In her fourth tranche of the economic package a Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman at a press conference made series of announcements touching upon various sectors in order to reboot the Indian economy post COVID-19.
In significant step ending government monopoly she gave nod to commercial mining of coal by the private sector. The commercial mining will be done on revenue sharing mechanism instead of the regime of fixed rupee/tonne.
Nearly 50 blocks will be offered for bidding, she said. This is being done to reduce import of substitutable coal and increase self-reliance in coal production.
Also, the government will invest Rs 50,000 crore for building evacuation infrastructure.
Coal gasification and liquefication will be incentivised through rebate in revenue sharing, she said adding coal bed methane (CBM) production would also be encouraged. She further announced major reforms in the mining of minerals through a seamless composite exploration-cum-production regime.
She said 500 blocks of minerals will be auctioned in a composite exploration-cum-mining-cum-production regime.
Also, a joint auction of bauxite and coal blocks would be done to enhance the aluminium industry’s competitiveness.
This, she said, will help the aluminium industry reduce electricity costs.
She said the distinction between captive and non-captive mines will be removed to allow the transfer of mining leases and sale of surplus unused minerals, leading to better efficiency and production.
Defence sector gets a boost with foreign direct investment limit in defence manufacturing hiked to 74 per cent from 49 per cent while some weapons and platforms will be banned for imports.
Ordnance Factory Boards will be corporatised for better management and eventually get listed on the stock market, she said adding corporatisation is not privatisation.
For the time-bound defence procurement process and faster decision-making, project management unit to support contract management will be set up.
In effort to make air travel faster and cheaper, Sitharaman announced easing of restrictions on utilisation of Indian air space, benefiting civil aviation sector by about Rs 1,000 crore per year.
More air space available would reduce travel time and save on fuel, she said. As 60 per cent of Indian airspace is freely available.
The finance minister said six more airports will be auctioned for private participation. Also, an additional investment of Rs 13,000 crore will be made by private players in 12 airports auctioned in first and second rounds.
She also said tax regime for aircraft Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) has been rationalised.
Aircraft component repair and airframe maintenance are expected to increase from Rs 800 crore to Rs 2,000 crore in three years, she added.
Further Finance Minister also announced the private sector a role in India’s space programme, including in satellites, launches and space-based services. For boosting private participation in space activities, government will provide level playing field for private companies in satellites, launches and space-based services.