From News Papers

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The Union Cabinet on December 20, 2017 approved the Railways Ministry’s plan to set up the National Rail and Transport University in Vadodara to skill its human resources and build capability. This idea will be a catalyst for transformation of rail and transport sector towards a new India. A not-for-profit company under Section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013, will be created by the ministry of railways which shall be the managing company of the proposed university, the ministry said. “Existing land and infrastructure at National Academy of Indian Railways at Vadodara will be utilized, and suitably modified and modernized for the purpose of the university. In its full enrolment, it is expected to have 3,000 full-time students. The funding of the new university/institute is to entirely come from the Ministry,” said the ministry. The university plans to use latest pedagogy and technology applications such as satellite based tracking, radio frequency identification and artificial intelligence to improve on-the-job performance and productivity.
— (TIMES OF INDIA, December 21, 2017)


PM Shri Narendra Modi on December 13, 2017 accused the previous UPA regime of pressuring banks into giving loans to a few industrialists at the cost of the banking system and economy. “Banks were pressured to give loans to only a select few industrialists. This was the biggest of UPA’s scams, bigger than coal and 2G. It was loot of people’s hard-earned money through industrialists,” the PM said, addressing the 90th annual general meeting of industry chamber Ficci. The PM’s remarks alleging crony capitalism under UPA came a day before the final round of polling in Gujarat and marked a sharp riposte to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s charge that the Modi government was partial to select industrial houses. “The voice around nonperforming assets that we hear is basically a liability that has been handed out to us by economists of the previous government. In a way, the people sitting in the previous government looted the hard-earned money of the public through the medium of such industrialists,” the PM said.
— (THE INDIAN EXPRES, December 14, 2017)


The Narendra Modi government is working on a plan to increase the pension it provides to people over the age of 60, widows, and disabled persons, all from Below Poverty Line (BPL) households from the current Rs 200-1,000 a month to around Rs 1,600, with some of the increase coming from the states. The pensions are all part of the National Social Assistance Programme, on which the Central government spent around Rs 9,300 crore in 2014-15; around 31 million people from poor households benefited from the schemes that year. The Union rural development ministry wants the Centre’s share to be at least Rs 1,000 a month in each case.
— (THE HINDUSTAN TIMES, December 18, 2017)


The Union government on December 13, 2017 extended the deadline for linking Aadhaar with bank accounts by three months. The linkage now needs to be completed by 31 March 2018. “It has been decided by the Government to notify 31st March, 2018 or six months from the date of commencement of bank account based relationship by the client, whichever is later, as the date of submission of Aadhaar number & PAN or Form 60 by the clients to the reporting entity,” the Ministry of Finance said. The decision effectively means that for existing bank accounts, which are more than six months-old, the deadline is 31 March 2018. On the other hand, for accounts opened after 1 October 2017, the deadline will be six months from the date of opening the account. Last week, the deadline for linking PAN with Aadhaar too was extended by three months to 31 March 2018.
— (TIMES OF INDIA, December 14, 2017)
(Compiled by Pankaj Anand)