It gives me great pleasure to inaugurate NMDC’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. Reaching the milestone of 60th year of journey is a memorable and special occasion– be it a person’s life or an organization – and when the entity is doing so well at this stage, creating immense value and spreading prosperity, it indeed calls for celebrations.
Before embarking upon NMDC’s remarkable journey, I would like to briefly highlight the important role played by Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) in the country’s development narrative.
The Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) have contributed immensely to the country’s economic growth. Over the years, the PSEs have helped the country in building a sustained industrial base and technological competencies in a number of areas.
The PSEs have played a pioneering role in building the infrastructure—be it telecom, transportation, power, irrigation or road network. Coal, oil and natural gas are the other key areas where the public sector companies have made immense contribution to the national economy.
Achieving self-sufficiency, reducing imports to save precious foreign exchange, promoting exports, removing regional disparities to ensure balanced development, preventing monopolies in private sector and providing employment were among the main objectives in establishing scores of PSEs across the country. To a large extent, many PSEs worked towards fulfilling these objectives and provided employments to lakhs of people. Of course, there were also public-owned companies which failed to deliver the goods and that is a different story altogether.
Friends, India is the only country with about 65 per cent of the population aged below 35 years. This is a big demographic boon and the energies of the young, educated population have to be fully harnessed to transform India into the one of the leading economic powers in the world in the coming years. For this to happen, companies like NMDC must look beyond the conventional templates, take up skilling programmes for youth in a big way and give a thrust to ‘Make in India’ initiative.
As you all are aware, the story of NMDC set up on 15th November, 1958 is woven around the dreamy hills and the deep jungle land of Bastar in Chhattisgarh, known as Dandakaranya from the epic periods. The entire area was brought to the mainstream of civilization by the spectacular effort of NMDC by opening-up of mines in the year 1967. Today, Bailadila is a name to reckon with in the world iron ore market.
NMDC’s journey has indeed been commendable. I glad to know that nearly a fifth of the total employees in NMDC are tribals, mostly from the local areas. Further skilling of youth will enhance the human capital of our country.
The saga of NMDC includes the pioneering exploration activity carried out for developing iron ore mines in Karnataka and in various regions like Kudremukh, Donimalai, Bababudan, Kumaraswamy and Ramandurg.
I am happy to note that NMDC is currently the largest iron ore mining company in India with three highly mechanized iron ore complexes located in Chattisgarh and Karnataka. It is also gratifying to note that NMDC’s Diamond Mining Project, Panna (M.P.), is the only mechanized diamond mine in Asia.
I congratulate NMDC on posting a Profit (before tax) of Rs.4,293 crores in FY’17 and emerging as one of the top profit-making ‘Navratna’ public sector companies in the country.
I am glad that NMDC has set up a dedicated exploration wing at Raipur, which will facilitate discovery of additional mineral wealth and lead to growth of the mining sector in the country.
R & D efforts of any company give an indication of its growth and sustainability. NMDC’s state-of-the-art R&D centre at Hyderabad, declared as a "Centre of Excellence" by UNIDO can spur further growth in the sector.
I am told that NMDC has also spread its footprint globally, with acquisition of leases of gold deposits in Tanzania, a majority stake in an iron ore deposit in Australia and a coking coal deposit in Mozambique in partnership with two other public sector enterprises under the Ministry of Steel.
I am very happy to know that NMDC is striving to invest in strategic and critical raw materials which are required by our nation for long term supply security. In line with this strategy, NMDC has already entered into MoUs with MIDHANI & DMRL to explore opportunities for investment in Tungsten mineral assets in India and abroad. Such initiatives will give impetus to ‘Make in India’ campaign.
Friends, as you are all are aware, India is a mineral rich country and produces 95 minerals. The mining industry in India typically contributes around 2.2-2.5 per cent of India’s overall GDP. This, I feel, is far below the potential of India’s rich mineral resources, which have to be explored and fully tapped. For a country like India, the growth of core sector like mining is highly significant because of its multiplier effect on the economy - leading to higher industrial production, creating large number of jobs and above all, leading to development of infrastructure.
I am told that India is in the second position as regards Chromite and Barytes, while South Africa and China respectively possess the highest deposits of the two minerals. India is in the third position as regards coal and bauxite and ranked fourth globally as far as iron ore is concerned.
The country today is on a high growth path and needs more steel raw materials to build its infrastructure and strengthen its manufacturing base.
I am told that NMDC is in the process of implementing its strategic management plan to achieve 67 million tons per annum (MTPA) production capacity by 2021-22 and is also well poised to reach 100 MTPA production capacity by 2030 and thereby play a vital role in achieving the targets set out in our National Steel Policy 2030-31.
It is heartening to note that NMDC is geared up to meet the expected increase in demand by enhancing production capabilities of existing mines and opening up new mines.
I am told that NMDC is also setting up slurry pipelines which are green way of evacuation of iron ore. This pioneering initiative of NMDC is commendable.
I am also happy to know that as a part of its diversification and forward integration plan, NMDC is setting up a 3.0 MTPA green field Steel Plant at Nagarnar in Chhattisgarh, which is in advanced stage of construction. This steel plant will bring about much-needed development of the entire region.
NMDC has also forayed in pellet-making which is also an environment friendly initiative.
I would like to compliment NMDC for its CSR initiatives in the areas of medicare, education, skill training, infrastructure and drinking water supply. I am particularly happy that these programmes are being carried out in remote and backward areas, which face serious law and order problems due to left-wing extremism. It is laudable that NMDC has spent Rs.798 crore in the last five years on a series of CSR initiatives and has been among the top 10 companies in India in actual CSR spend in the last few years. The initiatives include creation of Education
Hub in Dantewada, extending 18,000 scholarships to children from weaker sections, providing free treatment to tribes and deploying mobile medical services in remote villages.
Corporate bodies like NMDC are setting high benchmark for other organizations to emulate. On this momentous occasion, my heartiest congratulations to all those who have been part of this 60 years journey of NMDC and I wish the best for many more such years to come in the times ahead.
I am delighted that NMDC has been especially attentive to environmental concerns. I am told that NMDC mines have been granted 5-star ratings by the Indian Bureau of Mines, Government of India on account of sustainable practices. I am glad to know that NMDC is undertaking pollution control measures and working towards ‘Zero-Waste Mining’ by maximizing utilization of various grades of iron ore.
I would urge NMDC to continue on its growth trajectory and maximize national wealth by keeping the interests of people and planet in view.