Manufacturing policy faces ministerial logjam

Manufacturing policy faces ministerial logjam

This was indicated by Secretary of Industrial Policy & Promotion, R P Singh at an inter-active session on new manufacturing policy organised by Ficci here.

“The ongoing process on fine-tuning the draft manufacturing policy is on. We are trying to narrow down differences of view on issues relating to labour and environment laws in the proposed SMZ,” Singh said. “The labour ministry is citing obligations under the agreements signed with the International Law Organization (ILO). Every body is talking about their sovereign functions,” he said thereby hinting that the labour ministry was not keen in “drastic” relaxation of labour laws in the SMZ.

Similarly the environment ministry does not appear to be inclined to relax the environment laws for setting up of SMZ, Singh indicated.

The draft manufacturing policy, which aims to attract overseas investment, besides increasing the share of manufacturing in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), is yet to be finalissed due to inter-ministerial differences with the opposition mainly coming from the labour and environment ministries.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had called a meeting of key ministers last month, in the backdrop of differences of the ministries of environment, labour and finance with the DIPP. The draft policy was given an in-principle approval and a committee of secretaries, chaired by Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary T K A Nair, has been asked to work out a consensus.

The DIPP secretary urged the industry to talk directly to the labour and environment ministries to facilitate finalisation of manufacturing policy.

Later in the day the with a view to reaching inter-ministerial consensus on the proposed manufacturing policy, Commerce & Industry Minister Anand Sharma met the new Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan.

Sharma said “both the ministers have reached an understanding to fast-track the resolution of the issues. We are in a position now to move forward for taking final view in the matter. We will put up the policy before the Cabinet as soon as possible.”

Sharma is also planning to meet Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge on issues relating to the manufacturing policy.

The concept paper of DIPP while proposing easing of labour and environment laws also seeks tax sops for National Manufacturing Investment Zones (NMIZs).

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