The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, took some key decisions during a meeting today. The cabinet approved a proposal to redevelop three major railway stations -- New Delhi railway station, Ahmedabad railway station and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT), Mumbai. The government is planning to invest ₹10,000 crore in these three projects, railways minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said.

The work will be carried out in 2-3.5 years, the minister said, adding that green building techniques – solar energy, water conservation, recycling and improved tree cover – will also be used in redesigning them.

The projects will provide 35,000 estimated jobs and facilitate 2 million people every day. "Redevelopment of the three major railway stations will result in the creation of more than 35,000 jobs. Will improve the daily experience of more than 2 million passengers," he said.

The ministry says the New Delhi railway station's design will be changed to integrate train services with buses, auto and metro rail services. The Ahmedabad railway station's new structure will be inspired by Modera's Sun temple. The minister said since the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus' is a heritage building, there won't be any changes to its core design. But nearby buildings will be re-developed completely.

The standard elements at these stations will be a spacious roof plaza with all amenities, and spaces for retail, cafeterias, and recreational facilities. Both sides of the city will be connected to the stations. Facilities like a food court, waiting lounge, playing area for children, and place for local products will also be available.

The ministry says 199 stations are planned to be redeveloped, of which tenders have been issued for 47 stations. "Master planning and design for the remaining is underway. Work is progressing fast for 32 stations."

The cabinet also approved the extension of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY) for another three months from October 2022 to December 2022. The scheme, started during the tough Covid period in 2020, offers free foodgrain at 5 kg per person/month for all the beneficiaries of the National Food Security Act (NFSA).

Under the latest phase 6 of the scheme, the government will provide a subsidy worth ₹44,762 crore, with the total foodgrains outgo estimated at 122 LMT. With the additional expenditure of ₹44,762 crore for phase 6, the overall PMGKAY outgo stands at ₹3.91 lakh crore so far.

The cabinet also gave ex-post facto approval for an MoU India and Bangladesh for withdrawing up to 153 cusecs water each by both the nations from the common border river Kushiyara, during the dry season (1st November to 31st May) to meet water needs. The MoU will benefit Assam immensely.

Besides, the Cabinet also approved the release of an additional instalment of dearness allowance (DA) and dearness relief at 4% to the central government employees and pensioners. The DA will be applicable from July 1, 2022.

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