Infrastructure Sectors Such as Coal, Power and Cement have been Recording Double Digit Growth

FM: Infrastructure Sectors Such as Coal, Power and Cement have been Recording Double Digit 

Growth in the Last Few Months While Growth in Manufacturing Sector is Still Patchy; Reviving Manufacturing is One of the Major Challenges of our Economic Management 

The Union Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley said that the Infrastructure Sectors such as coal, power and cement have been recording double digit growth in the last few months while growth in manufacturing sector is still patchy. He said that reviving manufacturing, diversifying its base and equipping it for robust long run expansion is one of the major challenges of our economic management. The Finance Minister, Shri Jaitley was making the Opening Remarks during the Pre Budget Consultative Meeting with the representatives of Trade and Industry here today. He said that we still have lot of distance to cover. The Finance Minister said that ease of doing business is high priority for the Government. He said that we are working on a task given the Prime Minister to improve India’s ranking on the ease of doing business index. He said that implementation of GST is expected to improve the tax administration regime and would help in bringing more transparency in the system and ensure smooth flow of goods. It will also help in better implementation and collection of taxes. He said that reforms measures undertaken by the present Government in coal sector, insurance and amendments in Land Acquisition Act etc will make a major difference in improving the Indian economy’s performance. 

The meeting was attended among others by Shri Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Finance, Shri Rajiv Mehrishi, Finance Secretary, Shri Shaktikanta Dass, Revenue Secretary, Dr. Hasmukh Adhia, Secretary (DFS), Ms. Ardhana Johri, Secretary (Disinvestment), Shri Rajiv Kher, Secretary, Department of Commerce, Ms. Anita Kapur, Chairperson, CBDT, Shri Kaushal Srivastava, Chairman, CBEC, and Ms. Aditi S. Ray, Principal Adviser, DIPP among officers while the representatives of Industry and Trade included Shri Ajay Shriram, President, CII, Shri Rana Kapoor, President, ASSOCHAM, Dr. Jyotsna Suri, President, FICCI, Shri D. Gandhi Kumar, President, Federation of Indian Micro and Small & Medium Enterprises (FISME), Ms. Rajni Agarwal, President, Federation of Indian Women Entrepreneurs (FIWE), Shri M. Rafeeque Ahmed, President, FIEO, Shri Vipul Shah, Chairman, Gems & Jewellery Export Promotion Council, Shri Ashish Gupta, Consulting CEO, Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH), Shri A. Sakthivel, Tirupur Exporters’ Association, Shri R.C. Bhargava, Chairman, Maruti Suzuki India, Shri R. Shankar Raman, CFO, L&T, , Shri Amit Bakshi, ERIS Life Sciences, Shri S.B. Misra, MINEX Metalurgical, , Shri Ratin Basu, MD, Aistom India, Shri Sunil Sood, COO, Vodafone India, Shri G.H. Singhania, CMD, Raymonds Ltd., Shri Anupam Shah, Chairman, EEPC India, Shri K.N. Bajaj, Bajaj Group, and Shri Shashi Ruia, ESSAR Group among others. 

The representatives of Trade and Industry made various recommendations for consideration of the Union Finance Minister while formulating the budgetary proposals for the financial year 2015-16. The major recommendations include measures for fiscal consolidation, promoting investment (both domestic and foreign), containing inflation, generating employment and creating skills as well as for facilitating ease of doing business among others. Other recommendations include flag-off strategic sale of loss making Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs), deployment of PSUs surplus funds to add and expand capacity, effect phased dilution of Government stakes in Public Sector Banks to 51%, create a National Asset Management Company (NAMCO) which would take NPAs off the bank’s balance sheet and also focus on reconsolidation, recapitalization and refinancing of banks, encourage use of the reverse BOT structuring to finance infrastructure projects where the initial construction cost is borne by the Government/PSUs ; and to fund programmes such as Swacch Bharat Ahbiyan, Clean Ganga Programme, creation of Smart Cities, create an SPV based on a revenue generated model among others. 

It was suggested that all major subsidies be made available to only BPL households, create a Fuel Price Stabilization Fund to check volatility in fuel prices, implement PSU disinvestment systematically, strategy required on restructuring/ privatization of loss making PSUs (both Centre and States). The representatives of trade and industry also suggested incentives to kick start investment, fast track clearance of stalled/stuck projects and encourage investments in infrastructure funds/trusts, and development of an efficient and Vibrant Corporate Bond Market among others. 

Various suggestions were also made with regard to tax reforms and tax administration including genuine efforts to establish non-adversarial and conducive tax environment, tax regime to be made predictable, sustainable and transparent among others. 

Some of the representatives suggested the need for affordable housing, digitization of land records, single window clearances, introduction of municipal bonds, smart city bonds. Some of the representatives emphasized the need for higher investment in health care and education sector and to focus on generation of resources through railways to meet requirements of other infrastructure sector, and consolidation of regulators etc. It was also suggested that woman on Board of Directors of all Public Sector Banks and Financial Institutions be made mandatory, establishment of National Tourism Holding Company with tripartite agreement with State Government for global bidding fund for large international conventions and sport events tec. 

In order to boost the exports, it was suggested among others that the removal of duty on petroleum products imports under advance licenses, expediting payment of duty drawback and central excise rebate claims, exemption from excise duty on purchase of capital goods from indigenous manufacturers under EPCG scheme, service tax exemptions for exports and currency hedging not be treated as speculative transaction rather be treated at par with trading in derivatives, incentivizing manufacturing firms in exports, safe harbor rules for contract manufacturing for other sectors including pharma, continuation of interest subvention scheme for a further period of three years( it expired on 31st March, 2014) and setting-up of an Export Development Fund with focus on marketing research and innovative tools of marketing as it would help not only existing exporters but would also attract new entrepreneurs in the field of exports. 

Other suggestions include continuous support for export of small cars, extension of Investment Allowance under Section 32 Ac of IT Act to the non-corporate sector including readymade garment manufacturers and minimum ceiling of investment maybe scaled down from Rs. 25 crore to Rs. 1 crore among others. 

Some of the trade representatives appreciated the Government’s bold steps to issue Ordinances with regard to coal blocks’ auction, insurance laws and Amendments in Land Acquisition Act etc. which indicates that Government is decisive and fully committed in making reforms. 


Union Home Minister approves concessions for the West Pakistan Refugees of Jammu and Kashmir 

Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh has approved certain concessions for the West Pakistan Refugees (WPRs) settled in the State of Jammu and Kashmir after considering the problems being faced by them. He has directed the Heads of all Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) that such WPRs from J&K, who are Indian citizens and have valid Voter IDs, be considered for recruitment in the forces, including the special recruitment drives conducted in the State. 

As of now, WPRs face difficulty to fulfil documentary evidence of residency in support of their applications as the CAPFs recruitment rules seek furnishing of Domicile Certificate (DC) from the candidates while the State Government issues only Voter ID with Non-Permanent Residency (NPR) status to such Indian nationals. 

The Union Home Minister has also written to the Defence Minister Shri Manohar Parrikar that similar concessions, like waiving off the condition of producing DC and other Identity Certificate, may be permitted in the recruitment to the Armed Forces. 

Shri Rajnath Singh has also written a letter to the State Government of J&K to resume issuing the DC to WPRs settled in the State so as to enable such people avail equal employment opportunities. 

On the directions of the Union Home Minister, instructions have also been issued to the Department of School Education in the Ministry of Human Resource Development to accommodate the children of such WPRs of J&K for admission to the Kendriya Vidyalayas in the State. Similar instructions have also been issued to the Department of Higher Education in the Ministry of Human Resource Development to extend those concessions available to the wards of Kashmiri migrants to the wards of WPRs of J&K for admission to technical/professional institutes outside J&K. 


JJ clusters to be redeveloped to make Delhi slum-free 

Guidelines for redevelopment of 685 JJ clusters to be framed in one week 

To improve the living conditions of the people of JJ clusters of Delhi, all the 685 such clusters will be taken up for redevelopment in the next five years. This issue was discussed at length at a meeting convened by Minister of Urban Development Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu today. Secretaries of the Ministries of Urban Development and Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation, Vice-Chairman of DDA, Principle Secretary(UD), Govt. of Delhi, Chief Executive of Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board and other concerned senior officers attended the meeting. 

Shri Venkaiah Naidu said that Delhi needs to be made slum-free to enable seamless urban development. Responding to the issue of operation of mafia elements coming in the way of slum redevelopment, he said that such elements shall be weeded out with an iron hand. 

During the meeting, it was brought to the notice of Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu that earlier attempts for redevelopment of JJ clusters could not progress due to lack of guidelines in the matter besides vested interests seeking to subvert such attempts. 

After detailed discussions, it was decided that: 

1.Necessary Guidelines would be evolved in the next week jointly by the central and Delhi governments; 

2.Redevelopment of JJ clusters of Delhi could be considered based on the models followed in Gujarat, Mumbai and Chennai as appropritate; 

3.Cut-off date of 1.6.2014 will be considered for identifying the beneficiaries in JJ clusters. 

Out of the total Delhi population of 1.64 cr as per 2011 Census, 18 lakhs live in slums. DUSIB has identified 685 JJ clusters with 3.50 lakh households occupying 800 hectares of land. As per the Delhi Government’s policy, DUSIB seeks to enhance population density of 900 persons per hectare through construction of Ground + 13 units. This would entail construction of about 3 lakh housesin 320 hectares of available land. About 55,000 houses are at various stages of construction taken up under JNNURM. 


State Education Ministers Endorse Credit Framework for Skills and Choice Based Credit System 

The Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of Higher Education convened a meeting of all State Education Ministers looking after Higher/Technical Education, on 6th January 2015, to discuss adoption of the Credit Framework for Skills and the Choice Based Credit System in Colleges and State Public Universities. The meeting was chaired by the Union Minister of Human Resource Development, Smt Smriti Zubin Irani and attended by Ministers of State in the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Shri Upendra Kushwaha and Prof. (Dr.) Ram Shankar Katheria. The Credit Framework for Skills in education was launched on the National Education Day. It was followed by a two day national consultation with the best of Universities and Colleges implementing Community Colleges and Bachelors in Vocational Study Course, besides Career Oriented Courses on 6-7 December, 2014. 

Ministers from all the States endorsed the Credit Framework for Skills and the new Choice Based Credit System Guidelines issued by the University Grants Commission recently. A presentation was also made on reforms in teacher education and the recently approved regulations of the National Council of Teacher Education for improving the quality of B. Ed. Courses. The States welcomed the initiative. 

The Conference was unanimous that adoption of the Credit Framework for Skills and the Choice Based Credit System is one of the best ways to bring about changes to meet student aspirations and employment needs. The Credit Framework for Skills also signals respect for skills and vocational courses in mainstream higher education, an initiative that will help change the mind set about vocational education being an inferior option. The Choice Based Credit System opens up possibilities for students pursuing skills and courses of their choice to enhance their employability. 

All State Ministers of Higher /Technical Education endorsed the Credit Framework for Skills and the Choice Based Credit System. The Union Minister of Human Resource Development Shrimati Smriti Zubin Irani, accepted the suggestion of the Ministers from Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra to set up a Joint Working Group comprising Central and State Government nominees to sort out the critical issues in the implementation of the Credit Framework and the Choice Based Credit System. She also agreed to the setting up of a Grievance Cell in the University Grants Commission addressing challenges emanating from its implementation. 


Ministry of Labour and Employment strives to safeguard the interests of workers in organized and unorganized sectors 

Following material was distributed in the Press Conference addressed by the Minister of State (IC) for Labour & Employment, Shri Bandaru Dattatreya, here today.

            The Ministry of Labour and Employment strives to safeguard the interests of workers from the country’s organized and unorganized sectors, while simultaneously providing an enabling environment for industry. Labour is one of the most critical factors of production. The Ministry of Labour & Employment is committed to promote an environment conducive for the country’s inclusive growth and development.
The welfare and social security of workers  besides imparting training to the unskilled labour force via vocational skills training, to improve their quality of life through progressive policies, programmes, schemes constitutes the core priorities for the Ministry.
Initiatives for Organised worker:
Social Security for Organized Workers:

Initiatives by EPFO:

(i)                 Digitization of complete database of  4,24,58,329 EPF subscribers and allotment of UAN to each of them.

(ii)               UAN is being seeded with Bank account and Aadhar Card and other KYC details for financial inclusion.

(iii)             EPF account of employee to be updated monthly and at the same time he will be informed through SMS.

(iv)             Direct access to their EPF accounts and will also enable them to consolidate all their previous accounts.

Initiatives in Progress:
(i)                 Special drive is being taken up for enrolling contract and construction workers.

Initiatives by ESIC:
(i)                 Ceiling on funds given to States increased from existing Rs.1500 per IP family to Rs.2000 from 1.4.2014 with provisions of  incremental increase every year

(ii)               State Executive Committee to be constituted which would ensure availability of medical/para medical manpower, drugs, monitor SST referrals and shall have powers to empanel/de-empanel tie up hospitals and also powers for special repairs i.e. Rs. 3 crore for 200 bedded and Rs.5 crore for more than 200 bedded hospitals


(iii)             To ensure wider access of medical care to Insured Persons(IP)/their families as well as to non-IPs, the Corporation has taken up with all State Governments for utilization of underutilized dispensaries/ hospitals of ESIS/ESIC to non-IPs and vice a versa.


(iv)             Coverage of ESI Act extended to 56 new areas in the country during 2014-15(upto 30.12.2014).
(v)               Completion of 300 bedded hospital at Kandivali, Mumbai and 300 bedded portions at Alwar, Rajasthan.
Initiatives for Unorganised Worker:
1.                  Social Security for Unorganized Workers:

Initiatives in progress
 Issue of Unorganised Workers Card as per the Act

(i)                                       Identification and registration of unorganized workers as per the Unorganized Workers Social Security Act, 2008 leading to creation of database of unorganized workers.

(ii)                                     Issue of portable, smart card to unorganized workers with linkages with Aadhar No. and Bank account No.

(iii)                                    Convergence of three Social Security Schemes for unorganized workers on a single platform namely RSBY, AABY and IGNOAPS.

(iv)                                   Workers Facilitation Centre as Single point of contact for Social Security Scheme for Unorganized Workers.

(v)                                     Holistic monitoring of schemes for assessment of access to and quality of services to unorganized workers.


2.                  National Workers Vocational University:
(i)     Vocational stream is important for our economy.  Recent studies have shown that only around 18% of engineering graduates are employable due to lack of hands on practice.  People with strong skill background and strong knowledge background are the important drivers in areas like advanced design, testing, research and teaching/training.
(ii)   Present academic structure in our country lays great emphasis on class room learning which is not suitable for providing career pathways to vocational trained persons who acquire very significant experiential learning.
(iii) Therefore, in order to provide career pathways in vocational stream leading to higher qualifications, and also to develop proper research and develop infrastructure for vocational training, a national institute of higher learning has become absolutely necessary.
(iv) Germany has demonstrated the success of vocational training by attracting large number of its population to this stream.  It has several universities offering courses of higher learning which leverage experiential learning of skilled workforce.
(v)   Building upon the agreement in Indo-German cooperation, Ministry of Labour & Employment has constituted a Steering Committee under the chairpersonship of Secretary, Labour & Employment and with representatives from NSDA, Ministry of HRD, DEA, Planning Commission, Universities and expertise institutions and CII to evolve the objectives and other details of the proposed institution.
(vi) The Steering Committee has agreed that the Ministry of Labour & Employment should immediately take steps for setting up National Workers Vocational University in order to leverage experiential learning, provide pathways for upward mobility and to provide necessary framework and expertise in the areas of research and institutional development for vocational training.  The university would facilitate continuous learning by Indian workforce.  A Core Group is being set up to work out further details.
(vii)  Collaboration with industry would be a key feature of the structure of the proposed university.  Industry would be associated with its various activities.  The university would also have partnerships with other universities/institutions of higher learning and training institutions.  It is proposed that the university would have main campus at Hyderabad, Telengana with regional campuses at Ludhiana, Kolkata, Gujarat and Chennai.  Land/premises are already available at Ludhiana, Kolkata and Chennai.

ACC Appointment 

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the proposal for entrusting additional charge of the post of DG, Bureau of Indian Standards to Shri G. Gurucharan, IAS (KN:82), Additional Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs for a period of three months w.e.f. 28.11.2014 or till a new incumbent is appointed, whichever is earlier. 


Infrastructure Sectors Such as Coal, Power and Cement have been Recording Double Digit Growth Infrastructure Sectors Such as Coal, Power and Cement have been Recording Double Digit  Growth Reviewed by Ajit Kumar on 11:46 AM Rating: 5

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