New Delhi: The Union cabinet on Thursday approved a Rs774 crore GPS-aided navigation project for aircraft and agreed to reinforce the policing infrastructure in states hit by Naxalite violence.
The cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA) also endorsed a new biofuel policy, approved a Rs500 crore plan to set up 10 food parks and gave green light to a 300% pay hike for the nation’s president, vice-president and state governors.
The Geo Augmented Navigation (Gagan) project aims to provide straight-line, fuel-efficient routes and precision approach landings to aircraft over the country’s airspace. To be developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation and the Airports Authority of India, the system would make “flying much safer than at present”, civil aviation minister Praful Patel said.
Spreading wings: Civil aviation minister Praful Patel. Madhu Kapparath/Mint
The cabinet also set aside Rs500 crore for a special scheme for states affected by Maoist violence, saying the funds will provide infrastructure critical for security needs. Maoists known as Naxalites are active in several states.
The new biofuel policy aims to raise the blending of biofuels with petrol and diesel to 20% by 2017, a government statement said. Domestic oil retailers are required to mix ethanol with petrol to 5% of volume almost nationwide and the government plans to double that to 10% from October.
The 10 food parks cleared by CCEA would comprise processing hubs, laboratories, cold storage and packaging units. Agriculture and horticulture items worth Rs5,800 crore are wasted in India every year because of a lack of processing facilities, according to official estimates.
After announcing a 21% salary raise for Union government employees in August, CCEA on Thursday approved a three-time jump in the pay of the president, vice-president and governors. After the hike, the president will earn Rs1.5 lakh a month.
The government also allowed frequency modulated, or FM, broadcasters to set up subsidiaries but kept the foreign investment limit at 20%.
(Reuters contributed to this story.)