OPINION: Use natural resources in judicious manner for reducing fiscal deficit of country
Author(s): Sharad YadavSharad Yadav I express my concern on substantial spending of foreign exchange by Government of India on import of expensive petroleum products. Instead of focusing on import of expensive petroleum products, the...
I express my concern on substantial spending of foreign exchange by Government of India on import of expensive petroleum products. Instead of focusing on import of expensive petroleum products, the Government should concentrate on use of gas as replacement of coal and liquid petroleum products. I have always expressed my great concern on judicious use of our abundant amount of natural resources as I repeatedly mentioned at the time of scam on allotment of coal blocks also. The use of indigenous gas can be increased manifold if reliable gas supply is assured through development of new blocks. The cost of such gas will be much cheaper than today’s gas price and may be one fourth of imported gas. With the availability of indigenous gas, there would be a scope of enormous growth in the industrialisation, value addition and overall economic growth in the country. There is a huge potential in our country for extracting gas from coal and coal based blocks.
I would like to suggest that before starting coal mining in a coal block, focus should be given on extracting gas from such blocks either by way of underground coal gasification, CBM, shale gas etc. The public sector undertakings engaged in energy sectors like CIL, OIL, ONGC, GAIL and oil companies which have huge funds, should focus in exploring and exploiting of energy sources in our country first rather than spending huge money and time outside. Public Sector Enterprises in the States also should be advised to focus on such initiatives. CIL, ONGC, OIL have already got big mining areas with them and they may contribute maximum by extracting gas through coal gasification, CBM, shale gas etc at various locations. They may be allowed to extract gas on nomination basis immediately. I am of the view that with this action of the Government, there will be a big boost to economic development of these areas as most of these locations are situated at economically underdeveloped/ developing areas.
The complete socio-economic scenario can be changed in 6-7 years if such blocks are nominated to above companies with time bound monitoring by a special cell for the purpose The right vision, policy initiative and performance based implementation and monitoring is essential. Subsequently, I am sure that many companies in private sector in India and abroad will be interested to invest in this venture.
Further, I would like to suggest that the preference may be given for allocation of blocks for their captive use to sectors such as power, fertilizer, steel, metal, petrochemical, CNG, commercial and domestic gas suppliers. It would be appropriate to allow fiscal benefits and early development bonus to achieve benefits in the shortest possible time, and the blocks which are already allotted for CBM/gasification and are delaying the exploration, should be penalised. There should also be a policy to enhance maximum possible initial capital outlay for exploration and exploitation of energy sources and incentives for identifying resources, purchase of technology and deployment of experts etc. There will be huge benefit and achievements for the country if the gas sources are increased. In my view, the advantages mainly such as reduction in import of crude oil, reduction in the subsidy bill especially in fertilizer and diesel, reduction in import rate for balance imports of crude oil, reduction in pollution as compared to coal/petroleum products, reduction in use of land, high efficiency in use of gas, reduction in operating cost etc. Besides all, the overall benefit would be less outflow of foreign exchange from the country and industrialisation would be increased which in turn would provide more employment and entrepreneurship.
As I mentioned above, this is also in line with my earlier statements that the Government of India should use its natural resources in a judicious manner which will help in reducing the fiscal deficit of the country. I would like that my above suggestions should be considered by the Government for incorporation in the Finance Budget 2013 of the country.
(The author is Member of Parliament and President, Janata Dal (United).)