November 14

Niti Aayog plans policy for coal self-sufficiency

New Delhi: Niti Aayog plans to come out with a policy prescription on how India should meet its demand for coal in domestic power and non-power sectors to cut imports of the fossil fuel over the next 10 years.

The government’s policy thinktank has invited bids for research/ study on linking coal production and consumption requirements in the country based on which the Aayog is expected to draft a comprehensive 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 moves comes as India battles frequent coal supply issues for domestic power generation. Coal-based power plants account for more than half of the country’s power generation capacity.

This would be a comprehensive policy for 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.

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

This would include 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 would also assess the need of coal import infrastructure including terminals, ports and other facilities such as washeries, road transportation and handling systems.

The study is expected 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,” it said.

Under National Energy Policy, the government plans a greater push towards clean energy and reducing fuel imports. The broad objectives are enhanced energy independence, increased access at affordable prices, greater sustainability and higher economic growth.

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