The federal cabinet on Wednesday approved an allocation of Rs 1,650 crore to provide connectivity services to 7.5 million users under the Ujjwala scheme. It also approved the third phase of the e-court mission at a cost of Rs 7,210 crore.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) in a separate decision approved Suven Pharmaceuticals Limited’s foreign direct investment proposal of over Rs 9,500 crore.
To implement the August 29 decision on new lines of Rs 75 lakh under Ujjwala, the Cabinet approved a budgetary allocation of Rs 1,650 crore to be spent over three years (2023-24 to 2025-26). Giving details of the decision, Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Singh Thakur said the initial outlay per connection will be Rs 2,200, which will include two burner stoves and no. One cylinder, will be borne by the oil marketing company and reimbursed by the government.
“The beneficiaries will not need to pay any deposit. The connection will be completely free,” Thakur said. Currently, the number of connections under PM Ujjwala scheme is Rs 96 crore. As of now, consumers are getting a subsidy of Rs 200 per bottle. After this, the price has been reduced by Rs 200, which means that Ujjwala connection will get a discount of Rs 400.
Giving the reasons behind the expansion of the scheme, Thakur said some eligible households still do not have LPG connections. This is due to a variety of reasons – new families are formed every year due to population growth, marriage, immigration, family nucleation, residual families, extremely remote locations, etc. PMUY connection demand stood at 1.5 million as of August 31, added a government statement.
In another decision, the Cabinet approved the third phase of the e-Courts project at a cost of Rs 7,210 crore. The third phase of the e-Courts project focuses on user adoption of technology, a strong governance framework and a justice system that is more accessible, efficient and equitable for every individual seeking justice or participating in the administration of justice in India.
“The objective of this phase is to move towards digital, online and paperless courts by digitizing the entire court record, including legacy records, and through the proliferation of e-filing/e-payments, thereby introducing a system that maximizes simplification system of justice,” the government statement said.
The government spent Rs 640 crore in the first phase to provide laptops and other hardware to over 14,200 district and subordinate courts. In the second phase, more than Rs 1,600 crore was spent to cover more than 18,700 additional courts to enable them to leverage technology to deliver justice faster.
The statement also said that the main objective of the e-Courts Phase III is to create a unified technology platform for the judiciary to provide a seamless, paperless interface between courts, litigants and other stakeholders. “Emphasis on the automatic delivery of court summonses through further expansion of NSTEP (National Service and Tracking of Electronic Processes) to significantly reduce delays in trials,” the statement said.
Foreign direct investment in Suwen
Meanwhile, the CCEA approved a foreign direct investment proposal of up to 9,589 billion rupees from Berhyanda Limited of Cyprus to acquire more than 75% of its shares in Suven Pharmaceuticals Limited. At this point, more than 90% of the company’s shares will be held by foreign investors.
Under the FDI policy, 100% foreign investment is allowed in Greenfield Pharma projects through the automatic route. In brownfield pharmaceutical projects, the automatic route allows up to 74% FDI, above which government approval is required.