A government panel has called for a public-private partnership for acquiring fertilizer mineral assets abroad during the XII Plan period (2012-17).

A 42-member panel, headed by the Secretary of the Mines Ministry, has also emphasised on the creation of a sovereign wealth fund of Rs.1,000 crore for acquisition of overseas mineral assets, including fertilizer components.

“The country is deficient in all fertilizer minerals. Hence, concentrated efforts should be made by making consortium of public private companies to acquire assets abroad,” says a report of the Working Group on Mineral exploration and development (other than coal and lignite) for XII Plan'.

India, which is dependent on imports for key fertilizer raw materials, should specifically focus on acquiring assets in countries like Uzbekistan and Jordan, it said.

The working group has also stressed on strengthening relationship with mineral-rich countries and provinces with specific agreements, the panel said.

The government should also play a facilitating role by providing diplomatic support to private players in acquiring mineral assets abroad, it added.

“As the major developed and developing countries are trying to acquire overseas mines by way of purchasing assets abroad or diplomatic support, the Indian government needs to play a facilitative role to help by involving diplomatic support,” the panel advised.

It also said the concerned ministries — Mines, Fertilizers, Atomic Energy, Commerce and External Affairs — should focus on this issue on an urgent basis.

India has been planning to set up its own fund in order to acquire strategic overseas assets in mining and energy segments to meet its future needs.

Recently, the Planning Commission also suggested setting up of a sovereign wealth fund with an initial corpus of $10 billion, mainly to invest in energy and mining assets abroad. — PTI