Report on Import of Coal and Self-Sufficiency

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Report on Import of Coal and Self-Sufficiency

Recently, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Coal, Mines and Steel has come out with a report titled ‘Import of Coal – Trends and Issues of Self-Reliance’.

Import Trends

  • Coal imports have increased gradually. It has increased from 43 Million Tonnes (MT) in the year 2006-07 to 215 MT in the year 2020-21.
  • Coal is being imported to meet the growing demand of coal. The total demand of coal in the country in the year 2021-22 was 1027 MT.

Self-sufficiency issues

  • The supply of high quality coal / coking coal is limited.
  • Freight and port management fees are very high.
  • Indian companies are not acquiring coal blocks abroad.
  • The private sector is lagging behind in adopting new technologies.

Major steps taken

Initiatives to reduce coal imports:

  • An inter-ministerial committee has been constituted to encourage the concerned sectors to stop the import of coal.
  • Coal importers have to register in the Coal Import Management System.
  • Improvement in quality of coal supplied: Blastless mining technology will be adopted.
  • To reduce the cost of coal: The use of man and machine is being improved, technology is being improved, emphasis is being given to reduce the expenditure on non-essential items etc.

Major recommendations of the parliamentary committee

  • More coal washeries should be set up to reduce the dependence on imported coking coal.
  • Mining operations should be started in newly discovered / developed sites only after necessary environmental and forest clearances.
  • More mines should be auctioned on the basis of revenue sharing.
  • Mechanization of mines should be promoted by adopting new techniques.
  • Foreign coal blocks should be acquired.

Coal:

  • It is the most abundant fossil fuel. It is used as domestic fuel in industries like iron, steel, steam engines and to generate electricity.
  • The electricity generated from coal is called ‘Thermal Power’.
  • The coal we use today was formed millions of years ago, when giant ferns and bogs were buried under layers of earth. That’s why coal is called Buried Sunshine.
  • The world’s major coal producers include China, the US, Australia, Indonesia, and India.
  • Coal producing regions of India include Raniganj, Jharia, Dhanbad and Bokaro in Jharkhand.
  • Coal is also classified into four ranks: anthracite, bituminous, subbituminous, and lignite. This ranking depends on the type and amount of carbon present in the coal and the amount of heat energy of the coal.

Source – Live Mint

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