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Niti Aayog is working on a plan to make India coal-sufficient

PW Bureau

The government thinktank has invited bids for research/ study on linking coal production and consumption requirements in the country

New Delhi: To ensure India meets its demand for coal in domestic power and non-power sectors and cuts its dependence on fossil fuel imports over the next decade, a plan is in the pipeline under which Niti Aayog will come out with a policy prescription to manage India’s coal requirements. The policy is expected to be comprehensive and will cover the production and consumption of coal in the country within the framework of the National Energy Policy which is being worked out by the NDA government since 2015.

Coal-based power plants account for more than half of the country’s total power production. And both power and non-power sectors have been battling coal scarcity and frequent supply issues in recent times.

Niti Aayog has invited bids for research

The government thinktank has invited bids for research/ study on linking coal production and consumption requirements in the country based on which the body is expected to draft a policy.

“The aim is to arrive at the policy prescriptions on the issue and to have more focused feedback for future policy-making,” the Aayog said in a notification dated November 12. The study/research will be funded under the research scheme of the Aayog.

The notification also said, “The scope of the study is to suggest long-term infrastructure and planning requirements for coal production and transportation (evacuation) to meet India’s long-term coal demand as far as possible from domestic sources.”

What is the study going to focus on?

The study will include the estimated need of coal for power and non-power sectors by 2030, domestic production feasibility of different types of coal, assessments of demand-supply gaps and requirements of rail infrastructure and rakes. It will also evaluate the need for coal import infrastructure including terminals, ports and other facilities such as washeries, road transportation and handling systems.

The objective will be to develop three scenarios for production, demand and infrastructure and suggest the best possible scenario, besides analysing and identifying likely locations of production, import and consumption. “To minimise financial, social and environmental costs, the study should also suggest any policy or legal changes that may be required while developing reasonable estimates for feasible coal production and coal demand in the country,” the notification issued by Niti Aayog said.

Under National Energy Policy, the government aims to give a fillip to clean energy and cut dependence on fuel imports. The broad objectives are enhanced energy independence, increased access at affordable prices, greater sustainability and higher economic growth.