NATIONAL

Kalam for evolving a 'vision for mining industry'

NEW DELHI NOV. 1. The President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, today underlined the need for developing a total management solution to attract more foreign investment in the mining sector while stressing the need for increased investment in research and development.

Inaugurating the 19th World Mining Congress here, Mr. Kalam said there was an urgent need to evolve a "vision for the mining industry" with an action plan to implement it. The vision should pave the way for faster to growth of the sector with effective beneficiation while addressing simultaneously the safety as well as environmental concerns. About 1,500 delegates are attending the congress.

Referring to the fact that the mining sector had not attracted enough foreign investment, he suggested adopting the joint venture route for mobilisation of resources and called for the active involvement of not only the private sector but also the Government.

On the safety standards, Mr. Kalam said, "mining safety has improved, but we are still far away from a zero mining accident rate. This congress should create a website which can be used to post comments and experiences by experts across the world."

Noting that high noise and other kinds of pollution characterised the mining industry today, he called for evolving methods to make mining safe, cost-effective and eco-friendly. Among the challenges before India was hiking the mining target to account for 10 per cent of GDP against the present 3-5 per cent and improving productivity significantly.

For the mining industry to become more efficient and for its modernisation, it was essential to use Information Technology and its tools, Mr. Kalam said and also warned against the rapid depletion of non-renewable energy resources including coal.

Noting that the rapid increase in the middle class population and the consequent rise in the demand for various energy products were creating pressure on the energy resources, he said experts should strive to create knowledge so that "available resources are not exhausted".

"This congress should take up such challenges by involving a consortium of several countries... I wish it all success," he said.

In his presidential address, the Planning Commission Deputy Chairman, K.C. Pant, voiced concern over the inadequate flow of foreign capital into the domestic mining sector and said that it was important to identify critical projects for improving efficiency. The quality of infrastructure had to be improved for attracting foreign investment, he said.

Though India was in a strong position to attract foreign investments, having made the necessary changes to its investment policy and mineral policy regime, the inflows over the past few years were inadequate and not up to expectations, Mr. Pant said.

The Union Minister for Coal, Karia Munda, the Minister of State for Mines, Ramesh Bais, and the Delhi Lieutenant Governor, Vijay Kapur, also spoke.

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