Govt working to bring new investments in the coal sector: Coal Secretary

New Delhi: Mr Anil Kumar Jain, Secretary, Ministry of Coal, Govt of India, today said that the Government is working to bring new investments in the sector by making the sector more attractive by creating opportunities for private investment.

Addressing a webinar ‘Stakeholders Consultation on Auction of Coal Mines for Commercial Mining’, organised by FICCI, jointly with the Ministry of Coal, Mr Jain said, “The coal sector is now maturing and the industry need not worry about the issues pertaining to the sector. The government is working to bring new investments in the sector by making the sector more attractive. In this regard, we can also look in the future of provisions of dovetail of coal and bauxite mines for mining purpose.”

He further added that the business prospects for coal is very promising and we are encouraged by the response to the auction of the commercial mines process.

Addressing the concerns of the private sector, Mr Jain emphasized that the government is fully aware of the industry concerns and is now more experienced in handling the coal auctioning process. “Coal mining is one of the sectors where majority of the regulatory and government agencies have given their views. You (private sector) have to be rest assured that now we have set up a scrutiny committee to assist the industry concerns,” he added.

Assuring the government’s full support to industry in the auctioning process, Mr Jain said that the government is working to assist the industry in ensuring that the industry gets necessary approvals. “We have set up PMU within the ministry which will assist the industry in getting all the approvals and we are also now party to this process,” he added.

Elaborating on the importance of states participation in the auction process, Mr Jain assured the industry that the bidders should not be apprehensive about the response of the states regarding the coal mining process. “This bidding round has been tailor made keeping in mind the demands of the states. Most states want this process as it will give them fiscal and monetary benefits from these mines,” he added.

Mr M Nagaraju, Joint Secretary & Nominated Authority, Ministry of Coal said that India has the fourth largest coal reserve in the world and still our import dependence is very high. “We want the private sector to also contribute towards the energy security of the country,” he added.

He further said that one of the reasons for high coal imports is due to non-competitive prices in the country. “Now with the involvement of the private sector, there will be efficiencies and lowering of the prices which may lead to drastic reduction in coal imports. There is no reason why we should be importing thermal coal in the country,” he added.

Mr Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General, FICCI said, “We believe that this auction process will set the stage for the transformation of the coal sector in the country. It will help remove restrictions, improve ease of doing business and will be a huge investment opportunity. Opening of the coal sector will benefit many of the other sectors and we look forward to a modernized coal sector.”

Mr Shekhar Saran, CMD, CMPDIL and representatives from SBI Caps also shared their perspective on the process of auction of coal mines for commercial mining.