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Goyal promises to reduce coal sector woes in 8-9 months

PTI 30 Nov 2014, 7:12:55 AM IST

Mumbai: Expressing confidence that the Bill to replace coal ordinance will be passed in the ongoing session of Parliament, Union Minister Piyush Goyal Saturday promised to significantly reduce the woes in the sector in the next 8-9 months.

Speaking at a panel discussion at the ET Awards for Corporate Excellence here this evening, he said: "I am quite confident that coal ordinance (Bill) is a reality waiting to happen in the next few days and we will be able to resolve the sectoral problems within the next 8-9 months significantly."

The ordinance was necessitated after the Supreme Court quashed allotment of 204 blocks terming the allocation as "arbitrary and illegal".

He said Lok Sabha will be passing the Bill in the next few days, but avoided a direct answer on its fate in Rajya Sabha where treasury benches do not have necessary numbers.

"The Lok Sabha will clear it in the next few days, the Rajya Sabha, from whatever sense I get from the people, is certainly understanding that the power sector woes need to be resolved," he said.

When asked if the Government may contemplate a joint session of Parliament to push the Bill, Goyal said, "We are committed to the reform agenda. Any route which we have to take (will be taken)."

To end the uncertainty around the coal sector, which has seen a slew of controversies over allocations in the recent past, the Government had last month moved in with an ordinance which seeks to make the process transparent by stressing on auctioning of the blocks. The ordinance needs to be replaced by an Act after getting the Bill passed by both houses.

Goyal said that his ministry has a budgetary commitment of USD 10 billion from the Government for the overhaul needed in the transmission and distribution in the power sector.

He also promised captains of the industry that the state-run Coal India will be increasing its yearly output growth to 16 per cent in the next five years from the current rate of growth of 1-1.5 per cent.

Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmal Sitharaman said the Government is "watching" the developments in the fledgling e-commerce space and the way the companies, which have raised billions of dollars in venture investments, are working.

On the Government's flagship 'Make in India' initiative, she said that there has been a very encouraging response but the developments are yet to play out on the ground.

When asked about the complex trade negotiations and if she ever feared India getting isolated at a forum like the WTO, Sitharaman replied in the negative. "We were wondering how long it will take" to reach a deal," she said.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar reiterated Government's intent of maximising domestic production through various measures like technology transfers. He rued the country has not yet been able to develop and produce world-class fighter jets, alluding to the delays in the LCA or the Tejas project.

Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Mittal congratulated the "hardworking" government for a great start. "We have been shown a fantastic trailer and we are now waiting for the start of the magnum opus."