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States » East

ICC seeks package for Mining and Metals industry

Kolkata, Apr 3 (UNI) The Indian Mining Industry comprising the entire coal and non-coal
minerals and mining segments are going through challenging times in the midst of this
global outbreak of COVID 19.
Apprehending the drastic fallout of steel industries & subsidiary industries, and its
cascading effect on Indian economy, India's steel ministry has allowed mills to continue
to produce, supply and distribute steel and steel manufacturing raw materials during
the lockdown period as allowed under the Essential Services Maintenance Act of 1981
that designates any businesses "dealing with the production, supply or distribution of
coal, power, steel or fertilizers" as "Essential Services".
However, Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) highlighted that the consumer sectors
such as automakers, re-rollers, steel fabricators, steel component manufacturers and
construction sites have already stopped operations. The consequential effect leads to
closure of 60 percent of India's sponge iron units over the past few days. Mills are
shutting down because of a slump in demand, labour shortages and transportation
issues etc.
Considering the above issues, ICC suggests:
"Deferring payment of mining levies for the next 3 months - upto 30th June 2020, in view
of the lockdown for containment of spread of COVID 19. We are indeed thankful to the
Government of India for allowing delayed payment of Direct and Indirect Taxes upto a
period of 3 months as announced by the Hon’ble Finance Minister on 24th March 2020."
In line with this facilitation, ICC would also like to request to kindly allow deferring of
payments of mining levies, namely Royalty and the contributions towards District Mineral
Foundation (DMF) and National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET) for the period upto
June 30 next - for the next 3 months, in order to enable the miners to tide of the situation
and also ensure seamless operation as required by the end use industries.
Many mines have their mining plans expiring on March 31last and as a routine process,
plans are submitted and approved on time. However due to lockdown and closure of
regional offices of Indian Bureau of Mines, the mining plans have not been approved in
many cases. ICC requests on behalf of the industry to provide extension of the validity of
current approved plans by 3 months.
Waiving off the GST Compensation cess on coal: Coal is also a key raw material for steel
making and combined with iron ore accounts for nearly 64% in the cost of production of steel.
In India the Steel and Sponge Iron industry is totally dependent on imported Thermal Coal
from South Africa. The Indian Sponge Iron producers and steelmakers have no other option
to import at the high prices.
"In this situation, we request that the GST compensation is waived off to give some relief
to the producers and also request the government to grant some financial help."
There should be a 50% reduction in tariffs of facilities such as water, electricity etc.
A reasonable interest subsidy on the working capital should also be allowed, because
unless the industry gets some support on the borrowings, it would not be feasible.
In such a situation, the Central Government should consider devising a Special
comprehensive financial package for revival of the Steel industry in the post COVID 19
scenario in terms of tax concessions for the Companies as well as the individuals specially
HNI, moratorium on payment of loan installments, lowering of interest of Bank loan, easy
flow of fund for industries etc. at least for the next 3 years. This is more crucial for the
steel industries in the small and medium sector located in West Bengal because the
State Government has no policy to incentivise the industries.
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