MAC: Mines and Communities

Yechury seeks national policy on mineral resources

Published by MAC on 2006-08-23
Source: The Dainak Statesman

Yechury seeks national policy on mineral resources

Special Correspondent, The Hindu

23rd August 2006

Suggests ban on export of iron-ore; opposes export dependence for economic growth

* Boost public investment to create infrastructure

* Left opposes hire and fire provisions

NEW DELHI: Expressing concern over the decline in employment in the organised sector, CPI(M) leader, Sitaram Yechury, has called for a national policy to harness conventional mineral resources to develop infrastructure and, thereby, improve job opportunities. In this context, he suggested banning export of non-renewable mineral resources which could be used within the country.

Releasing a report of the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) on "the relationship between GDP and employment'' here on Tuesday, he said the study echoed the sentiments of the Left, which had held that India had been having jobless growth for the last couple of years.

Though India had registered an average 5.3 per cent growth between 1998 and 2003, he cited the report as saying that there had been a 4.14 per cent decline in employment in the organised sector over this period.

He concurred with the study's findings, which revealed that over this period, the employment rate fell by 4.32 per cent in the public sector and 3.74 per cent in the private sector. Describing the situation as worrying, he said a package had to be worked out to tackle the problem in a holistic manner.

Labour reforms

On mineral resources, he suggested that just as the Railways were governed by the Centre with various zones under its control, similarly there should be a national policy for conventional mineral resources with specific focus on their region-wise reserves.

The policy should decide as to how conventional mineral resources could be harnessed in the interests of the domestic industry, he said while opposing exports of iron ore.

Mr. Yechurty felt that relying only on exports would not help achieve the target growth rate. Instead, he said public investments had to be increased tremendously to create infrastructure, which would in turn create employment and generate domestic demand leading to growth.

On allowing foreign direct investment (FDI), he said the Left Parties would welcome any FDI that led to all the three - production augmentation, technological upgradation and employment generation. Regarding labour reforms, he said they would continue to oppose hire and fire provisions.

The Assocham report said the decrease in jobs in the private sector was evident in sectors like agriculture, mining, manufacturing and construction. The decline was visible in the con -struction sector where employment declined by 40.54 per cent between 1999 and 2003.

The public sector witnessed a declining trend in employment across sectors except in retail trade and finance. Employment generation was maximum in wholesale and retail trade at around 10 per cent.

In the public sector, the report said, the declining trend was maximum from 2001 to 2003.

"Since the public sector contributes more than two thirds of the workforce in the organised sector, its impact on overall growth is drastic,'' the report says.

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