Why in news?

  • Center has liberated norms and reduced taxes for the coal sector in the country.
  • Mineral Laws (Amendment) Ordinance 2020 cleared by the Cabinet on Wednesday will free the sector from restrictions that were inhibiting its development  This will open up the coal mining sector completely, enabling anyone with finances and expertise to bid for blocks and sell the coal freely to any buyer of their choice

Implications

  • This will open up the coal mining sector completely, enabling anyone with finances and expertise to bid for blocks and sell the coal freely to any buyer of their choice
  • The opening up of coal mining effectively ends Coal India’s (CIL) monopoly status.
  • This move is expected to bring in huge investments and create numerous jobs.

Why was it done now?

  • The country spent a huge ₹1,71,000 crore in coal imports last year to buy 235 million tonnes; of that, 100 million tonnes was not substitutable, as the grade was not available in India, but the balance 135 million tonnes could have been substituted by domestic production had it been available.

About Coal India

  • CIL is a Maharatna PSU and tremendous public resources have been invested in the company over the years. It is the government’s responsibility to ensure that CIL is not compromised the way BSNL has been by the opening up to private players. The company employs about three lakh people, is listed and is a national asset.
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