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Key Cabinet Decisions

Context:

The Union Cabinet has approved a slew of schemes ranging from the PMe-Bus Sewa to seven multi-tracking projects of the Indian Railways worth Rs 32,500 crore.

Relevance:

GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. PMe-Bus Sewa
  2. PM Vishwakarma Scheme
  3. Other decisions taken by Cabinet

PM e-Bus Sewa:

Green Mobility Enhancement: The Union Cabinet approved the PM e-Bus Sewa initiative to elevate urban bus operations while promoting environmentally-friendly transportation solutions.

Transition to Electric Buses:

An e-bus is a bus propelled and powered solely by a zero-emissions electricity source, including both the main propulsion and accessory systems.

Implementation in Two Segments:

Deployment in 169 Cities:

The scheme will roll out e-buses in 10,000 units across 169 cities through a public-private partnership (PPP) framework.

  • Depot Infrastructure: The initiative will include the establishment or upgrading of depot infrastructure to accommodate the new e-buses.
  • Power Infrastructure: Infrastructure such as substations will be developed behind-the-meter to support the power requirements of e-buses.

Infrastructure Upgrade in 181 Cities:

The second segment focuses on enhancing infrastructure in 181 cities as part of green urban mobility initiatives.

  • Focus Areas: Initiatives will center around bus priority, improved infrastructure, multimodal interchange facilities, automated fare collection systems, and charging infrastructure.
Coverage and Responsibility:
  • City Eligibility: The scheme extends to cities with a population of over three lakh, including Union Territory capitals and states from the northeastern and hill regions.
  • Operational Responsibility: States or cities will manage bus services and make payments to bus operators.
Central Government Support:
  • Subsidies: The Central government will offer subsidies as per the specified scheme, assisting in the operation of these bus services.

PM Vishwakarma Scheme:

The Union Cabinet sanctioned the PM Vishwakarma scheme, a ₹13,000 crore initiative, with the goal of offering subsidized loans to traditional artisans and craftsmen.

Inclusion of Artisans and Craftsmen:

  • The scheme encompasses a diverse group of artisans and craftsmen, including weavers, goldsmiths, blacksmiths, laundry workers, and barbers.
Key Highlights of the Scheme:
  • Recognition and ID Card: Artisans and craftspeople will receive official recognition through a PM Vishwakarma certificate and an accompanying ID card.
  • Subsidized Loans: Craftsmen will be eligible for a subsidized loan of ₹1 lakh in the initial phase and ₹2 lakh in the subsequent phase. These loans will carry a concessional interest rate of 5%.
  • Skill Upgradation and Incentives: The scheme incorporates provisions for skill enhancement, incentives for toolkits, as well as support for digital transactions and marketing.
  • Skilling Programs: The program will cover both basic and advanced skill development types. Participants undergoing training will receive a stipend of ₹500 per day.
  • Modern Tools: Beneficiaries will be granted up to ₹15,000 to acquire modern tools, aiding in the improvement of their craft.
  • Quality Improvement and Global Integration: The scheme’s objectives encompass enhancing the quality and accessibility of products and services from artisans. Additionally, it seeks to integrate Vishwakarmas into domestic and global value chains.

Other decisions taken by Cabinet

Extension and Expansion of Digital India Programme:
  • The Union Cabinet granted approval for a five-year extension and enhancement of the Digital India initiative.
  • The expansion involves a growth of the Computer Emergency Response Team, India (CERT-in).
  • The programme, which originated in 2015, will receive a budget allocation of ₹14,903 crore.
  • The extended programme aims to re-skill and up-skill 6.25 lakh IT professionals while training an additional 2.65 lakh individuals in information security.
Bhashini:
  • Bhashini, an AI-powered multi-language translation tool, will be launched in 22 Schedule VIII languages.
  • National Supercomputing Mission Enhancement:
  • The National Supercomputing Mission, which has already deployed 18 supercomputers, is set to introduce nine more such machines.
  • These supercomputers will find applications in various sectors including weather forecasting, geology, agriculture, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) modelling.
DigiLocker for MSMEs:
  • The scope of DigiLocker, the government-operated online repository for official documents, will be expanded to cater to Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
  • This expansion will facilitate the streamlined retrieval of verified documents, aiding MSMEs in acquiring business loans and conducting operations more efficiently.

-Source: Indian Express


February 2024
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