Prime Minister Narendra Modi this month officially launched the auction of 41 coal mines to companies including those in the private sector, with an annual production capacity that is nearly one third of national total output.
The supply of coal by CIL to the power sector in April-May, 2018-19 was at 81.29MT, according to recent government data.
While launching the auction process which is expected to garner Rs 33,000 crore of capital investment in the country for the next 5-7 years, PM Modi had said that it is a major step in the direction of achieving self-reliance.
Global coal consumption declined by 0. 6 percent, while its share in primary energy fell to 27 percent – the lowest in 16 years
Launching the auction of mines for commercial mining, that is expected to garner Rs 33,000 crore of capital investment in the country over next five to seven years, the Prime Minister said India will win the coronavirus war and turn this crisis into an opportunity, and the pandemic will make India self-reliant.
The virtual auction event will be centred on the theme "Unleashing coal: New hopes for Aatmanirbhar Bharat", the coal ministry said.
As India has recently embraced the Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, the coal and mining sector has started gearing up to make the country self-reliant in coal mining through structural reforms, the ministry said.
Demand for coal import is expected to remain subdued in the short-term given the high coal stock levels in pithead and power plants, according to mjunction.
He was speaking at the virtual inauguration of Western Coal Field's (WCL) one underground mine in Adasa-Nagpur in Maharashtra and two underground mines in Sharda and Dhankasa in Madhya Pradesh with a total capital expenditure of Rs 849 crore.
Inaugurating three mines of WCL through video conferencing, the road transport, highways and MSME minister also asked the company to employ more 'sons of the soil' in its projects.
More than three quarters of the electricity generated in India is derived from coal, with Coal India - the world's largest coal miner - accounting for more than four fifths of India's domestic production.
Coal India (CIL) had supplied 40.90 million tonnes (MT) of April, 2019, coal ministry said in a report.
The government last week approved a methodology for commercial mining of coal on revenue sharing basis.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her fourth tranche of the economic package announced that commercial mining will be done on revenue sharing mechanism instead of the regime of fixed rupee/tonne.
The announcement was a part of the fourth set of measures under the Rs 20 lakh crore COVID-19 relief package.
State-owned CIL has been mandated by the government to replace at least 100 million tonnes (MT) of imports with domestically-produced coal in the ongoing fiscal.
Norway's parliament agreed in June 2019 to toughen existing limits on coal investments by the world's largest fund by excluding firms that mined more than 20 million tonnes of coal a year or generated more than 10 gigawatts of power from coal.
CIL, the world's largest coal-producing company, is a major supplier of the dry fuel to the power sector in India.
This comes at a time when the country's coal imports increased marginally by 3.2 percent to 242.97 million tonnes (MT) in the just-concluded FY20. Of the total, 110MT of fuel was unavoidable import, while the remaining nearly 130MT is avoidable import, the source said.
"There are no plans to revise downwards the output target of Coal India (CIL) for the ongoing fiscal. Coal India has been given the target to produce 710 MT of coal," the official said on condition of anonymity.
The country had imported 21.72MT of coal in March last year, according to a provisional compilation by mjunction services based on monitoring of vessels' positions and data received from shipping companies.
China churned out 489.03 million tonnes of coal over January and February, down from 513.67 million tonnes in the same period last year, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed on Monday.
It is "sufficient" for running the power plants for 23 days, a day more than the 22-day fuel stock mandate of Central Electricity Authority (CEA), the official said.
Coal is among the top five commodities imported by India, the world's largest consumer, importer and producer of the fuel.
While greater adoption of renewable energy contributed to lower output from coal-fired utilities, weak economic growth added to a slowdown in overall demand for electricity, economists say.