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Modi govt approved major projects just ahead EC calling elections

In what could be its last cabinet meeting ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the Modi government on Thursday approved a raft of decisions such as setting up 50 Kendriya Vidyalayas, a push to infrastructure and power projects and expanding health insurance benefits to ex-servicemen.

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NEW DELHI: In what could be its last cabinet meeting ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the Modi government on Thursday approved a raft of decisions such as setting up 50 Kendriya Vidyalayas, a push to infrastructure and power projects and expanding health insurance benefits to ex-servicemen.

Racing to beat the model code of conduct that will kick in after the Election Commission unveils the general election schedule, the cabinet and the cabinet committee on economic affairs together approved 30 decisions, which included projects for Delhi Metro and a committee to draw up norms for unauthorised colonies.

The political implications of the decisions were evident with the infrastructure projects slated for several states and a big bonanza for Mumbai’s urban transport by way of 191 air conditioned rakes.

The new KVs, which will start functioning from the 2019-20 academic session, will cater to one lakh students and help increase the number of KVs to 1,252. The government has set aside Rs 1,579 crore for development of these KVs over a period of five years. Around 12.5 lakh students study in the KV system.

The cabinet also approved Delhi Metro’s Phase IV comprising three priority corridors. In another decision expected to benefit over 40,000 ex-service personnel, the cabinet approved the grant of ex-servicemen contributory health scheme (ECHS) facilities to WWII veterans, emergency commissioned officers, short service commission officers and premature retirees.

Two super thermal power projects with a capacity of 1,320 MW each were approved in Khurja in UP and Buxar in Bihar. The CCEA approved recommendations of a GoM relating to grant of linkage coal for short-term power purchase agreement and allowed existing coal linkage to be used in case of termination of PPAs due to payment default by discoms and procurement of bulk power by a nodal agency against pre-declared linkages.

The CCEA also gave the go-ahead for construction of Kiru Hydro Electric project (624 mw) by Chenab Valley Power Projects Private Limited in J&K. The project is located on the Chenab river in Kishtwar district.

Approval was also granted for extension of time and scope for revival and development of unserved and under-served air strips of state governments, Airports Authority of India, civil enclaves, CPSUs, helipads and water aerodromes at a cost of Rs 4,500 crore. The CCEA also approved Rs 2,790 crore towards interest subvention for extending indicative loan amount of Rs 12,900 crore by banks to sugar mills.

In a move to sustain its improvements in reducing the HIV burden, the CCEA approved continuation of the fourth phase of the National AIDS Control Programme for three years from April 2017 to March 2020. An outlay of Rs 6,434.76 crore has been earmarked for the three years. Flood Management and Border Areas Programme, with an outlay of Rs 3,342 crore till 2019-20, was approved for effective flood management across the country.

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