tourism.
The main objectives of the MoU are:
a) to expand bilateral cooperation in the tourism sector;
b) to exchange information and data related to tourism ;
c) to encourage cooperation between tourism stakeholders, including hotels and tour operators.
d) to establish exchange programmes for cooperation in Human Resource Development;
e) Investing in the tourism and hospitality sector;
f) to encourage visits of Tour Operators/Media/ Opinion Makers and tourists from both countries for promotion of two way tourism;
g) to exchange experiences in the areas of promotion, education, marketing, destination development and management;
h) to participate in travel fairs/exhibitions in each other’s country; and
i) to promote safe, honourable and sustainable tourism.
Amendments to the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961
The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval for amendments to the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 by introducing the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in Parliament. The maternity benefit Act 1961 protects the employment of women during the time of her maternity and entitles her of a ‘maternity benefit’ – i.e. full paid absence from work – to take care for her child. The act is applicable to all establishments employing 10 or more persons. The amendments will help 1.8 million (approx.) women workforce in organised sector.
The amendments to Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 are as follows:
- Increase Maternity Benefit from 12 weeks to 26 weeks for two surviving children and 12 weeks for more than two childern.
- 12 weeks Maternity Benefit to a ‘Commissioning mother’ and ‘Adopting mother’.
- Facilitate’Work from home’.
- Mandatory provision of Creche in respect of establishment having 50 or more employees.
The Lokpal and Lokayuktas (Amendment) Bill, 2016
The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval for amendments to Section 44 and consequential amendments of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 by introducing the Lokpal and Lokayuktas (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in the Parliament.
The approved amendments will address concerns and apprehensions expressed by different categories of public servants and addresses the difficulties being faced in implementing the provision of section 44 of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013. The amendments are in line with one of the recommendations of the Standing Committee.
The Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2016
The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval for amendment of Section 64 and section 65 and consequential amendment of section 115 of the Factories Act, 1948 by introducing the Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in the Parliament.
The approved amendments will give boost to the manufacturing sector and facilitate ease of doing business with an aim to enhance employment opportunities.
These amendments relate to increase in overtime hours from the existing 50 hours per quarter to 100 hours (Section 64) and existing 75 hours per quarter to 125 hours (Section 65).
Cabinet approves Agreement between the India and Croatia on Economic Cooperation
The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing and ratification of an Agreement between India and Croatia on Economic Cooperation.
India and Croatia had earlier signed an Agreement on trade and economic cooperation in September, 1994 with an aim to promote and develop bilateral trade and economic relations. Signing of the new Agreement between India and Croatia would be a step in continuity as the existing Agreement expired in November, 2009.
India’s bilateral trade with Croatia during 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15 were US$ 152.01million, US$ 148.86 million and US$ 205.04 million respectively. The average bilateral trade growth was 17.44% during the last three years.
Cabinet approves foreign investment in other Financial Services sector
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to amend regulation for foreign investment in the Non- Banking Finance Companies (NBFCs).
The amendment in the existing Foreign Exchange Management (Transfer or Issue of Security by the Person Resident Outside India) regulations on Non- Banking Finance Companies (NBFCs) will enable inflow of foreign investment in “Other Financial Services” on automatic route provided such services are regulated by any financial sector regulators (RBI, SEBI, PFRDA etc.) / Government Agencies. Foreign investment in “Other Financial Services”, which are not regulated by any regulators / Government Agency, can be made on approval route.
Cabinet approves financial support to BHEL for R&D project
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved a proposal of R&D project for development of Advanced Ultra Super Critical (AUSC) Technology for Thermal Power Plant with an estimated cost of Rs.1554 crore and providing one time budgetary support of Rs.900 crore spread over a period of three years, commencing from 2017-18, to be provided as plan Gross Budgetary Support to BHEL for implementation of the R&D project. The project will enable Indian industries to design, manufacture and commission higher efficiency coal fired power plants with indigenously developed technology and manufacturing processes.
Other Important Approvals
- The Union Cabinet has given its approval for introduction of Pension and Post-Retirement Medical Schemes as part of superannuation benefits for Employees of Food Corporation of India (FCI) as per guidelines of Department of Public Enterprises (DPE). The annual financial implication for both schemes combined would be around Rs. 134.4 crore at present level of salaries of the employees.
- The Union Cabinet has given its approval for transfer of land belonging to the Indian Institute of Soil & Water Conservation (IISWC) Research Centre at Chandigarh to the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) for construction of 60 meters Peripheral Master Road in Mansa Devi Complex (MDC), Panchkula in the following manner-
a) Transfer of 13,290.30 square meters of land belonging to IISWC Research Centre to HUDA at the collector rate applicable as on date.
b) Transfer of 178.75 square meters of land belonging to HUDA to the IISWC Research Centre, Chandigarh.
c) Mutual exchange of 410 square meters of land between IISWC Research Centre and HUDA.