India’s government allocated around 44 billion metric tons of coal to public and private firms between 2004 and 2009 for a nominal fee. In March 2012, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India issued a report accusing the government of allocating coal blocks in an inefficient manner, resulting in windfall gains for the firms involved. Public outcry followed, and some questioned the need for private sector involvement in the industry. In this article for India’s Economic Times, Girish Shirodkar of Strategic Decisions Group makes the case for extending private sector participation in a denationalized coal mining sector and how it can lead to lower coal prices and power tariffs. The article outlines several initiatives the government can implement to help India become a more coal self-sufficient nation, including amending the Coal Mines Act to create an open market for coal and facilitate investments, as well as having a more transparent auction process for mining licenses.
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