Report of the High Level Committee headed by Shri T.S.R. Subramanian



Report of the High Level Committee headed by Shri T.S.R. Subramanian to review various Acts administered by Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change 

The Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science & Technology, Environment & Forests, headed by Shri Ashwani Kumar, M.P., Rajya Sabha proposed to consider the above cited Report and invited views/suggestions/comments thereon from individuals/experts/Non Governmental Organisation/Stake-holders interested in the subject matter. 


Some of the major recommendations of the Committee provide for economic incentives for increased community participation in farm and social forestry by way of promoting and proving statutory safeguards to ‘treelands’ as distinct from ‘forest’; making preparation of Wildlife Management plans mandatory and inserting a provision to this effect in the Wild Life Protection Act; creation of National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) at Central Level and State Environment Management Authority (SEMA) at the State level as full time processing/clearance/monitoring agencies; special treatment for linear projects, power/mining and strategic border projects; incorporation of noise pollution as an offence in Environmental Protection Act, etc. The report is available on the website of Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. 

Those desirous of submitting their views and suggestions to the Committee may send their written memoranda (either in English or Hindi) to Shri M.K. Khan, Joint Secretary, Rajya Sabha Secretariat, 240, Second Floor, Parliament House Annexe, New Delhi-110001 (Tel.: 23034047) or e-mail at mkhan@sansad.nic.in upto 31st December 2014. Those willing to appear before the Committee for oral evidence, besides sending Memoranda, are requested to indicate so. The Memoranda submitted to the Committee would form part of the records of the Committee and would be treated as confidential. Website:- rajyasabha.nic.in. E-mail: rsc-st@sansad.nic.in. 
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Statement by External Affairs Minister and Minister of Overseas Indian affairs Smt. Sushma Swaraj in Lok Sabha 

Following is the text of the statement by External Affairs Minister and Minister of Overseas Indian affairs Smt. Sushma Swaraj in Lok Sabha on December 19, 2014

Hon`ble Madam Speaker, 

Several Hon`ble Members of this House have raised the matter of grant of bail to the operational commander of the Laskhar-e-Tayyba, an internationally designated terrorist, by an anti terror court in Islamabad. 

I would like to inform the House through you that we have already made our position on this issue clear to the Pakistan authorities. Upon receiving the report of the bail plea having been granted, the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad contacted the Foreign Ministry of Pakistan and conveyed our position in clear and unambiguous terms. 

We do not accept the fact that LeT’s chief operation commander Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, who is one of the main masterminds of the Mumbai terror attacks and a person who has been designated an international terrorist by the UNSC, be released on bail. We reject the contention that there is inadequate evidence to prosecute him and his fellow conspirators. There is no doubt in anyone`s mind that the Mumbai terror attack conspiracy was planned, financed, and trained for in Pakistan. 99% of the evidence is available in Pakistan itself, and it is the duty of the Pakistan’s investigative authorities, who have had six years to collect and present the evidence required, to secure a conviction. 

Members will recall that two days ago Pakistan suffered a heinous terrorist attack against a School in Peshawar in which 132 children and 9 others were systematically butchered by terrorists, in the name of "revenge”. We felt the pain of the families who lost their loved ones in this massacre - It was not just innocent children who were massacred in the attack, a part of humanity was also lost on this day. 

The grant of bail to Lakhvi makes absolute mockery of the Government of Pakistan’s professed commitment to fight terror groups without hesitation and without making false distinctions. It will only reassure those who perpetrated the recent heinous attack in Peshawar that they too will be allowed to continue their activities unabated. 

We urge the Government of Pakistan to immediately take steps to reverse this decision. 

At the moment we are watching the reaction of the Pakistan authorities. 

Thank you. 
***

Corrigendum to Exchange Rate Notification 115/2014-Customs (NT) Dated 17.12.2014 

In the notification of the Government of India in the Ministry of Finance (Department of Revenue), No. 115/2014-CUSTOMS (N.T.) dated the 17th December, 2014 published in the Gazette Of India, Part-II, Section 3, Sub-Section (ii), Extraordinary, vide number S.O.3205 (E) dated, the 17th December, 2014, In the Schedule II, in Column (3), for “Rate of exchange of one unit of foreign currency equivalent to Indian rupees” read “Rate of exchange of 100 units of foreign currency equivalent to Indian rupees”. 

***

Government Firmly Committed to Meeting its Fiscal Deficit Target for Current Year: Mid-Year Economic Analysis (MYEA) 2014-15 

Mid-Year Economic Analysis (MYEA) 2014-15 provides a technical perspective on several aspects of the Indian macro-economy. Following are the major highlights of the Mid Year Analysis:

Macro-economy and investor sentiment

There has been a striking turnaround in India’s macro-economy and investor sentiment since the government took over, reflected in lower inflation, a lower current account deficit, surging capital inflows and stock market valuations, and the bottoming out of the growth deceleration seen for nearly three years. India is, and is perceived as, one of the sparks of the global economy. Underlying this change is the election of a new Government with a relatively unencumbered political mandate for decisive economic change.

Validating this mandate, the Government since coming into office has taken a number of policy actions, including (but not restricted to) deregulating diesel, raising the price of natural gas, moving toward direct transfers for cooking gas, moderating inflationary pressures in agriculture, increasing foreign direct investment caps in defence with planned increases in railways, expediting financial inclusion, and moving toward deregulating coal. These actions combined with favourable external developments in the form of declining oil and commodity prices have helped improve the macroeconomic situation, and business and investor sentiment.

Fiscal situation

The Government is firmly committed to meeting its fiscal deficit target for this year, and the MYEA highlights the unusually challenging circumstances facing the Government, which include:

·         The economy growing slower than expected affecting revenue growth;
·         The optimistic revenue projections in the budget not having materialized;
·         The legacy of past expenditures weighing on the budget; and
·         The ambitiousness of the target itself because of trying to achieve fiscal consolidation when the economy is growing slower than its potential. India is, somewhat unusually amongst the major economies, following such pro-cyclical fiscal policy.

Inflation

It has come down dramatically for four reasons: policy actions by the RBI and the Government, declining agricultural prices; declining oil prices; and the economy growing slower than its potential.
Going forward disinflationary impulses especially from agriculture, external and domestic, are strong, reflected for example in rapidly declining rural wage growth. The declining trend of inflation is likely to continue, with strong potential to surprise on the upside.

Exchange rate

From the headlines, it seems that the rupee is weakening. It is weakening against the dollar, which is strengthening against the other major currencies. Against a broader basket of currencies, the rupee has become stronger not weaker. The resulting deterioration in competitiveness of the Indian economy owes in part to India’s higher inflation but also to strong capital inflows which have to be pragmatically and prudently managed.  

Growth challenge

The growth deceleration witnessed for many years appears to have bottomed out. A durable recovery in investment and growth is a work-in-progress. Uncertainty about private investment stems from a relatively weak corporate sector (depressed or negative profits and high debt) and because the PPP model in infrastructure is in limbo. This condition might be characterized as a “balance sheet syndrome with Indian characteristics.”

To revive growth going forward, public investment may have to play a greater role to complement and crowd-in private investment. Consideration should be given to pursuing counter-structural fiscal policy as a way of reviving growth, and to finding the fiscal space to finance such investment, while ensuring that projects are judiciously identified and effectively and expeditiously implemented.  

Reforms ahead

Going forward, there is great reason for hope because in addition to liberalizing FDI in insurance, two game-changing reforms are on the horizon: (i) the Goods and Services Tax (GST) which will create a buoyant source of revenue and place the fiscal position on a permanently solid footing, help tax administration and reduce corruption in indirect tax collection, and serve to make India more of a common market by eliminating  internal barriers to trade; and (ii) the increasing use of direct transfers, combining the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana with Aadhaar, that could replace over time extensive Government interventions to help producers and consumers.

Reforms at the centre will and should increasingly be complemented by reforms by the states. India can become a very distinctive model of a “cooperative and competitive federalism,” deriving stability and strength from the former while harnessing the dynamism and energy afforded by the latter.   

In sum, there is growing ground for hope and optimism but narrowing room for complacency.
*****
7th India-China Financial Dialogue held Today;
Both Countries agreed to Coordinate Policy Action in facing Common External Challenges and Strengthen Cooperation amongst Financial Sector Regulatory Agencies; 
Both Sides Underscored the need to Strengthen Cooperation under Multilateral Frameworks and Fora 

The 7th India-China Financial Dialogue was held here today. A high level Chinese delegation led by Mr. Yu Weiping, Assistant Minister in the Ministry of Finance, People’s Republic of China interacted with the Indian delegation led by Mr. Dinesh Sharma, Additional Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, on wide-ranging bilateral issues of mutual concern and interest. 

The India-China Financial Dialogue is a forum that enables the two countries to annually review and discuss a wide gamut of international/ bilateral issues for strengthening and deepening economic and financial cooperation between the two countries. This framework was conceptualized during the visit of the Indian Prime Minister to Beijing in 2003 and the framework was formalized through an MoU, signed in April 2005, during the visit of the Chinese Premier to India. 

According to a Joint Statement issued at the end of the Dialogue, the two countries reviewed the prevailing global macro-economic situation and agreed to coordinate policy action in facing common external challenges. Both sides underscored the need to strengthen cooperation under multilateral frameworks and fora. India and China exchanged views on fiscal and taxation reforms. They agreed to strengthen cooperation amongst financial sector regulatory agencies and encourage long-term Chinese investments in the Indian infrastructure sector. 

The 8th round of India-China Dialogue would be held in China in 2015. 
***

Exchange Rate of Foreign Currency Relating to Imported and Export Goods Notified 



                 In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 14 of the Customs Act, 1962 (52 of 1962), and in super session of the notification of the Government of India in the Ministry of Finance (Department of Revenue) No.113/2014-CUSTOMS (N.T.), dated the 4th December, 2014 vide number S.O.3066 (E), dated the 4th December, 2014, except as respects things done or omitted to be done before such super session, the Central Board of Excise and Customs(CBEC) hereby determines that the rate of exchange of conversion of each of the foreign currency specified in column (2) of each of Schedule I and Schedule II annexed hereto into Indian currency or vice versa shall, with effect from 19th December, 2014 be the rate mentioned against it in the corresponding entry in column (3) thereof, for the purpose of the said section, relating to imported and export goods.

SCHEDULE-I
S.No.
Foreign Currency
Rate of exchange of one unit of foreign currency equivalent to Indian rupees
(1) 
(2)
(3)


 (a)
  (b)


(For Imported Goods)
(For
Export
Goods)
1.
Australian Dollar
52.35
50.90
2.
Bahrain Dinar
172.75
163.30
3.
Canadian Dollar               
55.05
53.80
4.
Danish Kroner
10.65
10.35
5.
EURO
79.15
77.25
6.
Hong Kong Dollar
8.25
8.10
7.
Kuwait Dinar
222.70
210.25
8.
New Zealand Dollar
49.45
48.20
9.
Norwegian Kroner
8.65
8.40
10.
Pound Sterling
99.90
97.65
11.
Singapore Dollar
48.80
47.65
12.
South African Rand
5.60
5.30
13.
Saudi Arabian Riyal
17.35
16.40
14.
Swedish Kroner
8.35
8.15
15.
Swiss Franc
65.95
64.25
16.
UAE Dirham
17.75
16.75
17.
US Dollar
63.85
62.80

 SCHEDULE-II
                       
S.No.
Foreign Currency
Rate of exchange of 100 units of foreign currency equivalent to Indian rupees
(1)    
(2)
(3)


(a)
(b)


(For
Imported
Goods)
(For
Export
Goods)
1.
Japanese Yen
54.05
52.80
2.
Kenya Shilling
72.15
68.05




Report of the High Level Committee headed by Shri T.S.R. Subramanian Report of the High Level Committee headed by Shri T.S.R. Subramanian Reviewed by Ajit Kumar on 8:09 PM Rating: 5

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