Gold Monetization Scheme

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  1. Under the Gold Monetization Scheme, banks will collect gold for up to 15 years to auction them off or lend to jewellers from time to time. They will pay 2.25-2.50 percent interest a year, higher than previous rates of around 1 percent.
  2. People can deposit a minimum 30 grams of raw gold – bars, coins, jewellery excluding stones and other metals. There is no maximum limit for deposits under the scheme.
  3. A Gold Sovereign Bond Scheme offers 2.75 percent interest to domestic investors to cut physical buying. Interest on gold bonds, which can be used as collateral for loans, will be payable every six months.
  4. Investors will have to disclose their permanent account number, registered with the income tax department if the value of gold is worth more than Rs. 50,000.
  5. The country has amassed about 20,000 tonnes of gold worth over $800 billion (Rs 52.40 lakh crore) in family lockers and temples and previous attempts at mobilising this gold have been unsuccessful.
  6. Huge gold imports pushed India’s current account deficit to a record $190 billion (R12.48 lakh crore) in 2013, prompting the government to hike its duty on imports to a record 10 percent. Imports fell to an estimated $34 billion (Rs. 2.23 lakh crore) in 2014-15.

Committee on Government Assurances

Introduction:- Various assurances, promises and undertakings are given by the Ministers on several occasions while replying to questions or during a discussion on Bills, resolutions, motions etc., either to consider a matter, take action or furnish information later.
In order to ensure that these assurances etc. are implemented and in reasonable time, the Lok Sabha has constituted a Committee on Government Assurances with a view to institutionalising the procedure to ensure the fulfilment of promises and undertakings given from time to time by the Minister on the floor of the House.

Organisation: – The Committee consists of not more than 15 Members of Lok Sabha who are nominated by the Speaker. A Minister is not nominated as a Member of the Committee. The Chairman/Chairperson is appointed by the Speaker, Lok Sabha from amongst Members of the Committee. However, if the Deputy Speaker is a Member of the Committee, he shall be appointed Chairman of the Committee. The term of the Committee is one year, from the date of its constitution.

Functions and Duties: – The functions of the Committee on Government Assurances are to examine the confirmations, guarantees, promises etc., given by the ministers, every once in a while on the floor of the House and to provide details regarding:-
(a) The degree to which such assurances, guarantees, promises, etc., have been implemented; and
(b) Where implemented whether such implementation has taken place within the minimum time necessary for the purpose.

The principal and the first duty of the Committee is to guarantee proper implementation of the assurances. For this reason, the Committee has recommended an outer limit of three months for the implementation of assurance, calculated from the date of it’s being given in the House.

However, if the Government foresees any genuine difficulty in implementing the assurance within the stipulated period, the Ministry concerned request for extension of time as considered minimum for fulfilment of the assurance. If for any valid reason the Government finds that it is not feasible to implement an assurance given on the floor of the House, the Government have to approach the Committee and place the facts for its consideration. If the Committee agrees, it may recommend dropping of the assurance in its reports presented to the House.

The work of the Committee is of a continuous nature and it is generally the practice that the work of the Committee which is left unfinished at the end of the term is taken up by the succeeding Committee at the stage where it was left.

The Statements laid on the Table are examined by the Secretariat. Such of the assurances as do not appear to have been fully or satisfactorily implemented are placed before the Committee for its consideration. If necessary, the Committee may call for the Officers of the concerned Ministry to give evidence before them in regard to the action taken by the Government in the implementation of certain assurances.

The Committee examines Ministries/Departments in the matter of implementation of assurances, on the selective basis. After the examination of the action taken by the Government to implement the assurances, the extent to which they have actually been implemented and whether the implementation has taken place within the time necessary for the purpose etc., the Committee forms its conclusion and recommendations for inclusion in the report. A draft report is prepared by the Secretariat.

After the Chairman’s approval, the report is circulated to the Members of the Committee and considered at a sitting held for the purpose. After the Report has been adopted by the Committee, the Chairman presents the Report to the House. The Report of the Committee, as a convention, is not discussed in the House. The decisions of the Committee are unanimous and there are no minutes of dissent to the Report. The Officers and Staff of the Committee on Government Assurances provide Secretarial assistance to the Committee.

Summary of Government Assurance 

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New Draft Aviation Policy

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Changes proposed in the draft Aviation policy:

  • FDI in aviation: In a remarkable move, the Civil Aviation Ministry has pitched for 50% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in domestic carrier in the event that Open Skies Policy is implemented. Under the Open Skies Policy, foreign carriers can operate unlimited number of flights within and out of India. At present FDI point of confinement is 49%.
  • 2% Levy: Ministry has proposed 2% tax on all household and worldwide tickets for Regional connectivity scheme. The government expects to generate about Rs 1,500 Crore yearly from charging 2% tax.
  • No-frills airports: The policy has suggested different measures to boost local network including setting up of no-frills airports and providing growth break funding for airlines. No frill airport are being proposed to be set up at the cost of Rs 50 crore as an attempt to boost local air connectivity.
  • Boost regional connectivity
    a) The draft proposes cap fare at Rs 2,500 for one-hour flight under Regional connectivity scheme.
    b) To guarantee expanded local connectivity, the policy has additionally proposed different concessions, for example, state governments giving free land and bringing down the Valued Added Tax (VAT) on ATF to 1% or less.
    c) There would be no service charge on tickets under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) aside from service charge exclusion for scheduled commuter airlines taking jet fuel from RCS airports.
    d) For the regional network, 80% of the viability gap funding would be shared by the Center and rest by concerned states.
  • To make MRO (Maintenance Repair, Overhaul) less expensive, the administration has proposed to exclude exercises such as service tax, VAT, etc.
    MRO, ground handling, cargo and ATF infrastructure co-located at an airport will likewise get the advantage of infrastructure sector, with benefits under Section 80-IA of Income Tax Act.
  • Scheduled Commuter Airlines:
    The revised policy has introduced the idea of Scheduled Commuter Airlines (SCAs) which will ease the norms and organisations will not be obliged to pay airplane terminal charges for operating under RCS.
    SCAs can be set up with a base paid capital of Rs 2 crore and their airplane would have a limit of 100 seats or less. These organisations can also go into code share with different carriers.
  • Route dispersal guidelines:  Different measures have been suggested for legitimization under route dispersal guidelines and also for liberalised bilateral rights framework.
    The domestic carrier would be permitted to go into code agreements with foreign airlines without prior approvals.
  • 5/20 norms: The government has decided to look for more remarks from stakeholders before taking a final call on 5/20 rules – whereby local carriers can fly abroad once they have five years of operational experience and fleet size not less than 20 aircrafts.