• Dozens of captive coal mines with abundant reserves of the fuel could be up for grabs soon, without any end-use restrictions, as the Cabinet decided to promulgate an ordinance amending the relevant Act, with an aim to revive investor interest in the sector.
  • Essentially, the change will mean that domestic and foreign steel companies and also local power companies will also take part in the auctions to be held to reallocate the captive blocks cancelled by the Supreme Court in 2014.
  • The Cabinet, via an amendment to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) (MMDR), also extended the policy of composite mining licence, now in force for unexplored blocks of most non-coal minerals, to coal sector as well, adding to certainty of tenure from the prospecting to the production stages.
  • Stating that the policy changes would lead to “democratisation of the (coal mining) sector by opening it for anyone”, coal minister Pralhad Joshi said, the decision will result in “promoting foreign direct investment in the sector by removing the restriction and eligibility criteria for participation”.
  • The environment ministry has cleared 10 coal mining projects with a total capacity of 160 million tonnes a year and four washeries that can handle 31 million tonnes annually.
  • These include Coal India’s projects for seven mines and two washeries with an annual capacities of 141 million tonnes and 15 million tonnes respectively.
  • To generate more revenue from the National Highways, the NITI Aayog has given a slew of suggestions to the ministry of road transport and highways as well as the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). These include levying development charges and sharing revenue after developing amenities alongside the highways.
  • These ideas are part of the value capture financing (VCF) model that has been suggested by the government think tank.
  • Sajjan Jindal, chairman of JSW Group, talked on what is driving his recent flurry of share buy-backs, JSW Steel’s expansion plans, and how a stringent auto scrappage policy would help in a turn-around.
  • Talking about the challenges in growing JSW Steel to the stated target of 45 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) in another five years, Sajjan Jindal said , our goal remains the same and the government has taken steps to kickstart the economy. If we are to become a $5 trillion economy, then we need at least 7% to 8% GDP growth, if not higher.
  • Talking about the investment plan in the near future Sajjan Jindal said, we, as a group, have planned a total expenditure of Rs 60,000 crore over the next three years. For steel, around Rs 45,000 crore and Rs 15,000 crore for cement, paints and energy. It ought to create around 50,000 jobs by 2025.

The size of the global construction industry by 2022 will be a whopping $12.7 trillion. India will contribute about $640 billion to this, aided of course by government initiatives in infrastructure development and affordable housing for all. In addition, the latest move of bailing out inefficient and profiteering private builders with ₹25,000 crore of the taxpayers’ money will also boost the GDP. The sector continues to be a steady contributor to India’s GDP and employment growth for several decades now.

  • Brushing aside allegations of profiteering made against it by private power producers, state-run Coal India has said it has been struggling to keep its committed supply under long-term contracts and conducting coal auctions for power plants at the cost of premium in spot market.
  • Coal India said the allegation raised against the company is baseless and contrary to the fact. It also said it will conduct auction in due course for power plants selling in short-term market without power purchase agreements (PPAs) under clause B(viiia) of amended Shakti Policy.