PM Modi holds series of meetings to boost economy amid coronavirus crisis

Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a detailed meeting to deliberate upon the potential economic reforms in mines and coal sectors to give a boost to the economy. Photo: ANI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday held a series of meetings to discuss strategies to boost the economy amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and attract more foreign investments into India as well as promote local investments. He reviewed the state of investments, the defence and aerospace sector and the mine and mineral sector.

An official statement said various strategies to bring investments into India on a fast-track mode and to promote Indian domestic sectors were discussed in the first meeting. The high-level meetings come amid the ongoing global backlash against China. Several companies are now looking for new bases to set up their businesses, according to reports.

Detailed discussions were also held on guiding states to evolve their strategies and to be more proactive in attracting investments, the statement said. Reform initiatives undertaken by the various ministries should continue unabated and action should be taken in a time-bound manner to remove any obstacles which impede promotion of investment and industrial growth, the statement said, citing the discussions.

The meeting also discussed that a scheme should be developed to promote more "plug and play" infrastructure in the existing industrial lands, plots or estates in the country and provide necessary financing support.

During the meeting, Modi directed all concerned that action should be taken for a more proactive approach to "handhold" the investors, to look into their problems and help them in getting all the necessary central and state clearances in a time-bound manner.

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Given the increasingly worrying economic uncertainty, the government has moved to reassure both global and local investor community with focus on encouraging infrastructure and manufacturing sector investments.

While chairing the meet on defence and aerospace, he said India should reduce dependence on imports and take forward the "Make in India" initiative to build its domestic capabilities for designing, developing and manufacturing state-of-the-art defence equipment.

The meeting also discussed the potential reforms to ensure a robust and self-reliant defence industry in India that caters to short and long term needs of the armed forces. The meet also discussed initiatives to give a boost to the economy in the backdrop of Covid-19, an official statement said. The discussions involved reforming of the functioning of the ordnance factories, streamlining procurement procedures, focused resource allocation and encouraging research and development.

Attracting investment in critical defence technologies and promotion of exports also came up in the meet. The prime minister laid emphasis on positioning India among the top countries of the world in defence and aerospace sectors, from design to production, with active participation of public and private sector fulfilling the twin objectives of self-reliance and exports.

The Prime Minister directed that India should reduce dependence on imports and take forward "Make in India" to build its domestic capabilities for designing, developing and manufacturing state-of-the-art defence equipment.

He emphasized on initiatives to promote export of defence products along with industry participation in global defence product value chain and to create an environment that encourages R & D, rewards innovation, creates Indian IP ownership.

The meeting was attended by the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur along with senior officials of the Government of India.

PM Modi discusses potential economic reforms in mines, coal sectors

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday held a detailed meeting to deliberate upon the potential economic reforms in mines and coal sectors to give a boost to the economy in the backdrop of Covid-19, informed the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

In a press release, the PMO said: "The discussions involved ensuring easy and 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."

Prime Minister Modi gave directions to target thermal coal import substitution particularly when a huge coal-stock inventory is available in the country this year. Prime Minister Modi on Monday had said that the impact of coronavirus will remain visible in the coming months, and masks and face covers will be part of life. He also asserted that the country needs to give importance to the economy as well as continue the fight against Covid-19.

With 1,823 new cases of Covid-19 reported in the last 24 hours and 67 deaths, India's total count of coronavirus cases has gone up to 33,610, said the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Thursday. The lockdown, which was originally scheduled to continue till April 14, has been extended to May 3 keeping the rising number of Covid-19 cases in mind.

The discussion was more specific than on a macro level. 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 figured in during the long deliberation to boost the sector.

Issues pertaining to reforms in auction structure, efficient institutional arrangements, participation of the 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 touched upon.

In fact, the discussion took in such detail that expanding and improving evacuation infrastructure for minerals including use of sea-routes for domestic supplies was also considered. Potential reforms for the sector, environmentally sound first mile connectivity for coal transport from mines to railway sidings, automatic loading on rail wagons, coal gasification and liquification, and coal bed methane exploration were also discussed.

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