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Ficci for efficient use of resources

Sidharth Birla in New Delhi on Monday. Picture by Yasir Iqbal

New Delhi, Jan. 6: Ficci president Sidharth Birla today said policy intervention was needed to curb the import of coal and other natural resources, which were available locally.

Unveiling its economic agenda today, Ficci said transparency in the distribution of natural resources and cutting down on imports were the need of the hour. “We need to cut down on imports of natural resources and concentrate on properly using what we have available abundantly. There is a need for transparency and certainty in (natural resources) auctions,” Birla said.

Power firms alone are slated to import 82 million tonnes of coal to fire their boilers during this fiscal.

Delay in clearing mining plans by the environment ministry or states and legal cases have hampered the development of mines in India.

The industry association wants “structural changes in Coal India Ltd” to promote private participation in mining. It complained that “monopoly of Coal India over mining has huge national costs”.

Ficci also wants the Centre to push for the goods and services tax at the earliest, arguing that this would be a “game changer for the Indian industry” and could add around 2 per cent to GDP growth.

The association wants deepening of domestic capital markets as dwindling foreign direct investment has led to over-reliance on foreign institutional investors. “Deepening of domestic capital markets is the only lasting solution to improve resilience to unforeseen events,” Birla said.

He also called into question the efficacy of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, saying it has drawn people away from productive or industrial employment and has failed to create assets.