Aiming to meet the fuel requirements of India's nuclear energy programme, a cabinet panel on Thursday approved a Rs 11.06 billion ($270 million) project for setting up a uranium mine and a processing plant in Andhra Pradesh.
The mine and plant, to be located at Tumumalapalle in Cuddapah district, will be commissioned within 30 months and processing will start in 36 months.
The project would provide jobs to 934 people in the categories of officers and workers, Finance Minister P Chidambaram told reporters after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The CCEA also cleared the continuation of the concessional sale of decontrolled phosphatic and potassic fertilizers for 2007-08 to offset complaints that fertilizers were not available at subsidised rates in the market for farmers, he said.
It also cleared the continuation of the Nutrition Programme for Adolescent Girls for 2007-08 in 51 Districts as per the existing guidelines except that two cut-off weights - 30 kg for those in the 11-15 year age group and 35 kg for the 15-19 year age group - would be applied for selecting beneficiaries under this programme, Chidambaram said.
It also approved the release of Rs 1.24 billion for the current fiscal as Special Central Assistance (on 100 per cent grant basis) to the states and union territories.
Earlier, the cabinet approved amendments to the Payment and Settlement Systems Bill, based primarily on the recommendations of the Standing Committee of Parliament on Finance, already introduced in the Lok Sabha.
The amendments would ensure a safe, secure and sound payments system, Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi said.
The cabinet cleared the proposal for revival of NEPA Limited through a joint venture partner in the private sector by disinvestment of the government's equity, preferably to the extent of 74 per cent or 100 per cent and introduction of the NEPA Limited (Disinvestment of Ownership) Bill, 2007.
It approved the proposal for asking the Bureau of Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) to locate a joint venture partner.
The cabinet also cleared the setting up of six National Institutes of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) at Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh), Ahmedabad (Gujarat), Hajipur (Bihar) Guwahati (Assam), Rai Bareli (Uttar Pradesh) and Kolkata (West Bengal).
It cleared the appointment of a consultant of repute to prepare the detailed project report (DPR) for each NIPER wherever possible on the public-private partnership model.
However, it was decided that, pending the constitution of a board of governors under the NIPER Act, 1998, an apex steering committee under the chairmanship of secretary (C&PC) to oversee the functioning of these NIPERs may be set up, Dasmunsi said.
These institutes will facilitate training of high-calibre pharmaceutical experts and award of Masters degrees to cater to the demand of the pharmaceuticals industry and academic institutes.
The cabinet cleared the signing of a mutual legal assistance treaty in criminal matters between India and Vietnam and also its ratification.
The treaty will enhance effectiveness of cooperation between the two countries in the field of mutual legal assistance in criminal matters. It shall enter into force from the date of exchange of the instruments of ratification.