India-Bhutan Current Affairs

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Union Cabinet approves the Revised Cost Estimate of Punatsangchhu-II Hydroelectric Project in Bhutan

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for Revised Cost Estimate (RCE) of 7290.62 crore rupees for the ongoing 1020 MW Punatsangchhu-II Hydroelectric Project (HEP) in Bhutan.

The Hydroelectric project seeks to provide surplus power to India and thus augment power availability in the country.

The approval of RCE would enable project works to proceed smoothly without interruption and the total cost escalation for the project after RCE at this stage is 3512.82 crore rupees.

Background

  • India and Bhutan had signed a bilateral agreement to execute the Punatsangchhu-II HEP in April 2010.
  • The project was approved cost of 3777.8 crore rupees with funding by Union Government as 30% grant and 70% loan at 10% annual interest.
  • The main factors behind cost escalation were due to inflation from March 2009 to March 2015 and increase in capacity of HEP from 990 MW to 1020 MW.
  • Besides, change in surface power house to underground power house and additional requirements of Bhutan’s National Transmission Grid Master Plan and adverse geological condition also escalated the cost.

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Union Cabinet approves MoU between UPSC and Bhutan’s Royal Civil Service Commission

The Union Cabinet has approved Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC), Bhutan.

Decision in this regard was taken in the Union Cabinet Meeting presided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.

Key Facts

  • The MoU will strengthen the existing relationship between UPSC and RCSC. It will also facilitate sharing of expertise and experience of both the parties in the area of recruitment.
  • It will also develop institutionalized linkage between the Public Service Commission of both the countries, which share the common ideals.

The MoU covers areas of cooperation in

  • Sharing of expertise and experience in Civil Service matters such as selection and recruitment, exchange of resources and development of professional skills of the officers and staff through training and attachment programs.
  • Sharing of expertise on use of Information Technology (IT) in Computer Based Recruitment Tests and Examinations.
  • Sharing of experience in Single Window System for speedy disposal of cases, expeditious scrutiny and building merit based staffing system, etc.
  • Sharing of experience on the modalities adopted on audit of procedures and processes followed by various Government agencies in recruitment under the delegated powers.
  • Digitization of records, display of historical records and storage.

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Union Cabinet gives nod to MoU on technical cooperation between India, Bhutan

The Union Cabinet has given its approval to Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Bhutan on Technical Cooperation in the field of benchmarking, capacity building and bilateral exchange in Infrastructure Engineering.

Decision in this regard was taken by the Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.

Key facts

  • The MoU aims at taking forward India-Bhutan friendship treaty and provide an umbrella for scientific, educational and technical research and environment protection.
  • It will also help Central Public Works Department (CPWD), a construction major under the Urban Development Ministry, to gain experience in construction of roads on hills.

Background

  • India and Bhutan have a long standing diplomatic, economic and cultural relation with each other.
  • The India-Bhutan friendship treaty signed in New Delhi in February 2007 to further strengthen the mutual relations between two neighbouring countries.
  • There are also ongoing Hydro Power Cooperation projects between the two countries which provide an exemplary template for mutual cooperation.

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