Covid Package-4: Structural reforms in 8 key sectors announced

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On the fourth day of announcements detailing the measures for easing economic hardships triggered by the Covid 19 pandemic, the Finance Minister Ms Nirmala Sitharaman announced structural reform measures aimed at helping various growth sectors.

Earlier, on Wednesday, the Finance Minister had announced measures to help the MSME sector, on Thursday, she announced schemes for the poor and the migrant workers and on Friday, the announcements focused on the agriculture and the allied sector.

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FM listed Policy reforms initiated to fast track investment

  • Fast track investment clearance through Empowered Group of Secretaries.
  • Project Development Cell in each Ministry to prepare investible projects and coordinate
  • Incentive scheme for promotion of new champion sectors
  • Ranking of states on investment attractiveness.

FM said 8 Sectors have been identified where structural reforms will be brought in. They are coal, minerals, defence production, airports and airspace management, MRO, power distribution of companies in UTs, space and atomic energy.

Coal

  • Commercial mining of coal on a revenue-sharing basis is being introduced.  The government will introduce competition, transparency and private sector participation through a revenue-sharing mechanism instead of the currently fixed rupee per tonne.
  • Coal Bed Methane will also be auctioned.  

Mineral

  • To enhance private investments in the mineral sector, a seamless composite exploration -cum-mining – cum production regime will be introduced.
  • Joint auction of bauxite and coal mineral blocks will be introduced to enhance the aluminium industry’s competitiveness.
  • 500 mining blocks will be offered through an open and transparent auction process immediately. 

Make in India for Defence Production :

  • To promote self-reliance in Defence production, the Government will notify the list of weapons and platforms which shall not be allowed to be imported.
  • The time-bound defence procurement process will be introduced.
  • Foreign Direct Investment limit in defence manufacturing under automatic route is being raised from 49% to 74% to boost indigenous defence production.
  • Ordnance Factory Board will be corporatized to improve autonomy, accountability and efficiency.

Airports and airspace

  • Restrictions on the utilisation of the Indian Air Space will be eased so that civilian flying becomes more efficient.
  • Another 6 airports will be put up for bidding by the Airports Authority of India for operation and maintenance on PPP mode.

MRO

  • India has the capacity – manpower and skills, to become the Maintenance- Repairs and Operations (MRO) hub.
  • The tax regime for MRO ecosystem has been rationalised.
  • Convergence between the defence sector and the civil MROs will be established to create economies of scale
  • Self-reliance in the MRO field will bring down maintenance costs for airlines.

Power Sector

  • Power distribution companies in Union Territories will be privatised.
  • A tariff policy with reforms focused on consumer rights, promotion of industry and sustainability of sector will be introduced.

Social Infrastructure Projects

  • Boosting private sector investment in social infrastructure projects through the revamped viability gap funding scheme of Rs 8,100 crore.
  • The govt will enhance the quantum of viability gap funding up to 30 per cent each of total project cost as VGF by Centre and state

Space & Atomic Energy

  • The private sector will be allowed to use ISRO facilities and other relevant assets to improve their capacities
  • Future projects for planetary exploration, outer space travel, etc. to be open for the private sector
  • India to establish a research reactor in PPP mode for the production of medical isotopes. This will promote the welfare of humanity through affordable treatment for cancer and other diseases: