Key Cabinet decisions: Govt restores MPLAD scheme, hikes ethanol price; and more

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday decided to restore the funding for Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) for the remainder of 2021-22. The government has also approved the hiked price of ethanol for blending in petrol besides approving reservation norms for jute packaging materials.

The MPLADS funds were temporarily suspended in April 2020 in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. Then Union Minister Prakash Javadekar had announced that the consolidated amount of MPLAD Funds for 2 years – Rs 7,900 crores – will go to Consolidated Fund of India.

In a press briefing on Wednesday, Union Minister Anurag Thakur announced that the scheme has been restored and will continue till 2025-26. The funds will be released at the rate of Rs 2 crore per MP for the remainder of 2021-22 fiscal year, in one instalment. From 2022-23 to 2025-26, the funds will be released at a rate of Rs 5 crore per annum per MP in two instalments of Rs 2.5 crore each.

The MPLADS is a programme first launched during the Narasimha Rao-led government in 1993. It is aimed towards providing funds for developmental works recommended by individual MPs.

Price of ethanol hiked

As part of the government’s target to achieve 20 per cent ethanol blending in petrol by 2025, the Cabinet on Wednesday approved the hiked price of ethanol extracted from sugarcane by up to Rs 1.47 per litre, starting December 2021.

The increased focus on use of ethanol as a fuel will positively impacting the environment as well as the lives of farmers and reduce dependency on the crude oil imports.

The rate for ethanol from C-heavy molasses has been increased to Rs 46.66 per litre from Rs 45.69 per litre currently, and that of ethanol from B-heavy to Rs 59.08 per litre from Rs 57.61 per litre, the Information and Broadcasting minister said.

The Union Minister also announced that the price of ethanol extracted from sugarcane juice, sugar syrup has been increased from Rs 62.65 to Rs 63.45. He added that ethanol blending with petrol has touched 8 per cent in the 2020-21 marketing year (December-November) and is expected to reach 10 per cent in the next year.

Committed price support to Cotton Commission approved

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) also approved the committed price support of Rs 17,408.85 crore to the Cotton Commission of India for reimbursing losses incurred during 2014-15 to 2020-21 under MSP operations.

Apart from these decisions, Thakur also announced that the Cabinet has approved reservation norms for jute packaging materials for the year 2021-22. The norms for packaging in jute materials mandate that 100 per cent of the food grains and 20 per cent of sugar will be packed in diversified jute bags.

Moreover, the Cabinet approved the declaration of November 15, the birth anniversary of Birsa Munda, as “Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas” and is planning to hold week-long celebrations till November 22.

— With inputs from PTI, ANI

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