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Cabinet clears new mining policy
The cabinet has approved a National Mineral Exploration Policy (NMEP) which will allow auction 100 prospective mineral blocks.
The policy says selection of private explorers would be through a transparent process of competitive bidding via e-auction. Mineral blocks for regional exploration will be identified by state governments, for auctioning. Once the explorer gives data after exploration, the state government will auction the mining lease for that block. The mining lease owner will then pay a royalty to the state. If explorer agencies do not discover any auctionable resources, their exploration expenditure will be reimbursed.
Additionally, an amount equivalent to a certain percentage of this royalty would be paid to the private explorer by the mining lease owner. The revenue sharing could be in the form of a lump sum or an annuity to be paid through the period of mining lease, with transferable rights.
To encourage mineral exploration, the mines ministry has already notified the National Mineral Exploration Trust.
What will be the impact of the policy? – India has got 800,000 sq km of area, which has obvious geological potential for mining. Of this, only 10 per cent has been explored till date. Government institutions like Geological Survey of India (GSI) and Mineral Exploration Corporation (MECL) have limited capabilities. Therefore, the step has been taken to invite private exploration.
What is the National Mineral Exploration Trust? – The government had notifies the setting up of National Mineral Exploration Trust to look into ways to encourage exploration of mines and minerals. It will be headed by the Minister of Mines.
At present, mining exploration work is undertaken mainly by GSI, Mineral Exploration Corporation (MECL), Atomic Mineral Directorate of Exploration, Department of Atomic Energy and State Directorates of Mining. The government has included more entities in the exploration work such as NMDC, SAIL and MOIL, a move that will help India tap potential in this area more efficiently.
The funds for the trust would come from the two per cent of royalty paid in terms of the Second Schedule of Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015.
Source: Business Standard
7th Pay commission hike for central employees
The government has announced an overall increase of 23.5 per cent for over one crore government employees and pensioners in line with the Seventh Pay Commission’s recommendations. The hikes will be paid with effect from January 1, 2016.
he starting salary for new recruits at the lowest level has been raised to Rs. 18,000 from Rs. 7,000 per month. Freshly recruited Class I officers will receive Rs. 56,100. This reflects a compression ratio of 1:3.12 signifying that the pay of a Class I officer on direct recruitment will be three times the pay of an entrant at the lowest level.
To examine the concerns employees have raised, the Union Cabinet decided to set up four committees: The first will look into the implementation issues anticipated and the second one will go into the likely anomalies. Another one will further examine the recommendations on allowances, which have largely been kept on hold. The fourth will suggest measures for streamlining the National Pension System.
What will be the impact of the implementation of the award? – The implementation of the Pay Commission Award would mean more money in the hands of the people and increased fiscal deficit of the government.
There could be greater aggregate demand in consumption related-themes across urban and rural markets specially automobiles and consumer durables.
There could also be some impact of entry level salaries in the private sector.
What is the pay parity between private and public sector? – According to a recent IIM-A study across several job roles, ranging from drivers, gardeners, plumbers and storekeepers to scientists, engineers, doctors and software developers, government/PSU salaries are significantly higher than comparable packages for private-sector employees and more so at the entry and middle levels
Source: Business Standard
SC for debate on triple talaq
Muslim women have sought the Supreme court’s intervention to end triple talaq and polygamy. The court has called for an open-court debate on the highest judiciary’s authority to look into Islamic personal law and possibly subject it to the regime of fundamental rights under the Constitution.
Petitions before the Supreme Court alleged that practices like triple talaq and polygamy were illegal, unconstitutional, and violative of the rights to equality, dignity, life and freedom of religion of Muslim women under the Constitution.
What is the uniform civil code? – Uniform civil code is the proposal to replace the personal laws based on the scriptures and customs of each major religious community in India with a common set governing every citizen. These laws are distinguished from public law and cover marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption and maintenance. Article 44 of the Directive Principles in India sets its implementation as duty of the State.
Package for leather sector in the making
The Centre is planning a special package, incorporating labour reforms, subsidies and duty incentives, for the leather sector to boost investment, jobs and exports. The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) is the nodal agency for the Indian Leather Development Programme (ILDP). A similar package has already been announced for the textile sector recently.
What is the status of the leather industry in India? – About 2.5 million people are employed in the $12 billion leather industry. The sector, like textiles, predominantly employs women. India accounts for about 10 per cent of the world’s leather production, and is the world’s second largest producer of leather garments and footwear. Despite advantages of low cost of labour and production, India faces major competition in overseas markets from countries such as China.
What is the Indian Leather Development Programme (ILDP)? – The ILDP, introduced in January 2014, is aimed at augmenting raw material base through modernisation and technology upgradation of leather units, addressing environmental concerns, human resource development, supporting traditional leather artisans, addressing infrastructure constraints and establishing institutional facilities.
Currently, ILDP provides up to 30 per cent subsidy on the cost of plant and machinery for micro and small enterprises and 20 per cent subsidy to other units. The subsidy has a ceiling of Rs.2 crore for each product line.
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