Indian PM launches auction of coal blocks for commercial mining, pledges reform of mining sector

Source: Xinhua| 2020-06-18 19:54:00|Editor: huaxia

NEW DELHI, June 18 (Xinhua) -- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday launched the auction process of 41 coal blocks for commercial mining, through a video-conference from New Delhi, said an official statement.

It was part of the series of announcements made by the Indian government under the Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (Self Reliant India Campaign).

The federal Coal Ministry in association with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) launched the process for auction of the coal mines. A two-stage electronic auction process was adopted for allocation of the coal mines, said the statement.

On the occasion, Modi said reforms and investment in the coal sector will play a big role in easing the lives of tribesmen. The extra revenue generated through coal production will be used for public welfare schemes in the region, said Modi.

He highlighted the country's irony that along with being world's fourth largest coal reserve and second largest producer, India is also the second largest coal importer. This situation had lasted for decades and the coal sector was kept entangled in the mesh of captive and non-captive mines, he added.

The coal sector was excluded from competition and transparency which was a big problem, he said, adding that owing to this, the coal sector lacked investment and its efficiency was also questionable.

The auction is taking place at a time when economic activities are returning to normal with relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions.

According to Modi, the auctioning of the coal mines marked not only the implementation of reforms concerning the coal mining sector, but also the beginning of hundreds of thousands of employment opportunities for the youth.

"Today we are not only launching the auction of commercial coal mining today but also freeing the coal sector from decades of lockdown," said Modi. Enditem