Daily Archive: December 4, 2018

Transfer of subsidy to domestic LPG consumers

Attention is invited to some press reports on change in Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) of LPG subsidy Scheme wherein it has been reported that Government may revert back to earlier system of supplying subsidized refills to domestic LPG consumers in place of the current scheme of transfer of cash subsidy into the bank account of LPG consumers under the PAHAL Scheme.

It is clarified that the news reports are not based on facts and there is no such proposal before the Ministry to alter the DBT mechanism.

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Hassle free Visa regime aimed at making travel of foreigners into country pleasant, says Union Home Secretary

The Union Home Secretary Shri Rajiv Gauba has said that creating a simple and hassle free Visa regime is the government’s objective to facilitate arrival and stay of foreign travelers into the country. Addressing a conference “Streamlining of India’s Visa regime” here today, he highlighted various policy initiatives taken to liberalize the Visa regime, taking into account the concerns and suggestions made by various Ministries and stakeholders, including Ministries of Civil Aviation, Tourism, Health, Higher Education etc.

Emphasizing that India has the potential to become a global hub for Education and Tourism, Shri Gauba called for a change in the mindset at the Field level to make foreigners feel welcomed in the country. A friendly Visa regime is also a part of ‘Ease of doing Business’, he added. He said that at the same time, security should also be strengthened, using technological tools. Citing the recently launched e-FRRO module which provides 27 Visa related services to foreigners, he said it has been very successful and has obviated the need for foreigners to visit FRRO Offices for extending their stay, change of Visa status etc.

e-Visa facility now covers 166 countries and foreigners can obtain online Visa within 72 hours for travel related to Tourism, Business, Health, Medical Attendant and Conference purposes, he added.

The number of e-Visas issued has seen a tremendous growth during the last four years from 5.17 lakhs in 2015 to 21 lakhs this year till 30th November, 2018. The number of Visas issued through e-Visa system is now approximately 40% of the total number of Visas issued and the figure is soon expected to cross the 50% mark, which is an indication of its popularity. “Our e-Visa regime is one of the best in the world,” he said.

Highlighting some of the other Visa liberalization measures, he cited Relaxation introduced in grant of Internship Visa which can be obtained by a student while still pursuing a course in the country without remuneration, Extension of Business Visa beyond five years, Conversion of Visa into medical category in an emergency for a foreigner who is already in the country and Permission for foreigners who are on long duration Visas to attend conferences.

Shri Gauba said suggestions made at the Conference will provide inputs for further reforms in the Visa regime which is an ongoing process. The Conference was attended by Senior Officers from the Ministries of Home Affairs, Civil Aviation, Tourism, Information & Broadcasting, Security Agencies, State Governments and Industry representatives.

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Pulses and Oilseeds amounting to Rs. 44,142 crore procured from farmers during 2014-15 to 2018-19

Government has undertaken various interventions to boost the pulse and oilseeds production during last four and a half years to achieve self-sufficiency in the country. The country has reported production of 25.23 Million Tonnes of pulses during 2017-18 against production of 14.66 Million Tonnes in the year 2009-10, an increase of 72.10%. Similarly, the production of oilseeds has increased from 24.88 Million Tonnes to 31.3 Million Tonnes during the same period, registering an increase of 25.80%.

The Govt. of India has supported the growers’ with record procurement of pulses at MSP. Further, the Govt. of India’s decision to create buffer stock of pulses has also led to the increase of pulses production in the country. The bold step to raise Minimum Support Price to 1.5 times of cost of production undertaken this year will further encourage the farmers to grow more pulses and oilseeds. Notably, the MSP of Moong has increased from Rs. 4500 per quintal in 2013-14 to Rs. 6979 in 2018-19. Similarly for Urad from Rs. 4300 to Rs. 5600 per quintal and for Sunflower from Rs. 3700 to Rs. 5388 per quintal.

It is notable that during 5 years from 2009-10 to 2013-14, only a quantity of 7.28 lakh MT of pulses and oilseeds valuing Rs. 3117.38 Crore was procured at MSP whereas during the period from 2014-15 to 2018-19, a quantity of 93.97 lakh MT of pulses and oilseeds valuing Rs. 44,142.50 Crore were procured at MSP by Govt. of India. Procurement of 78.84 Lakh MT amounting to Rs 35,800 crore alone has been contributed by the states of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana & Andhra Pradesh. More than 54 lakh farmers benefitted from the procurement of pulses and oilseeds during this period indicating that on an average a farmer was benefitted to the extent of approximately Rs. 80,000 by this MSP procurement. The procurement of pulses and oilseeds has increased by almost 13 times during the year 2014 till date as compared to the procurement done from 2009-2014.

The recently launched Umbrella Scheme “Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay Sanrakshan Abhiyan (PM-AASHA) provides for a holistic arrangement for assurance of a remunerative and stable price environment for growers /farmers to increase agriculture production and productivity. This Umbrella Scheme comprises Price Support Scheme (PSS) for pulses & oilseeds, Price Deficiency Payment Scheme (PDPS) & Pilot of Private Procurement & Stockist Scheme (PPSS) for oilseeds to ensure MSP to the farmers. The other existing scheme of Department of Food & Public Distribution for procurement of paddy, wheat and coarse grain and of Ministry of Textile for cotton and jute will continue for providing MSP to farmers. The implementation of the schemes will entail joint arrangements by the Central Govt. and State Govt. The PM-AASHA scheme provides for a budgetary support of Rs. 15,053 Cr.

As against a Govt. Guarantee of Rs. 2,500 Crore upto the year 2013-14, a Govt. Guarantee of Rs 18,250 Cr for the Years 2018-20 has been made available for smooth conduct of PSS operations. FCI for the first time is participating in these operations for ensuring MSP for pulses and oilseeds growing farmers.

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Transfer of subsidy to domestic LPG consumers

Transfers of subsidy to domestic LPG consumers

Posted On: 04 DEC 2018 3:49PM by PIB Delhi

Attention is invited to some press reports on change in Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) of LPG subsidy Scheme wherein it has been reported that Government may revert back to earlier system of supplying subsidized refills to domestic LPG consumers in place of the current scheme of transfer of cash subsidy into the bank account of LPG consumers under the PAHAL Scheme.

It is clarified that the news reports are not based on facts and there is no such proposal before the Ministry to alter the DBT mechanism.

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19th December to be the last date of bidding for second bundle of Toll-Operate-Transfer project

Spread over Four states – Rajasthan, Gujarat, West Bengal and Bihar, the offer has 12 toll plazas across Four Highways

Posted On: 04 DEC 2018 4:08PM by PIB Delhi

The submission of bids for second bundle of Toll-Operate-Transfer (TOT) will close on the 19th of this month. This bundle consists of over 586 kms of National Highways, spread over four states – Rajasthan, Gujarat, West Bengal and Bihar. The offer has 12 toll plazas across four highways. Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping, Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation Shri Nitin Gadkari had initiated this process through a Road Show in Mumbai on the 15th of last month. The objective of the Road Show was to invite prospective investors to be a part of the TOT projects.

TOT Bundle II

The stretches offered are operational highways with a proven tolling history of at least 2 years

Stretches NH State Number of Toll Plazas Length (Km)
Chittorgarh – Kota & Chittorgarh Bypass 27 Rajasthan 3 160.50
Swaroopganj – Pindwara & Pindwara – Udaipur 27 Rajasthan 2 120.02
Palanpur / Khemana – Abu Road 27 Rajasthan/ Gujarat 1 45.00
JetpurSomnath 151 Gujarat 2 102.26
PurneaDalkhola 31 Bihar 1 36.30
DalkholaIslampur 31 West Bengal 1 51.97
Islampur – Sonapur – Ghoshpukur 31 West Bengal 1 44.00
Salsalabari – West Bengal Assam Border Section 31C West Bengal 1 26.50
Total 12 586.55

TOT is a model for monetizing operational National Highways projects. The investor makes a lump sum payment in return for long term toll collection rights backed by a sound tolling system. The concession period is 30 years. Up to 49 per cent divestment is allowed till two years of the concession period. Up to 10 per cent change in ownership is allowed after two years. The investor is de-risked from undertaking any construction. If required, NHAI will conduct capacity augmentation at its own cost.

The first TOT bundle of 9 projects, totalling approximately 681 KM of roads in two states of Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat, was awarded in 2018. Huge interest was shown by foreign investors. TOT Bundle-I was awarded to Macquarie for Rs. 9,681 Crore, which was 1.5 times the Authority’s estimate. National Highways Authority of India did a financial closure of this project with the India chief of Macquarie handing over a cheque for Rs 9,681.5 crore to Shri Nitin Gadkari on 29th of August this year in New Delhi.

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The first ever Swadesh Darshan Project in the state of Nagaland to be inaugurated tomorrow

“Development of Tribal Circuit: Peren-Kohima-Wokha Project” will be inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Nagaland, Shri Neiphiu Rio, in the presence of Union Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism, Shri K.J. Alphons and Advisor for Tourism, Art & Culture, Government of Nagaland, Shri H. Khehovi Yepthomi at Kisama Heritage Village in Nagaland tomorrow. This is the first project to be implemented in the state under Swadesh Darshan Scheme of Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.

The project “Development of Tribal Circuit: Peren-Kohima-Wokha” was sanctioned by the Ministry of Tourism in November 2015 for Rs. 97.36 Crores. Under the project the Ministry has developed facilities like Tribal Tourist Village, Eco Log Huts, Open Air Theatre, Tribal Rejuvenation Centre, Cafeteria, Helipad, Tourist Interpretation Centre, Wayside Amenities, Last Mile Connectivity, Public Conveniences, Multipurpose Hall, Nature Trails, Trekking Routes etc.

In addition to the above project, the Ministry has sanctioned another project in Nagaland “Development of Tribal circuit: Mokokchung–Tuensang-Mon” for Rs.99.67 crore. The implementation of the project is in progress.

Swadesh Darshan scheme is one among the flagship schemes of the Ministry of Tourism for development of thematic circuits in the country in a planned and prioritised manner. Under this scheme the Government is focussing on development of quality infrastructure in the country with objective of providing better experience and facilities to the visitors on one hand and on other hand fostering the economic growth. The scheme was launched in 2014 -15 and as on date the Ministry has sanctioned 73 projects worth projects for Rs. 5873.26 Crore to 30 States and UTs. 30 projects / major components of these projects are expected to be completed this year. 8 projects have been inaugurated as on date under the scheme.

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