PM discusses potential economic reforms in mines and coal sectors to boost economy   

PTI
Thursday, 30 April 2020

In the meeting with top officials, the prime minister laid special focus on improving the country's self-reliance in production of minerals and their in-country processing.
 

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday held a "detailed" meeting to discuss the potential economic reforms in the mines and coal sectors to give a boost to the economy in the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The discussions involved ensuring easy and 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, according to an official statement.
In the meeting with top officials, the prime minister laid special focus on improving the country's self-reliance in production of minerals and their in-country processing.
Auctioning of additional blocks, encouraging wider participation in auctions, increasing the production of mineral resources, reducing the cost of mining and cost of transporting formed part of the discussion. 
The deliberations also focussed on increasing ease of doing business while also reducing carbon footprint with environmentally sustainable development.
The issues related to reforms in auction structure, efficient institutional arrangements, participation of private sector in exploration and mining, making public sector more competitive as well as broad-basing the community development activities through the Mineral Development Fund were also deliberated. 
Expanding and improving evacuation infrastructure for minerals, including use of sea-routes for domestic supplies, was also considered.
Aspects related to increasing the efficient and environmentally-sound "first mile connectivity" for coal transport from mines to railway sliding, automatic loading on rail wagons, coal gasification and liquefaction, coal bed methane exploration were also discussed as potential reforms.
PM Modi reviewed the contribution of mines sector in increasing employment opportunities and boosting growth.
He also said that the mineral sector should benchmark its operations to international standards and advised its representatives to prepare an action plan.
He exhorted using modern technologies for efficient mining.
He said the aim should be for reducing delays in obtaining clearances and partnering with states to facilitate increase in private investment to boost the economy. 
He gave directions to target thermal coal import substitution, particularly when a huge coal stock inventory is available in the country this year. 

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