FDI in defence production hiked; Power distribution companies in Union Territories opened for private players

FDI in defence production hiked; Power distribution companies in Union Territories opened for private players
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Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman
Highlights

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveiled structural reforms for various sectors to help build a self-reliant India under the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Campaign.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveiled structural reforms for various sectors to help build a self-reliant India under the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Campaign. Addressing a media briefing in New Delhi yesterday, Finance Minister in her announcement of the fourth tranche of measures outlined structural reforms with a focus on eight sectors of coal, minerals, defence production, civil aviation, power distribution companies, space sector and atomic energy.

In a major announcement, Ms Sitharaman informed that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) limit in defence manufacturing under automatic route will be raised from 49 per cent to 74 per cent.

To boost Make in India, 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. In another historic structural reform, FM Sitharaman announced that Corporatisation of Ordnance Factory Board to improve autonomy, accountability and efficiency among Ordnance Suppliers was done.

Besides, Ms Sitharaman also informed that the government will release a tariff policy with reforms, including consumer rights, promotion of industry and sustainability of sector for the power distribution companies. She also announced the proposal to privatise the power departments in Union Territories ensuring better services and efficiency in power distribution.

In another major reform, the Finance Minister announced that the government will boost private sector investments in social infrastructure projects, like hospitals. The total outlay for this has been projected to be at Rs 8,000 crore after an increase in the Viability Gap Share to 30 per cent in all such projects. Opening up the Indian space sector, the Minister announced, boosting up of private participation in space-related activities.

A major push to the decision is aimed at by allowing the private sector to use ISRO facilities and other relevant assets to improve their capabilities. Future projects for planetary exploration and outer space travel has also been opened to the private sector. This will also witness liberalisation of geo-spatial data policy for providing remote-sensing data to tech-entrepreneurs, which in turn will open up a wide horizon of avenues.

In a major sectoral reform for the atomic energy sector, Finance Minister announced the establishment of research reactors on PPP basis for the production of medical isotopes. This decision will lead to the opening up of various affordable treatment facilities for cancer and other major diseases.

The last and the fifth tranche of the economic package will be released today during a Press Conference scheduled to be held at 11 am in Delhi.

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