The country had to import a record 135 mt of coal last year to meet domestic requirement. In spite of our best efforts, a gap in domestic supply and demand of 185.5 mt is envisaged in the terminal year 2016-17 of the 12th Plan," the minister said at an event here.
Stating that coal is the mainstay of India's energy programme as 55% of primary energy supply and 70% of power generation are dependent on the dry fuel, Jaiswal said India needs to be more aggressive in its approach towards acquiring assets abroad.
He said Coal India, which invited bids in February for acquiring overseas assets, has shortlisted 17 of 32 proposals it received. It had acquired two blocks in Mozambique earlier.
Jaiswal said India, the third largest producer after China and US, has 299 billion tonne resources and 123 billion tonne of proven reserves, which may last for over 100 years.
The domestic production was 557 mt in 2012-13 and in the first five months of 2013-14 there has been a 2.7% growth in CIL's output over the corresponding period last year. The coal production target for 2013-14 is set at 604.5 mt, he said.
As far as coal availability to the power sector is concerned, it has increased by 12.2% from domestic sources i.e. against 302.3 mt in 2011-12; the availability in 2012-13 has been 339.2 mt. There has been a growth in coal based generation by 13.9% in 2012-13 over 2011-12, he said.
However, he pointed out that despite huge reserves and no financial constraints coal companies are facing difficulties in augmenting production due to issues like environment & forestry clearances, land acquisition and rehabilitation issues and law & order issues.
He said the ministry had taken up the matter with other ministries and states while the government has already set up a cabinet committee on investment to expedite decision making for clearance of projects in the infrastructure sector.