Mumbai : India expects to stop importing coal in the next 2-3 years, which would save foreign exchange to the tune of Rs.40,000 crore a year, power minister Piyush Goyal said on Friday.
In 2015-16, the government saved Rs.28,000 crore as an 8.5% increase in domestic coal supply helped reduce imports by 34.26 million tonnes.
“We want to completely stop the import of thermal coal in the next two to three years,” Goyal said at the Maritime India summit in Mumbai.
Goyal said the power ministry was ready to tie up with the shipping ministry and award long-term contracts to Indian shipping companies for coal transportation.
The use of inland waterways and coastal shipping to transfer coal from Odisha and West Bengal to other states can help to reduce power prices and fulfil Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of affordable power for all Indians, Goyal said.
The minister pitched the idea of setting up a small private equity fund for the shipping and power sectors.
“We can have some base capital of about $250 million and this fund can provide equity to various shipping and power organisations undertaking logistics through coastal shipping and inland waterways,” said Goyal.
Goyal said his ministry was working towards achieving the target of generating 20,000 MW of solar capacity by 2017, nearly 5 years ahead of the timeline set by the previous government.
He also said India currently has 100,000 seafarers and this can be increased to 1 million.
“There is a huge scope in maritime engineering and we need to encourage it. At the international level there is a huge scope for seafarers,” Goyal said.
Source: Mint; 15 April 2016