Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday launched the auction of 41 coal mines for commercial mining via video conference.

Addressing the people, PM Modi said that having such an event in this challenging time is a big message in itself.

Exuding confidence, the Prime Minister once again asserted that India will turn this Coronavirus crisis into an opportunity, while adding that the pandemic has taught the country to be self-reliant.

Pushing for ‘Made in India’, He said India will reduce its dependence on imports.

With the launching of auction of 41 coal mines for commercial mining today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that India is taking a major step towards being self-reliant in the energy sector.

“‘Maamla to koyle ka hai, par heere ke sapne dekh ke chalna hai’ (the matter is of coal but the country has dreams of diamonds),” PM Modi said.

“The market for coal is now open. It will help all sectors,” he said.

Indirectly targeting the previous UPA government, PM Modi further said, “For decades, the country’s coal sector was entangled in a web of captive and non-captive. It was excluded from competition. There was a big problem of transparency.”

He added that after 2014, several steps were taken to change the situation and the Coal sector was strengthened due to the steps taken.

Speaking on the future steps, PM Modi said the Government has set a target to gasify around 100 million tonnes of coal by 2030. Four projects have been identified for this and about Rs 20 thousand crores will be invested in them, he added.

The Prime Minister further said the auction of 41 coal mines for commercial mining today is taking place at a time when business activity in India is normalising rapidly.

“Consumption and demand are rapidly approaching the pre-COVID level. In such a situation, there cannot be a better time for a new beginning,” PM Modi added.

The Central government has launched a two-stage electronic auction process for the allocation of coal mines.

In a major reform, the Union government had last month decided to permit commercial mining of coal.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said to introduce competition, transparency and the private sector participation in the coal sector, the government would go for the revenue sharing mechanism instead of the fixed rupee or tonne mechanism.

Earlier, only captive consumers with end-to-end ownership could bid for the coal mines. Now any one can bid and sell the produce in the open market on commercial terms.

Stating that nearly 50 blocks will be offered immediately, Sitharaman said there would be no eligibility conditions apart from upfront payment with a ceiling.

Also, against the earlier provision of auction of fully explored coal blocks, now even partially explored blocks could be auctioned. Production, earlier than schedule, will be incentivised through rebate in the revenue share.

The government will also incentivise coal gasification or liquefaction through rebate in the revenue share. It would significantly lower environment impact and also help India switch to a gas-based economy, she added.

The Rs 50,000 crore infrastructure development will be carried out for it. This will help Coal India (CIL) raise production from 600 million tonnes to 1 billion tonnes by 2023-24.

The announcements are part of the Rs 20 lakh crore economic package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.