CCEA Current Affairs

Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan: CCEA approves restructured Centrally Sponsored Scheme

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved restructured Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (RGSA). The restructured scheme will focus on training, building infrastructure, stepping up initiatives for e-governance under e-Panchayat Mission Mode Project (MMP) to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It will be implemented during period from April 2018 to March 2022 with total proposed cost of the scheme is Rs. 7255 crore.

Key Facts

The scheme will extend to all states/UTs of country and will also include institutions of rural local government in non-Part IX areas, where Panchayats do not exist. The fund sharing ratio for scheme for state components will be 60:40 barring Northeast and hilly states where it will be 90:10. For UTs, central share will be 100%.

The scheme will have both central component- National Level activities including National Plan of Technical Assistance, Mission Mode project on e-Panchayat, Incentivization of Panchayats and state component Capacity Building of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs),

The implementation and monitoring of activities of scheme will broadly be aligned for achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with main thrust on Panchayats identified under Mission Antyodaya and 115 aspirational districts as identified by NITI Aayog. It will converge capacity building initiatives of other ministries.

Significance

The restructured scheme will help more than 2.55 lakh Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) to develop governance capabilities to deliver on SDGs through inclusive local governance with focus on optimum utilisation of available resources.

It will strive to achieve key principles of SDGs, i.e. leaving no one behind, reaching farthest first and universal coverage, along with gender equality. It will give priority to subjects of national importance that affects the excluded groups the most, e.g. poverty, nutrition, education, primary health services, immunization, sanitation, water conservation, digital transactions etc.

It is designed keeping in view programmatic convergence with Mission Antyodaya Gram Panchayats (GPs) and 115 Aspirational districts as identified by NITI Aayog. Strengthening of panchayats under it will help to promote equity and inclusiveness, along with Social Justice and economic development of the community.

Increased use of e-governance by PRIs will help achieve improved service delivery and transparency. It will strengthen Gram Sabhas to function as effective institutions with social inclusion of citizens particularly vulnerable groups.

The scheme will help to establish institutional structure for capacity building of PRIs at national, state and district level with adequate human resources and infrastructure. It will progressively strengthened PRIs through incentivisation on basis of nationally important criteria which will encourage competitive spirit among them.

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Cabinet delegates power to Finance and Oil Ministers to award oil and gas blocks

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has delegated powers to Finance and Petroleum Ministers to award oil and gas exploration blocks to successful bidders under Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy (HELP). Under HELP, exploration blocks are to be awarded twice in a year and currently awarding of blocks requires the CCEA’s approval. Delegation of these powers will expedite decision making process on awarding blocks and further enhance ease of doing business in petroleum and natural gas sector.

Background

Under HELP, Empowered Committee of Secretaries (ECS) considers Bid Evaluation Criteria (BEC), conducts negotiations with bidders wherever necessary and makes recommendations to CCEA on award of blocks. Then CCEA approves award of blocks.

The entire process, including Inter Ministerial Consultations (IMC) is quite lengthy and time consuming. It hampers ease of doing business. So it was desirable to shorten duration of time taken for award of blocks and contract areas. Under HELP the competitive bidding is continuous process and blocks are awarded twice year.

Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP)

Central Government had launched Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP) in March 2016, as a new policy regime for Exploration & Production (E&P) in petroleum and natural gas sector. Its main features are Revenue Sharing Contract (RCS), single Licence for exploration and production of conventional as well as unconventional hydrocarbon resources, marketing and pricing freedom etc. Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) is also main innovative feature under HELP wherein investor can carve out blocks of their own interest and submit an expression of interest (Eol) throughout year. Based on areas for which EoI has been expressed bidding is conducted every 6 months.

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