FDI LIMIT in defence sector through automatic route enhanced to 74 percent, 500 mining blocks will be open to bidding, says FM Nirmala Sitharaman

Finance Minister  Nirmala Sitharaman has made public the fourth tranche of measures to address the economic situation in the country stressed due to COVID-19. Outlining structural reforms with a focus on eight sectors of coal, minerals, defence production, civil aviation, power distribution companies, space sector and atomic energy, Sitharaman said on Saturday, May 16 at a media briefing that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) limit in defence manufacturing under automatic route will be raised from 49 per cent to 74 per cent. For promoting Make in India campaign, Finance Minister announced that a list of weapons or their parts would no longer be imported and their indigenous production will be ensured within the country. The government will notify year-wise timelines to ban such imports. The corporatisation of Ordnance Factory Board to improve autonomy, accountability and efficiency among Ordnance Suppliers was done. The Finance Minister said private sector participation in the coal sector through a revenue-sharing mechanism. She added that this will introduce competition and transparency in the coal sector. This will also enable bidding for a coal block and selling it in the open market by private bodies. A total of 50 blocks will be available for bidding at the earliest. The government is set to introduce a seamless composite exploration-cum-mining-production regime in the country. Sitharaman added that 500 mining blocks will be offered through an open and transparent auction process. She added the sectoral reform for mining of minerals will boost growth, employment and bring state-of-the-art technology in the field of exploration in the country. In the aviation sector Finance Minister highlighted the issue of only 60 per cent of the Indian airspace being available for commercial flights. She announced the easing of restrictions on further utilisation of the air space. The decision will rope in a benefit of Rs 1000 crore for the aviation sector as it will drastically reduce the time and fuel consumed by the commercial flights.

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