President of India congratulates Maj Gen. (Retd.) Muhammadu Buhari on his assumption of office as the President of Nigeria



President of India congratulates Maj Gen. (Retd.) Muhammadu Buhari on his assumption of office as the President of Nigeria

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee has congratulated His Excellency Maj Gen. (Retd.) Muhammadu Buhari on his assumption of the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

In his message to His Excellency Maj Gen. (Retd.) Muhammadu Buhari, the President has said, “On behalf of the Government and the people of India and on my own behalf, it gives me great pleasure to convey to you warm greetings and hearty congratulations as you assume the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Your success in the Presidential elections held in March this year is testimony to the endorsement, by the people of Nigeria, of your vision for a new era of peace, progress and stability in your country.

India and Nigeria have a time-tested and robust bilateral partnership which has been cemented by our shared history of struggle against colonialism and apartheid. We look forward to working closely with you to further deepen the multi-faceted partnership between our two countries”.

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PM meets students from Jammu and Kashmir



A group of 24 schoolchildren from the Mawar Valley in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, today called on the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi.

The students, who are from Classes 6th to 8th, are currently on a tour to various parts of the country, as part of the Indian Army's Operation Sadbhavna.

The Prime Minister interacted with the students, on various subjects such as their studies, and their interest in sports. The students were thrilled when the Prime Minister mentioned the names of cricketer Parvez Rasool, and recent UPSC topper and IAS Officer Shah Faisal. The Prime Minister said he looked forward to meeting these youth icons from the state of Jammu and Kashmir soon.

In a reply to a question from a student, the Prime Minister said the state of Jammu and Kashmir had a lot of potential in sectors such as tourism and horticulture.

The Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Dalbir Singh, was also present.

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Memorandum of Understanding between India and Bangladesh on bilateral cooperation for prevention of human trafficking in women and children: rescue, recovery, repatriation and re-integration of victims of human trafficking

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on prevention of human trafficking especially trafficking in women and children: rescue, recovery, repatriation and reintegration of victims of human trafficking.

The salient features of the MoU are as follows:

i. To strengthen cooperation to prevent all forms of the human trafficking, especially that of women and children and ensure the speedy investigation and prosecution of traffickers and organized crime syndicates in either country;

ii. enumeration of preventive measures that would be taken to eliminate human trafficking in women and children and in protecting the rights of victims of trafficking; and

iii. repatriation of victims would be done as expeditiously as possible and the home country will undertake the safe and effective reintegration of the victims.

Background:

A Task Force of India and Bangladesh was constituted to take coordinated action against individuals/touts/agents involved in human trafficking and meetings of the Task Force are being held regularly. Accordingly, four meetings of the Task Force have been held so far.

During the fourth meeting of the Task Force which was held in Mumbai from 6-7th April, 2014, both sides reviewed the progress on decisions taken in the earlier meetings and held comprehensive discussions and finalized the text of the draft MOU on prevention of human trafficking.

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Revision of the classification/upgradation certain cities/towns on the basis of Census-2011 for the purpose of grant of House Rent Allowance and Transport Allowance to Central Government employees

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval to the proposal of the Ministry of Finance, Department of Expenditure for reclassification/upgradation of certain cities/towns on the basis of Census-2011, for the purpose of grant of House Rent Allowance (HRA) and Transport Allowance to Central Government employees.

On the basis of the final population figures of Census-2011, two cities have qualified for being upgraded from 'Y' class to 'X' class and 21 cities have qualified for being upgraded from 'Z' to 'Y' class for the purpose of HRA. Six cities have qualified for being upgraded from "Other Places" to specified higher class for the purpose of Transport Allowance.

The revised classification of cities shall take effect from 01.04.2014. The impact on the exchequer on account of upgradation of 29 cities, would be approx. Rs.128 crore for the year 2014-15.

Background:

HRA and Transport Allowance are admissible to Central Government employees depending upon employees' Basic Pay (including NPA where applicable)/Grade Pay and the classification of the city/town where they are posted. The existing classification of cities/towns in different classes viz. 'X', 'Y' and 'Z' for the purpose of HRA and 13 specified cities classified earlier as 'A-1'/ 'A' and "Other Places" for the purpose of Transport Allowance, is as per the criterion recommended by the 6th Central Pay Commission. The existing qualifying limits of population for classification for HRA purpose is 50 lakhs & above for 'X', 5 - 50 lakhs for 'Y' and below 5 lakhs for 'Z' class city. Transport allowance is payable at 'higher rates' in 13 specified cities classified earlier as 'A-1' / 'A' (that is those cities having population of 20 lakhs & above) and at 'lower rates' in all other places.

The classification of cities/towns for this purpose is revised on the basis of their population as reflected in the decennial census report. The existing classification of various cities/towns is based on 2001 Census figures. The criterion of population for this purpose has been followed as recommended by the Central Pay Commissions.



Cities/towns to be upgraded on the basis of census-2011 for grant of House Rent Allowance

Cities to be upgraded/re-classified as "X"

Ahmadabad(UA)

Pune (UA)



Cities to be upgraded/re-classified as "Y"

Nellore (UA)

Gurgaon (UA)

Bokaro Steel City (UA)

Gulbarga (UA)

Thrissur (UA)

Malappuram (UA)

Kannur(UA)

Kollam (UA)

Ujjain (M. Coprn.)

Vasai-Virar City (M. Corpn.)

Malegaon (UA)

Nanded-Waghala (M.Corp.)

Sangli (UA)

Raurkela (UA)

Ajmer (UA)

Erode (UA)

Noida (CT)

Firozabad (NPP)

Jhansi (UA)

Siliguri (UA)

Durgapur (UA)



Cities/towns to be upgraded on the basis of census-2011 for grant of Transport Allowance

Cities to be added for higher rates of Transport Allowance (i.e. which have population of more than 20 lakh to qualify for earlier classification as “A-1”/ “A” as stipulated in O.M. No. 21(2)/2008-E.II(B) dated 29.8.2008):



Patna (UA)

Kochi (UA)

Indore (UA)

Coimbatore (UA)

Ghaziabad (UA)

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The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval to amend the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015.

Changes in the provisions of the Act will facilitate farmers to get better compensation and rehabilitation and resettlement benefits in lieu of land compulsorily acquired by the appropriate Government.

The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation & Resettlement Act, 2013 came into effect from 01.01.2014. However, it has been reported that many difficulties are being faced in the implementation of the Act. In addition, procedural difficulties in the acquisition of lands required for important national projects required to be mitigated. In order to remove them, certain amendments were made in the Act while further strengthening the provisions to protect the interests of the 'affected families'. In view of the urgency, these were brought about by an Ordinance on 3112.2014. Subsequently, on 10.03.2015 the Lok Sabha passed the Amendment Bill to replace the Ordinance. The Amendment Bill passed by the Lok Sabha includes some further changes to the Ordinance. The important changes brought about by the amendment are as follows:

i. Compensation in accordance with the First Schedule and rehabilitation and resettlement specified in the Second and Third Schedules of the Act are extended to the thirteen Acts mentioned in the Fourth Schedule of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation & Resettlement Act, 2013, namely, - (1) The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958, (2) The Atomic Energy Act, 1962, (3) The Damodar Valley Corporation Act, 1948, (3) The Indian Tramways Act, 1886, (4) The Land Acquisition (Mines)Act, 1885, (6) The Metro Railways (Construction of Works)Act, 1978, (7) The National Highways Act, 1956; ( 8) The Petroleum and Minerals Pipelines (Acquisition of Right of User in Land) Act, 1962; (9). The Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property Act, 1952; (10) The Resettlement of Displaced Persons (Land Acquisition) Act, 1948; (11) The Coal Bearing Areas Acquisition and Development Act, 1957 (12) The Electricity Act, 2003; (13) The Railways Act, 1989.

ii. In order to expedite the process of land acquisition for strategic and development activities such as national security or defence of India including preparation for defence and defence production; rural infrastructure including electrification; affordable housing and housing for poor; industrial corridors set up by the appropriate government and its undertakings (in which case the land shall be acquired upto 1 km on both sides of the designated railway line or roads for such industrial corridors); infrastructure projects including projects under public private partnership where the ownership of the land continues to vest with the Government, appropriate governments are empowered to take steps for exemption from "Social Impact Assessment" and "Special Provisions for Safeguarding Food Security". In addition acquisition for such projects are exempted from the "Consent" provisions of the Act as well. However, the appropriate governments are required to ensure that the extent of land for the proposed acquisition, is the bare minimum land required for the project. The appropriate government is also required to undertake a survey of wastelands including arid land and maintain a record detailing the same.

(iii) Prior to the amendment, the provisions of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation & Resettlement (RFCTLARR) Act 2013, extended to a 'private company'. However, as per the Companies Act, 2013, a 'Private company’ means a company having a minimum paid-up share capital of one lakh rupees or such higher paid-up share capital, thereby restricting the provisions of the Act to such companies only and excluding other form of companies like proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, nonprofit organizations, etc. Therefore, in place of the term 'private company', the term 'private entity' has been substituted thereby including all non¬governmental entities.

(iv) Further, as The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation & Resettlement Act, 2013 was drafted prior to the passage of the Companies Act, 2013, the Act referred to the Companies Act, 1956 for the definition of 'Company'; which is substituted by the Companies Act, 2013.

(v) In cases where land acquisition process under Land Acquisition Act, 1894 had been initiated and the Award was passed, but either possession of land was not taken or compensation was not paid, there is provision of lapsing of such proceedings after five years of passing of Award. The period during which the proceedings for acquisition of land was held up on account of any stay or injunction issued by any court is excluded for the purpose of calculation of five years period. Similarly the period where possession has been taken but compensation is lying deposited in a court or in any designated account is also to be excluded in the calculation of the five years.

(vi) Section 46 of the Act was amended to clarify that provisions relating to rehabilitation and resettlement in case of land purchased through private negotiations is applicable in cases when land is purchased by persons other than the Government, Government Company and Trust or Society aided or controlled by the Government.

(vii) To facilitate the process of hearing of objections by land losers, the authority, constituted for this purpose, shall hear such objections within the district where the land has been acquired.

(viii) When an offence under this Act is committed by any person who is employed in the Central or State Government at the time of commission of such an alleged offence, the court will take cognizance of offences under this Act provided the procedure laid down in section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 is followed.

(ix) The period provided in Section 101 for return of unutilized land has been modified to five years or the period specified for the completion of the project.

(x) The provision of "Removal of Difficulties" was made applicable to the entire Act rather than 'Part’ as the word 'part' was used in the Act inadvertently. Further, the time period to remove the difficulties was extended from two years at present to five years.

Background:

The Department of Land Resources (DoLR) is administering the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act (hereinafter referred to as Act), 2013. This Act came into force on 01.01.2014 by repealing the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. It was observed that some provisions of the Act were making the implementation of the Act difficult and this made it necessary to bring changes in the Act, while safeguarding the interest of farmers and affected families in cases of land acquisition.

Accordingly, a Conference of State Revenue Ministers was organized in Delhi in June, 2014. Suggestions received from the State Governments, Union Territories, Ministries/Departments and other stake holders were considered. Further, consultation with Secretaries and officers of concerned ministries administering the Acts mentioned in the Fourth Schedule of the Act were held in October, 2014. Based on these discussions and deliberations, some amendments were proposed in the Act. Accordingly, the Cabinet in its meeting held on 29.12.2014 approved the proposal of the Department of Land Resources to amend the RFCTLARR Act, 2013 and to promulgate the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Ordinance, 2014. The Cabinet also approved the proposal of the Department to introduce a replacement bill in the Parliament to replace the Ordinance. Accordingly, RFCTLARR (Amendment) Ordinance, 2014 was promulgated on 3112.2014. The Budget Session of the Parliament that is 4th Session of the 16th Lok Sabha and 234th Session of Rajya Sabha commenced on 23.02.2015.

The Bill was taken up for consideration and passed by the Lok Sabha on 10.03.2015 incorporating the official amendments to the Bill. The Minister of Rural Development has also given notice for Motion for Consideration and Passing of the Bill Passed in Lok Sabha to the Secretary General Rajya Sabha on 13.03.2015. However, the Bill could not be taken up for consideration in the Rajya Sabha as the Rajya Sabha was adjourned on 20.03.2015.

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Agreement on Coastal Shipping between India and Bangladesh

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval to the agreement on Coastal Shipping between India and Bangladesh to carry out coastal movement of goods between the two countries.

Exim trade between India and Bangladesh would be benefited by way of reduction in freight charges. It will also improve the utilization of port capacities of Indian ports and open up new opportunity for Indian coastal vessels. It will also help in decongestion of roads especially at the Land custom stations/integrated check posts at the Indo-Bangladesh boarder.

The Indian ports serving as transshipment ports for Bangladesh cargo will derive benefits by way of enhanced throughput as a result of Indo-Bangladesh coastal trade.

India and Bangladesh shall render the same treatment to the other country's vessels as it would have done to its national vessels used in international sea transportation.

The commencement of coastal shipping between the India and Bangladesh will increase bilateral trade between the two countries and lower down the cost of transportation of Exim cargo.

Background:

India's trade with Bangladesh has grown rapidly during the past few years. Bangladesh is now India's largest trade partner in South Asia. The opening up of the coastal route between India and Bangladesh is expected to provide an alternative route for the transportation of Exim cargo between the two countries.

Currently there is no significant cargo movement between sea Ports of Bangladesh and India as it is not profitable for the big ocean going vessels to operate between the sea ports of the two countries. Therefore, to reduce the cost of shipping operation, a lower but pragmatic standard of vessel known as River Sea Vessel (RSV) has been prescribed for coastal shipping. The RSV category has significantly lower construction and operation cost without compromising on the safety of the vessel. For the Indo-Bangladesh coastal shipping, the RSV category of vessel has been agreed upon by both the countries.

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Memorandum of Understanding between India and Sweden on cooperation in the field of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Sweden on cooperation in the field of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.

The objective of the MoU is to promote cooperation between the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises of the two countries. It provides a structured framework and enabling environment to the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) sector of the two countries to understand each other's strengths, markets, technologies, policies etc. It also contains an agreement between the two countries to enable their respective MSMEs to participate in each other's trade fairs/exhibitions and to exchange business delegations, to understand policy and explore markets so that joint ventures, tie-ups, technology transfer etc. could take place. It does not contain or involve any financial, legal or political commitment on the part of either party. In no case does it attract any financial liability on the part of the Government of India.

This kind of cooperation opens up doors of new opportunities for the Indian MSME sector by way of new markets, joint ventures, sharing of best practices and technology collaborations etc. The Ministry of MSME has so far entered into long term agreements for cooperation in the MSME sector with counterpart Ministries/Organisations of 17 countries namely, Tunisia, Romania, Rwanda, Mexico, Uzbekistan, Lesotho, Sri Lanka, Algeria, Sudan, Cote d'lvoire, Egypt, Botswana, South Korea, Mozambique, Indonesia, Vietnam and Mauritius.

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President of India congratulates Maj Gen. (Retd.) Muhammadu Buhari on his assumption of office as the President of Nigeria President of India congratulates Maj Gen. (Retd.) Muhammadu Buhari on his assumption of office as the President of Nigeria Reviewed by Ajit Kumar on 6:10 PM Rating: 5

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