The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval to the proposal of Ministry of External Affairs to sign and ratify the Migration and Mobility Agreement between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the Italian Republic.
The Agreement would enhance people-to-people contacts, foster mobility of students, skilled workers, business people and young professionals and strengthen cooperation on issues related to irregular migration between the two sides.
The Agreement locks-in the current Italian visa regime including mechanisms for post study opportunities, internships, professional trainings assuring an advantage for India under the existing labour mobility pathways under the Flows Decree.
Some of the key provisions are listed below:
- Indian students wishing to gather initial professional experience, after completing academic/vocational training in Italy may be granted temporary residence in Italy for up to 12 months.
- The Italian side has detailed provisions related to Professional Training, Extracurricular Internships and Curricular Internships which allow Indian students/trainees to gain experience in Italian skill/training standards.
- For workers, the Italian side has reserved a quota of 5000, 6000 and 7000 non seasonal Indian workers for 2023, 2024 and 2025 under the current Flows Decree (Total reserved quota stands at 12000 for non-seasonal workers). Additionally, the Italian side has reserved a quota of 3000, 4000 and 5000 seasonal Indian workers for 2023, 2024 and 2025 under current Flows Decree (Total reserved quota stands at 8000 for seasonal workers).
Under the Flows Decree, Italian side has offered incremental reserved quotas for both seasonal and non-seasonal workers from 2023-2025. Additionally, the Agreement also formalises joint working on furthering mobility pathways between India and Italy through agreements on Youth Mobility and Facilitation of Recruitment of Indian qualified professionals in the healthcare and medical services sectors which will be discussed under the Joint Working Group (JWG).
Cooperation between the two parties in fight against irregular migration has also been formalised through the Agreement.
This Agreement will come into effect on the first day of the second month following the date of receipt of the last of the two notifications by which Parties shall have communicated to each other the completion of their internal procedures necessary for its entry into force and will remain into force for a period of 5 years. Unless terminated by any Participant, the Agreement will be automatically renewed for a similar successive period.
The Agreement provides a formal mechanism for its monitoring through a JWG which would meet periodically, in virtual or physical mode as convenient, and oversee its implementation. The JWG would share relevant information, evaluate implementation of Agreement and discuss all appropriate proposals to support implementation as necessary.
The Agreement was signed on 2 November, 2023 by External Affairs Minister, Dr. S. Jaishankar on Indian side and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Shri Antonio Tajani on Italian side.
*Cabinet approves opening of Consulate General of India in Auckland, New Zealand
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has approved the proposal to open of a Consulate General of India in Auckland, New Zealand.
Opening of Consulate General of India in Auckland would help in increasing India’s diplomatic footprint and strengthen India’s diplomatic representation in view of India’s increasing global engagement. This will also help promote India’s strategic and commercial interests and better serve the welfare of Indian community in Auckland.
The Consulate is likely to be opened and fully operationalized within a time frame of 12 months.
*Cabinet approves India and Malaysia sign an MoU for Cooperation in Broadcasting between Prasar Bharati and Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM), Malaysia
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi was apprised of the MoU/Agreement signed on 07th November, 2023 which has an immense potential to strengthen the cooperation in the field of broadcasting, exchange of news, and audio-visual programmes as well as significantly augment India’s friendly relations withthe country. With this, the total number of MoUs signed by Prasar Bharati with different countries has increased to 46.
Prasar Bharati plays a very important role in nation building and lays continuous focus on providing meaningful and accurate content to one and all, both within the country and abroad. These MoUs are going to be crucial in distribution of content in other countries, in developing partnerships with international broadcasters and exploring new strategies to address the demands of new technologies. The major benefit arising out of signing of MoUs are exchange of programmes in the areas of Culture, Education, Science, Technology, Sports, News and other fields on gratis/non-gratis basis.
India’s Public Service Broadcaster, Prasar Bharati has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Radio Televisyen Malaysia, the Public Service Broadcaster of Malaysia in order to promote cooperation in public broadcasting in the field of radio and television.
*Cabinet approves Minimum Support Price for Copra for 2024 season
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for the Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) for copra for 2024 season. In order to provide remunerative prices to the cultivators, government had announced in the Union Budget of 2018-19, that MSPs of all the mandated crops will be fixed at a level of at least 1.5 times of all India weighted cost of production. The MSP for Fair Average Quality of milling copra has been fixed at Rs.11,160/- per quintal and for ball copra at Rs.12,000/- per quintal for 2024 season. This will ensure a margin of 51.84 percent for milling copra and 63.26 percent for ball copra, which are well beyond 1.5 times the all India weighted average cost of production. Milling copra is used to extract oil, while ball/edible copra is consumed as a dry fruit and used for religious purposes. Kerala and Tamil Nadu are major producers of million copra, whereas ball copra is produced predominantly in Karnataka.
The MSP for 2024 season is an increase of Rs.300/- per quintal for milling copra and Rs.250/- per quintal for ball copra over the previous season. In the last 10 years, the Government has increased MSP for milling copra and ball copra from Rs.5,250 per quintal and Rs.5,500 per quintal in 2014-15 to Rs.11,160 per quintal and Rs.12,000 per quintal in 2024-25, registering a growth of 113 percent and 118 percent, respectively.
A higher MSP will not only ensure better remunerative returns to the coconut growers but also incentivize farmers to expand copra production to meet the growing demand for coconut products both domestically and internationally.
In the current season 2023, the Government has procured a record amount of more than 1.33 lakh metric tonnes of copra, at the cost of Rs.1,493 crores, benefiting around 90,000 farmers. The procurement in the current season 2023 indicates a rise of 227 percent over the previous season (2022).
National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd. (NAFED) and National Cooperative Consumers’ Federation (NCCF) will continue to act as Central Nodal Agencies (CNAs) for procurement of copra and de-husked coconut under Price Support Scheme (PSS).
*Cabinet approves improvement and widening of 135 km stretch of Khowai-Harina road in Tripura
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for Improvement & Widening to two lane with paved shoulder of road from km 101.300 (Khowai) to km 236.213 (Harina) of NH-208, covering a total length of 134.913 kms in the State of Tripura.
The project involves investment of Rs.2,486.78 crore which includes a loan component of Rs.1,511.70 crore (JPY 23,129 Million). The loan assistant will be from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) under Official Development Assistance (ODA) scheme. The project is envisaged to facilitate better road connectivity between various parts of Tripura and to provide alternative access to Assam and Meghalaya from Tripura apart from existing NH-8.
The project has been selected based on the necessity of providing smooth and motorable road after considering socio economic needs of the region. Development of the project stretch of NH-208 would not only improve Interstate connectivity between Assam and Tripura via NH-208A but also reduce the transit time and provide safer connectivity for the travellers. The project stretch also passes very close to Bangladesh border and it would improve connectivity to Bangladesh through Kailashahar, Kamalpur and Khowai Border Check Post. The land border trade would also potentially grow with the improvement in Road Network in the region through development of the project road.
The selected stretch is providing improved connectivity to agricultural belt, tourist places, religious places and tribal districts of the state, which are backward in terms of growth and income. After completion of the project, the connectivity will be improved which help to generate more revenue to the State as well as income for local public.
The construction period for the project stretches will be 2 years which includes the maintenance of these National Highways stretches for 5 years (in the case of flexible pavement)/ 10 years (in the case of rigid pavement) after completion of construction.
*Cabinet approves construction of New 4.56 km long, 6-Lane Bridge across River Ganga connecting Digha and Sonepur in Bihar
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today gave its approval for the Construction of New 4556 m long, 6-Lane High Level/ Extra Dosed Cable stayed Bridge across River Ganga (Parallel to Western Side of Existing Digha-Sonepur Rail-Cum Road Bridge) and its approaches on both sides in the Districts of Patna and Saran (NH-139W) in the State of Bihar on EPC mode.
The Total cost for the project is Rs.3,064.45 crore which includes civil construction cost of Rs.2,233.81 crore.
No. of beneficiaries:
The Bridge will make the traffic faster and easier resulting in overall development of the State, especially North Bihar.
Digha (situated at Patna & South Bank of Ganga River) and Sonepur (North Bank of Ganga River in Saran District) are presently connected by a Rail Cum Road Bridge for movement of light vehicles only. Therefore, the present road cannot be used for transport of goods and commodities which is a major economic blockade. The constraint will be removed by providing this bridge, between Digha and Sonepur and; goods and commodities can be transported once the bridge is constructed, unleashing the economic potential of the region.
This bridge will provide direct connectivity from Patna to Golden quadrilateral corridor via NH-139 at Aurangabad and Sonepur (NH-31), Chhapra, Motihari (East-West corridor old NH-27), Bettiah (NH-727) in the Northern side of Bihar. This Project is a part of Buddha circuit. lt provides better connectivity to Buddha Stupa at Vaishali and Keshariya. Also, NH-139W provides connectivity to very famous Areraj Someshwar Nath Temple and proposed Viraat Ramayan Mandir (largest religious monument in the world) at Kesariya in the East Champaran District.
This project is falling in Patna and will provide better connectivity to North Bihar and South part of the Bihar through State Capital. The Bridge will make the movement of vehicles faster and easier resulting in overall development of the region. The Economic analysis results have shown an EIRR of 17.6% in base case and 13.1% is worst case which may be attributed to the savings in distance and time travelled.
Implementation strategy and targets:
The work is to be implemented on EPC Mode with the use latest technology like 5D-Building Information Modelling (BIM), Bridge Health Monitoring System (BHMS), monthly drone mapping to ensure quality of construction and operations.
The work is targeted to be completed in 42 months from the appointed date.
Major impact, including employment generation potential:
- This project is aimed at providing faster commute and to provide better connectivity between North and South Parts of the Bihar. Thus, promoting the socio-economic growth of the entire region.
- Various activities performed during the construction and maintenance period of the project are expected to generate direct employment for skilled and un-skilled workers.
The Bridge will connect two Districts namely Patna at Digha on South side and Saran on North Side across River Ganga, Bihar.
Government has declared the stretch “the Highway starting from its junction with NH-139 near Patna (AIIMS) connecting Bakarpur, Manikpur, Sahebganj, Areraj and terminating at its junction with NH- 727 near Bettiah in the State of Bihar” as NH-139(W) vide Gazette Notification dated 8th July 2021.