Policy & Govt

India liberalises coal mining, mineral sector

India will further open up commercial coal mining, with revenue share arrangement, to boost the fuel’s production in the country, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Saturday. The announcement is part of the fourth tranche of the Rs20 trillion stimulus package to mitigate the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sitharaman said there will be further reforms in the mineral sector, with no distinction between the captive and non-captive mines that will allow transfer of mining leases.

The other measures include promoting coal gas gasification through rebate in revenue share, auctioning 50 new coal and 500 mineral blocks, and an investment of Rs50,000 crore to create transportation infrastructure for evacuating 1 billion tonnes of coal from state run Coal India Ltd’ (CIL) mines.

“Many sectors need policy simplification,” Sitharaman said.

The other announcements pertained to defence production, civil aviation, electricity distribution and atomic energy sector.

The revenue share mechanism has been allowed instead of fixed payment per tonne to promote coal mining. Despite having the world’s fourth largest coal reserves, India imports around 235 million tonnes (mt) of coal, of which around 135mt valued at Rs171,000 crore could have been met from domestic reserves, coal and mines.

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