India’s record decline in share of imported coal in total consumption over past five years


new delhi, fab 29: Concerted efforts made by the central government over the past decade to bolster coal production have yielded a positive trend.
During 2004 to 2014, the CAGR of imported coal's share in the total consumption basket stood at 13.71 per cent. Contrastingly, from 2014 to 2024, this figure plummeted to around (-) 2.7 per cent. As per a Ministry of Coal release issued on Thursday, the trend of coal imports over the past five years (excluding imports for coal-based thermal power plants), reveals a decline in the share of imported coal in total consumption, showcasing a reduction from 21.05 per cent in the previous fiscal year (Apr-Dec) to 19.38 per cent in the corresponding period of the current fiscal year. The ministry said this reduction translated to significant forex savings amounting to around Rs 82,264 crore. India, with the fifth-largest coal reserves globally, stands as the second-largest consumer of the commodity. The power sector alone is experiencing a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 7.5 per cent from 2021-22 to 2023-24 while other sectors exhibit similar momentum, driving the demand for coal. "In overall coal consumption spectrum, the unavailability of coking coal and high-grade thermal coal within our reserves necessitates imports to meet the requirements of industries like steel etc. However, medium and low-grade thermal coal are abundantly available domestically, making it imperative for the country to sufficiently produce to fulfill domestic demand," the ministry said.
For the fiscal year 2024-25, domestic coal production is projected to reach 1,111 lakh tonne, while domestic demand is estimated at 1,290 MT. Consequently, the share of imported coal is anticipated to reduce below 15 per cent, potentially yielding substantial forex savings.
"With strategic focus on optimising indigenous coal resources and leveraging innovative technological solutions, India continues its journey towards self-reliance or Atmanirbhar in energy security of the nation,' the ministry said.
Meanwhile, state-owned companies operating in the coal sector have made capital expenditure spending worth Rs 20,153 crore as of January 2023-24, marking 95.83 per cent achievement of the annual target.

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