Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) Current Affairs

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Union Cabinet Approves Abolition of FIPB

The Union Cabinet has approved the abolition of 25 year old FIPB. Henceforth, concerned ministries will be responsible for direct approval of foreign investment proposals. The decision falls in line with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s proposal to scrap FIPB in this year’s Union Budget.

FIPB was constituted in the mid-nineties under the Prime Minister’s Office following economic liberalisation.

Rationale

Over 90% of the FDI inflows in value terms enters through automatic route. The government expects that scrapping of FIPB would help in ease of doing business. At present, only 11 sectors, including defence and retail trading needs government approval for foreign direct investment (FDI).

New Mechanism

FDI proposals would be approved by the ministries concerned by following the standard operating procedure approved by the Cabinet. Those 11 sectors that require approval would be dealt directly by the concerned ministry.

In proposals related to security, the proposals will also need to require the approval of Home Ministry.

Those proposals which are presently pending before the FIPB will be sent back to the ministries concerned.

The FDI proposals above Rs 5,000 crore will continue to come under the purview of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA). 

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Union Cabinet Approves Pharma Mission to Develop Bio-Pharmaceuticals

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved a collaborative mission between industry and academia called ‘Innovate in India empowering biotech entrepreneurs and accelerating inclusive innovation‘ that is aimed at accelerating research for early development of bio-pharmaceuticals. 

Salient Highlights

The mission would attract an investment of Rs 1,500 crore from the central government over a period of five years. Half of the funding would be funded through a loan from World Bank.

The mission will be implemented by Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a public sector undertaking working under the Department of Biotechnology (DBT).

The mission will focus on key areas that would supplement country’s technological and product development capabilities in the biopharmaceutical sector to enable the sector to become globally competitive over the next 10-15 years.

The significance of the mission lies in the fact that National Biotechnology Development Strategy 2015-2020 announced by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) lays emphasis on making the country achieve USD 100 billion biotech industry by 2025. 

The mission will concentrate on development of specific products such as vaccines, biotherapeutics, medical devices and diagnostics etc. Besides, the mission will also work on establishment of shared infrastructure and facilities.

The mission will help in building and strengthening domain specific knowledge and management skills at the same time creating and enhancing technology transfer capabilities in public and private sector.

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CCEA gives Approval to New Coal Linkage Policy

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved a new coal linkage policy to ensure adequate supply of the fuel to power plants through reverse auction. The new policy will help in ensuring fuel supplies to the power plants in an organised manner.

Need

Though, the government’s initiatives and prevailing market conditions to a large extent has helped to bring down the prices of the dry fuel and boosted the domestic production, a proper mechanism for providing coal linkages to power plants at competitive rates was lacking. The new policy will address this issue and will ensure proper sourcing of the dry fuel by the power plants as per their schedules.

Coal linkage policy

Coal linkage policy is a policy designated by the union government for the allocation of coal among thermal power plants. Inadequate availability of domestic coal coupled with high price for imported coal requires the government to allocate the available coal rationally among the power plants. This is especially necessary as the coal producing firms are public sector companies. Also, the pricing of coal is an another important issue. In this context, the government designates coal linkage policies to allocate coal among different thermal power plants.

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