Indian coal sector to be opened for private companies: major decision by the Union government

New Delhi: – Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman made some more relevant announcements, in line with the Self-Reliant India Campaign, on Saturday. The government has ended its monopoly in the Coal sector and professional excavation will begin in this sector. All the mines in possession of Coal India Limited will be made available for the private sector for excavation. This will increase the coal availability in the country and the costs on import will reduce. The government has also decided to encourage gasification. Finance Minister Sitharaman announced a provision of ₹500 billion for development of infrastructure in this sector and increasing coal production. 

There are huge reserves of Coal and other ores, in the country. But they have not been properly utilised. India ranks third in the highest amount of Coal deposits in the world. But still India is importing Coal on a vast scale. Finance Minister Sitharaman said that the government has decided to end the government monopoly, in order to increase the production of the Coal to the level that the Indian Coal will fulfil the needs of Indian industry. Sitharaman said that for this purpose, private industries will be allowed coal excavation on profit sharing basis.

All the Coal excavation in India is only done through Coal India Limited, a public sector enterprise. Coal India Limited was established in 1975 and this is one of the biggest coal manufacturer companies in the world. But now the government will be allowing private companies to excavate Coal. A target of 1 billion tonnes has been set for the year 2013-24. Only the varieties of Coal, not available in India, will be allowed to be imported. The government intends to fulfil the rest of the demand with Indian Coal. Therefore, there is a possibility that private companies may be interested in making big investments in the coal sector. Sitharaman said that in this respect, a transparent auction for 50 new mines will be held in the near future.

Finance Minister Sitharaman also made some other important announcements for the mining sector. Sitharaman said that some constructive reforms will be taken up in the mining sector. Bauxite and coal mine auctions will be held simultaneously. Sitharaman announced that 500 mines will be auctioned.

Finance Minister Sitharaman announced that the electricity distribution companies in the union territories will be privatised. Sitharaman said “Privatisation of electricity distribution companies will deliver a better service. Supply of electricity will be uninterrupted. Attention will be paid that the customers do not bear the burden of mistakes made by the companies. The distribution companies will be fined if they resort to load shedding and work is going on to ensure that the electricity subsidy will be directly credited to the individual customers’ accounts. The decision to privatise the electricity distribution in union territories is being taken up as a model project and we hope that the states will take inspiration from this.”

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