Despite a steep surge in the demand of coal from power productions, India’s coal import has come down by almost 20 %, thanks to the steep increase in the production of coal from domestic coal mines during the past one year.
The data released by the Coal Ministry here on Tuesday revealed that import of all grades of non coking coals has come down from 147 Million Metric Tons (MT) in April-December 2020 to mere 117 MT in April-December 2021.
The import of coal is going to reduce further in the coming months as new coal mines and captive mines have started their production, admitted a senior officer of the Coal Ministry.
“All efforts are on to further enhance domestic coal production as availability of additional coal will aid in import-substitution of coal,” he added.
The Ministry said the import of Non Coking coal, primarily used in power sector has decreased by 59.20% from 52.49 MT to 21.41 MT upto Dec 2021 in comparison to the same period of FY 20. And the overall import of coal has also reduced to 160.84 MT in the period April to December 2021 as compared to 186.65 MT during the corresponding period of FY 20, indicating a decrease of about 13.82% which has resulted in significant savings of forex reserves this year especially when the coal prices are at a high level in the international market, the Ministry claimed.
The domestic coal based power generation up to December 2021 is 727.39 BU (Billion Units)—which is 12 % more than the coal based power generation during the corresponding period of FY 20.
On the contrary, the imported coal based power generation which was 69.56 BU during April to Dec 2019 has reduced by 53.10% to 32.62 BU during corresponding months of current FY 22, the Ministry claimed.
India is the world’s third largest energy consuming country and electricity demand grows by 4.7% every year. To reduce dependence on imports of coal, major reforms have been carried out by the Ministry of Coal with the vision of “Atma Nirbhar Bharat”. The Ministry has also amended the Mineral Concession (Amendment) Rules, 1960 under MMDR (Amendment) Act, 2021 to allow lessee of captive mines to sell coal or lignite up to 50% of the total excess production after meeting the requirements of the end- use plant, the Ministry stated.
With this amendment, the Ministry has paved the way for releasing of additional coal in the market by greater utilization of mining capacities of captive coal blocks which has led to increase in production of coal by 36.75% from 45.47 MT up to Dec 2019 to 62.18 MT during corresponding period of FY 22, the Ministry said.
The reforms have led to an increase in domestic production of coal by 8.68% and consequently, the overall coal production rose at 522.34 MT upto December 21 as compared to 480.62 MT in the corresponding months of FY 20.