Parliament passes law to open coal sector for commercial mining

Coal InsightsMarch 2020

Parliament passes law to open coal sector for commercial mining
Parliament has passed The Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020 for amendments in Mines & Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act 1957 and The Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015.

The new norm removes end-use restrictions for participating in coal mine auctions and open up the coal sector fully for commercial mining by domestic and global companies.

The Mineral laws (Amendment) Bill was passed in Rajya Sabha with 83 Member of Parliaments voting in its favour and 12 against.

Replying after a brief discussion on the bill, Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi said the legislation would help in bringing more Foreign Direct Investments in the coal and mining sector, and boost the economy.

The minister said the Bill was important as India should be using its own natural reserves, instead of importing coal worth ₹2.7 lakh crore.

“We have to produce coal and reduce imports,” he said, adding more domestic output would lead to more electricity generation and also cut the oil import bill.

The minister also assured the MPs that the government will strengthen the state-owned Coal India Ltd (CIL).

“CIL will be strengthened. I have already given it a target to produce 1 billion tonne by 2023-24,” Joshi said.

According to the minister, the legislation will bring a “sea change” in the sector.

Joshi said the stress should be on exploiting reserves without harming the environment.

India, despite having one of the largest reserves of coal in the world, much of the resource remained unexplored, and in time would turn into mud.

Notes from Stakeholders’ meeting on commercial mining

Followings are some of Coal Ministry’s observations and comments raised by participants during stakeholders’ meetings held in Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai in January.

Financial norms

♦ Floor price of 4 percent and increment in multiples of 1 percent is too high and should be revisited

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March 2020