New Delhi: Power minister Piyush Goyal, who got additional charge of the ministry of mining in Tuesday’s cabinet reshuffle, has set an immediate goal of raising the share of mineral production in gross domestic production (GDP) by one percentage point in two years from 2.4% now.

Goyal took charge of the ministry from Narendra Singh Tomar, who has moved to the rural development ministry. Goyal, who also holds the portfolios of coal and new and renewable energy, said he will meet all stakeholders in the mining industry to decide how to achieve the output growth target.

“Today it is clear that mining sector will grow fast. We will make sure that its share in GDP grows at least by one percentage point in next two to three years. We will analyse the mineral reserves and market conditions and decide which low hanging fruit to go for first," said Goyal.

The mines ministry has identified about 50 atomic mineral blocks and about 100 others for auctions.

The government on Monday brought out rules for auctioning atomic minerals blocks. On 29 June, the Union cabinet approved procedures for auctioning of other minerals such as gold, diamond, limestone and iron ore under the National Mineral Exploration Policy. It allows bidding out of an already explored block under which the original explorer will get a share of the revenue that the state earns from the producer for 50 years.

Minerals output had grown in volumes in 2015-16 but in value terms recorded a decline. According to data from the ministry of mines, the value of the total mineral output contracted by 11% to 39,767 crore in 2015-16 despite a strong 9% increase in volumes to 495 million tonnes over the previous fiscal year.

Industry executives, however, remained positive about growth in this industry.

“I am positive about the growth in the metals and minerals sector. Mining activity should grow with the reforms taken in the sector. The government is making a lot of investments. There is pick up in the highways and construction sectors. Appliances demand should go up with the implementation of the seventh Pay Commission recommendations," said Tata Steel Ltd managing director T.V. Narendran.

Goyal is known for formulating the Ujjwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY), a revival scheme for distressed state-owned power distribution companies and for introducing efficiency in coal transportation to power plants.

Goyal is also overseeing the implementation of the world’s largest capacity addition plan in renewable energy, from 6.7 gigawatt (GW) now to 175 GW by 2022.

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