Cabinet approves permission to avail external assistance by State Government entities from bilateral agencies for implementation of vital infrastructure projects

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the policy guidelines to allow financially sound State Government entities to borrow directly from bilateral ODA (Official development Assistance) partners for implementation of vital infrastructure projects. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), a State Government entity, has also been allowed to borrow directly from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan for implementation of Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) project. The estimated project cost for Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link (MTHL) is Rs.17,854 crore, out of which JICA loan portion is expected to be Rs.15,109 crore. 

The guidelines will facilitate the State Government entities to directly borrow from the external bilateral funding agencies subject to fulfilment of certain conditions and all repayments of loans and interests to the funding agencies will be directly remitted by the concerned borrower. The concerned State Government will furnish guarantee for the Loan. The Government of India will provide counter guarantee for the loan.

External assistance today plays a supportive role in financing major infrastructure projects, social sector projects and in building up institutional capacity. The role of external assistance has gained further significance in view of the large gap in funding requirements for major infrastructure projects implemented by the State Governments in order to acquire competitive strength under the globalized economic framework. Presently, external development assistance from bilateral and multilateral sources is received by the Government of India (i) for projects/programmes in the Central sector; (ii) for projects executed by Central Public Sector Undertakings; and (ii) on behalf of the State Governments for State sector projects/programmes to be implemented by the State Governments and/or local bodies and public sector undertakings. The existing guidelines do not allow direct borrowings by the State Government entities from external agencies. 

Several State agencies are implementing major infrastructure projects of national importance. These projects, even if viable and sound, have huge funding requirements and borrowing by the State Governments for such projects may exhaust their respective borrowing limits. Therefore, in order to accelerate the pace of investment in major infrastructure projects in the country without compromising the need for external assistance for other sectors, an enabling provision in the existing guidelines was considered necessary to facilitate direct borrowing by the State Government entities from bilateral external agencies. This dispensation will allow the financially sound State entities to directly borrow and repay the loan required for major infrastructure projects without burdening the State exchequer. The approval of these guidelines reiterates Government’s commitment to promote inclusive growth and strengthen the economy.

Minister of State (IC), Labour & Employment to Give Away NSCI Safety Awards 

National Safety Council is a self-supporting non-profit autonomous society, set up by the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Govt. of India on 4th March, 1966. Its aim is to strengthen a national movement on Safety, Health & Environment to prevent and mitigate loss of life, human suffering & economic losses and provide support services.
As a part of the Council’s services, it has been operating Safety Awards Scheme at the national level for three sectors viz. Industrial Undertakings (Manufacturing Sector), Construction Projects (Construction Sector) and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME Sector). The main objective of the scheme is to provide national recognition to the organizations which have achieved and sustained a meritorious performance in Occupational Safety & Health (OSH) and for implementing effective OSH management systems, practices and procedures.  

The ‘NSCI Safety Awards’ for the year 2016 will be presented by the Minister of State (Independent Charge), Labour & Employment Shri Bandaru Dattatreya at 11.00 am on Thursday, the 20th April, 2016 in the Auditorium, SCOPE Convention Centre, Lodi Road, New Delhi. Dr. Satish Reddy, Chairman, National Safety Council will preside the function. 

The NSCI Safety Awards are coveted national level awards in the field of Workplace Safety, Health and Environment and given in recognition of establishing effective Safety Management System and excellent safety & health performance by the organizations in Manufacturing, Construction and MSME Sectors during the relevant assessment periods. These Awards are adjudged and declared every year by the National Safety Council. For the Awards- 2016, total 434 organisations comprising 307 factories from manufacturing sector; 87 establishments from construction sector and 40 MSME units participated in the contest. Altogether 70 organisations have been selected for the award in four categories – Sarva Shreshtha Suraksha Puraskar, Shreshtha Suraksha Puraskar, Suraksha Puraskar and Prashansa Patra.  Besides, 12 client organizations from Construction Sector will also be awarded.
IOCL - Digboi Refinery; National Fertilizers Ltd., Panipat and NPCIL, Kaiga Generating Station 3 & 4, Kaiga, Karnataka under Group A, Group B and Group C respectively in Manufacturing Sector; L&T Ltd., Rawatbhata, Chittorgarh for NPCIL Atomic Power Project, Rajasthan in Construction Sector and Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd., Electricals & Electronics, Thane, Maharashtra in MSME Sector have won the top level Sarva Shreshtha Suraksha Puraskar for the year 2016.