This Article is From May 16, 2020

Nirmala Sitharaman Announces Rs 50,000-Crore Boost To Coal Infra, Eases FDI In Defence Manufacturing: Highlights

"Atma Nirbhar Bharat" Economic Package: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said commercial mining will be permitted in coal to remove governmental monopoly.

Nirmala Sitharaman Announces Rs 50,000-Crore Boost To Coal Infra, Eases FDI In Defence Manufacturing: Highlights

Nirmala Sitharaman said the government will invest Rs 50,000 crore to develop coal infrastructure

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday announced structural reforms for eight sectors, including a Rs 50,000-crore boost for the coal sector and relaxed foreign investment rules for defence manufacturing. Commercial mining will be permitted in coal to remove governmental monopoly, the Finance Minister said as she announced investment of Rs 50,000 crore for the development of infrastructure in the sector. The government eased foreign direct investment (FDI) limits on defence manufacturing to 74 per cent from 49 per cent, in a bid to bring more production into the country. The structural reforms in coal, aviation and six other sectors were announced as part of the government's "Atma Nirbhar Bharat" economic package to tackle the damage caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the weeks-long lockdown. The government has already raised its borrowing plan for the current financial year to Rs 12 lakh crore from the previously budgeted Rs 7.8 lakh crore to set off the fall in revenue and fund extra spending. Economists say more clarity on the funding of any new measures announced by the government will be watched closely.

Here are highlights of the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's fourth set of measures under the "Atma Nirbhar Bharat" economic package:

  • PM has emphasised on the importance of making country stronger and ready to face global challenges
  • De-congestion of sectors can support growth and employment
  • Today's announcements focused on structural reforms; these reforms to support production
  • Government has brought many reforms; PM has been consistent in ensuring reforms are being taken up 
  • Policy reforms to fast-track investments; Make in India initiative 
  • Government to launch inventive schemes to promote new champion sectors, in areas such as solar TV
  • All industrial parks to be ranked by 2020-21
  • Reforms in eight sectors: 1) Coal, 2) minerals, 3) defence production, 4) civil aviation (airspace management; maintenance, repair and overhaul), 5) power distribution companies, 6) social infrastructure, 7) space, 8) atomic energy
  • COAL: Government to bring commercial mining in coal sector
    • Government monopoly to be removed, commercial mining to be permitted
    • Government to introduce competition, transparency, private sector participation in the sector through revenue sharing mechanism in a shift from fixed rate regime
    • Nearly 50 blocks to be offered immediately 
  • Government to spend Rs 50,000 crore to develop coal sector infrastructure
  • MINING: Government to enhance private sector investment in minerals
  • DEFENCE PRODUCTION: Government to notify list of weapons/platforms for ban on import
    • Move to help reduce defence import bill
    • Promote indigenisation of imported spares
    • Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) limit for defence manufacturing through automatic route to be raised from 49% to 74%
  • CIVIL AVIATION: Government to ease restrictions on utilisation of country's air space to promote efficient flying for civilians
    • Move to lead to benefit of Rs 1,000 crore per year for aviation sector
    • Six more airports identified for second round of auction
    • AAI to do it on PPP (public-private partnership) basis
    •  Country to become global hub for aircraft MRO (maintenance, repair, overhaul); aircraft component repair/airframe maintenance to rise from Rs 800 crore to Rs 2,000 crore in three years
  • Currently, only 60 per cent of country's airspace freely available
  • POWER DISTRIBUTION COMPANIES: In Union Territories, power distribution companies to be privatised 
    • New tariff policy to be released containing reforms on consumer rights, industry promotion sectoral sustainability
  • SPACE: Government to boost private participation in space activities
    • Government to provide level-playing field to private companies in satellites, launches and space services 
    • Private sector to be allowed to use ISRO facilities to improve capacities 
  • ATOMIC ENERGY: Research reactor to be established for making medical isotopes under PPP model