From the era of
experiencing major coal shortages, India presently boasts of surplus
coal as production of coal increased to 554 million tonnes in 2016-17
from 462 million tonnes in 2013-14.
The significance of this increase of 92 MT of coal production in three
years can be gauged from the fact that the same quantum of increase
during the UPA regime was achieved in almost seven years.
In 2014, nearly two-third of the coal plants had critical stocks of less
than seven days. Today, with increased production, there are no
shortages of coal in the country across all thermal power plants.
Besides increasing production, the special emphasis that has been
imparted to the quality of coal produced in India (as bad quality of
domestic coal was often cited by the user industry to import coal), has
not only brought down the per unit cost of coal based power but also
considerably reduced the amount of coal used for producing per unit of
The figures say it all: The amount of coal required to generate per unit
of electricity (specific coal consumption) has reduced by 8% in last 3
years. As against 0.69 kgs of coal consumed to produce 1kwh of
electricity in 2013-14, only 0.63 kgs of coal was consumed to produce
1kwh of electricity in Apr-Feb 2016-17.
On power tariff front, better coal quality has reduced the cost of power
upto Rs.0.30 per unit. The total savings accrued so far to India's
largest thermal power generation company, NTPC due to improved in
quality of coal is above Rs. 5000 crore.
Better quality of domestic coal has also led to reduction in coal
imports that have reduced by 57.56 MT (Figures upto January, 2017) from
217.78 MT in 2014-15 resulting in saving of foreign exchange of
The efficiency improvements made through Import Coal Substitution, Coal
Linkage Rationalisation, Coal Swapping between less efficient and more
efficient units, 3rd Party Sampling, coal washing and Correction of
Grade Slippage through re-gradation of Mines have yielded notable
The Coal Linkage Movement Rationalization of 40.536 Million tonnes alone
has resulted in potential savings of Rs 2500 Crore. This apart,
contribution to PSUS’s under the coal ministry to Central Exchequer
increased by 40% from an average of Rs. 28,599 Cr in three years of UPA
Govt. to average of Rs. 40,114 Cr in 3 years of NDA Govt. Similarly,
contribution to State Govt. Exchequers increased by 26% from average of
Rs. 11,434 Cr. to Rs. 14,422 Cr.
Further, India’s coal sector that was marred with various controversies
during the previous regime and process of allocation and allotment of
coal mines during those years came under the scanner of various
After Supreme Court cancelled 204 coal blocks in 2014, the Modi
Government undertook transparent e-auction of transparent e-Auctions and
allocation of 82 coal blocks leading to potential revenue of more than
Rs 3.94 lakh crores over the life of the mine/lease period to the
On the mining front, introduction of Transparent Mineral Auctions in
India is another major reform.
Under the new law--Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation)
Amendment Act, 2015, transparency and accountability were ushered in and
21 mineral blocks have been successfully auctioned till January, 2017.
The total estimated revenue to the State Governments over the lease
period stands at Rs. 73,359 crore while the additional revenue accrued
to the state governments over the lease period, due to auction, stands
at Rs 57,534 crore which can be used for development work for the poor
In order to provide boost to mining exploration and to unearth India’s
mineral wealth, the National Mineral Exploration Policy was brought in.
This policy is designed to ensure faster auctioning and development of
mines by separating exploration from mine development.
This apart, the creation of National Mineral Exploration Trust for
funding exploration is another major initiative. As much as Rs 668 crore
has been collected with around 60 exploratory projects taken up.
In order to ensure transparency and accountability in the mining sector,
the government launched the Mobile App TAMRA (Transparency, Auction
Monitoring and Resource Augmentation) for monitoring of progress on
clearance as also post auction mining leases. This is aimed at faster
development of mines.
Use of latest state-of-the-art technology has also changed the way
mining is conducted in India. Introduction of Mining Surveillance System
to check illegal mining and protect public wealth (mineral resources);
use of space technology to send triggers for illegal mining activity
(which are then physically verified on ground and can be used to stop
illegal mining activity) are some such initiatives undertaken by this
government in the past three years.
Special emphasis is being given on environment friendly mining and in
order to reduce the environmental impact of mining and promote
sustainable mining, Star Rating of mines has been introduced.
Then under the Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY), it
is ensured that the proceeds of mineral wealth benefits the local
population which is affected by mining.
Proceeds from mining are now transferred to District Mineral Foundation
(DMF) to be used for welfare and infrastructure related activities of
mining affected areas and people.
So far, total 287 districts in 11 mineral rich states are covered under
PMKKKY and as many as 11 out of 12 mineral rich States have framed Rules
and established DMFs.
Money collected during the Financial Year 2016 – 17 by the DMFs was Rs.
5,817 crore out of earlier estimated Rs. 6,000 crore.
*Author is senior
freelance journalist and a regular contributor of Articles on Energy
View expressed in the article are author’s personal.