NEW DELHI: Despite being the second largest coal producer in the world, India in 2021-22 (till January) imported around 173.32 million tonnes of coal.
As per the coal directory 2020-21, India is the second largest importer, and it mainly imports coal from Indonesia, Australia, South Africa and USA. The country has imported 215.25 million tonnes in 2020-21, 248.54 million tonnes in 2019-20 and 235.35 million tonnes in 2018-19.
"India is Importing as well as Exporting coal from/ to other countries. Major countries from where the coal is being imported are Indonesia, Australia, South Africa & USA. In comparison to imports, the export of coal from India is meagre. Indian coal is mainly exported to Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan," said the coal minister Prahlad Joshi in Parliament.
This year, the government is trying to bring down its coal imports substantially. The reason is a sharp increase in international coal prices and increase in domestic production. This fiscal 2022-23, the government expects to cut the import of coal (coking and non-coking) by around 35-40 million tonnes (mt) and it is likely to be close to 180-190 mt in FY-22, as compared with 214.99 mt in FY-21.
In October 2021, the country faced a major coal crisis, raising concern about a possible electricity shortage in the country. The coal stock at the power plants depleted to 7.2 Million Tonnes (MT) as on 8th October, 2021.
The government blamed it on increased demand of power, less power generation by imported coal based power plants and some interruption in supply of coal due to heavy rains. Subsequently with increased coal supplies, the coal stock has started increasing and has now reached 26.5 MT as on 9 March with respect to the plants based on domestic coal.