Coal Minister Addresses Foreign Investors in Singapore

Shri Sriprakash Jaiswal

Last month, the Coal Minister of India, Shri Sriprakash Jaiswal, along with senior officials and business leaders, went to Singapore with the aim to attract foreign investors for the Indian market. In doing so, Jaiswal addressed efforts as well as benchmarks made by the GOI to accelerate the economy and put it back on  the path of 8% GDP growth.

Current industries proposed for foreign investment include core infrastructure sectors like Power, Railways, Roads, Shipping, Civil Aviation and Coal. The latest targets set by the Indian government include:

1) additional 18,000 megawatt capacity of power generation in 2012-13
2) 580 million tonnes of Coal Production (470 million tonnes set to be produced by Coal India Ltd alone)
3) port cargo handling capacity of 244 million tonnes per annum
4) construction of two new major ports
5) construction of additional 9,500 km road and maintenance of 4,360 km road
6) construction of a number of new domestic airports, up-gradation of 3 more airports to service international flights as well as the formulation of an Airport Hub Policy to govern the operation of planned hubs in Delhi and Chennai in 2013
7) Indian Railways have many new projects including Dedicated Freight Corridors in Son Nagar – Dankuni Sector, Elevated Rail Corridor in Mumbai and also a High Speed Corridor between Mumbai and Ahmadabad.

India needs about 1 trillion USD over the next five years for developing infrastructure and the government feels foreign investment through PPPs are integral in achieving that target.

Shri Jaiswal briefed the investors about the ambitious `Economic Reform Programme` undertaken by Government of India in the early 90s under which foreign investment policy was liberalised, a result of which India entered into several Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protocol Agreements (BIPAs) to promote and protect foreign investors. In addition, he briefed about potential investment in the coal sector — which also allow for PPPs — as well as the expectations of additional power generation and iron & steel production capacity.

Coal India Ltd., the largest coal producing Government-owned company in India, has also recently dis-invested 10% of the shares in 2010 hoping to attract further foreign capital. CIL continues to do well with its rising turn-over and profit margins year after year. The current level of coal production of 580 million tonnes expected during the current year is likely to shoot up to 780 million tonnes by 2016-17.

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