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Govt allows distribution of pulses for mid-day meal, other welfare schemes

They would be sourced from the existing 1.8-million tonne buffer to meet nutritional needs

Sanjeeb Mukherjee  |  New Delhi 

mid-day meal

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Friday decided to use a part of its 1.8 million tonnes (mt) of of for distribution in its such as mid-day meals. After this decision, all central ministries and departments would be empowered to make suitable changes and amendments in their respective schemes and guidelines to enable them to take/provide from the buffer in ‘kind’ under their respective schemes, an official statement said.

This will help ensure adequate supply of under various schemes, including mid-day meals, hospitals as well as ministries/departments or their agencies providing food/catering and hospitality services. The disposal of to the central government schemes will be in addition to the ongoing sale of the in the open market and also to state governments, it said. The cost of supplied to states would, in no case, be higher than the market price, protecting their interest as well, it added.

In the statement, the government said the concerned ministries will make necessary changes in their schemes and assess requirement within the next three months. The supply of from the central would commence based on such requirement indicated by these ministries/departments, it said.

The objective is to enable the concerned administrative ministries/departments to ensure that from the are utilised as in ‘kind’ component of the Centre’s contribution in such schemes, in lieu of its financial contribution of equivalent amount.

“The concerned departments may revert to the current system of making nutrition available only in case of non- availability of in the buffer,” the statement said.

The government agencies have also been enabled to make suitable provisions in their commercial arrangement (tenders/contracts) to ensure that the requirements of for such operations are met through the central buffer. Stating that availability of assured channels of disposal is of critical importance for operating a sustainable buffer, the government said the move will facilitate efficient management of of

For the first time, the government had last year decided to create a of to ensure better prices to farmers and at the same time use the stock to augment local supply in times of price rise. About 2 mt of buffer were created through local procurement and imports. 

Nod for tax treaties

The Cabinet also gave its green light to entering into an agreement between and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) of China for avoidance of double taxation and prevention of tax evasion. on income. The agreement with Hong Kong will stimulate flow of investment, technology and personnel, prevent double taxation and provide for exchange of information between the two contracting parties, an official release said.

The agreement with Hong Kong will stimulate flow of investment, technology and personnel, prevent double taxation and provide for exchange of information between the two contracting parties, an official release said.

The Cabinet also gave its approval for signing a Joint Interpretative Declaration (JID) between and Colombia on the existing Agreement for the Promotion and Protection of Investments between the two countries signed in November 2009. The JID will impart clarity to the interpretation of the existing agreement, said another release.

Testing agency to be set up

The Cabinet also approved the creation of a National Testing Agency (NTA) as a society registered under the Indian Societies Registration Act, 1860, and as an autonomous and self-sustained premier testing organisation to conduct entrance examinations for higher educational institutions. The NTA would initially conduct those entrance examinations which are currently being conducted by the CBSE. It will relieve CBSE, AICTE and other agencies from the responsibility of conducting these entrance examinations, and also bring in high reliability, standardised difficulty level for assessing the aptitude, intelligence and problem solving abilities of the students.

Rural drinking water scheme to be restructured

The National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) would be restructured to make it competitive and outcome-based, with increased focus on sustainability of schemes to ensure good quality service delivery to the rural population. A sum of Rs 23,050 crore was approved by the Cabinet for the programme for 2017-18 to 2019-20.

“The programme will cover all the rural population across the country. The restructuring will make the programme flexible, result-oriented, competitive, and will enable the ministry to reach the goal of increasing the coverage of sustainable piped water supply,” a government release said.

Convention centre at Dwarka

The Cabinet on Friday approved Rs 25,703 crore for development of an exhibition-cum-convention centre at Dwarka to put the national capital in the league of Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore in the area of exhibition markets.  The centre and allied infrastructure will be developed in public private partnership (PPP) and non-PPP mode (including exhibition and convention spaces, arena, trunk-infrastructure, Metro/NHAI connectivity, hotels, office and retail spaces) by 2025. It is estimated that the proposed Centre, once fully operational, will infuse a demand for more than 100 major international and local exhibition events annually. The number of people visiting the exhibition facility annually (paying visitors) is estimated to be more than 10 million in the first phase (2019-20) and 23 million after completion of the second phase (2025).

Other decisions

Preventing double taxation

The Cabinet gave its green light to entering into an agreement between and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) of China for avoidance of double taxation and prevention of tax evasion. It also approved the protocol amending the agreement between and Kyrgyzstan for avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income.

Convention centre in Dwarka

The Cabinet approved Rs 25,703 crore for development of an exhibition-cum-convention centre at Dwarka to put the national capital in the league of Shanghai, 
Hong Kong and Singapore in the area of exhibition markets. The centre and allied infrastructure will be developed by 2025.

Salary of judges

Approved setting up a panel to look into the salary hike of lower court judges. The decision was taken during a meeting of the Union cabinet.

National Testing Agency

The Cabinet approved the creation of a National Testing Agency (NTA) as a society registered under the Indian Societies Registration Act, 1860, and as an autonomous and self-sustained premier testing organisation to conduct entrance examinations for higher educational institutions. The NTA would initially conduct those entrance examinations which are currently being conducted by the CBSE.

Restructuring of National Rural Drinking Water Programme

The National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) would be restructured to make it competitive and outcome-based, with increased focus on sustainability of schemes to ensure good quality service delivery to the rural population. A sum of Rs 23,050 crore was approved by the Cabinet for the programme for 2017-18 to 2019-20.

First Published: Sat, November 11 2017. 01:55 IST
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