Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday, 16 May, addressed a press conference on the 20 lakh crore economic package announced under the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’, saying that fourth tranche of the package would focus on structural reforms in eight specific sectors.
The announcements will focus on structural reforms in new sectors, where growth is possible and employment is generated, the FM said, adding that many sectors need policy simplification and that once a sector is decongested it can be boosted for growth and jobs.
Sitharaman also specified the eight sectors where structural reforms would be announced on Saturday – coal, minerals, defence production, air space management and airports, MRO, distribution companies in union territories, space sector, and atomic energy.
Sitharaman has been detailing measures under the Rs 20 lakh crore package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to mitigate the damage done by the coronavirus-induced lockdown since 25 March.
1. Commercial Mining in Coal Sector
Speaking about the coal sector, Sitharaman announced that the government would now be allowing commercial mining of coal on a revenue sharing basis, doing away with the government’s monopoly on coal mining in the country. She also said that Rs 50,000 crores would be spent by the government of India for the purpose of building coal evacuation infrastructure.
“The government will introduce competition, transparency, and private sector participation in the coal sector through revenue sharing mechanism instead of the regime of fixed rupee/tonne,” Sitharaman said.
50 new coal blocks for commercial mining will be offered immediately.
2. Minerals Sector
Speaking about the minerals sector, Sitharaman said that the government would be enhancing private investments and introducing a seamless composite exploration-cum-mining-cum-production regime.
She said that there would be joint auction of minerals to enhance competitiveness. 500 mining blocks will be offered through an open and transparent auction process and a joint auction of bauxite and coal mineral blocks will be introduced to enhance the aluminium industry's competitiveness.
Measures Announced So Far
On Friday, FM Sitharaman announced 11 measures, of which eight relate to strengthening infrastructure, capacities and building better logistics, while the remaining three pertain to governance and administrative reform.
Some of the key announcements made were that the government would allocate Rs 1 lakh crore for farm gate infrastructure, the introduction of a Rs 10,000 crore scheme for the formalisation of Micro Food Enterprises (MFE), and the launch of a Rs 20,000 crore Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana for development of marine and inland fisheries. This programme is expected to provide 55 lakh people with employment.
In her second press conference to explain the economic package, Sitharaman had shared relief measures for the migrant workers, farmers, street vendors, and marginal traders.
Introducing national portability cards under the ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ scheme, the Finance Minister said workers in any part of the the country can avail of ration.
Among the major announcements, Sitharaman set out a Rs 5,000 special credit facility for nearly 50 lakh street vendors, free food grains supply to all migrant workers for the next two months and Rs 30,000 crores additional emergency working capital funding through NABARD to farmers.
On Wednesday, in the first tranche of economic relief measures, the FM had announced six relief measures for MSMEs including several categories of collateral free loans, raised investment limits for micro enterprises and relief measures for taxpayers and real estate as a part of the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ package.
PM Modi had announced the 'Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan' which is estimated to be around 10 percent of the country’s GDP on Tuesday, 12 May.
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