Union Cabinet approves revised pact on Border Haats with Bangladesh

The Union Cabinet on 15 March 2017 approved the revised Mode of Operation (MoO) and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Bangladesh to establish the Border Haats on India-Bangladesh Border. The Revised MoU and Mode of Operation will provide a legal framework for establishment and operationalization of additional Border Haats.

These Border Haats are being created with an aim to promote the well-being of the people dwelling in the remote areas across the borders of the two countries. Besides promoting the well-being of people who are the residents of the remote areas, these haats will help in promoting the traditional system of marketing the local produce through local markets. These measures help to improve the economic well-being of marginalised sections of society. The approval to this revised MoU and MoO was given at a Union Cabinet meet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

At present, four Border haats are operational between the two countries, two each in Tripura and Meghalaya. These haats were established under the MoU and Mode of operation of Haats earlier signed between Bangladesh and India on 23 October 2010. Later on 15 May 2012, an addendum to the mode of operation of Border Haats was also signed.

The border haats were created with an aim to boost the trade between the two countries. The trade in these haats is permitted in both Indian Rupees and Bangladeshi Taka as well as on barter basis. Data of such trade is managed by the Haat Management Committee of the respective haats.

As per reports of December 2016, the data furnished by the concerned state governments said that the cash trade was equivalent to Rs 1686.62 lakhs. This transaction was carried out at the four border haats in the five-year period ending 2015-16.

There are no border haats in operation along the Bhutan and Myanmar borders. In addition to these existing four functional border haats, the governments of the two countries have approved six additional border haats. These six border haats will be developed in two in Tripura at Palbasti and Kamalpur and four in Meghalaya at Bholaganj, Nalikata, Shibbari and Ryngku.

Apart from this, the Union Cabinet also approved the signing of a MoU on Aids to Navigation (AtoNs) between the Directorate General of Lighthouses & Lightships (DGLL) functional under Union Ministry of Shipping and the Department of Shipping of Bangladesh.

Approval to this signing of the MoU will help the two countries in cooperating in capacity building in the field of AtoN training in the South Asian region. It will also give a boost to imparting training on the management of marine aids to navigation based on IALA Model Course E-141/1 and accordingly facilitate the delivery of a professional training course as per the IALA guidelines.

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