The Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) on Monday urged the government to allow deferred payments of mining levies up to June 30, amid a slew of compensation requests for the nation’s steel and mining industry. 

 

Miners in the wake of the COVID-19 impact on the economy are seeking to be allowed to defer payments of levies, royalties and contributions to the District Mineral Foundation and National Mineral Exploration Trust. 

Several mining leases were to expire on March 31. However, amidst the nation-wide lockdown, all offices of the Indian Bureau of Mines are shut. 

 

The ICC has requested an extension of the validity of current approved leases by three months. 

Furthermore, ICC has requested the government waive GST (goods and services tax) on thermal coal, as the steel and sponge iron industry relies heavily on imports. 

 

Coal, the key raw material for steel making, combined with iron ore, accounts for nearly 64pc of the cost of production. 

Indian sponge iron producers and steelmakers have no other option, but to import at current high prices. 

There should be a 50pc reduction in tariffs of facilities, including water and electricity, according to the ICC.

The ICC has further urged the government to place a reasonable interest subsidy on the working capital allowed for the steel sector. 

The government should also consider coming up with a financial stimulus for the steel industry, in terms of tax concessions for the companies, the ICC has stated. Steel units in West Bengal need special focus as the state government has no incentive policy for the industry, the ICC said. 

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