In addition, the Cabinet has also approved the National Mineral Policy 2019 and the Pradhan Mantri JI-VAN Yojana
The Union Cabinet, in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the night of February 28, 2019, approved a slew of bills, schemes and projects including those on farmers, Aadhaar, minerals and others
Among the most important approvals is the one on PM-KISAN. The scheme was launched by Modi on February 24, 2019. It seeks to provide income support to all small and marginal landholder farmers' families, with cultivable land holdings up to 2 hectares across India, by way of payment of Rs 6,000 per year, subject to certain exclusions.
The amount is being released in three 4-monthly installments of Rs 2,000 each over the year, to be credited into the bank accounts of the beneficiaries held in destination banks through Direct Benefit Transfer mode.
A total amount of more than Rs 2,000 crore has already been released to more than one crore farmers' families across the country in the first lot of the first installment. Further releases for the first installment to the remaining beneficiaries are being made.
The next big approval by the government was on the promulgation of an Ordinance to make amendments to the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, benefits and services) Act, 2016, Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2005, and the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885.
In its judgement on September 26, 2018, the Supreme Court, while holding Aadhaar to be constitutionally valid, had struck down a few sections of the Aadhaar Act in the interest of protecting the fundamental rights to privacy.
Consequently, amendments were proposed to the three acts (mentioned above) in line with the Supreme Court’s directives and the report of Justice B N Srikrishna (Retd.) committee on data protection to see to it that personal data remains protected.
To this end, the Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018 was passed by the Lok Sabha on January 4, 2019. However, it could not be passed by the Rajya Sabha, which was adjourned sine die.
With the Union Cabinet now having given its go-ahead to make amendments, the UIDAI would have a more robust mechanism to serve the public interest and restrain the misuse of Aadhaar.
Moreover, no individual shall be compelled to provide proof of possession of Aadhaar number for the purpose of establishing his identity once the amendments are made. The only exception would be if this provision is provided by a law made by Parliament.
Among other decisions, the Cabinet has also approved the National Mineral Policy 2019. The Policy was framed to bring in more transparency, better regulation and enforcement as well as sustainable mining practices in India.
The Policy is also expected to address the issues of people affected by mining projects, especially in India’s tribal areas.
The Cabinet has also approved the "Pradhan Mantri JI-VAN (Jaiv Indhan- Vatavaran Anukool fasal awashesh Nivaran) Yojana"
The policy is meant for providing support to Integrated Bioethanol Projects using lignocellulosic biomass and other renewable feedstock.
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