Coal imports have seen a 25 per cent fall in the last three years as India strives to increase domestic production and reduce dependence on imports, despite the fact that owing to global geopolitical turmoil which has put a strain on supply chains, it, along with other nations, has been forced to enhance its dependence on the dry fuel instead of moving to greener sources of energy.
The government imported 248.54 million tonnes of coal in 2019-20, which has come down by 25 per cent to 186.06 million tonnes in the current fiscal of 2022-23 (till December 2022), according to Coal Ministry data.
In fact, coal imports have gradually come down since 2019-20, as in 2020-21, it was 215.25 million tonnes while in 2021-22, it further came down to 208.93 million tonnes. In 2022-23, it further slid below the 200 million tonnes mark to 186 million tonnes till December 2022.
In 2018-19, India's coal imports stood at 235.35 million tonnes and had risen to 248.54 million tonnes in 2019-20, a rise of 5.6 per cent. However since 2019-20 till the current fiscal, imports have been following a downward trajectory.
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Though India imports coal from several countries like Australia, Canada, China, Mozambique, Russia, South Africa, New Zealand and the US, its bulk of imports are from Indonesia.
Mindful of the fact that due to the Russia-Ukraine war impacting supply chains of green fuels, it has to depend on coal, India is aiming to improve its domestic production of dry fuel and plans to produce 911 million tonnes in the current fiscal, in order to reduce dependence on imported coal.
Government plans to enhance production of coal to 1,012 billion tonnes in 2023-24 and further increase it to 1.3 billion tonnes in 2025-26.