Free Press Journal

Coal auctions to kickstart investment cycle: Goyal



New Delhi: Elated over the passage of crucial coal bill in Parliament, Union Minister Piyush Goyal has said auction of natural resources will kickstart economy and create millions of jobs. Extending special thanks to former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and West Bengal CM Mamata Bannerjee for “unwavering support” in passage of Bill in the Upper House where the ruling coalition is short of numbers, Goyal said at an event today that “coal auctions will also kickstart the investment cycle and make the Indian economy more competitive”.

Parliament yesterday approved the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill, 2015 which form part of NDA government’s reforms agenda, in the nick of time as it was the last day of the first half of Budget Session and the ordinance on this issue was to lapse on April 5. The ‘Make in India’ programme will receive an impetus and millions of jobs will be created, Goyal said in Facebook post adding, it will also assuage the concerns of bank NPAs and cheaper power will be available to people 24X7.

Terming the passage of bill as victory of honesty and transparency over corruption and discretion, Goyal extended thanks to parliamentarians and political parties. “Special thanks to ex TN CM Amma and WB CM Mamata Didi for their unwavering support. Also thank CM of Odisha Naveen Patnaik for his cooperation and valuable suggestions. I would be remiss if I did not thank CM of Andhra Pradesh Chandrababu Naidu and his team for their support and inputs,” he said.

His post also mentioned thanks to MPs from Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) and Telangana Rashtra Samiti besides Sharad Pawar and all NCP MPs in addition to BSP supremo Mayawati and all BSP, SP, PDP MPs among others who supported the bill. Goyal said that the only opposition to the bills came from the political parties, which were “outrightly rejected by people — the Congress, DMK and the Left”.

He said the government initiated the e-auctions within 4 months of Supreme Court’s decision to cancel the allocations of 204 coal mines in the last week of September 2014. Taking a dig at the UPA, he said it had announced in 2004 to auction blocks but could not fulfill the promise even in 10 years while Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a short span “initiated a fair and transparent e-bidding process.”

Goyal said potential revenue of Rs 2.09 lakh crore from e-auction of 33 mines so far will accrue directly to coal-bearing states. “Moreover, reduction in coal/fuel cost of Rs 97,000 crore is expected which will give immense relief to consumers, particularly the poor,” he said.

The auction will benefit Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha and Maharashtra enormously over the years, he said, adding that the money will be spent on developmental activities to meet the aspirations of people. “This will have a game-changing impact on state finances and ensure that development in these states occurs on a fast track,” his post said.

He added that as a result of the auctions, particularly for the 37 operating mines, thousands of jobs which were under a cloud, will now be saved. “We are also creating ways to meet demands of 8-10 crore women who need 2-4 kg of coal but procure coal at high premiums of Rs 20-25 kg. The onus is on us to ensure that they receive cheap coal for cooking and other domestic uses.”

Similar allowances are being made for small scale industries such as brick kilns, those operating small mrefineries and boilers, he said, adding that “we believe in Sabka Saath Sabka Vikaas and concerns of the poor, are paramount for us”. District Mining Funds, particularly for development of tribal and backward areas is being created, as part of the MMDR Act, he said, adding that one cancer hospital in each of the major coal bearing states would be set up.

Yesterday Goyal has said the passage of the bill will bring an end to the era of “arbitrary, discriminatory or discretionary” allocations of natural resources and propel economic growth. “In the allocation and distribution of natural resources, we have ensured through the legal process that henceforth the natural resources can only be used in the service of the people and cannot be distributed in arbitrary, discriminatory or discretionary fashion to the chosen few friends and families of anybody, be it a political establishment, be it bureaucratic establishment,” he said.

The bill, over which the ruling and opposition benches had locked horns, was passed virtually within minutes after a number of non-NDA parties, including those belonging to coal and mineral-bearing states, came to support the government as they expect benefits from these legislations. Among those supporting the bills were TMC, BJD, NCP, SP, BSP, AIADMK, DMK and JMM, besides allies Shiv Sena and SAD.