PIB – 10th Dec 2020

Cabinet approves the proposal of Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to sign Bilateral Memorandum of Understanding between India and Luxembourg

  • The Union Cabinet has given its approval for the proposal of Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to sign a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Securities and Exchange Board of India and Financial and Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF), Luxembourg.
  • Objectives
  • The MoU is likely to strengthen cross border cooperation in the area of securities regulations and facilitate mutual assistance, contribute towards efficient performance of the supervisory functions aid in imparting technical domain knowledge and enable effective enforcement of the laws and regulations governing the securities markets of India and Luxembourg.
  • Major impact:
  • CSSF, like SEBI, is a co-signatory to International Organization of Securities Commissions’ Multilateral MOU (IOSCO MMoU). However, the IOSCO MMoU does not have under its scope the provision for technical assistance. 
  • The proposed bilateral MOU would, in addition to contributing towards strengthening the information sharing framework leading to effective enforcement of securities laws, also help in establishing a technical assistance programme. 
  • The technical assistance programme would benefit the Authorities by way of consultations on matters relating to capital markets, capacity building activities and training programmes for the staff.
  • Background
  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) was established under the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992 to regulate the securities markets in India. 
  • The objectives of the SEBI are to protect the interest of the investors and to regulate and promote development of securities markets in India. 
  • The main functions of SEBI include 
  1. Registration, regulation and supervision of intermediaries operating in the securities market; 
  2. Promoting and regulating self-regulatory organizations; 
  3. Prohibiting fraudulent and unfair trade practices relating to securities markets; and 
  4. Calling from or furnishing to other authorities, whether in India or abroad, such information may be necessary for the efficient discharge of its functions.
  • The Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF) of Luxembourg is a public law entity, with administrative and financial autonomy, established by the law of 23rd December 1998. The CSSF is the competent authority for the prudential supervision of the entire Luxembourg financial centre, except for the insurance sector. The CSSF is also legally responsible for the regulation and supervision of the securities market.

Cabinet approves Memorandum of Understanding between India and Suriname on Cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine

  • The main areas of cooperation between the two Governments include the following:
  1. Exchange and Training of medical doctors, officials, other health professionals and experts;
  2. Assistance in development of human resources and setting up of health care facilities;
  3. Short term training of human resources in health;
  4. Regulation of pharmaceuticals, medical devices and cosmetics and exchange of information thereon;
  5. Promotion of business development opportunities in pharmaceuticals;
  6. Procurement of generic and essential drugs and assistance in sourcing of drug supplies;
  7. Procurement of health equipment and pharmaceuticals products;
  8. Tobacco control;
  9. Promotion of mental health;
  10. Early detection and management of depression
  11. Digital health and Tele-medicine; and
  12. Any other area of cooperation as may be mutually decided upon.

Cabinet approves setting up of Public Wi-Fi Networks by Public Data Office Aggregators to provide public Wi-Fi service through Public Data Offices without levy of any License Fee

  • The proposal will promote the growth of Public Wi-Fi Networks in the country and, in turn, will help in proliferation of Broadband Internet, enhancement of income and employment and empowerment of people.
  • Salient Features:
  • This Public Wi-Fi Access Network Interface will be known as PM-WANI.PM-WANI eco-system will be operated by different players as described herein under:
  • Public Data Office (PDO): It will establish, maintain, and operate only WANI compliant Wi-Fi Access Points and deliver broadband services to subscribers.
  • Public Data Office Aggregator (PDOA): It will be an aggregator of PDOs and perform the functions relating to Authorization and Accounting.
  • App Provider: It will develop an App to register users and discover WANI compliant Wi-Fi hotspots in the nearby area and display the same within the App for accessing the internet service.
  • Central Registry: It will maintain the details of App Providers, PDOAs, and PDOs. To begin with, the Central Registry will be maintained by C-DoT.
  • Objectives
  • This is expected to be more business friendly and in line with efforts for ease of doing business.COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated delivery of stable and high speed Broadband Internet (data) services to an increasingly large number of subscribers in the country including areas which do not have 4G mobile coverage. This can be achieved by deployment of Public Wi-Fi.
  • Further, the proliferation of public Wi-Fi will not only create employment but also enhance disposable incomes in the hands of small and medium entrepreneurs and boost the GDP of the country.
  • Proliferation of Broadband Services through public Wi-Fi is a step towards digital India and consequential benefit thereon.
  • No License Fee for providing broadband internet services using public Wi-Fi Hotspots will massively encourage its proliferation and penetration across the length and breadth of the country. Availability and use of Broadband will enhance incomes, employment, quality of life, ease of doing business etc.

Cabinet approves Provision of Submarine Optical Fibre Cable Connectivity between Mainland (Kochi) and Lakshadweep Islands (KLI Project)

  • The Project envisages provision of a direct communication link through a dedicated submarine Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) between Kochi and 11 Islands of Lakshadweep viz. Kavaratti, Kalpeni, Agati, Amini, Androth, Minicoy, Bangaram, Bitra, Chetlat, Kiltan Kadmat.
  • Financial implications:
  • The estimated cost of implementation is about Rs. 1072 crore including operational expenses for 5 years. The Project would be funded by Universal Service Obligation Fund.
  • Impact:
  • It is evident that the growth of telecom infrastructure is closely linked with the economic and social development. Telecommunication connectivity plays a vital role in employment generation. The present approval for Provision of Submarine Optical Fibre Cable Connectivity will vastly improve telecommunication facilities in the Lakshadweep Islands by providing large bandwidth.
  • The submarine connectivity project will have a vital role for delivery of e-Governance services at the doorstep of citizens, potential development of fisheries, coconut based industries and high-value tourism, educational development in terms of tele-education and in health care in terms of telemedicine facilities. 
  • It will help in establishment of numerous businesses, augment e-commerce activities and provide adequate support to educational institutes for knowledge sharing. The Lakshadweep Islands have the potential to become a hub of logistic services.
  • Implementation Strategy & Targets:
  • Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) has been nominated as Project Execution Agency and Telecommunications Consultant India Ltd. (TCIL) as the Technical Consultant of the Project to assist Universal Service Obligation Fund, Department of Telecommunications. The ownership of the asset under the project will rest with USOF, the funding agency, under DoT. The project is targeted to be completed by May 2023.
  • Background:
  • Union Territory of Lakshadweep comprising a number of Islands is situated in the Arabian Sea and of immense strategic significance for India. Provision of secure, robust, reliable and affordable Telecom facilities is of utmost importance for the people living in these islands as also from a strategic point of view for the whole country.
  • Presently only medium of providing telecom connectivity to Lakshadweep is through satellites, but the bandwidth available is limited to 1 Gbps. Lack of bandwidth is a major constraint in providing data services, which is a pre-requisite for providing e-governance, e-education, e-banking etc. for inclusive growth of society.
  • Government is accordingly committed to provide tele-communication facilities in Lakshadweep Islands Planning for laying the submarine optical fibre cable to Lakshadweep Islands has been under consideration for some time. High bandwidth communication facility to the Lakshadweep Islands is also in consonance with realising the national objective of strengthening e-governance services and achieving the vision of Digital India.

Cabinet approves Universal Service Obligation Fund Scheme

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for provision of a Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) Scheme for providing Mobile Coverage in Arunachal Pradesh and two Districts of Assam,namely KarbiAnglong and Dima Hasao, under the Comprehensive Telecom Development Plan (CTDP) for North Eastern Region (NER).
  • The project envisages to provide mobile coverage to 2374 uncovered villages (1683 in Arunachal Pradesh and 691 in two districts of Assam) at an estimated cost of implementation about Rs.2,029 crore including operational expenses for five years. 
  • The project would be funded by Universal Service Obligation Fund.  The project is targeted to be completed by December, 2022.
  • The work related to provision of 4G mobile services in identified uncovered villages will be awarded through open competitive bidding process as per extant USOF procedures.
  • The provisioning of mobile services in the remote and difficult uncovered areas of Arunachal Pradesh and two districts of Assam will enhance digital connectivity useful for self-reliance, facilitate learning, dissemination of information and knowledge, skill upgradation and development, disaster management, e-governance initiatives, establishment of enterprises and e-commerce facilities, provision of adequate support to educational institutes for knowledge sharing and availability of job opportunities and fulfilling the vision of Digital India promoting domestic manufacturing and fulfilling the objectives of Atmanirbhar Bharat.

Cabinet approves Atmanirbhar Bharat RojgarYojana (ABRY)

  • The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for Atmanirbhar Bharat RojgarYojana (ABRY) to boost employment in formal sector and incentivize creation of new employment opportunities during the Covid recovery phase under Atmanirbhar Bharat Package 3.0.
  • The salient features of the Scheme are as under:
  1. Government of India will provide subsidy for two years in respect of new employees engaged on or after 1st October, 2020 and upto 30th June, 2021.
  2. Government of India will pay both 12% employees’ contribution and 12% employers’ contribution i.e.  24% of wages towards EPF in respect of new employees in establishments employing upto 1000 employees for two years.
  3. Government of India will pay only employees’ share of EPF contribution i.e. 12% of wages in respect of new employees in establishments employing more than 1000 employees for two years.
  4. An employee drawing monthly wage of less than Rs. 15000/- who was not working in any establishment registered with the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) before 1st October, 2020 and did not have a Universal Account Number or EPF Member account number prior to 1st October 2020 will be eligible for the benefit,
  5. Any EPF member possessing Universal Account Number (UAN) drawing monthly wage of less than Rs. 15000/- who made exit from employment during Covid pandemic from 01.03.2020 to 30.09.2020 and did not join employment in any EPF covered establishment up to 30.09.2020 will also be eligible to avail benefit,
  6. EPFO will credit the contribution in Aadhaar seeded account of members in electronic manner, 
  7. EPFO shall develop a software for the scheme and also develop a procedure which is transparent and accountable at their end. 
  8. EPFO shall work out modality to ensure that there is no overlapping of benefits provided under ABRY with any other scheme implemented by EPFO.