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Day 4 Atmanirbhar Bharat: FM Announces Major Development In Coal, Defence Manufacturing Etc.

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Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today addressed the press conference to announce the fourth set of reforms in a series of reforms that form part of the “AatmaNirbhar Bharat Package”, the 20 lakh crore financial package announced by Prime Minister Modi. The reforms announced today were in 8 Sectors  – Coal, Minerals, Defence Sector, Airports, Civil aviation, Power distribution, Space and Atomic energy .

According to the Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, Prime Minister Modi’s vision is to create a self reliant India, and in doing so, its important for the Nation to be ready to face competition as its not an isolationist policy and the Country needs to be ready to face challenges of global value chain.

In making efforts towards Aatmanirbhar Bharat, policy reforms will be made by the Government to fast-track investment. Fast track Investment Clearance through Empowered Group of Secretaries(EGoS) will be done. Project Development Cell will be made in each Ministry to prepare investible projects, coordinate with investors and Central and State Governments. States will be ranked on Investment Attractiveness to compete for new investments. Inventive schemes for promotion of New Champion Sectors will be launched in sectors such as Solar PV manufacturing, advanced cell battery storage, etc.

The Industrial infrastructure will be upgraded, and schemes will be implemented in States through Challenge mode for Industrial Cluster Upgradation of common infrastructure facilities and connectivity. Industrial land will be made available for promoting new investments and making information available on Industrial Information System (ITS) with GIS mapping.

The following reforms have been announced with reference to the 8 sectors-

  • Coal : Commercial mining will be brought in the Coal sector. Coal is a government monopoly, and the government monopoly is now being removed. Government will introduce competition, transparency and private sector participation in coal sector through Revenue sharing mechanism instead of regime of fixed Rupee/ tonne, liberalisation of Entry norms. Nearly 50 blocks will be offered immediately with no eligibility conditions, and only upfront payment with a ceiling.
  • Minerals: There will be Introduction of a seamless composite exploration-cum-mining-cum production regime. 500 mining blocks would be offered through this open and transparent auction process. A joint auction of Bauxite and coal Mineral Blocks will be introduced to enhance Aluminium Industry’s competitiveness and help the industry to reduce electricity costs.

In mineral sector, there will be removal of distinction between captive and non-captive mines to allow transfer of mining leases and sale of surplus unused minerals, leading to better efficiency and mining and production. The Ministry of Mines is in the process of developing a Mineral Index for different minerals

  • Defence– A list of weapons will be notified whose import will be banned with year wise timelines, there will be indigenisation of imported spares and a separate budget will be provisioned for domestic capital procurement. Ordnance Factory Board will be corporatised and not privatised to improve autonomy, accountability and efficiency in Ordnance supplies by Corporatisation of Ordnance Factory Board.

The FDI limit in defence manufacturing under automatic route will be raised by 49% to 74% . Time bound defence procurement process and faster decision making will be ushered in by setting up of a Project Management Unit to support contract Management Realistic and setting up of General Staff Qualitative Requirements of weapons/platforms.

  • Civil Aviation – The reforms in civil aviation will include three important sectors including, Airspace management, PPP and airports, and MRO hub
  • Airspace management- There will be reduction in flying cost of Rs 1000 crores, by easing the restrictions on utilisation of Indian Air space so that civilian flying becomes more efficient. A benefit of Rs 1000 crores per year will be brought in for the aviation sector
  • Airports through PPP– AAI has awarded three airports out of 6 bid for Operation and Maintenance on Public-Private Partnership (PPP basis). 6 more airports have been identified for the second round and the bid process for the same will soon commence. Additional investment by private players in 12 airports in first and second rounds is expected to be around 13,000 crores
  • Aircraft Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) : India will become a global hub for Aircraft Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO). Tax regime for MRO will be rationalised .
  • Space Sector – Private Participation in Space activities to receive a boost. Level playing field be provided to private companies in satellites, launches and space-based services, and a predictable policy and regulatory environment to private players will be provided. They will be allowed to use ISRO facilities and other relevant assets to improve their capacities. Future Projects for planetary exploration, outer space travel, etc will also be made open for the private sector.
  • Atomic Energy – Atomic Energy Related Reforms will be brought in by Establishment of research sector in PPP mode for production of medical isotopes for promoting welfare of humanity through affordable treatment of cancer and other diseases. Government will also introduce establishment of facilities in PPP Mode to use irradiation technology for food preservation to compliment agricultural reforms and assist farmers. India’s robust start up system will be linked to the nuclear sector by setting up of Technology Development cum Incubation Centres to foster synergy between research facilities and tech- entrepreneurs

-India Legal Bureau

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