Cabinet clears key Rail line proposals; Hotgi-Kudgi-Gadag sanctioned

Smart villages, NREGA sop and Railway routes among the Five key decisions that Cabinet took today

Providing an impetus to infrastructure growth, the Cabinet on Wednesday cleared key proposals for rural development and railway lines. From developing clusters of smart villages to additional employment under MGNREGA, the Cabinet gave its nod for proposals aimed at driving growth.

New Hotgi-Kudgi-Gadag Rail LineThe Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved doubling of the Hotgi-Kudgi-Gadag railway line at an anticipated cost of Rs.1618 crore and completion cost of Rs.2058 crore.

Out of this, Rs.946 crore (completion cost) is already received from NTPC under the Customer Funding Model for doubling of the stretch between Hotgi-Kudgi (134 km) and the remaining amount of Rs.1107.58 crore will be funded through the Gross Budgetary Support of Ministry of Railways or Extra Budgetary Resources or both. A number of Integrated Steel Plants/Power Plants/Cement Plants are coming up along the Hotgi-Kudgi-Gadag route.

This doubling work will provide the necessary line capacity for introduction of additional trains and smooth movement of rakes to/from the industries/power plants.

This will also boost overall development of the region. In view of the industrial activities taking place in the area, demands are also being received for running of additional train services through this route. Hotgi-Kudgi-Gadag route is a single line rail link between Guntakal-Pune-Mumbai and Hospet-Hubli-Goa rail routes. This is an important rail link connecting the cities of Bangalore and Mumbai.

Investment Managers’ opines that Railway Minister’s capex plan for the next five year is quite large-scale. And he is not talking without basis. He also has his resources in place. Railways’ capex thrust a very positive development.

In an ambitious bid to transform rural areas to economically, socially and physically sustainable spaces, the Cabinet approved the Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission (SPMRM) with an outlay of Rs 5142.08 crore. The Rurban Mission will develop a cluster of Smart Villages. Lets take a look at the details of the five major decisions taken by the Cabinet on Wednesday:

1) Smart plan for rural areas: The SPMRM mission aims to create 300 Rurban growth clusters over the next 3 years, across the country.

These clusters will see optimum development such as skill development training linked to economic activities, agro processing/agri services/storage and warehousing, digital literacy, sanitation, provision of piped water supply, solid and liquid waste management, street lights, better schools, inter-village road connectivity and gas connections.

To ensure an optimum level of development, fourteen components have been suggested as desirable for the cluster, which would include; Skill development training linked to economic activities, Agro Processing/Agri Services/Storage and Warehousing, Digital Literacy, Sanitation, Provision of piped water supply, Solid and liquid waste management, Villagestreets and drains, Street lights, Fully equipped mobile health unit, Upgrading school /higher education facilities, Inter-village road connectivity, Citizen Service Centres- for electronic delivery of citizen centric services/e-gram connectivity, Public transport., LPG gas connections.

2) Drought Relief: The Cabinet gave its ex-post facto nod to provide an additional 50 days of unskilled manual work in the financial year over and above the 100 days assured to job card holders in areas where drought or natural calamities have been notified. This will enable states to provide additional wage employment to the rural poor in drought affected areas. The poorest rural households will benefit from this, as it will help in immediate absorption of rural seasonal unemployment, and reduce rural distress.

3) The Cabinet also okayed a scheme to enable EXIM Bank to offer concessional finance to support Indian companies bidding for strategically important infrastructure projects abroad.

This will help Indian companies to bid for large projects abroad. The repayment of the loan would be guaranteed by the foreign Government.

4) Doubling of Hotgi-Kudgi-Gadag route (284 Km) of railways: The CCEA approved doubling of the Hotgi-Kudgi-Gadag railway line at an anticipated cost of Rs 1618 crore and completion cost of Rs 2058 crore. Out of this Rs 946 crore (completion cost) is already received fromNTPC under the Customer Funding Model for doubling of the stretch between Hotgi-Kudgi (134 km) and the remaining amount of Rs 1107.58 crore will be funded through the gross budgetary support of rail ministry or extra budgetary resources or both.

“A number of Integrated Steel Plants/Power Plants/Cement Plants are coming up along the Hotgi-Kudgi-Gadag route. This doubling work will provide the necessary line capacity for introduction of additional trains and smooth movement of rakes to/from the industries/power plants. This will also boost overall development of the region. In view of the industrial activities taking place in the area, demands are also being received for running of additional train services through this route,” a government release said.

5) Cabinet also gave its approval for the proposal to promulgate the Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015, which would help trade and commerce in general and allow the lending institution, including banks, to continue to extend financing to the economy, without the apprehension of loan default on account of bouncing of a cheque.

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