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Central Governments 4th Set Of "Atma Nirbhar Bharat" Measures - Posted on: 2020-05-17


Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday announced structural reforms for eight sectors, including introduction of commercial mining in coal and easier foreign investment norms for defence manufacturing. The moves came as the Finance Minister shared details of the fourth instalment of measures as part of the government's "Atma Nirbhar Bharat" economic package to battle the coronavirus pandemic and the weeks-long lockdown, which has disrupted businesses and impacted thousands of jobs. "The Prime Minister has emphasised on the importance of making the country stronger and ready to face global challenges," Nirmala Sitharaman said. Earlier this week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced fiscal and monetary support of Rs 20 lakh crore to support the economy.

Here are important things to know about Nirmala Sitharaman's fourth set of announcements under the "Atma Nirbhar Bharat" package:

  1. Coal: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said commercial mining of coal will be permitted, to remove governmental monopoly in the sector, and also announced a Rs 50,000-crore support towards the development of related infrastructure.

  2. Mineral Mining: The government will auction 500 blocks of minerals through a seamless composite exploration-cum-production regime. It will also do away with the distinction between captive and non-captive mines to boost efficiency, Nirmala Sitharaman said.

  3. Defence: The government eased FDI or foreign direct investment restrictions on defence manufacturing. Defence sector ventures will be allowed to sell up to 74 per cent stake to foreign investors through the automatic route, as against the existing 49 per cent. The Finance Minister also said the government will expand the list of weapons that can not be imported.

  4. Civil Aviation: Ms Sitharaman lifted some restrictions on the utilisation of the country's air space, and said the move will lead to benefit of Rs 1,000 crore every year for the civil aviation sector. Currently, only 60 per cent of the country's airspace is freely available, and more airspace will lead to lower travel time, the Finance Minister said.

  5. The Finance Minister announced an additional investment of Rs 13,000 crore by private players in 12 airports, which were auctioned in the first and second rounds. The tax regime for the maintenance, repair and overhauling (MRO) of aircraft has been rationalised, she added.

  6. Power Distribution Companies: Ms Sitharaman announced the privatisation of electricity distribution firms in Union Territories, in a bid to improve the operational and financial efficiency that will lead to better service for the consumer.

  7. Social Infrastructure: The Finance Minister announced a revamped Rs 8,100-crore Viability Gap Funding scheme to boost private sector investment in social infrastructure. Currently, the projects in this area suffer from poor viability, Ms Sitharaman said.

  8. Space: The Finance Minister said private sector participation will be permitted in the government's space exploration and satellite launch programmes. Currently, both industries are predominantly operated by the government's Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

  9. Atomic Energy: The government announced the establishment of facilities in PPP or Public-Private Partnership mode in areas such as affordable treatment for cancer and food preservation. 

  10. Meanwhile, the government has already raised its borrowing plan for the current financial year to Rs 12 lakh crore from the previously budgeted Rs 7.8 lakh crore to set off the fall in revenue and fund extra spending. 

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