Ensure that industries have access to reliable energy at reasonable prices

Ensure that industries have access to reliable energy at reasonable prices

On Tuesday, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman urged states to invest in infrastructure and conduct “energy planning,” ensuring that enterprises have access to reliable, high-quality power at affordable rates, allowing them to expand their businesses. She said at an event here that the Centre would provide all possible assistance to states in building the necessary infrastructure, not just in Tamil Nadu but also in other states.

The Finance Minister was speaking at the Stakeholder’s Outreach Programme organised by Directorate General of Foreign Trade on the occasion of India signing a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with the United Arab Emirates and the Economic Cooperation Trade Agreement (ECTA) with Australia. Sitharaman stressed on ‘ease of doing business’ following the signing of two agreements with Australia and UAE, respectively, so that adequate infrastructure and energy was readily available to respective states.

”My appeal to states is that they should ensure electricity and it should be made available 24 hours, all 365 days at reasonable rates. Industries should get quality power…,” she said. Sitharaman said every stakeholder should work towards ensuring uninterrupted power supply so that ‘power shortage’ does not occur since it poses as a major hurdle for the industry’s growth.

”It was announced in the budget that Rs one lakh crore interest-free loan will be provided to states for 50 years to spend on infrastructure,” she said. ”States should build infrastructure and tap various forms of energy, including solar energy, so that there is no power shortage,” she added. ”Though I am standing in Tamil Nadu and making this comment, I am making this request to all the other states as well…,” she said.

According to Director General of Foreign Trade Santosh Kumar Sarangi, India was the second largest trading partner for UAE while UAE was the third largest trading partner for India. CEPA would propel the two nations (India and the UAE) going forward and this agreement will lead to seamless flow of goods, development between the two countries, he said.

To the industrialists present at the venue, she said at the time of making investments, the companies should give a thought about tapping various forms of renewable energy in their respective unit. ”The government is also ready to extend its support if you need,” she said. Sitharaman said that businesses should come forward and make use of the benefits CEPA and ECTA so as to further boost trade between the countries.

On account of the India-UAE CEPA agreement immediate market access at zero duty accounting for 90 per cent of India’s exports in value terms was available to UAE and immediate duty free in labour incentive sectors such as gems and jewellery, textiles and apparels, leather and footwear. ”Bilateral trade was at USD 59 billion in FY2019-20 in goods”, he said. On the ECTA agreement with Australia, the bilateral ties was expected to reach USD 45 billion from USD 27.5 billion in next five years which would lead to generation of one million new jobs.

”The UAE acts as a gateway to other markets like Middle East, Africa, CIS countries”, he said, adding India was importing large amount of cooking coal from Australia. From India, he said agriculture products were shipped to Australia while a majority of Indian students take up studying in that country contributing USD 4 billion every year. On the ties between Tamil Nadu and UAE, he said the state government shipped goods worth USD 1.4 billion in 2021-22 while Tamil Nadu export value to Australia stood at USD 349.7 million.

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