Current Affairs - December, 2019

Cabinet approves transfer of Assam Gas Cracker Project to oil ministry

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the transfer of administrative control of Brahmaputra Cracker and Polymer Limited (BCPL), the Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSU) implementing Assam Gas Cracker Project (AGCP) from Department of Chemicals & Petrochemicals (under Union Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers) to Union Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas (MOP&NG).

Other CCCEA Approval

CCEA also approved feedstock subsidy to BCPL for 15 years of plant operation for maintaining minimum Internal Rate of Return (IRR) of 10% (after tax). To bring IRR to 10%, BCPL has estimated feedstock subsidy of approximately Rs.4600 crore for project for 15 years of plant operation. Therefore, BCPL will submit proposal on yearly basis from next financial year (2020-2021) onwards and administrative Ministry/ Department will devise a mechanism to examine proposal in consultation with Union Ministry of Finance.

Union Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas will have to make firm arrangements through concerned PSUs for supply of committed quantity and quality of feedstock to AGC project as envisaged in earlier CCEA approval of 2006.

About Assam Gas Cracker Project (AGCP)

The project came as part of historic Assam Accord signed on 15 August 1985, with a view to bring socioeconomic development of region, thus it is seen as a part of implementation of Assam accord. It and involves setting up of facilities for manufacture of 2 lakh tonnes of ethylene annually using gas as feedstock. It is the first petrochemical project in the northeastern region of country. The 1st phase of long-delayed project was commissioned in late 2015.

The Rs.9,285-crore project is the first petrochemical project in the northeastern region of country and would give impetus to development of region as well as will improve the socio economic conditions of people of Assam through increased employment.

Background: The project was approved by CCEA on April 2006 and subsequently, a joint venture, BCPL was incorporated on January 2007. On 9 April 2007, then prime minister Manmohan Singh, laid the foundation stone of project at Lepetkata, 15 km from Dibrugarh. The project was supposed to be completed by April 2012, but, the target declines were delayed- first to December 2013, than to January 2014 and to June 2015, thus the project was finally being commissioned in November 2015.

Cabinet approves funds to update National Population Register

Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given in principal approval to clear budgetary allocation of Rs.8,754.23 crore for conducting Census of India, 2021, a Decennial Census (recurring every 10 years) exercise along with Rs.3,941.35 crore for updating National Population Register (NPR) across the country (barring Assam),which is a list of ‘usual residents’ of India. Both the exercises will be conducted simultaneously through door-to-door enumeration, with commencing from April 2020 to September 2020.

About National Population Register (NPR)

The NPR exercise aims to create a comprehensive identity database by collecting biometric and demographic details of every “usual resident” of India. It is mandatory for every usual resident of country to register in NPR. A ‘usual resident’ is defined as a person who has resided in an area for past 6 months or more, or a person who intends to reside in that area for next 6 months or more.

The NPR was last updated in 2010 and 2015. The data for National Population Register was collected in 2010 along with house-listing phase of 2011 Census of India.

Registrar General and Census Commissioner: It is responsible for arranging, conducting and analysing results of demographic surveys of India including Census of India as well as Linguistic Survey of country. It functions under Union Ministry of Home Affairs.

Key Highlights

In 2015, the National Population Register data was updated by conducting door-to-door surveys and the digitisation of updated information had also been completed. It has now been decided that NPR will be updated along with house-listing phase of Census 2021 from April 2020 to September 2020 in all States/Union Territories, except Assam. A gazette notification to this effect was issued in August 2019.

Preparation of National Population Register: NPR will be prepared at National, State, District, Sub-District and local (Village or Sub-Town) level under provisions of Citizenship Act 1955 and Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.