Joshi tells CIL monopoly can’t last forever, improve efficiency to deal with competition

  • ‘If our business is doing well because we are a monopoly and there’s no one to compete with, then that’s not good’

  • ‘The competition may immediately come up to you. So, becoming efficient and target-oriented is a must’

New Delhi: At the Coal Minister Awards 2020, Pralhad Joshi was straightforward and unapologetic in his critique of the work culture at Coal India Ltd (CIL) and its subsidiaries when he hit out at the ‘chalta hai’ attitude of employees who take half-a-day to revert to mails. Speaking at the award function on Thursday, the minister said that the coal PSU has been lucky to enjoy a monopoly for so long but it cannot last forever, and the PSU will have to take to new technology to improve its efficiency and the quality of coal it delivers and become target-oriented.

“You have been lucky and you have enjoyed monopoly in the coal mining sector so long. But monopoly doesn’t last forever. If our business is doing well because we are a monopoly and there’s no one to compete with, then that’s not good,” said the minister.

Stressing that improving efficiency is the need of the hour, Joshi told CIL employees, “Unless we become efficient, we cannot sustain ourselves in the market. We have coal, we have manpower, and yet we import coal. Then there is definitely some problem and we should think about it. Which is why improving efficiency, quality is of prime importance.”

‘Technology plays an important role in improving efficiency, quality’

The minister said that despite the implementation of the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software at CIL and its subsidiaries, the work culture still relies on the ‘chalta hai’ attitude. “You have ERP software in your offices. But sometimes what happens is that after mails have been sent, they have to be followed up with a call, asking you to look at the mail. And then half-a-day is lost in reverting. Because there’s a ‘chalta hai’ attitude, especially with employees who are above 50 and sometimes those who are younger as well,” said Joshi.

While stressing on the role played by technology in improving efficiency and quality, Joshi said that using the three-pronged technology of JAM (Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and Mobile) in the implementation of government welfare schemes, the Centre was able to save Rs 1.78 lakh crore and transfer Rs 13.8 lakh crore to the poor under the Direct Benefit Transfer scheme. “I want to appeal to the CMDs of the coal PSUs where the ERP system is being launched today… MCL, WCL, CIL headquarters and North-Eastern Coalfields Ltd… that after six months, we should be able to assess the impact and the outcome of implementing this software. We have set the target of rolling out ERP at all Coal India subsidiaries by August 2021 and we should be able to achieve it,” said the minister.

How long will you keep compromising on quality & grade of coal, asks Joshi

While stating that the Ministry of Coal has received letters from 10 Chief Ministers who are asking to conduct quality tests for coal at delivery points, Joshi said, “Why should we still receive quality-based complaints? I have received letters from 10 Chief Ministers, who have requested quality tests to be done at their done. It will not be done without consultation. But how long will you keep compromising on the quality and the grade of the coal you supply?”

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Joshi hints govt may allow captive miners to sell 50% coal in market 

“The coal being produced in the country was around 600-700 MT and the requirement was for 800-900 MT. So, the government was forced to go for commercial coal mining. The Mines Ministry has recently taken a decision to allow the sale of 50 percent of the minerals produced from captive mines. Do not assume that this will not happen in the coal mining sector. The competition may immediately come up to you. So, becoming efficient and target-oriented is a must,” Joshi told CIL employees. 

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