Plan to boost coal supply to steel, cement sectors
As sluggish growth has affected the steel, coal and cement sectors, which are key for infrastructure output and manufacturing activities, the Centre may look into the possibility of suggesting coal block allottees to also provide the dry fuel to sectors like steel and cement apart from the power sector, which would help accelerate growth in these segments.
This move was discussed threadbare in a high-level meeting which was conducted by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) last week with secretaries of coal, mining, power and steel ministries, to work out a strategy to improve economic growth, highly-placed sources said.
This newspaper had exclusively reported on May 4 how the PMO, concerned over poor economic growth, had called a meeting of top officials of the key economic ministries to discuss the matter on May 5, as the Narendra Modi-led NDA government faces an uphill task of improving economic momentum, at a time when it aims to seek a second term and the Lok Sabhaelections are just a year away.
The sources further added that while secretaries from all the economic ministries, including finance, were present during the meeting, which was presided over by top PMO officials, the focus was mainly on making coal available to stressed sectors like steel and cement in order to boost manufacturing.
Coal ministry officials were directed by the PMO to convey to coal mines allottees that while the dry fuel is being provided to the power sector on a priority basis, it should also be made available to the cement and steel sectors as this will improve growth in the manufacturing sector and propel overall economic growth.
While the participants were asked to come prepared with a blueprint for improving economic growth, sources pointed out that the Prime Minister’s Office officials were keen on discussing steps to improve the manufacturing scenario.