"The supreme court decision regarding cancellation of the coal blocks was a logical outcome of flawed captive mining policy."Discuss critically.

The concept of captive mining means that some mines are allocated to the companies for its own need. The captive mining concept was devised so that the Iron, Steel and Power producing units could get uninterrupted supply of coal. Via this policy, government started giving coal blocks to companies for captive use. The condition was that these companies could only use the coal for their own use such as in power projects, steel mills, etc. but the sale of coal in open market was not permitted.  From 1993 till 2011, the Coal Ministry under 6 years of NDA rule and rest 11 years under UPA rule had allocated 194 coal blocks for captive mining of which 142 were explored and balance 52 remained either partially explored or unexplored.
But the captive coal blocks were assigned in arbitrary manner. Coal blocks were given free resulting in the block-owners making windfall gains. The functioning of the screening committee which evaluated the coal applications was opaque. A few companies got more than required coal. Companies with political links got multiple blocks while more deserving candidates did not get any. Ministers and CMs of the coal rich states lobbied for allotment to desired private players. Private players resold the allocation and coal produced in the open market
The judgment of Supreme Court had to a great extent, undone this flawed and arbitrary allocation of India’s resources.  The verdict of the court also exposed the undesirable nexus between public office holders and big business in somewhat morally compromised system with lack of ethics.

Question for UPSC Mains:
“The supreme court decision regarding cancellation of the coal blocks was a logical outcome of flawed captive mining policy.” Discuss critically.

Published: February 6, 2016 | Modified:June 27, 2019

Comments