23rd May 2022

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Fourth Press Conference on Economic Reforms

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in her fourth episode of the economic stimulus package for coronaviruses on Saturday that structural reforms in coal, defense production and aviation will be the target with the aim of boosting growth and create jobs.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a cumulative Rs.20 lakh crore package, almost 10% of GDP, to relieve the various segments of the economy affected by the national lockdown of sets following the coronavirus pandemic.

While this included the March 27 announcement of a Rs.1.7 lakh crore package of free and efficient food grain for the poor for three months and Rs 5.6 lakh crore from the monetary policy of RBI since March. The government in three installments over the past three days has announced a cumulative set of crore Rs 10,73 lakh. The three tranches have provided a variety of steps for small businesses, street vendors, farmers and poor migrants, as well as for shadow banks and electricity distributors, but these are largely systems credit guarantee or new fund creation for banks. and financial institutions. .

 Policy reforms to fast-track investment – efforts towards Atmanirbhar Bharat

  • Fast track investment clearance through Empowered Group of Secretaries (EGoS),
  • Project Development Cell in each Ministry to prepare investible projects, coordinate with investors and Central/State Governments,
  • Ranking of States on Investment Attractiveness to compete for new investments
  • Incentive schemes for Promotion of New Champion Sectors will be launched in sectors such as Solar PV manufacturing; advanced cell battery storage; etc

The FM indicated that a program will be implemented in the States through the “challenge mode” for the improvement of the industrial groups of common infrastructure and connectivity. Availability of industrial land / land banks for the promotion of new investments and the provision of information on the industrial information system (IIS) with GIS mapping

  • 3376 industrial parks/estates/SEZs in five lakh hectares mapped on IIS
  • All industrial parks will be ranked by 2020-21.

FM said there is a need to reduce imports of substitute coal and increase self-sufficiency in coal production. Therefore, the government introduces competition, transparency and private sector participation in the coal sector through an income distribution mechanism instead of a fixed rupee / ton regime. This means that now any party can bid for a block of coal and sell on the open market. For this, the entry rules will be liberalized. The government will immediately offer almost 50 blocks with no eligibility conditions, but only prepayments with a ceiling.

FM said there is a need to reduce imports of substitute coal and increase self-sufficiency in coal production. Therefore, the government introduces competition, transparency and private sector participation in the coal sector through an income distribution mechanism instead of a fixed rupee / ton regime. This means that now any party can bid for a block of coal and sell on the open market. For this, the entry rules will be liberalized. The government will immediately offer almost 50 blocks with no eligibility conditions, but only prepayments with a ceiling.

The sectoral reform of mining will stimulate growth, employment and bring advanced technologies, in particular in exploration. The government is ready to put in place a homogeneous exploration, production and extraction regime. 500 mining blocks will be offered through an open and transparent auction process. The government will also present a joint auction of bauxite blocks and coal ore to improve the competitiveness of the aluminum industry. This will help the industry reduce its electricity costs.

The government will notify a list of weapons / platforms to ban import with annual deadlines and will also guarantee the indigenization of imported spare parts. For this, a separate budget will be provided for the acquisition of national capital. It will also reduce the huge defense import bill. In the defense sector, the government aims to improve the autonomy, accountability and efficiency of artillery suppliers through the Artillery Factory Board. The FDI ceiling for the manufacture of automatic road defense systems will be reduced from 49% to 74%. The government will also begin the acquisition of time-limited defenses and faster decision-making by creating a project management unit (PMU) to support contract management. It will ensure a realistic configuration of the qualitative requirements for general personnel in charge of weapons / platforms and will examine the test and test procedures.

Only about 60% of Indian airspace is available for free. This means that airlines generally offer longer routes. To help streamline this, FM Sitharaman says restrictions on the use of Indian airspace will be relaxed to make civil flight more efficient. This will bring a total profit of Rs 1 crore per year to the aviation sector. It will also reduce fuel consumption and time, which will have a positive environmental impact. The government has announced the auctioning of six other airports under a PPE model. The annual income from this operation in the first round could reach Rs 1 crore / year with an additional deposit of Rs 2.3 trillion for the Airport Authority of India. Additional investments by private actors in 12 airports in the first and second rounds are expected to generate around Rs 13 billion. Six other airports will be released for the third round of auctions. Most defense and civilian aircraft fly abroad for repairs. For this reason, the government has announced the rationalization of the MRO ecosystem to promote repairs and maintenance in the country. The government will launch a pricing policy with reforms, including consumer rights, industry promotion and sector sustainability.

The government says it will boost private sector investments in social-infrastructure projects, like hospitals, by revamping the Viability Gap Funding Scheme. The total outlay for this has been pegged at Rs 8,100 crore.

  • The government will enhance the quantum of viability gap funding up to 30 per cent each of total project cost as VGF by Centre and State/Statutory bodies
  • For other sectors, VGP existing support of 20% each from GoI and States/Statutuory Bodies shall continue.
  • Projects to be proposed by Central Ministries/State governments and statutory entities

The government is boosting private participation in space activities. This will be done by:

  • Providing level-playing field for private companies in satellites, launches and space-based services,
  • Providing predictable policy and regulatory environment to private players,
  • Private sector will be allowed to use ISRO facilities and other relevant assets to improve their capabilities,
  • Future projects for planetary exploration, outer space travel etc to be open to private sector,
  • Liberal geo-spatial data policy for providing remove-sensing data to tech-entrepreneurs
  • Govt to establish a research reactor in PPE basis for production of medical isotopes to promote welfare of humanity through affordable treatment for cancer and other diseases.
  • The government will also establish facilities to use irradiation technology for food preservations, again in PPE mode. This technology will compliment agricultural reforms and assist farmers.
  • The government will lastly link India’s robust start-up ecosystem to the nuclear sector to foster a synergy between research facilities and tech-entrepreneurs.

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