Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 18, 2020, launched the auction process for 41 coal blocks for commercial mining, a move that opened India’s coal sector for private players.”Allowing private sector in commercial coal mining is unlocking resources of a nation with the world”s fourth-largest reserves,” the PM, pointed out. After the Supreme Court cancelled over 200 coal blocks in 2014, only 29 were auctioned due to end user restrictions. The new change in rules will now however, pave the way for companies that win coal blocks via the two tier auction process of technical and financial bidding, to henceforth, use coal mines for any of their subsidiaries or holding companies.
The Modi government’s announcement on May 16, 2020, allowing commercial mining of coal by the private sector, on revenue sharing mechanism instead, of the regime of fixed rupee/tonne, effectively ended government monopoly in the coal sector. In a bid to open up the coal mining sector to attract global bidders for auctions and boost FDI in mining and remove end user restrictions, the union cabinet in January this year, promulgated the Mineral Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020.
Coal reforms under PM Modi’s leadership have been a continuous process. In March 2015, the Narendra Modi led government enacted the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, containing provisions enabling the government to allocate coal mines through auctions