Youth Exchange Programmes with 10 countries approved

New Delhi, April 20 (IANS) The union cabinet on Wednesday approved the proposals of Youth Exchange Programmes to share ideas and cultural values with ten countries, the ministry of skill development said.

“The union cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the proposal after the it was apprised of the Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) signed with Bahrain, Kuwait, Nepal, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa on organising Youth Exchange Programmes with these countries,” a ministry statement said.

“International Youth Exchange programme promotes exchange of ideas and values amongst youth of different countries and help in developing international perspective among the youth,” the statement added.

The statement asserted that the aim of the programme is to promote peace and understanding with these countries and also strengthen friendly relations with them as to encourage people-to-people contact.

Cabinet approves changes in bill on afforestation

New Delhi, April 20 (IANS) The union cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday gave its approval to move official amendments in the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management And Planning Authority (CAMPA) Bill, 2015.

The CAMPA Bill is meant to promote afforestation and regeneration activities to compensate for forest land diverted to non-forest uses, by regulating and managing $5.3 billion (almost Rs.350 billion) collected over years.

The government in a statement said this legislation will ensure efficient and transparent utilisation of “unspent amount” of Rs.40,000 crore under the ad hoc CAMPA. This unspent amount, submitted at banks, generates approximately Rs.6,000 crore per annum as “compensatory levies” and “interest”.

“Utilisation of these amounts will facilitate timely execution of appropriate measures to mitigate impact of diversion of forest land, for which these amounts have been realised,” the government said in a statement.

“Apart from mitigating the impact of diversion of forest land, utilisation of these amounts will result in creation of productive assets and generation of huge employment opportunities in the rural areas, especially the backward tribal areas.”

The Narendra Modi government in April 2015 approved the bill for introduction in parliament. However, it was rejected in theRajya Sabha, where the government is in minority.

The cabinet decision to amend the CAMPA Bill provisions came just two days before India is to officially sign the COP-21 Global Climate Agreement at New York City on April 22.

The bill was also included in a report issued by Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, listing it as India’s action after the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

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