With the economy growing at a much faster pace in the last 8-10 years, coal producing entities are not able to meet the demand resulting in the import of coal
New Delhi: The government today admitted that the country will face a huge shortfall of 269 million tonnes (MT) of coal by 2021-22 as coal producing entities have failed to keep pace with the demand as well as economic growth, reports PTI.
"In the last 8-10 years, the economy has grown at a much faster pace compared to coal production even as the Coal India registered a growth of 7%-8%. We are trying to adopt different technologies which are more efficient in coal usage to meet the demand," coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said in Lok Sabha during Question Hour.
As per estimates, demand for coal in 2021-22 is projected at 1,353 MT against the production assessment at 1,084 MT, leaving a shortfall of 269 MT.
"In view of the widening demand-supply gap of coal, the country is unlikely to become self-reliant in meeting the demand of coal indigenously in near future," Mr Jaiswal said.
He also informed the House that several states were allocated coal blocks more than five years ago but the states have yet to start production.
Chhattisgarh was allocated nine coal blocks more than five years ago, Maharashtra was given seven blocks and Madhya Pradesh 10 blocks, he said adding that unfortunately no production has begun at any of these blocks.
Replying to a supplementary on whether irregularities in allocation of coal blocks have come to the notice of the government, Mr Jaiswal replied in negative. He also said that now coal blocks are allotted only through competitive bidding and there was no possibility of any wrongdoing.
In view of India producing only 10% of good quality coal, it has been placed under Open General Licence (OGL) scheme so that industries like sponge iron, steel and power producers could import good coal as per their demand.
Mr Jaiswal opposed Madhya Pradesh government's demand that all coal produced in the state should be allotted to it for the development of industry there.
This prompted opposition leader Sushma Swaraj to intervene and clarify that the Madhya Pradesh chief minister never demanded that whatever coal was produced in the state be given to them. He had said that state's demand should be met first from the coal produced in the state.
As per the Budget proposals, CKD units would mean that companies would have to assemble engines, transmission and gear boxes locally, which would increase the cost for high-end products and make it difficult for them to launch new products
New Delhi: The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) today said the new definition for completely knocked down (CKD) units of vehicles introduced in the Budget for 2011-12 will significantly increase the cost for high-end players and also hamper the introduction of new products, reports PTI.
Stating that there is a lack of clarity on the issue, SIAM director general Vishnu Mathur said the industry body has met finance ministry officials to resolve the issue.
"The way we read the English language, (as per the new CKD definition) we have to assemble engines, transmission and gear boxes locally. This is commercially unviable for very low volume products," Mr Mathur said.
For the high-end segment, this will not only "significantly increase the cost", but it will also become "difficult for them to introduce new products", he added.
In the Budget for 2011-12, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee had redefined the meaning of CKD units, ostensibly to encourage local production of automobiles, which may alter the rate of customs duty on different imported parts.
"A definition for 'CKD unit' of a vehicle, including two-wheelers, eligible for concessional import duty is being inserted to exclude from its purview such units containing a pre-assembled engine or gearbox or transmission mechanism or chassis where any of such parts or sub-assemblies is installed," the Budget document read.
Currently, luxury segment players including BMW, Mercedes Benz and Audi rely heavily on the imported CKD route to sell their products in India.
CKD units attract a basic customs duty of 10%, over and above other levies of about 30%, which takes the total duty to about 40%.
Mr Mathur said SIAM is hopeful that the government will take a positive note of the industry's representation to the government.
On Tuesday, German luxury car-maker Audi had said that if the new CKD norms were to be applied, it may have to alter its business strategy in India, including lying low in the Indian market.
On International Women’s Day, the three women were applauded for their special efforts towards uplifting women financially, building alternate media for education and fostering night schools for working students
On the occasion of International Women's Day on Tuesday, Moneylife Foundation felicitated three women achievers for their special contribution in separate fields: Ms Preeti Telang, general manager of Swadhaar FinAccess, Ms Chandita Mukherjee, founder of Comet Media, and Ms Nikita Ketkar, founder of Masoom.
Ms Deena Mehta, director of the Bombay Stock Exchange, presented a memento to each of the women and appreciated their special efforts. "We do not realise, but it is the NGOs which make the country liveable. We all know the kind of gaps that exist in public administration. We should thank civil society organisations that take up the responsibility to help people and better our lives."
Deena Mehta felicitates Preeti Telang, general manager of Swadhaar FinAccess, which works with urban poor women
Accepting the acknowledgement by Moneylife Foundation of her work, Ms Telang explained the mission of Swadhaar FinAccess, saying, "There are many schemes for women in rural India, but very few for slum dwellers in urban areas. It takes a lot of persuasion to get the government and banks to start zero-balance savings accounts and issue ATM cards for them. Together, we have tried to teach these women about banking, so that they can deposit their small day-to-day savings easily."
Swadhaar FinAccess is a non-banking finance company that provides micro-finance. Its activities are focused on financial literacy, savings and livelihood development programmes. Ms Telang said the NGO currently reaches out to 8,000 women, and it aims to cover 30,000 slum dwellers by 2012. Swadhaar partners with Citibank, which has provided zero-balance accounts for urban poor women. Swadhaar has also worked with ICICI Bank, to facilitate banking in areas where Citibank cannot reach. (Read her story here:Udhaar se Swadhaar tak )
Chandita Mukherjee, award-winning short documentary film maker and founder of Comet Media, accepts a memento from Deena Mehta. Comet aims to develop alternate media for education and inculcating a scientific spirit
Chandita Mukherjee spoke about the need to foster alternate media for education and innovate learning processes. She said, "There is a need to make learning enjoyable and move beyond rote learning, as well as reach out to those who don't have access to education. It is important to incorporate new, modern teaching techniques, and we are working for that."
Ms Mukherjee is an award-winning independent filmmaker, and is one of the best short documentary makers in the country. She has been part of various film committees, and her interest lies in promoting a scientific outlook and learning about India's technological heritage. Comet Media, which she set up, makes communication materials in a range of media, conducts workshops for teachers and students, and is exploring the area of community radio which is still very new in India. (Read her story here:A Different Toy Story)
Deena Mehta congratulates Nikita Ketkar, founder of Masoom, for her efforts to set up night schools for working students
Nikita Ketkar underlined the need to foster night schools, which are the only means of learning for most impoverished students, who are busy working during the day. Ms Ketkar's organisation, Masoom, does exactly this. "We have 600 students currently, and plan to spread out to the whole of Maharashtra. We are asking the government to open night schools in other states also, because there are many youngsters who have to work during the day to support themselves."
Ms Ketkar held administrative positions in the Defence Research & Development Organisation, Air Headquarters, and the NCC Directorate before setting up Masoom. She moved out of the Indian Civil Service to work with charitable organisations. (Read her story here:Turning night into dawn)
Masoom addresses the infrastructure and quality of education provided in night schools, with the intention to improve the learning environment and prospects of less-privileged students. To involve the students and parents, regular workshops are organised where parents and teachers come together, also narrowing the bridge through such meets.