Concerned over the shortage of coal being faced by the power sector, prime minister Manmohan Singh had recently directed the ministry of environment and forests to revisit the policy of 'no-go' mining areas
New Delhi: Coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal today said a Group of Ministers (GoM) on coal will meet within a week to try and iron out the vexed issue of 'go' and 'no-go' areas in coal blocks, reports PTI.
"The GoM will meet in the next three-four days or within a week to deliberate on issues like 'go' and 'no-go', among others," Mr Jaiswal told reporters on the sidelines of an Assocham event here.
Last year, the environment ministry had prohibited mining in 'no-go' areas, where the forest cover is 30%. The 'no-go' classification disallowed mining in 203 blocks with the potential of producing 660 million tonnes of coal a year.
The coal exploited from these blocks could have been used to generate around 1.3 lakh MW of power per annum.
Mr Jaiswal, who was recently elevated to Cabinet status from being a junior minister with independent charge, however, said that he was unaware of the minister that will head the ministerial panel, the formation of which was approved by Cabinet last month.
"The main issues to be discussed at the meeting are in relation to the environment and forest issues with regard to the coal blocks, rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) policy and offtake, among others," Mr Jaiswal said.
Asked whether the 'no' and 'no-go' issue would be resolved before the forthcoming budget session of Parliament, which is slated to begin on 21st February, the minister answered in the affirmative.
Concerned over the shortage of coal being faced by the power sector, prime minister Manmohan Singh had recently directed the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) to revisit the policy of 'no-go' mining areas.
During a 31st January meeting attended by power minister Sushil K Shinde and his counterparts from the environment and coal ministries, Mr Singh had reportedly expressed concern over the scarcity of coal, which has been impacting growth, and asked the MoEF to address the issue.
Despite being the third largest producer of coal in the world, India had to import 72 million tonnes to meet domestic demand last fiscal. According to the government's estimates, the requirement is likely to go up to 82 million tonnes in the current fiscal and to 142 million tonnes in the 2011-12 financial year.
Out of the total installed power generation capacity of 159,398MW in the country, almost 50% is based on coal.
In the absence of a macro-economic framework to stabilise prices, experts believe that big retailers can help to arrest prices through competition, while also generating more jobs
The debate over foreign direct investment (FDI) in key sectors continues. And at the top of the push cart is the retail sector, over which the arguments for and against have been the hottest. Now, the country's big retailers are again urging the government to come clear on its intentions regarding the sector and on foreign investment in this business.
"The government should understand that growth of organised retail will ultimately help in arresting inflation. Allowing FDI will help retailers extend their reach. But first, the government must be transparent with its policies, because ambiguity is not helpful," said Ajit Ranade, chief economist, Aditya Birla Group. This statement summed up the sentiments of Indian retail stalwarts at the CII National Retail Summit 2011 in Mumbai on Wednesday.
"Agricultural productivity has gone down, so has its share in GDP," Mr Ranade pointed out. "But the number of people engaged is the same. As a result, farmers have grown poorer. Organised retail can help create jobs and give them direct access to the market, and arrest inflation."
Raghu Pillai, CEO of the Future Group echoed Mr Ranade's views, saying that in the absence of a macro-economic framework which will stabilise prices, the government should allow the retail sector to grow. He gave the example of the much-neglected animal husbandry sector, where most of the producers are Dalits. With proper training, they could increase their products and sell them to retailers directly.
Eminent legal consultant Zia Mody pointed out that the government's hestitation could be the result of fear of agitation by unorganised retailers. "Also, the government is probably not sure how growth in retail will precipitate into rural employment," she said.
Nandini Chopra, executive director of KPMG, said, "There are foreign retailers who have been knocking on our doors for long. But the government has failed to take a decision. The entire regulatory structure is static. I don't think things will change now." She expressed her doubts about the upscaling of FDI projects, and the availability of an investment structure for small and mid-size retailers. But she agreed that allowing FDI would help retailers create a bigger platform, and that increased competition would be the key to price stability.
Bharti Wal Mart managing director Raj Jain pointed out that FDI would bring in technology and know how also. He said, "India is regarded as a good market. But if the government does not have favourable policies, investors will look towards other countries like Brazil and Russia, which are more open. In that case, the government will lose a lot of revenues as well."
Trent Market CEO Jamshed Daboo, summarised the underlying sentiment in a sentence: "If things improve and people prosper, what does it matter what colour is the money?"
In his capacity as the CFO, S Ranganathan will be looking after all financial functions in the Edelweiss Group
Edelweiss Capital Ltd said it has appointed S Ranganathan as the chief financial officer (CFO). In his capacity as the CFO, Mr Ranganathan will be looking after all financial functions within the Edelweiss Group.
Mr Ranganathan's last assignment, prior to joining Edelweiss, was as the CFO and director, Bank of America Merrill Lynch. A member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, Institute of Company Secretaries of India and Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India, Mr Ranganathan has worked with several Indian and global firms during his two decade long career.