HYDERABAD: Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Coal and Mines Pralhad Joshi has said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set an ambitious target of increasing the revenues to 2.5 per cent of GDP from the existing 0.9 per cent, excluding coal and petroleum products, in the mining sector. He was speaking at the National Mines Ministers’ Conference (NMMC) here on Friday.
Addressing the delegates who included at least 11 Mines Ministers of various States and highly placed officials of Mining and allied departments from Central and State governments, Pralhad Joshi said that the goal can be achieved with the true spirit of co-operative federalism. He said that the mining contribution to the GDP is very low when compared to the developed countries. He added that if States and Centre work together India will become a ‘developed nation’ by 2047.
Expressing concern over the low percentage of exploration of geological and mining areas, Joshi said that India’s geological exploration is 30 per cent and mines is 10 per cent. “Australia, which is bigger in terms of geographical area, has almost completed 100 per cent exploration. When can we reach this level? It will be possible only with the cooperation and proactive involvement of officials at the ground level.
For Aatma Nirbhar Bharat, Aatma Nirbhar minerals are needed,” the Union Minister said.Answering a question during the interaction with the media on the sidelines, he said, “You cannot function without mining. You need steel, cement, and things like that. “We need to focus on sustained mining without impacting the environment. Mining will continue until the existence of dharti (earth).”
Responding to another question about auctioning of mines, he said that the Union Finance Minister earlier announced to auction 500 mines and “it is our target. Already, 52 mines had been auctioned in five months.” This, he said would create huge employment.
Speaking on the stocks of domestic coal and imports, the Minister said that the country has the highest ever coal stocks at the end of last month. He added that by another year, the import of thermal coal will be stopped.