Finance Minister Calls For Greater Investment In Coal Gasification

India should be in a position to use its resources to produce gas and help industries amid rising gas prices, the FM said.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>A Coal India mining site. (Source: Company website)</p></div>
A Coal India mining site. (Source: Company website)

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman called for greater investment in coal gasification while inaugurating the sixth tranche of the auction for commercial coal mining.

“India’s stock of coal can be used to produce gas, if gas is going to be the transitional fuel as we move away from fossil fuels…” Sitharaman said. “Natural gas [price] is going to go up and we should be in a position to use the resource [we have] to produce gas and help industries.”

The Finance Minister had said earlier that as gas prices go up, countries may have to switch back to coal, even though it goes against their nationally determined commitments.

Sitharaman commended the efforts taken by the Coal Ministry since 2019 and lauded the distinct growth of the sector. 

“The CAGR of coal imports was 23% in 2010-2014, and this has been brought down to 2% between 2015-2019,” Sitharaman said. 

The coal imports by the power sector have declined 41% over the last year to 26.99 million tonne in 2021-2022, she said, while there has been a 20% increase in domestic coal production to 780 million tonne during the same period.

It is not justifiable for a nation with huge coal reserves to keep importing the resource, Sitharman said. 

India is expected to raise the topic of climate finance and join global efforts towards technology transfer for addressing climate change at the upcoming COP27 in Egypt next week and also when India takes on the G20 Presidency in December.

The day’s event signaled the commencement of sale of tender document for auction of coal mines in 11 states. The states include Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu , Bihar, and Arunachal Pradesh.