Coal, Power, Cement lead Infrastructural Growth: Economic Survey

Posted on 27th Feb 2015 05:51 pm by mohit kumar

New Delhi, Feb 27 (IANS) Compared to the sluggish industrial sectors' growth of 2.1 percent from April-December 2014, coal, power and cement in the infrastructure sector have registered double digit growth in the past few months, the Economic Survey for 2014-15 said Friday.

According to the report, the mining sector growth has turned positive while manufacturing growth continues to remain tepid, registering a growth of 1.2 percent in April-December.

The findings state that the low growth in manufacturing is mainly due to the high rate of interest, infrastructure bottlenecks and low domestic and external demand.

From April to December last year, the overall growth in eight core industries has improved marginally to 4.4 percent compared to 4.1 percent in the same period last year.

"Electricity, coal and cement boosted the performance while natural gas, fertilizers, crude oil, refinery products and steel accounted for moderation in growth. The improved performance in electricity is due to high growth in thermal generation, in coal mining due to higher production by Coal India Limited and captive mining and in cement due to capacity addition," the survey said.

Natural gas and crude oil production declined primarily owing to lack of major discoveries and "problem with old oil fields". The production of steel was also hit by the import of the metal while fertilizers contracted mainly because of non-availability of gas and similar capacity addition in the past few years.

The survey said the focus of the centre has been on resolving long pending issues like pricing of gas, establishing processes and procedures for transparent auction of coal and minerals and improving power generation and distribution.

In the power sector, steps were taken to increase power generation besides strengthening the transmission and distribution system.

"To improve the distribution of power, two new schemes have been launched namely Integrated Power Development Schemes and Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana. The Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2014 has been introduced in the Lok Sabha," the report said.

According to the survey, to provide a big push to solar energy two new schemes - Scheme for Development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects and Pilot-cum-Demonstration Projects for Development of Grid Connected Solar PV Power plants on Canal Banks and Canal Tops - were rolled out in December 2014.

On the transportation front, the Economic Survey said railways have listed key focus areas comprising capacity building, network modernisation, improvement in asset utilisation and productivity and improvement in the quality of services besides others.

Investments are being prioritized in important areas like Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFCs), high speed rail, high capacity rolling stock, last mile rail linkages and port connectivity, the survey added.

In the road sector, efforts have been undertaken to resolve problems associated with projects which are yet to be completed and the setting up of the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd. for speedy implementation of highway projects in the north-east.

In the civil aviation sector, there has been a healthy increase in international passengers and the cargo handled at Indian airports during 2014-15.

"The major initiatives are implementation of PPP (public-private partnership) projects at four airports of the Airport Authority of India, setting up of greenfield airports and development of small airports in Tier II and Tier III cities," it said.

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