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Updated: December 25, 2013 22:28 IST

Mining ban hurting economy, exports: Anand Sharma

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Anand Sharma
The Hindu
Anand Sharma

Shipments of iron ore plunged to 18 million tonnes in 2012-13 from nearly 168 million tonnes in 2010-11

Ban on mining by the Supreme Court has hit the economy and exports besides increasing India’s dependence on imported coal.

“It (mining ban) has hurt our economy. It has hurt exports, (particularly) iron ore exports. It has increased our dependence on coal imports. So both ways we are losers,” Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma told PTI in an interview.

But for the ban on mining, he said, India could have earned by exporting around 100 million tonnes of iron ore.

“We have been deprived of the precious foreign exchange, and what we could have mined in India. When it comes to coal, $22 billion plus was the coal import bill,” the Minister said adding: “these are the areas which need a serious look.”

The Supreme Court had banned iron ore mining in Karnataka in July-August, 2011, and in Goa in October, 2012.

Earlier, Mr. Sharma has raised concerns over judicial activism, and said, “India badly needs judicial reforms.’’

Following the ban, shipments of iron ore plunged to 18 million tonnes in 2012-13 from nearly 168 million tonnes in 2010-11. Before the ban, India was exporting iron ore worth over $7 billion.

As regards coal, the environmental restrictions have significantly hampered coal production in the country, leading to increase in dependence on coal imports.

Slowdown in exports has increased the trade deficit as well as the current account deficit.

While the trade deficit soared to a record high of $191 billion in 2012-13, CAD jumped to $88.2 billion, or 4.8 per cent of the GDP during the period.

The mining sector, with a weight of about 14 per cent in Index of Industrial Production (IIP), saw a contraction of 3.5 per cent in October as against a dip of 0.2 per cent in the same month last fiscal.

During April-October, the output shrank by 2.7 per cent as against a contraction of one per cent.

Coal production, with a weight of about 4.5 per cent in the IIP, declined by 3.9 per cent in October.

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A poor country can ill afford the luxury of abstaining from harnessing natures wealth leaving every thing untouched as environmental activists would want to. Environmental Ministry itself is one with too much power and too little responsibility or duty. Denial is their way of asserting their power! Poverty is the biggest degrader of environment. Any thing that blocks development activity is actually harming not only the country but environment too. This loss of 150 million tonnes of iron ore export is unconscionable. Improving the mining practice is welcome. That should be done in a practical way. But not by stopping mining altogether. When a better way not found status quo must prevail.

from:  P P Rajagopalan
Posted on: Dec 26, 2013 at 08:19 IST

This is just ridiculous.Firstly,it was found that illegal iron ore
mining was causing loss to the govt. exchequer along with collateral
damage to environment.Since the various state government were
themselves involved in turning a blind eye to such practices and
indulged in corrupt practices,the judiciary stepped in. With regard to
the coal reserves which India has,its not of a high grade.Blocks which
had been auctioned or "gifted" were not mined.However, the environment
ministry and other green activists would be blamed for stalling
development of the country for not granting clearance to explore more
areas and start mining.I definitely do not understand the path of
development these arrogant ministers and bureaucrats want us to lead
to.They like to remind us every time of the loss incurred.And to top
it they blame the judiciary of overreach.This country would have gone
to dogs had it not been for the higher courts which still tries to
keep a check on such unscrupulous activities.

from:  Dr S.Karthik
Posted on: Dec 26, 2013 at 00:36 IST

If the government is not able to utilize our national resources in a sustainable manner, then it is better to import than turn our land into unlivable places. As such India has only around 2,5% of global land and around 20% of global population. We will do better to think about the ability to provide enough land for the people and the wildlife of our country before we start throwing away people out of their lands, and forcing them to come live in the city slums. The existing wealth that is already created has become concentrated within a very small percentage of individuals. So, before continuing more exploitation of resources for wealth creation, we should first devise a safer mechanism of distribution of the already created wealth. It is only happening as a token right now in the form of Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme(REGS). The Right to Education(RTE) and Right to Food(RTF) are still to be properly implemented. And more such schemes should be devised before we plunder anymore.

from:  Satish
Posted on: Dec 25, 2013 at 23:30 IST

Why at all India should export its Iron ore which is known to be one of the richest in world.On the other hand India should export steel which is value added product.That would increase value of India's export much more(than mearly exporting raw iron ore) and improve profitability of Steel sector.

from:  KUMAR
Posted on: Dec 25, 2013 at 22:54 IST
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