The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by PM Narendra Modi, approved a policy for extending the term of over two dozen pre-NELP (New Exploration Licensing Policy) oil and gas Production Sharing Contracts (PSC).
The extension would enable and facilitate investment for extracting the existing hydrocarbon reserves.
It will also enable contractors to extract additional reserves with the help of new technologies.
Meeting of Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs
Extension to fetch $5.43 billion additional investment
The move to extend the term of PSCs signed prior to 1999 to bolster energy security is expected to fetch an additional investment of $5.43 billion.
The recoverable reserve from the blocks is estimated to be over 426 million barrel of oil equivalent.
In 2016-17 (till Feb'17), production from the blocks was 55 million barrels of oil and 965 million cubic meters natural gas.
Cairn India's block in Barmer, one of the beneficiaries
One of the beneficiaries of the move is Cairn India's block in Rajasthan's Barmer, the contract for which expires in May 2020; it accounts for nearly half of India's on land crude oil production.
The 25-year lease agreement for Cairn's block provides for a mutually agreed ten-year extension if gas is produced commercially.
Commercial production of gas from this field started in 2013.
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Companies to pay higher shares of profits
Indicating that companies have to pay higher profit shares, the official statement said, "The government's share of profit petroleum during the extended period of contract would be 10% higher for these fields, thus bringing additional revenues."
Minimum qualification standard for elementary teachers
In a bid to improve the quality of elementary education and ensure that teachers acquire minimum qualifications, CCEA approved an amendment to the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009.
The amendment will reportedly enable the untrained elementary teachers in service to their training and ensure all elementary teachers have a certain minimum qualification standard.
CCEA clears Mizoram-Meghalaya border road
CCEA also approved a 403km Mizoram-Meghalaya border road the estimated cost of which is Rs.6,721 crore to be taken up in 2017-18.
Out of 403km, 351km would be in Mizoram and 52km in Meghalaya.
Also, fresh estimates for Deepening and Widening of Mumbai Harbor Channel and JN Port Channel (Phase II) project costing Rs.2,029 crores have been approved by the cabinet.
MoU for cooperation in the field of cyber security
The cabinet was informed of the signing of the MoU between Electronics & IT Ministry's Indian Computer Emergency Response Team and the US Homeland Security regarding cooperation in cyber security on 11 Jan'17.
The cabinet also changed the funding pattern of the Rs.10,000cr start-up fund by allowing venture capitalists to invest only twice the amount contributed by the government from four times allowed earlier.
Amendments to NABARD Act and Customs and Excise Act cleared
The Minimum Support Prices per quintal of milling copra and ball copra for 2017 were increased to Rs.6,500 and Rs.6,785, respectively.
Amendments to National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development Act, 1981, for increasing NABARD's authorized capital to Rs.30,000cr and making changes in titles and sections were approved.
Amendment to Customs and Excise Act to abolish surcharges/cesses on various goods and services was cleared.