Despite being one of the largest coal producers, India depends on imports to meet its demands. Critically examine the issues which domestic coal industry is facing.

India is one of biggest coal producer in the world. However, since the domestic demand is greater than domestic production, along with that quality of coal is another problem, as most of the Indian coal has high ash content( not suitable from the industrial point of view) therefore the demands are met through imports. In order to boost domestic production government has set ambitious target 1.5 billion ton coal production by 2021.
However, there are certain issues which impede the domestic coal production in India. One of the major reason is the issue of land acquisition and associated problems of rehabilitation and forestry clearances. Another issue is that projects are running behind schedule due to reasons such as delay in green clearances and law and order problems. Delay or discontinuance of work or non- participation in the tender by the contractor is also one of reason which creates problems for the domestic coal industry. Infrastructural bottleneck especially lack of railway infrastructure facilities for coal evacuation also impedes coal production in India.
As per IB report, some of foreign funded NGOs are involved in stalling the development process. Their areas of action include anti-nuclear, anti-coal and anti-GM crops protests. Efficiency in coal India is another issue. 
With various initiatives taken to ensure transparency in coal allocation, it is expected that coal production will rise. Adequate steps should also be taken to improve efficiency and infrastructure. Coal is vital for economic growth, India’s energy security and economic development are dependents upon coal mining.

Question for UPSC Mains:
"Despite being one of the largest coal producers, India depends on imports to meet its demands." Critically examine the issues which domestic coal industry is facing. TOI | Live Mint

Published: September 7, 2017 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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