With projected coal demand of around 900 MT to 1,000 MT by the end of the 12th Plan and domestic production estimated at about 770 MT, the country is expected to face a shortfall of about 200 MT, Planning Commission senior advisor (power) Arbind Prasad said
New Delhi: India's coal demand will go up to 1,000 million tonnes (MT) by the end of the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17), necessitating about 200 MT of imports to bridge the shortfall in domestic output, reports PTI quoting a senior Planning Commission official.
The production shortfall in the current fiscal, the final year of the 11th Five Year Plan (2007-12), is projected at 142 MT, with domestic output likely to amount to 554 MT.
"Projected coal demand is to the extent of 900 MT to 1,000 MT by the end of the 12th Plan. Domestic production will be about 770 MT or so. So we still face a shortfall of about 200 MT," Planning Commission senior advisor (power) Arbind Prasad said on the sidelines of a conference on 'Coal Distribution and Transport Logistics' here.
Mr Prasad said unless the widening demand-supply gap for coal was bridged, the projected shortfall of 200 MT would have to be met through imports.
"Most likely, this shortfall will be met through imports, if the international markets remain favourable," he said.
He said the Commission has estimated domestic production at 770 MT by 2017 on the basis of projected annual growth of around 7% in output.
"... The domestic production by the end of this Plan would be 554 million tonnes. This is what our projection is," he said.
As per a Planning Commission document, coal output in 2011-12 was expected to reach 680 MT, but the estimate was later scaled down to 630 MT in a mid-term appraisal by prime minister Manmohan Singh. It has now been revised downward even further to 554 MT.
The Commission has noted that demand for coal rose by about 8% a year during the 11th Plan and may rise by the same percentage during the next Five Year Plan.
The Commission has also observed that uncertainties in coal supply were affecting power generation.
"Coal India is not entering into fuel supply agreements for more than 50% of the requirement of thermal plants and that too, only for five years," it had said.
Coal India is the world's largest producer of coal and accounts for over 85% of domestic production of the dry fuel.
In the last fiscal, it produced about 431 MT of coal, almost the same output it recorded in 2009-10.
Lifelong renewal on mediclaim is offered by mono-line insurers like Max Bupa and Apollo Munich. Government insurers also offer it on specific products. Now the other private insurers will soon offer this option too, to remain competitive
Bajaj Allianz, Bharti AXA and Future Generali will soon offer mediclaim with a lifelong renewal option, as there is a clear trend in favour of this among customers who are already able to avail of this benefit from competitors, among them government insurers.
Many mediclaim customers face the possibility of termination of their policy if they outlive the maximum renewal age (usually 75 years). This may lead to all the years of premium payment coming to naught, this at a time when they are most likely to need hospitalisation. The policy renewal may be done by the insurer, but it is on a case-to-case basis. Increasing life expectancy is another reason that would make lifelong renewal an imperative offering from insurers.
According to TA Ramalingam, head-underwriting, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, "When we filed our mediclaim product over a decade ago, lifelong renewal was not as much a requirement as it is today. We want to be fair to existing customers and not turn them away after a certain age. It's not something we are looking at from the selling point. Our actuaries are working on the pricing for ages above 75years. We did not have pricing structure for higher ages."
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) wants new mediclaim products to offer lifelong renewal. It is not mandatory that existing mediclaim products also start offering it, but insurers are responding to customer needs.
Bajaj Allianz and Future Generali are in the process of filing for existing product revision and new products respectively, while Bharti AXA has already filed for revision of its existing product. There was no word from ICICI Lombard on the lifelong renewal matter, till the time of publishing the article.
Dr Amarnath Ananthanarayanan, chief executive officer and managing director, Bharti AXA General Insurance says, "We filed for lifelong renewal revision in January 2011 and hope that IRDA will clear our proposal at the earliest. We will offer it post approval from the regulator."
Admitting that health insurance is all the more important as a person gets older, Dr Ananthanarayanan said it would be unfair to deny customers protection when they need it the most. "We constantly improve our products keeping our customers' requirements in mind and this is another step in that direction. We shall offer this benefit to all our customers, including our existing customers, once we receive the regulatory approval," he said.
He explained that the pricing is done in conjunction with the actuarial team, especially to address the challenge of data inadequacy in India. "Of course, we had to consider many other factors, such as medical inflation, the change in life expectancy, and last but not the least the affordability of customers who are in the older age bracket, to come up with the premium levels."
According to Shreeraj Deshpande, head of health insurance, Future Generali India Insurance, "We are in the process of filing health products (indemnity products) which will have no maximum exit age or lifelong renewals."
Under the scheme in the making, the source of money will not have to be disclosed but criminal action would be taken if the assets or money stashed pertain to proceeds of crime
New Delhi: A special voluntary disclosure scheme for bringing back black money stashed away in tax havens abroad may be in the offing, reports PTI.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) is understood to be 'seriously considering' recommending to the government a scheme on the lines of the Voluntary Disclosure of Income Scheme (VDIS) announced in 1996 to tap funds lying abroad for productive use in India.
Sources said the issue gained momentum recently when captains of industry and business met finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and impressed on him the need for encouraging disclosure of unaccounted money kept in tax havens which could be used to fund infrastructure projects in the country.
A proposal for ushering in a similar scheme was proposed earlier by an expert group on black money to the government.
The thinking in the government comes in the midst of a raging debate over unearthing black money and illegal funds parked abroad.
The ministry is considering the formulation of such a scheme in the backdrop of India receiving fresh information under Tax Information Exchange Treaties (TIEAs), Double Tax Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) and the OECD automatic exchange route.
Under the scheme in the making, according to sources, the source of money will not have to be disclosed but criminal action would be taken if the assets or money stashed pertain to proceeds of crime.
Official sources said committee on black money headed by the CBDT chairman is expected to discuss and decide on the proposal during its proposed meeting later this month.
Incidentally, an expert group on black money had earlier suggested that an offshore voluntary scheme may be considered by the government to collect tax on undisclosed bank accounts and assets held by resident Indians abroad.
Experts on the subject said that such a scheme is prevalent and has been implemented in the US, UK, Germany, France, Greece, Italy and Portugal among others.
Sources said that now that the country's efforts to revive and implement the various tax treaties have started giving results, such a scheme could be operationalised as compared to the earlier practise where it was very difficult to obtain bank accounts and assets data of such a taxpayer.
The nitty-gritty of such a scheme and the amount of penalty, etc, on the disclosure of such funds stashed abroad could be worked at a later stage, the sources said.
The CBDT through the Income Tax (I-T) department has taken several measures in the recent past to update the article concerning exchange of information in existing DTAAs to specifically allow for exchange of banking information and information without domestic interest.
India has also decided to negotiate TIEAs with priority countries and jurisdictions.
In the last two years, India has concluded negotiation of 16 TIEAs, 18 new DTAAs and renegotiation of 21 existing DTAAs.