Cabinet approves accession to the Protocol under WHO
• The Union Cabinet on May 2, 2018 gave its approval to accede to the Protocol under World Health Organization, WHO, Framework Convention on tobacco control to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products.
• It will be applicable to both smoking and chewing or smokeless tobacco (SLT) forms as negotiated and adopted under Article 15 of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC). India is a party to WHO FCTC.
• The elimination of illicit trade in tobacco products through strengthened regulation will help in strengthening comprehensive tobacco control, leading to a reduction in tobacco.
• It will result in a reduction in disease burden and mortality associated with tobacco use.
• The accession to such treaty will provide actionable alternatives against such prevailing practices that are affecting public health at large.
Cabinet approves the continuation of Umbrella Scheme ‘Green Revolution — Krishonnati Yojana’ in Agriculture Sector
• The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the continuation of Umbrella Scheme, ‘Green Revolution – Krishonnati Yojana’ in agriculture sector beyond 12th five-year plan for the period from 2017-18 to 2019-20.
• The Umbrella scheme comprises 11 schemes, which aim to develop the agriculture and allied sector in a holistic and scientific manner to increase the income of farmers by enhancing production, productivity and better returns on produce.
• The schemes will be continued with an expenditure of Rs 33, 269.976 crore for three financial years, which is from 2017-18 to 2019-20.
• Some of the schemes that fall under the yojana include Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH), National Food Security Mission (NFSM), National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA), Submission on Agriculture Extension (SMAE), Sub-Mission on Seeds and Planting Material (SMSP), Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanisation (SMAM) and Sub Mission on Plant Protection and Plan Quarantine (SMPPQ).
Cabinet approves doubling of investment limit for senior citizens under Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandan Yojana (PMVVY)
• The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 2, 2018 gave its approval for extending the investment limit from Rs 7.5 lakhs to Rs 15 lakhs as well as an extension of time limits for subscription from May 4, 2018 to May 31, 2020.
• The move was undertaken under the Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandan Yojana (PMVVY), as a part of the government's commitment for financial inclusion and social security.
• The investment limit of Rs 7.5 lakh per family in the existing scheme has also been enhanced to Rs 15 lakh per senior citizen in the modified PMVVY, thereby providing a larger social security cover to the senior citizens.
• The provision will enable up to Rs 10000 pension per month for senior citizens.
• As of March 2018, almost 2.23 lakh senior citizens are being benefited under PMVVY.
• The scheme is being implemented through Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) to provide social security during old age and protect elderly persons aged 60 years and above against a future fall in their interest income due to uncertain market conditions.
• The scheme provides an assured pension based on a guaranteed rate of return of 8% per annum for ten years, with an option to opt for the pension on a monthly/ quarterly/half yearly and annual basis.
Cabinet approves financial assistance to sugar mills for clearing cane dues of farmers
• The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 2, 2018 gave its approval to provide financial assistance of Rs. 5.50 per quintal of cane crushed in sugar season 2017-18 to sugar mills to offset the cost of cane, in order to help sugar mills to clear cane dues of farmers.
• The assistance shall be paid directly to the farmers on behalf of the mills.
• It will be adjusted against the cane price payable due to the farmers against Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) including arrears relating to previous years. Any subsequent balance will be credited to the mill’s account.
• Further, the financial assistance shall be provided to those mills that fulfill the eligibility conditions decided by the Government.
• Due to higher sugar production against the estimated consumption during the current sugar season 2017-18, the domestic sugar prices have remained depressed since the commencement of the season.
• Due to depressed market sentiments and crash in sugar prices, the liquidity position of sugar mills has been adversely affected, leading to accumulation of cane price dues of farmers which have reached to more than Rs 19000 crore.
Cabinet approves Mutual Recognition Agreement between ICAI and SAICA
• The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the Mutual Recognition Agreement between the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA).
• The approval was granted to establish a mutual co-operation framework for the advancement of accounting knowledge, professional and intellectual development, advancing the interests of their respective members and positively contributing to the development of the accounting profession in South Africa and India.
• The agreement will facilitate recognition of Indian Accountancy Professionals with local Accountancy qualification in addition to existing ICAI qualification, which will increase their professional avenues in South African markets.
• It will foster strong working relations between the two accounting institutes.
• It will also increase the mobility of professionals at both ends and would herald a new dimension for small and medium businesses in both countries.
• The ICAI is a statutory body established by an Act of Parliament of India, The Chartered Accountants Act, 1949', to regulate the profession of Chartered Accountancy in India.
• SAICA is the leading accountancy body in South Africa and one of the leading Institutes in the world.