Union Cabinet Decisions Current Affairs - 2020

Cabinet Approves Developing of ARHCs for Urban Migrants/Poor under PMAY-U

To fulfill the vision of AtmaNirbhar Bharat, On 8th July 2020, the Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given approval for developing Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHCs). These Affordable Rental Housing Complexes will be developed as a sub-scheme under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban (PMAY-U) for the Urban Migrants/poor.

Background

Affordable Rental Housing Complexes as a sub-scheme under PMAY-U was announced by the Union Finance Minister on 14th May 2020 as a part of the AtmaNirbhar Bharat Package.

How the ARHCs will fulfill the vision of AtmaNirbhar Bharat?

The nationwide lockdown announced to combat the spread of the infectious Novel Coronavirus resulted in the loss of employment of workers and daily wage earners in the urban centers of the country. As a result of which, the country witnessed a massive reverse migration of the urban workers from the urban centers to their hometown or villages.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, these workers used to stay in slums or other informal and unauthorized colonies in our mostly outside the urban centers from where to cut on their expenses they used to risk their lives by walking or cycling to workplaces for hours every day.

The Affordable Rental Housing Complexes will be made in urban centers of the country where these migrant workers will be able to avail houses at an affordable rent, these ARHCs will also be close to their workplace and will also offer them a hygienic environment to live by cutting down their unnecessary travel to far distances.

The Affordable Rental Housing Complexes will benefit a large number of workers, service providers, students, etc from rural areas or small towns when they move towards the urban centers in search of better opportunities.

About the ARHCs

  • Under ARHCs, at present approx 3 lakh beneficiaries will be covered.
  • Through 25 years of Concession Agreements, the Housing Complexes of the Government that are vacant at present will be converted into ARHCs.
  • For the projects using innovative technologies for construction under the ARHCs, an estimated Rs 600 crore of expenditure will be made in the form of the Technology Innovation Grant.
  • Private and Public entities will be offered special incentives, at priority sector lending rate concessional loans from banks and tax relief for developing ARHCs in urban centers on their available vacant lands for a period of 25 years.

Decisions taken by the Union Cabinet on 24th June to Boost Infrastructure Projects

In order to boost Infrastructure projects across all the sectors at a time of a global pandemic, several decisions were taken by the Union Cabinet under the chairmanship of Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi on 24th June 2020.

Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (AHIDF)

The aim of setting up AHIDF is to unlock private sector investments in the animal husbandry sector. Through the fund, Infrastructural developments will be promoted in dairy, animal feed, and meat processing plants. As per Government estimate, the fund will help in creating up to 35 lakh jobs across the country.

The total budget for the fund is Rs 15,000 crores. Beneficiaries of the fund will be MSMEs, Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs), private Companies, Section 8 companies, and Individual Entrepreneurs working in the Animal Husbandry Sector.

Beneficiaries will be provided with a 3 percent interest subvention by the Government of India.

Uttar Pradesh’s Khushinagar Airport declared as an International Airport

Khushinagar is a Buddhist pilgrimage town where Gautama Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana. The move will provide a much-needed boost to the tourism sector of the country in the post-COVID-19 world as International connectivity will increase number of foreign and as well as domestic tourists. This will lead to significant economic development in and around the region.

USD 121.27 million approved for Shwe Oil & Gas Project in Myanmar

ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) was given approval by the Government with an additional Rs 909 crore (USD 121.27 million) for further development of the Shwe Oil & Gas project. The Shwe Oil & Gas Project is located in Myanmar. The project is a part of the consortium of companies. Apart from India, companies from Myanmar and South Korea are also a part of the Shwe project. From India, state-owned company GAIL is also a co-investor in the project.

In July 2013, the first gas from the project was received.  OVL has invested Rs 3,949 crore on the Shwe gas project until 31st March 2019. Since 2014-15 the project has given investors positive cash flows.

The additional investment provided to OVL will further help in the continuous development of the Shwe Project. The success of this oil and gas exploration project in a neighbouring country will help India in strengthing its energy security needs. It is also important for the overall global and as well as regionally for India to develop such energy bridges with the neighbours.