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States to gain from promoting mineral exploration: Union Minister

Prahlad Joshi inaugurates 2-day National Mines Ministers’ conference  

September 09, 2022 09:41 pm | Updated September 10, 2022 08:08 am IST - HYDERABAD

Prahlad Joshi. File.

Prahlad Joshi. File. | Photo Credit: Kiran Bakale

Union Minister of Mines Prahlad Joshi has urged States to make most of the measures initiated by the Centre for increasing production of various minerals in the country.

From reforms aimed at improving the Ease of Doing Business levels to providing incentives to States initiating the auction process, a clutch of measures has been undertaken, the Minister said, inaugurating a two-day National Mines Ministers’ conference here on Friday.

Underscoring the significance of functioning in the “true spirit of cooperative federalism,” as evident during the recent mass vaccination drive against COVID-19, he said the Centre is keen on tapping the potential of the mining sector and thereby contributing more to the GDP. At present the share of the mining and minerals sector, excluding coal and petroleum, is under 1%. The target is to take this to 2.5% by 2030.

By promoting mining of minerals, the States stood to gain from the incremental revenue that will accrue as well as the employment opportunities the sector will create. “Next to agriculture, this is the sector which can give good number of employment opportunities,” Mr.Joshi said, adding the conference is intended to serve as a forum to develop strategies and increase the effectiveness of the new policy reforms.

The event was another step in the direction of making the mineral sector ‘Aatma Nirbhar’ and promoting sustainable mining. An official release on the programme said Mines Ministers from 11 States, senior officials concerned from 19 States and a Union Territory along with the officials of Ministry of Mines, Ministry of Coal and Ministry of Steel, heads of 14 CPSEs and 10 notified private exploration agencies were participating in the programme.

Coal stock

At a media interaction on the sidelines of the conference, Mr. Joshi, who is also Union Minister for Coal and Parliamentary Affairs, said domestic coal production has increased from 572 million tonnes in 2014 to 800 MT this year. It was expected to near 900 MT next year.

To a query on coal availability, which came under strain earlier this year, the Minister said an accelerated economic revival, post COVID, coupled with provision of new electricity connections had led to an increase in power demand in the country. Nevertheless, the stock position in August was the best ever and as of about 62 MT of coal was available. September and October will be crucial months, he added.

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