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Cabinet approves MoU to aid gender equality in panchayats

LiveMint logoLiveMint 07-03-2017 Kritika Singh

New Delhi: The Union cabinet on Monday approved India’s accession to the Customs Convention on International Transport of Goods under cover of TIR Carnets (TIR Convention).

The convention is an international transit system under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) to facilitate seamless movement of goods within and among the parties to the Convention.

Currently, there are 70 parties to the convention, including the European Union. Compliance with the convention will help India boost trade with the Central Asian Republics and other Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), particularly using ports in Iran.

The move will remove the need for inspection of goods at intermediate borders and physical escorts en route shall be eliminated due to reciprocal recognition of customs controls. The movement of goods under the TIR can be allowed by checking only the seals and the external conditions of the container, reducing border delays, transport and transaction costs. This will result in increased competitiveness and growth for the trade and transport sectors.

“The convention will help Indian traders to have access to fast, easy, reliable and hassle free international system for movement of goods by road or multi-modal means across the territories of other contracting parties”, a cabinet statement said.

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The compliance with TIR convention will also ensure enhanced security in the supply chain as only approved transporters and vehicles are allowed to operate under the convention. It will also remove the requirement for payment of customs duties and taxes en route. The TIR convention serves as a customs declaration satisfying national laws of the different transiting countries thereby preventing the need to file multiple declarations.

The cabinet also approved an MoU signed between India and the United Nations Entity of Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women) which will help promote gender responsive governance of Panchayati Raj Institutions(PRIs) through effective implementation of laws, policies and programmes. The two parties have collaborated in the past to empower the role of elected women representatives.

The proposed MoU will facilitate implementing some specific activities identified jointly by Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR) and UN Women within the broader framework for cooperation under the United Nations Development Assistance Framework ((UNDAF). These activities will be carried out at the district and sub-district level in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

In other decisions, the Cabinet Committee on Econmic Affairs approved the cost estimate of Tehri Hydro Development Corporation’s 400 mega watt (MW) Koteshwar hydroelectric project in Uttarakhand at Rs.2,717 crore. The project was commissioned in 2012 but some work relating to safety are still pending.

The deal signed in January this year between Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserve Ltd and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) of United Arab Emirates to fill up 0.81 million tonne of crude oil at India’s storage facility in Mangalore was also cleared by the cabinet. The investment by ADNOC is the first investment by UAE in India in the energy sector, said an official statement.

The government, however, did not make any announcement on the proposed coal linkage policy for new power plants and for old ones with expired coal linkage, that is at an advanced stage of inter-ministerial discussions.

In another decision, the cabinet gave its ex-post facto approval for settlement of dues to banks towards food procurement operations done by the Punjab government till 2014-15. Outstanding dues amounting to Rs31,000 crore will be converted to a term loan to be repaid over a period of 20 years, said an official statement. Settlement of dues will help the banks in disbursement of food credit in the larger interest of numerous farmers of the state, the statement added.

Sayantan Bera contributed to the story

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