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Friday, June 05, 2020

Nirmala Sitharaman Announcements highlights: PM Modi says reforms will contribute to economic transformation

The announcements focused on eight sectors — coal, minerals, defence production, airspace management, airports, MRO, power distribution companies in UTs, space, and atomic energy.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: May 17, 2020 11:26:18 am
nirmala sitharaman press conference, nirmala sitharaman press conference live, nirmala sitharaman press conference live updates, nirmala sitharaman press conference updates, nirmala sitharaman press conference today, nirmala sitharaman press meet today, finance minister, finance minister speech, finance minister latest news Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman during her press conference in New Delhi on Wednesday. (Express photo by Anil Sharma)

FM Nirmala Sitharaman Press Conference highlights: Unveiling the fourth tranche of the Covid economic measures as part of the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (Self-reliant India Mission’), Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s announcement on Saturday focused primarily on eight sectors — coal, minerals, defence production, airspace management, airports, MRO, power distribution companies in UTs, space, and atomic energy.

“The structural reforms being announced today will impact those sectors which are new horizons of growth, unleashing new investment, boosting production and creating jobs,” Sitharaman said.

Among the major decisions, Sitharaman said the government monopoly in the coal sector would be removed to allow commercial mining. She also said the foreign direct investment (FDI) limit in defence manufacturing would be raised from 49 per cent to 74 per cent under the automatic route. (Read highlights of FM Nirmala Sitharaman’s speech)

Sitharaman said the government would allow private players to access the space sector, including ISRO’s facilities, by providing a level-playing field in satellites, launches and space-based services. Further, future projects for planetary exploration, outer space travel, etc would be opened to the private sector. (Follow coronavirus India live updates)

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Nirmala Sitharaman Press Conference: The FM is announcing reforms in coal, minerals, defence production, airspace, power distribution, space and atomic energy sectors. Read news in Bangla, Malayalam, Tamil

20:01 (IST)16 May 2020
PM Modi says reforms for coal, defence, aviation industries will create many business opportunities

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweets on today's announcements by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman: "Important sectors such as coal, minerals, defence, aviation, space and atomic energy have been covered in the announcements by the FM today. The measures and reforms announced will create many business opportunities and contribute to economic transformation."

19:48 (IST)16 May 2020
Nirmala Sitharaman press conference highlights

In case you missed Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's press conference today, here are highlights of what she announced. In her fourth press conference, Sitharaman unveiled structural reforms for eight sectors - coal, minerals, defence production, airspace, power distribution, space and atomic energy.

17:14 (IST)16 May 2020
FM announces reforms for atomic energy

  • 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.

17:08 (IST)16 May 2020
Private sector to be given access space sector: Govt

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
17:06 (IST)16 May 2020
Govt to boost private sector investments in social-infrastructure projects

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
17:00 (IST)16 May 2020
Tariff policy reform announced by FM Nirmala Sitharaman

The government will release a tariff policy with reforms, including consumer rights, promotion of industry and sustainability of sector.

16:55 (IST)16 May 2020
Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul of aircraft

Most aircraft -- civil and defence -- fly abroad for repairs. Due to this, the government has announced rationalisation of MRO ecosystem to favour repairs and maintenence in the country. 

16:54 (IST)16 May 2020
Six more airports to be put up for auction

The government has announced six more airports for auction under a PPE model. Annual revenue from this in the first round could come up to Rs 1,000 crore/year with an additional downpayment of Rs 2,300 crore for the Airports Authority of India. Additional investment by private players in 12 airports in the first and second rounds are expected to bring in around 13,000 crore. Another six airports will be put out for the third round of bidding.

16:52 (IST)16 May 2020
Civil aviation reforms to bring in about Rs 1,000 crore a year

Only about 60% of Indian airspace is freely available. This means, airlines usually fly longer routes. To help rationalise this, FM Sitharaman says restrictions on utilisation of Indian air space will be eased so that civilian flying becomes more efficient. This will bring a total benefit of Rs 1000 crore a year for the aviation sector. This will also reduce fuel use and time, leading to a positive environmental impact.

16:44 (IST)16 May 2020
FDI limit in defence manufacturing under automatic route raised to 74%

FDI limit in defence manufacturing under automatic route to be raised from 49 per cent to 74 per cent, says FM Nirmala Sitharaman. The government will also begin time-bound defence procurement and faster decision making by setting up a Project Management Unit (PMU) to support contract management. It will ensure realistic setting of General Staff Qualitative Requirements of weapons/platforms and overhaul trial and testing procedures. 

16:39 (IST)16 May 2020
'Make in India' for self-reliance in defence production

FM Nirmala Sitharaman says the government will notify a list of weapons/platforms for ban on import with year-wise timelines, and will also ensure indigenisation of imported spares. For this, a separate budget will be given for domestic capital procurement. This will also reduce the huge defence import bill.

In the defence sector, the government aims at improving autonomy, accountability and efficiency in Ordnance Suppliers by Corporatisation of Ordnance Factory Board.

16:31 (IST)16 May 2020
Sectoral reforms for mining of minerals

The sectoral reform for mining of minerals will boost growth, employment and bring state-of-the-art technology especially in exploration, says Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

The government is set to introduce a seamless composite exploration-cum-mining-production regime. 500 mining blocks will be offered through an open and transparent auction process. The govt will also introduce a joint auction of bauxite and coal mineral blocks to enhance aluminum industry's competitiveness. This will help the industry reduce electricity costs, says FM.

16:25 (IST)16 May 2020
Policy reforms in coal sector: Govt to allow private sector participation

FM says there is a need to reduce import of substitutable coal and increase self-reliance in coal production. Therefore, the govt is introducing competition, transparency and private sector participation in coal sector through a revenue sharing mechanism instead of regime of fixed rupee/tonne. This means, now, any party can bid for a coal block and sell in the open market.

For this, entry norms will be liberalised. The govt will offer nearly 50 blocks immediately with no eligibility conditions, but only upfront payment with a ceiling.

16:20 (IST)16 May 2020
Fourth tranche to focus on 8 sectors: FM

The fourth tranche of the economic package will focus on eight sectors: coal, minerals, defence production, airspace managements/airports/MRO, power distribution companies in UTs, the space sector and atomic energy.

16:18 (IST)16 May 2020
Upgradation of Industrial Infrastructure

The FM says a scheme will be implemented in states through 'challenge mode' for industrial cluster upgradation of common infrastructure facilities and connectivity.

Availability of industrial land/land banks for promoting new investments and making information available on 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
16:14 (IST)16 May 2020
Policy reforms to fast-track investment in a bid to attain 'Atmanirbhar Bharat'

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 Attractivemess 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
16:11 (IST)16 May 2020
FM to announce structural reforms to help build a self-reliant India

The Finance Minister is expected to today announce measures that will focus on structural reforms to help build an Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India). 

16:06 (IST)16 May 2020
India needs to prepare for global competition: FM Nirmala Sitharaman

FM Sitharaman begins her press conference. By building a self-reliant India, the country needs to prepare for global competition, she says, adding that India also needs to face the challenges of the global value chain. "We are not looking inwards. It is making India rely on its strength, while facing the global challenges," Sitharaman says.

15:57 (IST)16 May 2020
FM Nirmala Sitharaman to address fourth briefing in four days

In the last three days, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced three tranches of measures to cushion the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown on the economy. On Day 1, she announced relief measures to micro, small and medium enterprises. The following day, she announced measures for migrants, farmers and street vendors. On Friday, funds were allocated to agriculture and allied activities.  

15:47 (IST)16 May 2020
FM Nirmala Sitharaman press conference at 4 pm

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will address the press for the fourth time on Saturday to unveil more measures to mitigate the economic impact due to the coronavirus. Follow our live blog for the latest news and updates.

In the past three days, the Finance Minister has provided relief for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), and migrant labourers, farmers and street vendors, and agriculture and allied sectors.

On Frida, barely seven months after imposing limits on the maximum quantity of onion any wholesaler or retailer could keep, the Narendra Modi government announced what may turn out to be a defining “1991 moment” for Indian agriculture. The Centre, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, will amend the Essential Commodities Act (ECA) to “deregulate” agricultural foodstuffs — including all cereals, pulses, oilseeds, onions and potatoes — and allow clamping of stock limits on these only under “very exceptional circumstances” like natural calamities and famines, which cause a “surge in prices”.

A third reform announcement, complementary to the first two, was the creation of a “facilitative legal framework” for contract farming.

According to Sitharaman, the three major reform moves are aimed at improving price realisations for farmers, while pointing out that the ECA was enacted in the “days of scarcity”.

In the past few days alone, the BJP governments in Gujarat and Karnataka have promulgated ordinances to allow farmers to sell their produce outside of the APMC market yards, besides granting traders a unified licence to buy from any mandi across their states.

On Friday, Sitharaman also stated that steps are being taken to clear dues of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). She said that only the litigated dues are not being cleared, rest all accumulated dues and which are getting added in present will be handled. On Friday, The Indian Express had reported that the total outstanding payments to units in the MSME sector, as on March 31, 2020, was pegged at upwards of Rs 4.95 lakh crore, according to government estimates accessed by this newspaper.

Sitharaman had Wednesday said that the Centre and central PSUs would clear pending MSME dues in 45 days. Minister for MSMEs and Road and Highways Nitin Gadkari has appealed to all stakeholders including the private sector to fast track the outstanding payments to MSMEs at the earliest.

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