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Cabinet clears Rs 2,426 crore to upgrade 2G mobile sites in Naxal-hit areas to 4G

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New Delhi, Apr 27: The Union Cabinet has approved upgradation of 2G mobile sites to 4G in Naxal-hit areas at a cost of Rs 2,426 crore, Union Minister Anurag Thakur said on April 27. The project is spread across Naxal-affected area in 10 States and the task has been assigned to the State-owned telecom firm BSNL.

Anurag Thakur

"We have 4G here but LWE [left wing extremism] areas have 2G connectivity. To provide 4G in place of 2G facility, the Cabinet, under leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved Rs 2,426 crore for upgradation of 2,542 mobile towers from 2G to 4G. All these towers are in Naxal-affected area," Thakur told reporters after the Cabinet meeting.

He said that indigenously developed core network, radio network and telecom equipment will be used to upgrade the mobile towers to 4G.

"All these sites will be upgraded and run by BSNL," Thakur said.

The 2,542 mobile towers are spread across 10 states. This includes 346 sites in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar 16, Chattisgarh 971, Jharkhand 450, Madhya Pradesh 23, Maharashtra 125, Odisha 483, West Bengal 33, Uttar Pradesh 42 and Telangana 53, the Minister said.

Vendor's AtmaNirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi)

The Cabinet has approved the continuation of lending under the Prime Minister Street Vendor's AtmaNirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi) beyond March 2022 till December 2024, with focus on enhanced collateral free affordable loan corpus, increased adoption of digital transactions and holistic socio-economic development of the Street Vendors and their families.

Through the Scheme, affordable collateral-free loans are being facilitated to the Street Vendors. The Scheme had envisaged to facilitate loans for an amount of Rs. 5,000 crore. Today's approval has increased the loan amount to Rs. 8,100 crore, thereby providing the Street vendors working capital to further expand their business and making them AtmaNirbhar.

The budget for promotion of digital payments including cashback to the vendors has also been enhanced.

The approval is expected to benefit nearly 1.2 crore citizens of Urban India.

Under PM SVANidhi, significant achievements have already been made. As on April 25, 2022, 31.9 lakh loans have been sanctioned and 29.6 lakh loans amounting to Rs. 2,931 crore have been disbursed. As regards 2nd loan, 2.3 lakh loans have been sanctioned and 1.9 lakh loans amounting to Rs.385 crore have been disbursed. The beneficiary Street Vendors have conducted more than 13.5 crore digital transactions and have been given a cashback of Rs.10 crore. An amount of Rs.51 crore has been paid as Interest Subsidy.

Memorandum of Understanding between India and Chile

The Union Cabinet has approved the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between India and Chile for cooperation in Disability Sector.

The bilateral Memorandum of Understanding will encourage cooperation between the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Government of India and Government of Chile through joint initiatives in the disabilities sector. It will strengthen bilateral ties between India and Chile.

A joint Letter of Intent was signed between the countries expressing desire for cooperation in disability sector especially in the following areas:

Sharing of information on disability policy and delivery of services.
Exchange of information and knowledge.
Cooperation in assistive device technology.
Development of projects of mutual interest in disability sector.
Early identification and prevention of disability.
Exchange of experts, academicians and other administrative staff.
MoU provides the mechanism for funding to cover expenses for the activities under it.

The expenses for such activities will be mutually decided by both the Government on a case to case basis subject to availability of funds and resources. The cost towards international travel/accommodation for joint activities will be taken care of by the visiting country whereas the cost towards holding meeting will be borne by the host country.

Setting up of India Post Payments Bank

Cabinet approves revised cost estimate on 'Setting up of India Post Payments Bank' with additional funding of Rs.820 crore for FY 2020-21 to 2022-23.

The objective is to build the most accessible, affordable & trusted bank for the common man.

Cabinet approves opening of Indian Mission in Lithuania

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has accorded approval to the opening of a new Indian Mission in Lithuania in 2022.

Opening of Indian Mission in Lithuania will help expand India's diplomatic footprint, deepen political relations and strategic cooperation, enable growth of bilateral trade, investment and economic engagements, facilitate stronger people-to-people contacts, allow for more sustained political outreach in multilateral fora and help garner support for India's foreign policy objectives. Indian Mission in Lithuania will also better assist the Indian community and protect their interests.

The decision to open a new Indian Mission in Lithuania is a forward-looking step in pursuit of our national priority of growth and development or 'Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas'. Enhancement of India's diplomatic presence will, inter-alia, provide market access for Indian companies and bolster Indian exports of goods and services. This would have a direct impact in augmenting domestic production and employment in line with our goal of a self-reliant India or 'Atmanirbhar Bharat'.

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