The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved continuation of the Scheme for Integrated Textile Parks (SITP) in the 12th five year plan. It also approved new projects for utilizing the balance of Rs 717 crore left in the 12thfive year plan allocation, after meeting committed liabilities of the sanctioned 61 parks.
What are the objectives of Scheme for Integrated Textile Parks (SITP)?
The main objective SITP is to provide the industry with world class infrastructure facilities for setting up their textile units. The product mix in these parks would include apparels and garments parks, hosiery parks, silk parks, processing parks, technical textiles including medical textiles, carpet parks and powerloom parks. SITP seeks green field investments in textiles sector on a public private partnership basis with the objective of setting up world class infrastructure for Textiles industry. Each Integrated Textile Park (ITP) would normally have 50 units. The number of entrepreneurs and the resultant investments in each ITP could vary from project to project.
The ITPs may also be set up in the Special Economic Zones (SEZs), in which case the special provisions of SEZs would be applicable for them. In case these are set up outside SEZs, proposal may be pursued with the Ministry of Commerce & Industry to declare the ITP as SEZ, if it is so desired.
The Scheme for Integrated Textile Parks (SITP) was approved in the 10th Five Year Plan (July 2005) to provide the industry with world-class infrastructure facilities for establishing their textile units by merging the erstwhile Apparel Parks for Exports Scheme (APES) and Textile Centre Infrastructure Development Scheme (TCIDS).
The ‘Scheme for Integrated Textile Parks (SITP)’ was launched by merging two schemes, namely, Apparel Parks for Exports Scheme (APES) and the Textiles Centre Infrastructure Development Scheme (TCIDS).
Role of State Government:
- Providing all the requisite clearances, wherever needed, for setting up the ITP and providing the necessary assistance for Power, Water and other utilities to the ITP.
- Assist in identification and procurement of suitable land.
- The State Government agencies like Infrastructure/Industrial Development Corporations may also participate in the projects by way of subscribing to the equity of SPV or by providing grants.
- The total project cost shall be funded through a mix of Equity/Grant – from the Ministry of Textiles, State Government, State Industrial Development Corporation, Industry, Project Management Consultant and Loan – from Banks/ Financial Institutions.
- The Government of India’s (GOI) support under the Scheme by way of Grant or Equity will be limited to 40% of the project cost subject to a ceiling of Rs. 40 crore.
- GOI support under the Scheme will be generally in the form of grant to the SPV unless specifically decided to be equity.
- The combined equity stake of GOI/State Government/State Industrial Development Corporation, if any, should not exceed 49% if the enhanced ratio of 40:60/49:51 is maintained.
- Central Government will be entitled to place a nominee on the Board of the Park as per scheme guidelines.
- GOI support will be provided @90% of the project cost subject to a ceiling of Rs. 40 crore for first two projects in the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, Sikkim and & Kashmir.
Rajan Committee’s new methodology to replace ‘special category’ status for devolution of funds to States
The panel set up by the government under the chairmanship of the then Chief Economic Advisor Raghuram Rajan (now RBI governor) has suggested ending the ‘special category’ criteria for providing additional assistance to poorer states.
Why did the government set up the Rajan Committee?
The Union Government set up Raghuram Rajan Committee amid demands for “special category” status by Bihar and some other status to get additional financial assistance from the Centre. The Committee was tasked to suggest methods for identifying backwardness of states using a variety of criteria and also to recommend how the criteria may be reflected in future planning and devolution of funds from the central government to the states.
What are the key recommendations of the Rajan Committee?
The Rajan Committee has made two key recommendations for devolution of funds to states. They are:
a) A new methodology based on a ‘Multi Dimensional Index (MDI)’.
Depending on the scores of the 28 states on the MDI, they will be split into 3 categories:
- Least developed
- Less developed
- Relatively developed
b) Each state should get a basic fixed allocation and an additional allocation depending on its development needs and development performance.
As per the Committee, these two recommendations, along with the allocation methodology, will effectively subsume what is now “Special Category” status.
According to the MDI scores:
- Least Developed states: Odisha, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
- Less Developed states: Manipur, West Bengal, Nagaland, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Mizoram, Gujarat, Tripura, Karnataka, Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh.
- Relatively Developed states: Goa, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Maharashtra, Uttrakhand and Haryana.
The Department of Economic Affairs will soon examine the report and take necessary action.
The National Waterway (Lakhipur-Bhanga Stretch of the Barak River) Bill, 2013 has been passed by the Rajya Sabha. The Bill aims to develop the 121 km Barak river stretch in Assam as country’s sixth National Waterway that would particularly benefit Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh by facilitating cargo movement there.
Cost and Benefits:
- The project will need an investment of Rs 123 crore and an expenditure of Rs 3.6 crore per annum would be incurred for maintenance of navigation aids, terminals and dredging.
- The projects would be implemented in two phases in total span of 5 years by Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) set up under IWAI Act, 1985.The first phase of the project would be completed by 2016-17 followed by the second phase which is likely to be completed by 2018-19.
- The Bill provides for unified development of waterways for shipping, navigation and transportation of cargo to the northeastern region.
- The waterway has the potential to transport 12.45 lakh tonne of cargo like tea, coffee, iron, steel and coal per annum after its development by 2018-19. It will not only expand infrastructure there but would benefit lakhs of people.
- It will save a lot of time and resources wasted in transporting over-sized cargo to the North East.
A Judicial Commission appointed by Supreme Court has noted the misuse of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act or AFSPA as the armed forces were indulging in gross violation of human rights by operating under the shield of the controversial law.
The Commission was formed by the apex court to investigate alleged cases of extra judicial killings in Manipur. In September 2012, the Extrajudicial Execution Victim Families Association (EEVFAM)) along with Human Rights Alert (HRA) submitted a list of 1,528 cases of killings in Manipur since 1979 before the Supreme Court and demanded investigation into the deaths.
What were the findings of the Judicial Commission appointed by the Supreme Court on cases of extra judicial killings in Manipur?
The Commission stated that the six sample cases of encounters it investigated were not genuine and that maximum force was used to kill people. It held that the reason for the outcome was the fact that the Act gives comprehensive powers to security forces even to extend of killing a suspect with protection against prosecution, it does not provide any protection to the citizens against its possible misuse.