Mumbai: Ministry of Coal, in a bid to give a push to achieve coal production of 1 billion tonnes by 2023-24, has organised a two-day Chintan Shivir (brainstorming workshop) on February 17 and 18 in Gujarat. It will be inaugurated by the Minister of Coal and Mines Pralhad Joshi and the officer from the ministry, all CMDs of coal companies and domain expert will participate in the workshop.
The Centre has emphasized the need to increase the coal production to 1 billion tonnes from the estimated 750 million tonnes (MT) by 2020-21 to eliminate the coal import which is a substantial drain on the foreign exchange outgo.
Coal Ministry sources told FPJ, “The participants will discuss future of coal in India, strategy to achieve 1 BT production, the road map for evacuation of 1 BT, investment in coal sector and business diversification, alternate models of land procurement.’’ The two-day workshop comes close on the heels of the release of new guidelines and simplified approval process by the coal ministry for coal projects in order to enhance ease of doing business.
All India raw coal production has increased from 565.77 MT in 2013-14 to 730.35 MT in 2018-19. The absolute increase in all India coal production during this period was 164.58 MT as compared to an increase of 73.01 MT achieved in the preceding five years (2008-09 to 2013-14). Coal India Limited (CIL) has also increased its production from 462.41 MT in 2013-14 to 606.89 MT in 2018-19, an absolute increase of 144.48 MT as compared to increase of coal production of 58.68 MT between 2008-09 and 2013-14.
Joshi in the just concluded budget session told the Lok Sabha that the gap between demand and supply of coal cannot be bridged completely as there is insufficient domestic availability of coking coal and power plants designed on imported coal will continue to import coal for their production. The coal ministry has estimated import of 166.57 MT by the end of 2019-20.
However, Joshi has said that there has been a consistent effort to increase domestic coal production to 1 billion tonnes by 2023-24. In order to augment supply, a total of 84 coal blocks has been allotted under Coal Mines (Special Provision Act, 2015) so far.
The two-day workshop will review the present status of domestic and foreign direct investment in the coal sector. The government has recently allowed 100% FDI under the automatic route to minimize the volume of coal import. The government has clarified that FDI in coal did not stand for FDI in Coal India.