As part of its Rs 20 trillion fiscal stimulus package announcements (four rounds of announcements last week), finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday informed about government’s plan of sweeping reforms in the coal and the mining sector. This would include Rs 50,000 crore expenditure in coal evacuation infrastructure.
The infrastructure revamp has been planned keeping in view the enhanced CIL’s target of 1 billion tons coal production by 2023-24 as well as coal production from private blocks. The exercise would include Rs18,000 crore worth of investment in mechanized transfer of coal (conveyor belts) from mines to railway sidings.
The government has committed to further relax the norms for private sector participation in the coal sector through revenue sharing mechanism. Earlier only captive consumers were allowed to bid for coal blocks but now it will be also be opened up for players intending to sell in the open market. “Entry norms will also be liberalized. Nearly 50 blocks will be offered immediately. There will be no eligibility conditions and only upfront payment will be done with a ceiling,” she said.