Coal import bill dipped by Rs 28,000 crore in 2015-16
Helped by a record coal production by the world's largest coal miner Coal India Ltd (CIL), India reduced its import bill of the dry fuel by more than Rs 28,000 crore in the last fiscal. "Record coal production by CIL leads to a reduction in import by 34.26 million tonnes (mt). Results in a saving of Rs 28,070 crore in foreign exchange during 2015-16," Coal Secretary Anil Swarup said in a tweet.
He further tweeted imports of the crucial natural resource came down by 27.4 per cent from 21.42 mt during March 2014-15 to 15.54 mt in March 2015-16. In 2015-16, the Maharatna achieved a record production of 536 mt, which was 42 mt more than the previous fiscal. Its production grew by 8.5 per cent year-on-year.
However, Coal India Ltd — which accounts for over 80 per cent of the domestic coal production — was eying 550 mt in 2015-16. On Tuesday, Power and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said India made an addition of 42 mt in a fiscal, the highest ever addition to coal production.
"From 494 mt production we moved up to 536 mt by CIL alone. And in the two years since the present government came in, we added about 74 mt," he had noted.
The decision to open up the coal sector for commercial mining will further help the government is reducing its coal import bill. For the first time in over four decades, government last month opened the coal sector for commercial mining. It will allot 16 blocks to PSUs for carrying out production and sale of the dry fuel.
The decision to open up coal sector is in line with the government's target of doubling coal production to 1.5 billion tonnes by 2020. It has fixed a target of 1 billion tonne of production for Coal India by 2020.