Power begets power. The mandate the Modi government has got may be a blessing in disguise in a way and that environmentalists are going to scream murder is a given thing. Since coming to power in May 2014 the Modi government has opened up 52 new coal mines to fuel its electrification programs. This number, 52, is 86% growth over the number of mines added between 2009-2014 with a coalition government struggling to break free from the red tape pertaining to environment and forest clearances.
The reason may be attributed to the structural reforms which minimised the cumbersome process of approvals and permissions from a host of statutory authorities.
These new mines have added 164 MT (million tonne) to the Indias annual coal production capacity. This is 113% increase over the capacity added during the previous 5 year block.
India relies on burning coal for generation of power. Nearly 57% of the power generated is through cal. These mines have helped in power generation and has reduced power shortages. The demand supply gap has narrowed to 0.7% in 2019 according to the data provided by the Central Electricity Authority.
On December 19, coal and railway minister Piyush Goyal told Parliament in a written reply that all-India coal production stood at 433.9 MT during the April-November period of 2018-19 financial year, indicating a growth rate of 9.8%. During the same period, state-run Coal India Limited’s production stood at more than 358 MT, marking a growth rate of 8.8% over the previous corresponding period.
In April, the government completed the task of hooking up all the 18,452 un-electrified inhabited villages to the national power grid under the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana. It is now in the process of bringing power to all households without electricity by giving free connections under the Saubhagya scheme. So far, 91.9% of the 2.48 crore households identified without power have been electrified