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Imperative to boost coal, iron ore mining: Chidamabaram

Chidambaram says India requires to step up production of resources like coal and iron ore and contain the current account deficit

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram Thursday said India requires to step up production of resources like coal and iron ore and contain the current account deficit (CAD).

Addressing media persons here, Chidambaram said the government will take structural measures to further reduce CAD, while coal production required to be increased so as to curb import of the fuel.

Pointing out how domestic coal production shortfall was affecting power projects and production, the finance minister cited this as example of some of the “structural issues” that required to be addressed to give a push to production activity.

Highlighting the need to boost mining, the finance minister said that the government was keen to get the “iron-ore mining sector back on its feet.”

There were two points of view on the question of cutting export duties on iron ore.

“There are two views, one that export duty (on iron ore) should be cut and the other that it should not be. We have representations from both groups and the matter is being examined by the Central Board of Excise and Customs,” Chidambaram said.

The Mines and Commerce ministries had recently requested the Finance Ministry to cut export duty on iron ore on grounds that it would not only increase domestic production, but also lead to reducing the current account deficit. The steel sector is, however, opposed to such a move. 

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Chidambaram had recently stated that the government is working to operationalise 215 stalled projects involving about Rs.700,000 crore.

-IANS

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