Bhopal: Union Minister for Mines and Steel Narendra Singh Tomar today said when the new Government came to power in New Delhi on 26 May 2014, the country was confronted with diverse problems, including a tottering economy and a series of scams, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi accepted these challenges and within a year he has succeeded in restoring people’s confidence in the Government by ensuring speedy and transparent decisions and firm steps to combat the scourge of corruption.
Tomar was addressing a press conference here to mark the completion of one year of the NDA government on Monday. Giving a panoramic view of the overall scenario, he said that under the leadership of Narendra Modi, the Centre-State relations have improved and the states are now enjoying more power. Our relations with neighburing countries and also with other countries have improved, he said adding India’s, GDP from 5% last year, has now gone up to 7.4%. Similarly the inflation rate has also come down from 10% last year to 5 % this year.
At the Prime Minister’s initiative, Tomar said, the Black Money Bill was introduced and passed by both Houses of Parliament and the Special Investigation Team (SIT) is in place to combat black money. The Minister brought under spotlight the CAG conclusion that the exchequer suffered a loss of Rs. 1,76000 crore in coal allocation and emphasised the the fact that this amount is much less than the loss in real terms. To explain the point, Tomar said that with the auction of just 34 of the 204 coal allocations cancelled, Rs. 2,00,000 crore have been raised. Even in the spectrum acution a revenue of Rs. 1,10,000 crore has been generated.
Tomar underscored the amendments to the Mining and Minerals Development and Regulation (MMDR) Act and said that illegal mining now has higher penalties up to 5 lakh rupees and imprisonment up to 5 years. Regarding the Farm sector, he said that adequate relief is now guaranteed to farmers suffering damage to their standing crops due to natural calamities. Now the compensation for crop damage due to natural calamity will be assessed on the basis of crop damage of 33% and not 50%, he pointed out.
The Minister said that the Prime Minister’s Rural Road project will be carried forward and 50,000 kilomters of new tar roads are planned to be constructed to connect villages. The priority is also to expand the irrgation capacity to cover every piece of agriculture land in the country.
Tomar drew attention to the Jan Dhan scheme launched by Prime Minister Modi to provide bank accounts to the poor and how 15 million bank accounts with a deposit of Rs. 15000 crore, have been opened under this scheme.
The Minister said that 50 crore people in India are working in the unorganised sector. For them the smart card scheme has been introduced. He also threw light on the ambitious Atal Pension Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojna.
On the mining front, Tomar said that the Centre has not been discriminatory towards any state and pointed out that all the states are going to benefit from the hike in mining royalty. To eliminate corruption and bring accountability, the only route for mineral allocation now will be e-auction. In India, there is mining potential in 8,00,000 square kilometers but miningis being done only on 1% of this area. hence a Mineral Exploration Fund is is being set up for exploration purpose.
The Steel Ministry plays the role of coordination. Spelling out the target, he said Steel Authority of India (SAIL) now produces 13 million tonnes of Steel and by September this year the capacity will increase to 23 million tonnes. The target is to touch 50 million tonnes by 2025.