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Data released in Parliament today: Rs 1,286 crore spent on ads, 133 ‘non-performing’ officers punished

Vijay Mallya was named among the 53 persons being prosecuted under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

india Updated: Jul 20, 2017 22:56 IST
Monsoon Session,Parliament,Lok Sabha
Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the BJP parliamentary party meeting at Parliament House in New Delhi on July 19, 2017. (PTI)

On the fourth day of the Monsoon Session, the government released data in several areas in its answers to both the Houses of the Parliament.

The Lok Sabha could not take up scheduled business due to repeated adjournments. In the Rajya Sabha, discussion continued on reported increase in the incidents of lynching and atrocities on minorities and dalits. Members during the debate condemned the acts of brutality and urged that strict action must be taken against the attackers.

Read | Parliament Monsoon Session Day 3: From ‘Mann Ki Baat’ revenue to Aadhaar, data released by the govt today

Here’s a look at the date released by the government on Thursday.

In the Rajya Sabha

205 children abandoned in cradles under new scheme

As many as 205 infants, including 58 in Delhi alone, have been found abandoned in cradles placed outside hospitals and other places in different parts of the country, Women and Child Development minister Maneka Gandhi said.

Several states had placed cradles at various places since the scheme was announced after it was found that the babies were abandoned in waste dumps or bushes, she said during Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha.

Gandhi said around 58 babies had been received in Delhi alone, while several children were found in states like Assam, Haryana and others. A total of 205 babies have been received in these cradles so far.

She expressed confidence that after the required formalities, these babies would get adopted.

The minister said that, according to the scheme, cradles are to be placed outside hospitals and various offices, but not police stations as those dumping their children were unlikely to venture there. The cradle scheme will be publicised properly in the coming days, she said.

Govt to do away with franchisee model under PMKVY scheme

The government said it will eventually phase out the franchisee model due to poor compliance under its flagship skilling scheme PMKVY and offer a chance to all franchisees to become training providers.

“As per PMKVY (2016-20) guidelines, only first level franchising is allowed and the franchisee centres will be given lower priority. It is planned to gradually phase out franchisee agreements,” Union Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Rajiv Pratap Rudy said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.

According to numbers shared by Rudy, the top five states in terms of franchisee centres are Uttar Pradesh (399), Rajasthan (323), Haryana (143), Punjab (134) and Madhya Pradesh (118).

Over 4.2 lakh posts vacant in central govt depts

Over 4.2 lakh posts are vacant in various central government departments, Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh informed the Rajya Sabha.

Out of the total sanctioned strength of 36,49,468, the number of vacant posts in various ministries and departments is 4,20,547, he said.

The minister said that this number is according to the annual report on pay and allowances of central government civilian employees (2015-16) as on March 1, 2015.

Govt punished 133 ‘non-performing’ babus

The government has taken disciplinary action against 133 non-performing officers, Union minister Jitendra Singh said. The action is part of a review being conducted by the central government to check deadwood in its workforce.

Compulsory retirement was given to an IAS officer in 2015, he said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.

“Necessary provisions have been invoked/recommended in the case of 30 Group A and 103 Group B officers till May 2017,” the minister of state for personnel said.

Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity spent about Rs 1,286 crore in 2016-17

The Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP) has spent about Rs 1,286 crore in 2016-17 on advertisements about government policies, schemes, projects and events through various mediums, the Rajya Sabha was informed.

The DAVP is the nodal agency to undertake multi-media advertising and publicity for various ministries and departments of the government.

This is 8.15% higher than the amount of Rs 1,188.85 crore spent in 2015-16. The DAVP had spent Rs 998.34 crore in 2014-15, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore said in a written reply.

Out of the total Rs 1,285.77 crore spent in 2016-17, Rs 468.53 crore were spent on print, Rs 609.14 crore on audio-visual, Rs 15.81 on printed publicity, Rs 186.59 crore on outdoor publicity and Rs 5.70 crore on exhibitions.

CBI registered two FIR in gold import irregularities

Two cases of alleged irregularities in import of bullion by entrepreneurs under the gold import policy, under the Handicrafts and Handloom Export Corporation of India, has been registered by the CBI, the Rajya Sabha was informed.

Responding to a question, Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions Jitendra Singh said that the cases have been registered against the then Vice President Edelweiss Commodities Services Ltd and Directors and representatives of Aaryavart Commodities in Ahmedabad.

The cases have been registered under IPC sections related to criminal conspiracy and cheating and provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act, he said.

The case against Edelweiss Commodities Services Ltd has been registered on December 31, 2015 and that against Aaryavart Commodities Pvt Ltd on April 28, 2016, he said.

Guidelines for implementation of Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana prepared

The draft guidelines for the implementation of Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) have been prepared by the Women and Child Development ministry its Minister of State Krishna Raj said.

The draft guidelines inter-alia provide Aadhaar linkage, Direct Benefit Transfer of Rs. 5000 in beneficiary’s bank/post office account in three installments at the stage of early registration of pregnancy, after six months of pregnancy on at least one antenatal check-up and registration of child birth and first cycle of immunisation of the child.

The PMMVY is Centrally Sponsored Scheme under which the cost sharing ratio between the Centre and the States & UTs with Legislature is 60:40, for North-Eastern States and three Himalayan States, it is 90:10 and 100 percent Central assistance for Union Territories without Legislature.

The minster further stated that 190 more hostels have been proposed for all over the country during year the 2017-18 to 2019-20 for benefit of about 19000 working women.

Since its inception in 1972-73, 163 hostels have been sanctioned under the scheme of Working Women Hostel in Maharashtra and National Capital for benefit of more than 13,800 working women.

MEA lists Mallya among 53 persons being prosecuted under PMLA

At least 53 persons, including liquor baron Vijay Mallya, are facing prosecution complaints from the Directorate of Enforcement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, and they are absconding, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has said.

This information was given by General (Retired) VK Singh, the Minister of State for External Affairs in written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha today.

India to set up 5 nuclear reactors in cooperation with Russia, France, US

The government has accorded ‘in principle’ approval of five coastal sites and designated them for locating large capacity Light Water Reactors (LWRs) for Nuclear Energy in cooperation with the Russian Federation, France and the United States.

Details of progress in the Indo-US nuclear deal were given by Dr. Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State for Atomic Energy and Space in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha.

Dr. Singh said, “The government has accorded ‘in principle’ approval of five coastal sites and designated them for locating such reactors in cooperation with the Russian Federation, France & the USA. Two projects, KKNPP 3&4 (2X1000 MW) and KKNPP 5&6 (2X1000 MW), to be set up in technical cooperation with Russian Federation at Kudankulam, Tamil Nadu have been accorded financial sanction.

Construction of KKNPP 3&4 has commenced. Discussions with technology partners from France and USA have commenced to arrive at viable project proposals”.

At present there are nine reactors under construction and another twelve have been accorded administrative approval and financial sanction by the government, work on which is being taken up progressively.

The government has recently accorded financial sanction for ten indigenous 700 MW reactors and two reactors [KKNPP 5&6 (2X1000 MW)] has to be set up in technical cooperation with Russian Federation

The approved completion cost of KKNPP 1 to 6 is Rs. 106740 crore for the total capacity of 6 x 1000 MW.

In the Lok Sabha

Ken-Betwa River Link Project in MP and UP

The governments of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh should work out a water-sharing agreement to take the Ken-Betwa River Link Project (KBLP) forward, Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti said.

Bharti said in Lok Sabha the KBLP will irrigate an area of 6,35,661 hactres annually in three districts of Madhya Pradesh and four districts of Uttar Pradesh.

In addition, the project will provide 49 million cubic metres of water for enroute drinking water supply to a population of 13.42 lakh in UP and MP. The project will also generate 78 MW power, she said during Question Hour.

The status of the project was reviewed at a high level meeting on July 4 with top officials of both the state governments where the MP government proposed that the Kotha barrage, Bina complex and Lower Orr Dam be included in the project.

While the Lower Orr project is under examination of the Central Water Commission, the Detailed Project Report of Bina Complex is under appraisal of the CWC and the DPR of Kotha barrage has been submitted to the CWC.

Bharti said the Centre was ready to take up similar river linking projects in other parts of the country.

Air India disinvestment: Net loss of Rs 3,643 crore expected in 2016-17 period

The government said it would take into consideration suggestions and views received from time to time before deciding on the contours of Air India disinvestment.

Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha told the Lok Sabha that IndiGo has submitted an expression of interest with respect to disinvestment of Air India. “Suggestions and views are received from time to time, including the articles published in media, regarding disinvestment of Air India. These would be kept in mind while arriving at the final decision regarding contours of the disinvestment,” Sinha said in a written reply.

While replying to questions from various members on Air India disinvestment, Sinha said the airline has been facing losses for the past many years not only on account of merger with Indian Airlines but also due to multitude of other factors.

Citing per provisional estimates, the minister said Air India is expected to post a net loss of Rs 3,643 crore in 2016-17 period. At the end of March this year, the airline’s total debt stood at Rs 48,876.81 crore as per provisional figures, he noted.

According to Sinha, in comparison to the total insurance premium paid, the premium paid on grounded aircraft by Air India is negligible and is reducing year by year.

“Also, in the case of grounded aircraft, Air India is required to pay only 30 per cent of the flying premium rate,” he added.

India imported coal worth over Rs 1 lakh crore in FY’17

India, the third largest coal producer in the world, imported 190 million tonnes of the fuel worth over Rs one lakh crore in 2016-17 fiscal, Parliament was informed.

Minister of State for Coal Piyush Goyal in a written reply to Lok Sabha said 190.95 million tonnes (provisional) of coal valued at Rs 1,00,231.3 crore was imported in the last fiscal.

The minister further said in 2015-16, 203.9 million tonnes (MT) of coal valued at Rs 86,033.8 crore was imported, while in 2014-15, the import stood at 217.7 MT worth Rs 1,04,506.6 crore. In 2013-14, the country imported 166.8 MT of coal worth Rs 92,329 crore, the minister said.

The gap between demand and supply, Goyal said, cannot be bridged completely as there is insufficient domestic availability of coal and power plants designed on imported fuel will continue to import for their production.

The demand of coal is higher than the current level of supply in the country. During 2016-17, as against the total demand of 838.6 MT (provisional), the domestic supply was 647.7 MT.

“Due to limited availability of low ash coal in the country, this type of coal is being imported. Further, superior quality of non-coking coal is imported mainly by power plants that have been designed on imported coal,” the minister said.

In a separate reply, the minister said production target of Coal India, which accounts for over 80 per cent of the domestic coal production, is 600 MT for the present fiscal.

Coal cess part of GST Compensation Fund

The government said that coal cess will contribute to the GST compensation fund, a corpus meant for compensating states for revenue losses in the wake of shifting to the new indirect tax regime.

The cess on coal has been continued at Rs 400 per tonne under the GST regime.

“The Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Act, 2017...notified on April 12, 2017 provides that coal cess, along with some other cess on pan masala, tobacco, aerated water would constitute GST Compensation Fund and the same would be utilised to compensate states for five years for potential losses on account of GST implementation,” Power and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

After five years, any amount left would be shared on 50% basis between Centre and States, the minister said.

Coal bearing states get Rs 3,653 crore from mines allocation

Coal bearing states have received Rs 3,653 crore till June 2017 from mine allocation, Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said.

“The coal bearing state governments have received an amount of Rs 3,653 crore till June 2017 from the allocation of coal blocks/mines under the provisions of Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015,” Goyal said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

455 cases of unruly air travellers since 2016

A total of 455 cases of unruly behaviour by air travellers have been reported since 2016, the Lok Sabha was informed.

“A total of 294 and 161 incidents took place in 2016 and 2017 respectively,” Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said in a written reply.

Two Members of Parliament (MPs) were recently barred from by the domestic carriers from flying after they allegedly assaulted and abused airline staff in two separate incidents. The ban on them was subsequently revoked by the airlines. The government is in the last stages of finalising the rules on the no-fly list.

First Published: Jul 20, 2017 21:15 IST