New Delhi: PM Narendra Modi held a detailed meeting to deliberate the potential economic reforms in Mines and Coal Sectors to give a boost to the economy in the backdrop of COVID-19. The discussions involved ensuring easy & 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. Auctioning of additional blocks, encouraging wider participation in auctions, increasing the production of mineral resources, reducing the cost of mining and cost of transporting, increasing ease of doing business while also reducing carbon footprint with environmentally sustainable development also formed an important part of the discussions.
Reform is the keyword
The issues related to reforms in auction structure, efficient institutional arrangements, the participation of private sector in exploration and mining, making the 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.
The 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 for potential reforms.
'Use tech for efficient mining'
PM Modi reviewed the contribution of Mines sector in increasing employment opportunities and boosting growth. Modi laid special focus on improving the country's self-reliance in the production of minerals and their in-country processing. He added that the mineral sector should benchmark its operations to international standards and advised them to prepare an action plan. He exhorted using modern technologies for efficient mining. He also directed to aim for reducing delays in obtaining clearances and partnering with states to facilitate an 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.