Coal imports declined despite surge in power demand, says Coal Ministry

New Delhi, March 8 : With local coal firing up thermal plants, coal imports fell 20 per cent year-on-year during April-December period of 2021 despite surge in power demand. “Imports of all grades of Non Coking Coal has come down to 117.507 Million Ton (MT) during April-December 2021 from 147.85 MT during the corresponding months of FY20, leading to a decline of about 20.52 per cent,” Coal Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday. “The import of Non Coking coal, primarily used in power sector has decreased by 59.20 per cent from 52.49 MT to 21.41 MT upto December 2021 in comparison to the same period of FY 20,” it further said. As per official data, 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 FY20, indicating a decrease of about 13.82 per cent. The reduction in coal import has resulted in significant savings of forex reserves this year especially when the coal prices are at a high level in the international market. “All efforts are on to further enhance domestic coal production as availability of additional coal will aid in import-substitution of coal,” the Ministry said. The domestic coal-based power generation upto December 2021 stood at 727.39 BU (billion ts) with an increase of 12.10 per cent over generation of 648.843 BU during the corresponding period of FY 20. Imported coal based power generation which was 69.56 BU during April to Dec 2019 has reduced by 53.10 per cent to 32.62 BU during corresponding months of current FY 22, said the official release. The Ministry noted that financial year 2020-21 is not being taken for comparison purpose due to industrial production getting severely affected because of Covid–19 pandemic. India is the world’s third largest energy consuming country and electricity demand has been growing by 4.7 per cent every year. To reduce dependence on imports of coal, major reforms have been carried out by the Ministry of Coal. The Ministry has 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 per cent of the total excess production after meeting the requirements of the end- use plant. “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 per cent from 45.47 MT upto Dec 2019 to 62.18 MT during corresponding period of FY 22,” the Coal Ministry said. The reforms have led to an increase in domestic production of coal by 8.68 per cent 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, it added. NK

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