Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s fourth tranche of economic measures on Saturday evening focused on structural reforms.
The press conference focused on eight areas—coal, mineral, defence production, air space management, airports MRO, power distribution companies in UTs, space and atomic energy.
Sitharaman has been holding consecutive press conferences to announce measures since Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an economic stimulus aimed at trying to help restart economic activities and offer relief measures after the global coronavirus pandemic and a subsequent lockdown brought all economic activities to a grinding halt.
The finance minister has so far announced measures for MSMEs, NBFCs, real estate, the middle class, farmers and migrants.
Here are the highlights:
—To allow commercial mining in coal on revenue-sharing basis and end government monopoly and make it available at market price.
—Incentives given to those who produce before deadline.
—50 coal blocks to be offered immediately with no eligibility conditions, only upfront payment with a ceiling.
—Incentives to convert coal into gas to keep up Indias environmental commitments.
—Coal bed methane extraction will be auctioned. Rs 50,000 crore to be spent by GoI for evacuation infrastructure.
Mining of minerals
—Seamless composite exploration-cum-mining production mechanism. 500 mining blocks will be available through mechanism.
—Removing distinction between captive and uncaptive mines.
—-Ministry of Mines is developing index for minerals.
—-Stamp duty to be rationalised at the time of awarding mining leases.
—Centre will notify a list of weapons and platforms whose import will banned but will be bought in India. List will be revised every year. Indigenisation of imported spares. Separate budget for domestic procurement.
—Improve autonomy, accountability of ordnance factories. Ordnance factory boards will be corporatised.
—Automatic FDI limits raised from 49 per cent to 74 per cent. Mechanism for time-bound defence procurement.
—-Overhaul of time and testing process to make it more efficient.
Discoms in UTs
—Power distribution companies in UTs to be privatised.
—Tariff policy to be announced soon.
—-Smart prepaid metres to be set up.
—Optimum utilisation of air space to bring down fuel costs and flying time. Rationalisation of air space.
—Six more airports are on auction on PPP basis. Additional investment from private players in airports.
—Airport Authority of India will get a down payment of Rs 2,300 crore and first and second rounds to get Rs 13,000 crore.
—Making India a Maintenance Repairs Overall hub for civil as well as defence aircraft. Tax regime rationalised.
—-Social infrastructure projects like hospital government has made a provision of Rs 8,100 crore in the form of viability gap funding. Central govermment will given 30 per cent gap funding.
Space management and exploration
—-Private sector given access to space area to offer them level playing field. Future projects for planetary exploration, outer space travel to be open to private sector. Liberal geo-spatial data policy. Provide remote-sensing data to entrepreneurs.
—Research reactor in PPP model for production of medical isotopes.
—Establishing facilities in PPP mode to use radiation technology in food production.
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