Parliament passes Bill to provide 10% quota for poor

Parliament passes Bill to provide 10% quota for poor in the General Category

Parliament on January 09, 2019 cleared the Constitutional Amendment Bill guaranteeing 10% quota in education and employment to economically weaker sections in the general category, following an approval by the Rajya Sabha. The Upper House nod came following an over nine-hour-long heated debate, during which the Opposition accused the government of bringing the Bill in haste with an eye on the coming Lok Sabha election.

Walkout by AIADMK

The AIADMK staged a walkout vehemently opposing the move, while some other political parties, including the DMK, the Left and the AAP demanded that the Bill be sent to a Select Committee.

DMK’s Kanimozhi, supported by several members, sought a division of vote on her motion for referring the Bill to a Select Committee. However, it was defeated with just 18 votes in favour. Then the CPI and the AAP members walked out in protest. The Bill was passed with a majority of 165 against seven votes. It will be now sent for Presidential assent.

The Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill was introduced by Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thawar Chand Gehlot, who later in his reply said that the existing reservation to the SCs, STs and OBCs would not be touched by the amendment.

Image result for Parliament passes Bill to provide 10% quota for poorClarifying the Bill’s provisions, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the reservation would be applicable to jobs in both Central and State governments, adding that the legislation gave powers to States to determine the economic criteria for identification of beneficiaries. He responded to the Opposition’s charge of political intent by terming the government move a “slog-over six”, with many more to come.

Earlier, during the debate, Congress leader Anand Sharma said provisions under Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution were for the backward and weaker communities. In the past, attempts were made twice to extend reservation beyond their scope, but the Supreme Court struck them down. The same happened in several States.

Stating that it took the BJP-led government over four years to bring the Bill in the last session, Mr. Sharma questioned the circumstances and the manner in which it was taken up — pointing out that the party had lost recent Assembly polls in five States. Also questioning the economic criteria set for extending the quota, he said not many people would benefit from it especially when the government had failed to create enough jobs.

Mr. Sharma also asked the government to extend parliamentary session further to bring in the Women’s Reservation Bill for passage.

Member Kapil Sibbal listed three hurdles that the law would have to surpass. There was complete non-applicability of mind on the government’s part, its constitutionality could come under judicial scrutiny and that the implementation part was not clear, he said.

Samajwadi Party’s Ram Gopal Yadav demanded 54% quota for OBCs, as the government had now opened up the doors by breaching the 50% cap fixed by the Supreme Court. Although he supported the Bill, he said the Centre had failed to even provide proper reservation to the SC, ST and OBCs. “When there are no jobs, what is the meaning of reservation?,” he said.

Derek O’Brien of the TMC accused the government of cheating the poor and the youth. “The Trinamool Congress is disgusted. We are angry that Parliament has been disrespected, completely disrespected and this is the wrong method which has been used here,” he said, stating that it was a political move by the government in the face of a projected poor performance in the coming Lok Sabha elections.

Referring to various government schemes, the TMC leader said they were all “Cheat India” and the proposed law was yet another attempt to mislead people.

Stating that the Bill had been brought without any empirical basis, AIADMK’s Navaneethakrishnan quoted a Supreme Court order, stating: “A Backward Class cannot be determined only and exclusively with reference to economic criterion. It may be a consideration or basis along with and in addition to social backwardness but it can never be the sole criterion”. He said the Bill trampled upon the rights of people in Tamil Nadu, which already had 69% reservation.

Mr. D. Raja also questioned the haste with which the Bill was brought in. He said it was signed on January 7, introduced and passed by Lok Sabha on January 8 and then taken up in Rajya Sabha. He dared the government to bring reservation in the private sector. BSP’s Satish Chandra Misra said the Bill came after the meeting of his party supremo and Samajwadi Party chief for a possible pre-poll alliance in Uttar Pradesh.

About 40 members of various parties participated in the debate, which culminated in the Bill being passed within 48 hours of being introduced in the Lok Sabha.

PM Narendra Modi lauds the passage of 124 Constitution Amendment Bill, 2019 in the Lok Sabha 

The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has lauded the passage of the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Fourth Amendment) Bill, 2019 in the Lok Sabha on 08 January, 2019.“The passage of The Constitution (One Hundred And Twenty-Fourth Amendment) Bill, 2019 in the Lok Sabha is a landmark moment in our nation’s history. It sets into motion the process to achieve an effective measure that ensures justice for all sections of society”, the Prime Minister said.

PM Narendra Modi lauds the passage of 124 Constitution Amendment Bill, 2019 in the Rajya Sabha

The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has lauded the passage of the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Fourth Amendment) Bill, 2019 in the Rajya Sabha on 09 January, 2019. “Delighted the Rajya Sabha has passed the Constitution (One Hundred And Twenty-Fourth Amendment) Bill, 2019. Glad to see such widespread support for the Bill. The House also witnessed a vibrant debate, where several members expressed their insightful opinions.

Passage of The Constitution (One Hundred And Twenty-Fourth Amendment) Bill, 2019 in both Houses of Parliament is a victory for social justice.It ensures a wider canvas for our Yuva Shakti to showcase their prowess and contribute towards India’s transformation.

By passing The Constitution (One Hundred And Twenty-Fourth Amendment) Bill, 2019, we pay tributes to the makers of our Constitution and the great freedom fighters, who envisioned an India that is strong and inclusive”, the Prime Minister said.

-PIB, New Delhi

Policy decisions to increase the share of Indian seafarers at global level

Government has taken various policy decisions and initiatives to increase the share of Indian seafarers at global level

Shri Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of State for Shipping, Road Transport & Highways, Chemical & Fertilizer has said  that the number of seafarers in India has seen an unprecedented growth of 42.3% due to various policy level changes brought in by the Government in the last four years.  From 108446 seafarers in 2013, India nowhas 154349 seafarers. India now provides 9.35% of the global seafarers and ranks 3rd in the list of the largest seafarer supplying nations in the world. At present, there are 17 lakhs seafarers globally-including the 154349 Indian seafarers. The Maritime Agenda of 2010-2020 had set a target for increasing the global share of Indian seafarers from 6% to 9% and this target  has been achieved in advance.

Image result for indian seafarers at global level
Seafarers in India

The Government has also lifted the ban on opening of new pre-sea and post-sea institutes and introduced new courses which will increase the number of maritime training institutes and Indian seafarers. The Directorate General  (Shipping) is working to bring an exhaustive list of services under  one digital portal to ensure transparency and efficiency in maritime the sector. The list of services which will be included in this portal are:-

  • Online Examination & Assessment system.
  • Rating system of MTIs based on result and ship boarding data.
  • Advance Banking system for payment of examination fee through BHIM, Bill Desk etc.
  • Certificate through DGS’s website.
  • Old data of MTI’s to be captured in new module.
  • Insurance agencies/ PNI clubs may be captured in ship’s data.
  • Option for manual exam may be made.
  • Time limit to be fixed for placement by RPSL.
  • Provision for notification to the concerned controlling authority may be made.

Also, internal departments of DGs, function of the various outside organization/ agencies viz a viz Maritime Training Institutes (MTIs), Multimodal Transport Operators (MTOs), Recruitment & Placement Agencies (RPSLs), Recognized Organization (RO)Mercantile Marine Department (MMD), Shipping Master Offices (SMOs), Seamen’s Provident Fund Organization (SPFO) and Seafarers’ Welfare Fund Society (SWFS) would be brought on the portal.

Press Information Bureau, Government of India Ministry of Shipping, 29 October, 2018 

Ayushman Bharat for a new India -2022, announced

Ayushman Bharat for a new India -2022, announced 
Two major initiatives in health sector announced
Rs. 1200 Crore allocated for 1.5 Lakh health and wellness Centres
National health protection Scheme to provide Hospitalisation cover to over 10 Crore poor and vulnerable families 

The Government today announced two major initiatives in health sector , as part of Ayushman Bharat programme. The Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Shri Arun Jaitely while presenting the General Budget 2018-19 in Parliament here today said that this was aimed at making path breaking interventions to address health holistically, in primary, secondary and tertiary care systems, covering both prevention and health promotion.

Image result for Ayushman Bharat for a new India -2022, announced
Ayushman Bharat for a new India -2022

The initiatives are as follows:-

(i) Health and Wellness Centre:-

The National Health Policy, 2017 has envisioned Health and Wellness Centres as the foundation of India’s health system. Under this 1.5 lakh centres will bring health care system closer to the homes of people. These centres will provide comprehensive health care, including for non-communicable diseases and maternal and child health services.  These centres will also provide free essential drugs and diagnostic services. The Budget has allocated Rs.1200 crore for this flagship programme. Contribution of private sector through CSR and philanthropic institutions in adopting these centres is also envisaged.

(ii) National Health Protection Scheme:- The second flagship programme under Ayushman Bharat is National Health Protection Scheme, which will cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries) providing coverage upto 5 lakh rupees per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization.  This will be the world’s largest government funded health care programme. Adequate funds will be provided for smooth implementation of this programme.

The Finance Minister further said, that these two health sector initiatives under Ayushman Bharat Programme will build a New India 2022 and ensure enhanced productivity, well being and avert wage loss and impoverishment. These Schemes will also generate lakhs of jobs, particularly for women.

The Finance Minister said, that in order to further enhance accessibility of quality medical education and health care, 24 new Government Medical Colleges and Hospitals will be set up, by up-grading existing district hospitals in the country. This would ensure that there is at least 1 Medical College for every 3 Parliamentary Constituencies and at least 1 Government Medical College in each State of the country.

Government of India Ministry of Finance (Press Information Bureau), 01 February, 2018, New Delhi  

GST Council relief to exporters, small businesses

GST Council relief to exporters, small businesses

In what should come as a relief to exporters and small businesses, the GST Council announced a slew of decisions to reduce their compliance burdens, including the eventual setting up of an e-wallet for input tax credits for exporters, and the option for small businesses to file returns and pay taxes only once a quarter.

The changes come two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he had instructed the Council to find solutions to the problems being faced by the trading community. The GST Council also reduced the tax rates on 27 items, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.

“The committee of secretaries set up to look into the problems faced by the exporters found that the credit blockage felt by exporters was causing a liquidity problem for them,” Mr. Jaitley told reporters following the 22nd GST Council meeting.

“In light of this, we have taken three decisions… By October 10, the refunds for July will be processed and paid, and by October 18, the same for refunds for August. The Council has also decided that each exporter will get an e-wallet in which a nominal sum will be deposited for tax credit purposes, which will be offset against the credit refund when it happens.”GST Council

The third decision regarding exporters taken by the Council is to impose a nominal 0.1% GST rate for them till March 31, 2018, Mr. Jaitley said. The e-wallet system is expected to rollout from April 1, 2018, he added.

“The changes and initiatives announced by the Government following the GST Council meeting will address the problems of the exporters, particularly those in micro and small segments,” Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) President Ganesh Kumar Gupta said in a statement. “The refund of GST for July by October 10 and August by October 18 will address the liquidity concerns of the exporters.”

“Various relief granted by the GST Council today will be a major breakthrough in simplifying GST and encouraging fast adoption & access of GST among the trading community of the country and will clear the air of uncertainty and chaos,” the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said in a note. “In the wake of current situation where traders are a depressed lot, such relief were much awaited and will change the code and colour of GST on a positive note.”

Small Businesses

“The collection pattern observed so far shows that a substantial portion of the tax is coming from the big players,” Mr Jaitley said. “However, while the small players have a low tax burden, they have a high compliance burden. So, we have taken a few decisions to reduce this burden on them.”

The Finance Minister announced that the composition scheme — meant to ease compliance for small businesses — will be extended to businesses with a turnover of ₹1 crore a year from the previous limit of ₹75 lakh.

In addition, the Council has decided that all businesses with a turnover of ₹1.5 crore or less a year, can file their returns and pay taxes on a quarterly basis instead of a monthly basis. Mr Jaitley said this would reduce the compliance burden for 90% of the taxpayers not already in the composition scheme.

Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia however, clarified that this will roll out from October 1. However, the GSTR-3B form will have to be filed monthly till December, he said.

“The increase in threshold under composition scheme to ₹1 crore would bring in many more small businesses within its ambit,” Pratik Jain, Leader, Indirect Tax at PwC India said. “However, to make this scheme really effective, it needs to be liberalized more by including all service providers and allowing them to undertake inter-State supplies.”

“The benefits to the exporters in the form of e-wallet, interim benefits by manual filing and payment of 0.1% are very welcome,” Abhishek A Rastogi, Partner, Khaitan & Co said. “It needs to be seen that how the other issues which have reached different courts in the country are addressed in the days to come. Certainly, the need of the hour is to provide impetus to the business growth and it appears that the government is openly looking into the concerns of the businesses.”

Group of Ministers

The GST Council has also set up a Group of Ministers to look into various issues — including whether, when calculating the tax burden of a business, its total turnover should be considered or should exempted goods first be excluded. The GoM will also look into whether those who opt for the composition scheme should be allowed inter-state trade. The third aspect the GoM will analyse is whether the rate of tax on restaurants needs to be reduced or should they not be allowed input tax credits. The GoM is to submit its report in two weeks.

Rate Changes

The Council has decided to reduce the rates on several items, including sliced dried mangos, khakhra and plain chappatis, unbranded namkeen, unbranded ayurvedic medicines, plastic, rubber and paper waste, yarn, diesel engine parts, pump parts, e-waste, and several services.

Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) President Ganesh Kumar Gupta said the changes and initiatives announced by the Government following the GST Council meeting will address the problems of the exporters particularly those in micro and small segments.

The refund of GST for July by October 10 and August by October 18 will address the liquidity concerns of the exporters, he said in a statement.

Welcoming the decision to introduce e-wallet, mooted by FIEO, he said it will provide a permanent solution to the liquidity problem of the export sector. The Government has also resolved the problem of merchant exporters by putting a duty of 0.1% on any supply from manufacturing to merchant, he said, adding that these are very pragmatic decisions showing the flexible approach of the Government to ameliorate the problems of export sector and impart competitiveness.

The FIEO President said these decisions will help in pushing exports on a growth path.

NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 06, 2017 

Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act

Cabinet approves amendment to ‘The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009’

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the amendment to Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009. This will ensure that all teachers, in position as on 31st March, 2015, acquire the minimum qualifications prescribed by the academic authority to extend the period for such training for four years up to 31st March, 2019.

This will enable the in-service untrained elementary teachers to complete their training and ensure that all teachers at the elementary level in the country have a certain minimum standard of qualifications. This would also ensure that all Teachers would attain minimum qualifications as considered necessary to maintain the standard of teaching quality. This would ultimately result in improvement in overall quality of teachers, teaching processes and consequently learning outcomes of children. This will reinforce the Government’s emphasis on improvement of quality of elementary education.

Background:

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, is effective from 1st April, 2010. It envisages free and compulsory elementary education to every child in the age group of 6-14 years. The Proviso to Section 23(2) of the Act specifies that all teachers at elementary level who, at the commencement of this Act, did not possess the minimum qualifications as laid down under the RTE Act, need to acquire these within a period of five years i.e., 31st March, 2015.

However, several State governments have reported that out of a total number of 66.41 lakh teachers at the elementary level, 11.00 lakh are still untrained (of this, 5.12 lakh are in Government and Aided Schools and 5.98 lakh are in private schools). In order to ensure that all teachers, in position as on 31st March, 2015, acquire the minimum qualifications prescribed by the academic authority, it is necessary to carry out appropriate amendment in the RTE Act, 2009 to extend the period for such training for four years up to 31st March, 2019.
-Cabinet, 22-March, 2017

Cabinet approves Amendments to NABARD Act

Cabinet approves proposal for Amendments to the NABARD Act, 1981

The proposed increase in the authorized capital would enable NABARD to respond to the commitments it has undertaken, particularly in respect of the Long Term Irrigation Fund and the recent Cabinet decision regarding on-lending to cooperative banks. Further, it will enable NABARD to augment its business and enhance its activities which would facilitate promotion of integrated rural development and securing prosperity of rural areas including generation of more employment.

Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the following proposals:
(a) Amendments to National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development Act, 1981 as proposed in the draft Bill with such changes of drafting and of consequential nature, as may be considered necessary by Legislative Department. The Amendments,  include provisions that enable Central Government to increase the authorized capital of NABARD from Rs. 5,000 crore to   Rs. 30,000 crore and to increase it beyond Rs. 30,000 crore in consultation with RBI, as deemed necessary from time to time.
(b) Transfer of 0.4 per cent. equity of RBI in NABARD amounting to Rs. 20 crores to the Government of India.
The proposed amendments in NABARD Act, include, certain other amendments including changes in long title and certain Sections to bring Medium Enterprises and Handlooms in NABARD’s mandate.
The proposed increase in the authorized capital would enable NABARD to respond to the commitments it has undertaken, particularly in respect of the Long Term Irrigation Fund and the recent Cabinet decision regarding on-lending to cooperative banks. Further, it will enable NABARD to augment its business and enhance its activities which would facilitate promotion of integrated rural development and securing prosperity of rural areas including generation of more employment.
The transfer of entire shareholding in NABARD held by RBI to the Central Government will remove the conflict in RBI’s role as banking regulator and shareholder in NABARD.
-Cabinet, 22-March, 2017

Cabinet approves Fund of Fund for Start-ups (FFS)

Cabinet approves of proposal to establish a Fund of Fund for Start-ups (FFS)

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the following proposals with regard to the Fund of Funds of Start-ups (FFS) which was established in June, last year with a corpus of Rs. 1,000 crores.

i. Alternate Investment Funds (AIFs) supported by FFS shall invest at least twice the amount of contribution received from FFS in Start-ups qualifying as per the Gazette Notification G.S.R.180 (E) dt. 17/02/2016. Further, if the amount committed for a Start-up in whole has not been released before a Start-up ceases to be so, the balance funding can continue thereafter.
ii. It was also decided that operating expenses for carrying out due diligence, legal and technical appraisal, convening meeting of Venture Capital Investment Committee, etc. would be met out of the FFS to the extent of 0.50% of the commitments made to AIFs and outstanding. This will be debited to the fund at the beginning of each half year; i.e. April 1 and October 1.
Background
The Union Cabinet in its meeting held on 22/06/2016 had approved the proposal to establish a Fund of Funds for Start-ups (FFS) with a total corpus of Rs.10000 crore, with contribution spread over the 14th & 15th Finance Commission cycles based on progress of implementation and availability of funds. It was decided that the FFS shall contribute to the corpus of Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) for investing in equity and equity linked instruments of various start-ups at early stage, seed stage and growth stages.
The FFS is being managed and operated by Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI).  FFS contributes to SEBI registered Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) that may go up to a maximum of 35% of the corpus of the AIF concerned.
The Cabinet on 22.06.2016 had decided that the corpus of Fund of Funds along with counterpart funds raised by the AIFs in which FFS takes equity would be invested entirely in Start-ups. It has been pointed out to the Department during its interactions with various stakeholders that investors in the AIFs would prefer that the portfolio of AIFs is adequately diversified to manage the investment risks appropriately and if the entire pool of funds of the AIF is invested in Start-ups, it poses unacceptable risks to the investors of such AIFs.
The other issues raised by stakeholders were that the process of funding of Start-ups by AIFs is long drawn which starts from pitching by a Start-up, commitment by the AIF and then release of funds in tranches. Thus it is possible that before release of the final instalment the turnover of the Start-up crosses Rs. 25 crores but it still needs funds to meet its growth requirements. Besides, Start-ups need access to funds through various stages of their life cycle, viz. early stage, seed stage and growth stage.
It was also pointed out to the Department by SIDBI that the present provisions don’t provide for SIDBI to get compensated for activities done post sanction to AIFs. These decisions have been taken to in the backdrop of the above concerns.
-Cabinet, 22-March, 2017

18 New Greenfield Airports in India granted approval

Development of Airport Infrastructure and Setting up of New Greenfield Airports in India 

Committee Suggests Gradual Bifurcation of ANS from AAI

The present infrastructure capacity of airport is generally sufficient for handling existing air traffic. However, keeping in view of rapid growth of domestic airlines, expansion of infrastructure at airports including runway, terminal building and air space harmonization has been undertaken. Now the government has granted “in principle” approval  to 18 new Greenfield Airports in India.

It is planned to revive 50 airstrips and airports over a period of three years starting from 2017-18 at a total estimated cost of Rs. 4500 crores. However, the development of airports and airstrips to be undertaken only in those States where the State Government agrees to provide the requisite concessions and a firm commitment from airlines to fly from or to such airports.

The Government of India has granted “in principle” approval for setting up of the 18 Greenfield airports in the country. The list of these airport along with the estimated cost is as under: MOPA in Goa (approx. Rs. 3100 cr), Navi Mumbai (approx. Rs. 16704 cr), Shirdi (approx. Rs. 320.54cr) and Sindhudurg (approx. Rs. 520cr) in Maharashtra, Bijapur (approx. Rs. 150cr), Gulbarga (approx. Rs. 13.78 cr in initial phase), Hassan (approx. Rs. 592 cr) and Shimoga (approx. Rs. 38.91 cr) in Karnataka, Kannur in Kerala (approx. Rs. 1892 cr), Durgapur in West Bengal (approx. Rs. 670 cr), Dabra in Madhya Pradesh (approx. Rs. 200 cr), Pakyong in Sikkim (approx. Rs. 553.53 cr), Karaikal in Pudducherry (approx. Rs.170 cr), Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh (approx. Rs. 448 cr), Dholera in Gujarat (approx. Rs. 1712 cr) and Dagadarthi Mendal, Nellore Dist. (approx. Rs. 293 cr), Bhogapuram in Vizianagaram District near Visakhapatnam (approx. Rs. 2260 cr) and Oravakallu in Kurnool District (approx. Rs. 200 cr), Andhra Pradesh. In Addition Airports Authority of India (AAI) has begun the PPP bidding process for O&M contracts for Jaipur and Ahmedabad airports.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation had set up a two member Committee consisting of Shri Ashok Chawla, Ex-Chairman, Competition Commission of India and Shri Satendra Singh, Ex-DGCA to examine afresh the issue related to creation of separate Air Navigation Services entity by hiving off Air Navigation Services (ANS) from Airports Authority of India (AAI). The committee has suggested bifurcation of ANS from AAI in a gradual manner.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Civil Aviation Shri Jayant Sinha in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha.

-Ministry of Civil Aviation, 16-March, 2017

Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Bill, 2016 Passed in Lok Sabha

Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Bill, 2016 Passed in Lok Sabha 

Lok Sabha passed on 9th March, 2017 the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 which inter-alia includes increasing maternity benefit to woman covered under the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 from 12 weeks to 26 weeks up to two surviving children in order to allow the mother to take care of the child during his/her most formative stage, providing maternity benefit of 12 weeks to Commissioning mother and Adopting mother, facilitate “work from home” to a mother with mutual consent of the employee and the employer, making mandatory in respect of establishment having fifty or more employees , to have the facility of crèche either individually or as a shared common facility within such distance as may be prescribed by rules & also to allow four visits to the crèche by the woman daily, including the interval for rest allowed to her and every establishment to intimate in writing and electronically to every woman at the time of her initial appointment about the benefits available under the Act.
The Maternity Benefit(Amendment) Bill, 2016 has already been passed by the Rajya Sabha on 11th August,2016. These changes will have major impact on the health, well-being and growth of the future generation in the Country. It will have positive impact on women’s participation in labour force and will improve the work- life balance of the women workers. 
The bill was presented in the Lok Sabha by the Minister of State (IC) for Labour and Employment, Shri Bandaru Dattatreya.

The Maternity Benefit(Amendment) Bill, 2016 has already been passed by the Rajya Sabha on 11th August,2016. These changes will have major impact on the health, well-being and growth of the future generation in the Country. It will have positive impact on women’s participation in labour force and will improve the work- life balance of the women workers. The Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Act, 2016 will come into the force only after the President’s assent.

-Ministry of Labour & Employment, 09-March, 2017

PM clears 17000 cr air defence missile deal with Israel

PM Narendra Modi clears Rs 17,000 crore Air Defence Missile Deal with Israel

PM Shri Narendra Modi has given the green-signal to purchase an Air Defence Missile System from Israel as part of a plan to protect India from enemy aircraft.

PM, microstatIndia will acquire the Medium Range Surface to Air Defence Missile (MR-SAM) system from Israel at a cost of Rs 17,000 crore.

As part of the plan, the Army will induct more than five regiments of MR-SAM, which will have around 40 firing units and over 200 missiles.

“In a meeting of the cabinet committee on security headed by the Prime Minister, the proposal for procuring the MR-SAM air defence system for the Army was approved,” India Today quoted an official as saying.

The MR-SAM system, jointly developed by DRDO and Israeli Aircraft Industry, reportedly can shoot down enemy aircraft between 50 to 70 km range.

“The delivery of the first system for the Army units will begin in 72 months of the signing of the contract and they would be ready for deployment in field areas by the year 2023,” the report said citing sources. India and Israel are jointly developing similar systems for the Air Force and the Navy.

WHAT’S NEW?

As per the proposal cleared by the government, the Army will induct over five regiments of the MR-SAM missile which will have around 40 firing units and over 200 missiles of the system. “The delivery of the first system for the Army units will begin in 72 months of the signing of the contract and they would be ready for deployment in field areas by the year 2023,” said the sources.

A DRDO laboratory under scientific advisor to defence minister and missile systems head G Sathish Reddy has been instrumental in developing the target homing system with the Israeli firms and involves a lot of make in India element in the programme. India and Israel are jointly developing similar systems for the Air Force and the Navy.

The Air Force had got clearance for its MR-SAM programme in 2009 and the deliveries will begin after delays in the project. The Navy programme is known as Long Range Surface to Air Missile system (LR-SAM) and would be set on its warships.

Hyderabad-based Bharat Dynamis Limited will produce the missiles of the system while many other Indian industries like Bharat Electronics Ltd, Larsen and Toubro, TATA group will contribute in the production for many systems and sub-systems in it. A new production facility to deliver 100 missiles a year has been established for such type of long and medium range surface-to-air missiles at BDL.

The Army will deploy these air defence systems to provide protection to vital assets and points across the country.

-February 23, 2017, New Delhi