Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region Current Affairs - 2020

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India-Japan meet to review Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement

On December 10, 2019, a Japanese delegation led by Japanese Minister Mr Hiroshi Kajiyama visited Minister of North Eastern Region Development. The ministers discussed different areas of cooperation that included nuclear power, technology and infrastructure. The Countries also renewed their Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.

Highlights

The Joint Working Group meeting of India and Japan was also held. During the meeting, the issues related human resources were discussed. In previous JWG meeting the countries discussed on the issues of civil nuclear liability. The next meeting is scheduled to be held in January 2020.

Japanese Investment in the North East

The Japanese Government will invest Rs 13,000 crores in the North Eastern region. The investment will include projects such as Guwahati Water Supply project, North East Road Network Connectivity Improvement Project in Meghalaya, Guwahati Sewage Project in Assam, Bio-Diversity Conservation project in Sikkim, Forest Management Project in Sikkim, Technical Cooperation Project for Sustainable Agriculture and Irrigation in Mizoram, etc.

India’s Expectations

India calls to enhance Japanese Investments in steel and energy sectors. Steel demand of India is expected to grow exponentially as the country embarks becoming a 5 trillion USD economy by 2024. Also, India has plans to invest 1.4 trillion USD in infrastructure development in next five years.

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Cabinet approves loan waiver of worth Rs.4 Cr against Sikkim Mining Corporation

Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved waiver of repayment of loan and interest thereon, of nearly worth Rs.4 crore outstanding against Sikkim Mining Corporation (SMC) including interest accrued on total amount from 1 April 2019, till this approval outstanding against SMC. CCEA is chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Benefit: Further, accumulation of interest on principal loan will get extinguished and liquidation process of Corporation will get completed.

About Sikkim Mining Corporation (SMC)

It was established on the 27 February 1960 as Joint Venture (JV) undertaking of Government of Sikkim and Centre Government. SMC has been incurring losses every year since its inception.

Background: To optimise the financial health of SMC, a Consultant was engaged in 1999 which among other things suggested diversification of Corporation’s activities and also strengthening of technical staff in conjunction with cutting down of excess manpower at lower levels. However, in 2003, keeping in view the recurring losses incurred by SMC, recommendation of Accountant General of Sikkim as well as advice tendered by erstwhile Planning Commission both partners of JVC (State & Central Government) engaged a Consultant to spell out a road map for SMC’s future. Then on the basis of Consultants’s report & 107th Report of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of State Legislative Assembly of Sikkim, State and Central Governments decided to close down SMC’s mining operations and to settle all its dues and liabilities. Consequently, SMC’s mining operations at Bhotang and Phachey Khani mines were closed down with effect from 1 January 2007. Liabilities towards employees of corporation were settled from amount release by erstwhile Planning Commission and Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region. Liabilities of the Corporation towards State Government of Sikkim were waived off by State Government of Sikkim and amount accrued from sale of scraps of machineries of corporation was returned to Government of India.

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