On February 28, 2018, Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved following initiatives:
Centres doubles guarantee for procurement of pulses, oilseeds at MSP
Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved a proposal to double the guarantee for availing credit by National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) from Rs 9500 crore to Rs 19000 crore for procuring pulses and oilseeds at the Minimum Support Price (MSP).
- As the current marketprice of almost all pulses and oilseeds are quoting below MSP, this government guarantee will protect the interest of farmers producing these commodities and thereby avoiding a situation wherein they have to resort to distress sales during the peak arrival period.
- This decision will not only help to provide remunerative prices to farmers but will also encourage higher investment and production, which in turn will assure adequate supplies at reasonable prices for consumers.
Cabinet approves amendments to multiple allowances for MPs
Union Cabinet has approved amendments to Housing and Telephone Facilities Rules, Constituency allowance rules and office expense allowance rules for Members of Parliament (MPs).
- Owing to these amendments, a Government fund for furniture at the residences of Members of Parliament has been hiked from Rs. 75000 to Rs. 100000, Constituency Allowance has been hiked from Rs. 45000 to Rs. 70000 and Office Expense Allowance for Members of Parliament has been increased from Rs. 45000/- per month to Rs. 60000/- per month.
- These amendments will be effective from April 1, 2018 and shall be increased after every five years starting from April 1, 2023 on the basis of Cost Inflation Index.
Cabinet approves bill to tackle human trafficking, improve rehabilitation of victims
Union Cabinet has approved Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018, to deal with ‘Trafficking in human beings’, which is the third largest organized crime violating basic human rights. Some of the important provisions of this bill are as follows:
- The bill seeks action against aggravated forms of trafficking, which includes trafficking for the purpose of forced labour, trafficking of a woman or child for the purpose of marriage, begging etc.
- Punishment for promoting or facilitating trafficking of person which includes forging/tampering documents for compliance purpose.
- Victims are entitled to interim relief immediately within 30 days
- Rehabilitation Fund is to be created which will be used for the physical, psychological and social well-being of victims.
Cabinet approves continuation of PMEGP beyond 12th Plan for 3 years
Union Cabinet has approved the continuation of Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) beyond the 12th Plan period (2012-2017) for three years up to 2019-20.
- PMEGP is a credit linked subsidy programme for generation of employment opportunities through establishment of micro enterprises in rural as well as urban areas.
- Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) is the nodal implementation agency for implementation of PMEGP at national level.
- Extending this programme for another three years will generate sustainable employment opportunities for 15 lakh persons.
- The programme has been continued with a total outlay of Rs 5500 crore.