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Published on 1/05/2020 9:09:02 AM | Source: IANS

Now, PM Narendra Modi sets eyes on coal and mining to drive growth, create jobs

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With economic slump due to the pan-India lockdown leaving the government concerned, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had back to back meetings to bring the economy back on track. After directing on Thursday that measures should be taken to handhold investors by adopting a more proactive approach and ensuring all central and state clearances in a time-bound manner to boost the economy, he held detailed deliberations on how to boost the coal and mining sector.

It was "to deliberate the potential economic reforms in Mines and Coal sectors to give a boost to the economy in the backdrop of COVID-19. The discussions involved ensuring easy & abundant availability of mineral resources from domestic sources, upscaling exploration, attracting investment and modern technology, to generate large scale employment through transparent and efficient processes".

The discussion was more specific than on a macro level. Auctioning of additional blocks, encouraging wider participation in auctions, increasing the production of mineral resources, reducing the cost of mining and cost of transporting, increasing ease of doing business while also reducing carbon footprint with environmentally sustainable development figured in during the long deliberation to boost the sector.

Issues pertaining to reforms in auction structure, efficient institutional arrangements, participation of the private sector in exploration and mining, making the public sector more competitive as well as broad-basing the community development activities through the Mineral Development Fund were also touched upon.

In fact, the discussion took in such detail that expanding and improving evacuation infrastructure for minerals including use of sea-routes for domestic supplies was also considered.

Potential reforms for the sector, environmentally sound first mile connectivity for coal transport from mines to railway sidings, automatic loading on rail wagons, coal gasification and liquification, and coal bed methane exploration were also discussed.

With job losses expected to spike due to the continued lockdown, PM Modi reviewed the contribution of the Mines sector in increasing employment opportunities. He also enquired about how much the sector may contribute to India's growth.

One key thing he reiterated was of self-reliance. In the last Mann Ki Baat, he stressed on the need for India to become self-reliant, in the post-Covid world. "The biggest lesson COVID-19 has taught us is to become self-reliant," he had said. On Thursday, as he steered the meeting to boost India's economy through the Coal & Mining sector, he laid special focus on improving the country's self-reliance in production of minerals and their in-country processing.

Earlier in the day, while chairing a meeting, the Prime Minister directed that "action should be taken for a more proactive approach to handhold the investors, to look into their problems and help them in getting all the necessary central and state clearances in a time-bound manner".