“Spectrum auction success should lead to auction of natural resources, which has capacity to generate larger funds, employment & fight poverty. “
By Anil Agarwal, Chairman, Vedanta Group
When I think about India my priorities remain generation of employment and eradication of poverty.
No country in the world can develop without manufacturing. The contribution of manufacturing in GDP and GNP cannot be ruled out. At one point, countries like Brazil, Canada, Australia and those in Latin America were on a par with India when it came to utilisation of natural resources. Today, these countries have moved far ahead and we have remained stagnant. The fall of GDP growth can be attributed largely to the sluggish growth of manufacturing in India. Further, in states where manufacturing drives growth, the economy is in shambles, thanks to the artificial shortage of resources.
How long shall we hoard these natural resources? There has been no large bauxite mining in India in more than 35 years. Gold and copper mines are awaiting to be explored, in spite of the Supreme Court judgment to open up the sector. Having our own reserves and resources, and then spending billions on their import makes no sense. As much as 3,000 million tonnes of bauxite remains unutilized in India. How long shall it stay that way?
In Goa, it is a matter of survival for over one-third of the state’s population. The mining ban has paralyzed almost 20,000 trucks. But the biggest loss is to the economy, with the loss figure touching Rs.25,000 crore. The loss of over $6 billion on account of the ban on iron ore export from Goa alone has been one of the major factors responsible for compounding the current rupee crisis.
We can keep these reserves for another 100 years, but ultimately, their utilisation is necessary to benefit the very citizens whose interests we are purportedly protecting with the ban. So, auction these natural resources in the most transparent manner with simple policies and allow them to be used in the most sustainable manner so that it helps in strengthening and rejuvenating the economy.