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Nirmala Sitharaman Announces Fourth Tranche: Here are the Key Takeaways

Nirmala Sitharaman made it clear that the purpose of a Self Reliant India is not to isolate the country.

Nirmala SitharamanNirmala Sitharaman

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  16 May 2020 1:47 PM GMT

Guwahati:

As a part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Self Reliant India Vision, Finance Minister made major announcements for eight sectors (coal, minerals, defence production, air space management, airports, MRO, distribution companies in UTs, space sector, and atomic energy) to boost the infrastructure facilities in the country.

The fourth tranche of announcements will also include champion sectors and the incentive schemes for the promotion of new champion sectors will be launched in sectors such as solar PV manufacturing, advanced cell battery storage, etc.

Here are the key measures announced in the FM's fourth tranche:

Sitharaman announced that commercial mining will now be allowed in the coal sector and the government's monopoly has been removed to make coal available in 'market prices.' Coal bed methane extraction will be auctioned off, Sithraman said, adding that Rs 50,000 crore will be spent by the government towards evacuation infrastructure.

Sitharaman further announced that 50 coal blocks will be available for auction and the payment ceiling will be applicable and added that for gasification, new allotments will be done for new diversified investments.

Sitharaman also announced a seamless composite mining-cum-exploration-cum-production facility for the mineral sector. "500 mining blocks will be allocated for this and joint auction will take place", she added.

The government, meanwhile, is allowing the sale of surplus and unused minerals by a new mining lease facility, Sitharaman announced and added that bauxite and coal mineral blocks will be jointly auctioned to "save electricity, boost employment, and develop state of art technology."

Stressing on the need to be self-reliant in the defense sector, the Finance Minister said that certain weapons can only be bought from India, further informing that a separate budget will be given for domestic capital procurement so that the armed forces can cut down on the import bill.

Govt corporatise ordinance factory board, to be listed in stock markets. FM Sitharaman clarified that it will not be privatised.

The Government, increasing FDI limit in defence manufacturing under the automatic route from 49% to 74%, also aims to set up a project management unit to support contract management in defence manufacturing, Sitharaman announced, adding that overhauling trial and testing procedures will also be available.

Stating that "optimum utilisation of airspace to reduce air distance and fuel consumption is necessary, Sithatraman announced that the government has put up 6 more airports on auction, and will pour in additional investments in 12 airports for world-class facility.

Utilisation of airspace will bring a total benefit of about Rs 1,000 crore per year for the aviation sector by reducing fuel use and time, Sitharaman opined, adding that the aviation sector could get a benefit of Rs 800 crore to Rs 2,000 crore from aircraft maintenance and airframe repair in the country from MRO hub.

Power distribution companies in Union Territories will be privatised, she said, adding that tariff will be applicable according to the government's guidelines.

Sitharaman said that the privatisation of the discoms will bring stability in the power sector and will help "timely payment" as well. She further announced aRs 8,100 crore outlay for viability gap funding in social infrastructure, by increasing the quantum from 20% to 30%.

Meanwhile, to provide private players with a level field, the government has decided to allow the private sector to use ISRO's facilities. The government has aimed to make predictable policy for private players.

The Government, Sitharaman said, will establish a research reactor in the PPE model for the production of medical isotopes and added that India has earned a lot of goodwill from countries where India has exported them.

Sithraman concluded that the fifth and final tranche of announcements will be made tomorrow at 11 am in the morning.

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