Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday launched the auction process for 41 coal blocks for commercial mining, a move that opens India's coal sector for private players. "We are not just launching the auction for commercial coal-mining today, but bringing the coal sector out of decades of lockdown," he said addressing the launch through video conferencing. The Prime Minister also highlighted that India despite having the world's fourth-largest coal-reserves and being the second-largest producer still does not export coal but is the world's second-largest coal-importer. "Why cannot India be world's largest exporter of coal," he said.
The Prime Minister termed the move as a major step in the direction of India achieving self-reliance. Launching the auction of mines for commercial mining, that is expected to garner Rs 33,000 crore of capital investment in the country over next five to seven years, the Prime Minister said India will win the coronavirus war and turn this crisis into an opportunity, and the pandemic will make India self-reliant.
"Allowing private sector in commercial coal mining is unlocking resources of a nation with the world''s fourth-largest reserves," he pointed out.
According to a release, the Ministry of Coal, in association with FICCI, is launching the process for auction of 41 coal mines under the provisions of Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act and Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act. to achieve self-reliance in the coal sector.
It said that the auction process marks the beginning of the opening of the Indian coal sector for commercial mining and it will enable the country to achieve self-sufficiency in meeting its energy needs and boost industrial development.
The PM said that this auction process will result in major revenues to states and create employment besides developing the far-flung areas.
The commencement of auction process of these blocks, part of the series of announcements made under ''Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan'', is likely to contribute Rs 20,000 crore revenues annually to the state governments.
Coal and Mines Minister Pralhad Joshi, who was also be present during the launch event, said Rs 50,000 crore is being invested in the sector to jack up India''s coal output to 1 billion tonne.
Upon attainment of peak rated capacity of production of 225 million tonnes (MT), the government said, these mines will contribute about 15 per cent of the country''s projected total coal production in 2025-26.
It will also lead to employment generation for more than 2.8 lakh people -- direct employment to approximately 70,000 people and indirect employment to approximately 2,10,000 people, as per the government.