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PM-led Panel Decides On Steps To Boost Manufacturing Sector

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The Indian government has decided to take a slew of steps to boost manufacturing and exports amid sharp fall in the rupee.  It was decided to enhance steel production capacity to 300 million tonnes and raise textile exports by 30 per cent this year.

A high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also decided to give a push towards creating domestic manufacturing capabilities in advanced materials, alloys and composites, sources said.

At the meeting of High Level Committee on Manufacturing, a go-ahead was given to building of civilian passenger aircraft, a dream project which has been in the pipeline for years and a pilot project for electric vehicles in Delhi.

The meeting decided that steps will be taken to build 300 million tonnes of steel capacity through Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) of Central Public Sector Enterprises with states.

This will be a significant jump in the targeted capacity building as steel production this year is expected to be 120 million tonnes. The capacity was 89 million tonnes in 2011-12.

The meeting also decided that quick decisions would be taken on raising textile exports by 30 per cent this year. In the last fiscal, textiles exports were about $34 billion.

These decisions are crucial as these come against the backdrop of the government's keenness to boost manufacturing and exports amid falling value of rupee. The rupee hit the all-time low on 8 July when it crossed 61 mark.

The Prime Minister's focus was on the Strategic Industry Initiative covering areas of advanced materials like building of civilian aircraft and electric transport.

With respect to the building of civilian aircraft, the High-Level Committee decided that a steering group would be formed to prepare a programme for the civil aircraft, building on defence offsets and using globally available engines.

The proposal to build an indigenous 90-seater aircraft has been in the pipeline for a number of years.

According to the proposal, the design and development of the aircraft is expected to cost Rs 4,355 crore and series production would entail further expenditure of Rs 3,200 crore.

The aircraft is to be built through a collaborative venture of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and (Defence Research Development Organisation) DRDO. It will be take some years to be ready for flight.

Clearance was also given to preparation of pilot project for electric vehicles -- three wheelers, taxis and buses -- in Delhi.


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