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‘12.8 lakh jobs lost in Karnataka and Goa mining sector’

As many firms were unable to pay the penalty, they had to shut the mines. Their closure led to the loss of direct/indirect jobs running into thousands.

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Bengaluru, Sep 11 : A whopping 12.8 lakh direct and indirect jobs were lost in the mining sector across Karnataka and Goa due to failure of regulatory mechanism, lack of oversight, judicial intervention and closure of mines, an industry official said on Wednesday.

“Though the mining sector is the third largest employment generator after agriculture and construction, closure of mines in Karnataka and Goa has resulted in the loss of 12,80,000 direct and indirect jobs since 2011-12 due to ineffective regulatory mechanism, lack of monitoring and oversight at the ground level, and the Supreme Court’s interventions,” Federation of Indian Minerals Industries (Fimi) President Sunil Duggal told IANS here.

For every one job the sector creates, 10 indirect jobs are generated with a force multiplier through linkages and supply chains from mining the rich minerals to their use in the end products.

“Closure of 166 iron ore mines in Karnataka’s Bellary, Chitradurga and Tumkur districts since 2011 led to 80,000 direct lay-offs, affecting 8 lakh people indirectly. Similarly, suspension of all mining activities across Goa since 2012 for similar reasons resulted in the loss of 1 lakh direct and 3 lakh indirect jobs,” lamented Duggal.

The decade-long multi-crore scams in Karnataka’s ‘Republic of Bellary’ from 2001-2011 forced the apex court to ban mining in the southern state, favouring auctioning of the mines rather than leasing and renewing the licences of the miners.

“The top court on July 29, 2011 and August 26, 2011 banned all activities in Karnataka’s three mineral-rich districts due to encroachment and dumping beyond the lease areas, in which 166 firms were mining,” recalled Duggal.

Similarly, the apex court suspended all mining operations in Goa on October 5, 2012, as renewals were pending over the years and concerns were growing over the increasing environmental pollution in the absence of protective measures.

“Though the Goa government in 2014 renewed leases with checks and balances to mine iron ore up to 20 million tonne per annum, the Supreme Court on February 7, 2018 cancelled the renewal orders of 88 mines, leading to their closure on March 16, 2018,” said Duggal.

As in other core sectors, one mining job provides work for its associated functionaries, including truck owners, drivers, cleaners, repair shops, petrol-diesel retail outlets, hotels, groceries and banks.

“The closure of iron ore mining in Goa has adversely impacted the coastal state’s economy, with a revenue loss of Rs 5,830 crore for the state as well as the Centre,” said Duggal, who is also the Chief Executive of New Delhi-based Vedanta Ltd for base metals.

The Karnataka government lost Rs 10,000 crore over the last 7-8 years in the form of licence fee, royalty, taxes and duties. State-run banks suffered an asset deterioration of up to Rs 50,000 crore.

“The closure of mines affected raw material (iron) supply to steel and sponge iron plants in Karnataka, and caused production loss in downstream industries such as automobiles, consumer durables, machine tools and engineering products, jeopardising 2 lakh direct jobs,” Duggal said.

The lack of monitoring and oversight at the ground level by the state governments led to irregularities and poor implementation of mining laws.

“The failure of regulatory mechanism led to judicial intervention by the Supreme Court in Karnataka, Goa and even Odisha, where excessive production of iron and manganese ore beyond the environment clearance and other statutory limits forced the top court to impose 109 per cent penalties on the mining firms on June 2, 2017,” added Duggal.

As many firms were unable to pay the penalty, they had to shut the mines. Their closure led to the loss of direct/indirect jobs running into thousands.

Business

Policy space exists to address growth concerns: RBI Governor

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Shaktikanta Das

Mumbai, Oct 18 : In what could mean further rate cuts by India’s central bank, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das has said at the bi-monthly monetary policy committee (MPC) meeting here earlier this month that “there is policy space to address growth concerns”, according to the minutes of the MPC meeting released on Friday.

In 2019, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has delivered 135 basis points (bps) of cuts in its key lending rate.

Das, according to the minutes, saw domestic demand moderating significantly.

“As the inflation scenario remains benign with headline inflation projected at below target in the remaining period of 2019-20 and in Q1:2020-21, there is policy space to address growth concerns,” Das said.

“The weakening of private consumption, which, for long, has been the bedrock of aggregate demand, in particular, is a matter of concern,” the Governor added.

Besides, a number of MPC members expressed concerns over the transmission of rates. While Das said that “monetary transmission has remained weak” external member Chetan Ghate said the “monetary transmission has worsened since the last review”.

Das, however, cautioned the government, saying that “there is also a need to be watchful of the fiscal situation; however, the government has indicated that it would maintain the fiscal deficit”.

On the road ahead, MPC member Michael Debabrata Patra stressed that a full throttle effort by all arms of macroeconomic management is the need of the hour.

The RBI on October 5 announced a 25 basis point rate cut in its repo, or short-term lending rate for commercial banks, to 5.15 per cent, from 5.40 per cent, after the rate of gross domestic product (GDP) growth during the first quarter slumped to 5 per cent.

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Banking services may be hit Oct 22 as unions warn of strike

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Bank strike

New Delhi, Oct 18 : Banking services could be affected next week as two bank unions have warned they will go on a 24-hour long strike on October 22 to protest against the recent bank mergers, falling deposit rates and a call for job security.

The two unions – the All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA) and the Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI) – have informed the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) through a notice that they will go on strike from 6 a.m. on October 22 to 6 a.m. on October 23.

State Bank of India has already said the impact would be minimum as most of its employees are not members of the participating unions.

“The membership of our bank employees in unions participating in the strike is very few, so the impact of strike on our operation will be minimal,” SBI said in the notice. It further said the loss from the proposed strike cannot be quantified as of now.

Other banks such as Bank of Maharashtra and Syndicate Bank have, however, expressed concern over providing customer services.

“The bank is taking necessary steps tor smooth functioning of branches on the proposed strike day. However in the event the strike materialises, the functioning of the branches/offices may be impacted,” Syndicate Bank said in a notice to stock exchanges.

Bank of Baroda, in a filing with the exchanges, said: “The Bank is taking necessary steps for smooth functioning of bank’s branches on the day of strike, in the event the strike materialises, the functioning of the branches may be affected/paralysed.”

AIBEA and BEFI said they are opposing outsourcing of regular and perennial nature of banking jobs, and privatisation of banking industry while demanding adequate recruitment of clerical and sub-staff and stringent steps for recovery of mounting bad loans.

Last month, the officers’ unions had called a two-day all India bank strike on September 26 and 27 that was later withdrawn on government intervention.

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Jio’s move of passing IUC charges to customers puzzling: Kotak

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mukesh ambani reliance jio

Mumbai, Oct 19 : A recent Kotak report has viewed Jios decision to pass on the IUC (Interconnect Usage Charges) to its customers as “puzzling” on several counts including the timing and the mode of recovery.

The report said that Jio’s decision less than three months before the current date of move to a zero-MTR regime is “baffling” and so is the chosen mode (IUC top-up vouchers).

“Having paid IUC ‘from its own resources while offering free voice to its customers’, per the press release, for nearly three years now, we are not sure why Jio could not have waited another couple of months for the final outcome (a new tariff order reversing the enacted regulation OR no new tariff order) of the ongoing consultation,” it said.

Further on the mode of recovery which is in the form of IUC top-up vouchers ranging from Rs 10 (124 minutes off-out allowance; no validity per the press release) to Rs 100 (1,362 minutes off-out allowance) was difficult to understand, the report said.

“In effect, Jio is making an additional recharge compulsory for off-out calling. This dilutes the �simplicity’ proposition of Jio’s pricing architecture,” Kotak said in the report.

Another puzzling aspect is the fact that Jio has decided to charge 100 per cent of its gross off-out traffic and isn’t just trying to recover the net IUC cost, it added.

Besides the report said, we are not sure why Jio continues to highlight Bharti’s and VIL’s �exorbitant’ voice tariffs for their 2G customers as a problem. Missed call behaviour is real and does result in Jio being a net IUC payer.

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