Private coal mining: Narendra Modi government finally clears policy

“When the Supreme Court, in 2014, canceled all existing licenses of coal mines on grounds there were no objective criterion on the basis of which the mine leases had been given out, most expected this to result in large-scale commercial mining by the private sector, including many firms from overseas.”

What made this especially odd is that, when the NDA was last in power, the government had brought in a Bill in the Rajya Sabha to permit commercial mining. The reason given by the government, at that time, was that since the SC verdict had created an artificial, and huge, scarcity of coal, allowing commercial mining could result in a situation where prices would rise significantly. Much better, the government reasoned, to let actual users bid and get the immediate shortage out of the way and, over a period of time, examine the possibility of commercial mining.

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