Monsoon Session of Parliament 2022 Day 5: On the fifth day of the ongoing Monsoon Session of Parliament on Friday, the government gave its response on various questions in both the upper and lower houses of the Parliament. The issues on which repies were given by different ministries included NEET-PG 2021, Line of Credit estended by India to countries, Ayushman Bharat Health Accounts and MTNL privatisation. This is what the they said.
1,456 seats remained vacant from NEET-PG 2021 despite 5 rounds of counselling: Government
As many as 1,456 seats for the NEET-PG 2021 remained vacant despite five rounds of counselling including a special round, the government told Lok Sabha Friday.
The vacant seats in respect of deemed universities were reverted to respective universities, Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar said in a written reply.
Pawar was responding to a question on whether the seats had remained vacant even after exhausting all the permissible rounds of counselling.
The Medical Counselling Committee (MCC) of Directorate General of Health Services in the Ministry of Health has been entrusted by the Supreme Court to conduct counselling.
“The MCC conducted five rounds of counselling for PG seats for the academic year 2021 including a Special Round of counselling. 1456 seats remained vacant.The vacant seats in respect of Deemed universities were reverted back to respective universities,” she stated.
See Zee Business Live TV Streaming Below:
India extended 37 Line of Credit worth USD 14 bn to 5 countries in neighbourhood
India extended a total of 37 Lines of Credit worth USD 14.27 billion to Bangladesh, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka for 162 projects, the government told Lok Sabha on Friday.
In reply to a question, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said another 222 Lines of Credit (LoC) worth USD 14.07 billion covering 357 projects have been extended to 42 countries in Africa.
The minister also provided a list of some of the projects that were implemented in the neighbouring countries as well as in Africa as part of India’s financial assistance.
“A total of 37 Lines of Credit worth USD 14.27 billion covering 162 projects have been extended to 5 countries in our neighbourhood namely, Bangladesh, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka,” Muraleedharan said.
“Another 222 Lines of Credit worth USD 14.07 billion covering 357 projects have been extended to 42 countries in Africa. These projects cover varied sectors like roads, railways, power, ports and shipping, telecom, health, education and aviation,” he added.
The government of India has extended 08 Lines of Credit (LOCs) to Sri Lanka amounting to USD 1850.64 million in sectors including railways, infrastructure, defence, renewable energy, petroleum and fertilisers in the past 10 years.
To a separate question, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that India is committed to developing friendly and mutually beneficial relations with all its neighbours under the ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy.
“In line with this policy, India continues to assist Sri Lanka in its economic development and also support it in overcoming its economic challenges,” he said.
Jaishankar said that in January India extended a USD 400 million currency swap to Sri Lanka under the SAARC Framework and deferred successive Asian Clearing Union settlements till July 6.
“A Line of Credit of US$ 500 million was extended to Sri Lanka for importing fuel from India. In addition, India has extended a credit facility of USD 1 billion for the procurement of food, medicines and other essential items from India,” he added.
Jaishankar said humanitarian assistance was also provided to Sri Lanka by gifting essential medicines worth about Rs 6 crore, 15,000 litres of kerosene oil and USD 55 million LoC for procurement of Urea fertiliser.
“The government of Tamil Nadu has contributed rice, milk powder and medicines worth USD 16 million, as part of the larger Indian assistance effort,” he said.
23 crore Ayushman Bharat Health Accounts created so far: Government
Almost 23 crore Ayushman Bharat Health Account (ABHA) numbers, which are 14-digit health Ids, have been created so far, with Andhra Pradesh generating the highest 3.21 crore followed by Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, Lok Sabha was told Friday.
In a written reply to a question, Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar said ABHA numbers can be generated for citizens of all age groups with a KYC (know your customer) verification.
The ABHA number is a 14-digit Id that allows users to save their health records and medical investigations online. The data can be accessed and shared online by healthcare providers across the country.
Pawar said the creation of ABHA number is voluntary.
“Till July 15, 2022, a total of 22,97,64,327 ABHA numbers have been created. ABHA number can be populated across existing digital health interventions to create longitudinal electronic health record (EHR) of the citizen. Inclusion is one of the core design principles for all ABDM (Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission) building blocks,” she said.
The ABDM has been launched by the government with the aim to establish the National Digital Health ecosystem by creating an online platform, enabling interoperability of health data so as to create a EHR of citizens.
Three key registries of ABDM — namely ABHA number/health ID, Health Professional Registry (HPR), Health Facility Registry (HFR) — and digital infrastructure for data exchange is created to enable data interoperability across digital health platforms.
All major ports to be made self-sustainable on electricity by 2030: Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal
The government is committed to reduce emissions from the shipping sector and all the major ports will be made fully self-sustainable on electricity by 2030, Parliament was informed on Friday.
In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal said that to develop global standard ports in India, Maritime India Vision (MIV) 2030 has identified initiatives, such as developing world-class Mega Ports, transhipment hubs and infrastructure modernisation of ports.
According to the minister, as a part of Sagarmala Programme, more than 800 projects at an estimated cost of around Rs 5.5 lakh crore have been identified for implementation during 2015 to 2035 across all coastal states.
Further, he said under holistic development of coastal districts, a total of 567 projects with an estimated cost of around Rs 58,000 crore have been identified.
MIV 2030 estimates the investments to the tune of Rs 1,00,000-1,25,000 crore for capacity augmentation and development of world class infrastructure at lndian Ports, he added.
No plans to privatise MTNL: Minister Devusinh Chauhan
The government does not have plans to privatise state-owned Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL), Parliament was informed on Friday.
MTNL has been incurring losses since 2016-17, and its loss stood at Rs 2,617 crore for the year 2021-22, Minster of State for Communications Devusinh Chauhan said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
“There is no plan to privatise MTNL,” the minister said.
The government approved the revival plan for Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and MTNL in October 2019 in which an in-principle nod for the merger of the two state-owned telecom corporations was granted.
Due to the high debt of MTNL and the adverse financial position of BSNL, the government, in December 2020, deferred the merger till MTNL’s debt position improves.
To another question, the minister noted that the Cabinet, in its meeting held on June 14, 2022, had reserved the spectrum for BSNL for providing 5G services.
“Testing of Indian make 4G equipment, under Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative, is already at advance stage and the delivery of the equipment will commence after completion of the testing,” Chauhan said.
People will start getting benefitted once this equipment is deployed and commissioned, he observed.
Replying to another question, the minister said the total licence fee (LF) and Spectrum Usage Charges (SUC) dues up to FY2018-19 for major telecom service providers stood at about Rs 1,62,654.4 crore.
As per the information made available, the cumulative dues of telecom service providers, which have opted for a moratorium scheme, add up to Rs 1,02,325 crore.
Of this, Bharti Group’s LF and SUC dues up to the financial year 2018-19 came to about Rs 29,856 crore, while that of Vodafone Idea was Rs 59,236.8 crore.
The LF and SUC dues of Reliance Jio Infocomm – which has not opted for the moratorium scheme – were at Rs 406.4 crore.
The assessment of such dues is an ongoing process and subject to revision based on representation, audits and litigation.
“For addressing the financial stress in the sector, the government has given an option of moratorium of up to four years on LF and SUC dues assessed up to FY 2018-19, to be paid by the licensees in yearly instalments by 31.03.2031,” the minister said.