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Policy pill for energy on way

Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi on Monday. Picture by Ramakant Kushwaha

New Delhi, June 9: The Modi government will present a National Energy Policy that will focus on optimal uses of both conventional and non-conventional sources of power and reform the coal sector to attract private sector investment in a transparent manner.

“My government will come out with a comprehensive National Energy Policy and focus on the development of energy related infrastructure, human resources and technology,” President Pranab Mukherjee said in his address to the joint sitting of Parliament today which outlined the vision of the newly elected government.

The government will also prepare transparent policies on the allocation of critical natural resources such as coal, minerals and spectrum, Mukherjee added.

Coal sector reforms will be top on the agenda, with the government planning transparent policies on the allocation of coal blocks amid concerns over the abuse of discretionary powers in previous allotments.

The Congress-led government had drawn flak from various quarters for allotting coal blocks to private companies instead of auctioning them.

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India had estimated a notional loss of Rs 1.86 lakh crore to the national exchequer on account of allotting 57 mines to private companies.

The 12th Five-Year Plan sees an addition of about 76 gigawatts (GW) of power by 2016-17, with about 63GW being coal-fired. This will take the total coal-fired generation to around 175 GW, that will require about 842 million tonnes of coal a year.

Further, plans to expand steel output could see the use of around 300 million tonnes of coking coal by 2016-17, taking the total coal demand to around 1.1 billion tonnes a year.

Domestic coal output was about 587 million tonnes for the fiscal ended March, and imports were about 158.8 million tonnes.

Coal India, which produces about 80 per cent of the domestic output, says it can increase production by 300 million tonnes a year if the railways moved faster in building tracks.

In non-conventional energy, the government will work towards expanding the National Solar Mission and connect households and industries with gas grids.

The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, launched in 2010, aims to have 20,000MW of grid-connected solar power by 2022.

The President also said international civil nuclear agreements will be operationalised and nuclear power projects for civilian purposes developed.

ON THE AGENDA OF NEW GOVT

  • A National Energy Policy that will seek to balance power generation through a judicious mix of conventional and non-conventional sources
  • Focus on developing energy-related infrastructure, human resources and technology
  • Formulate clear and transparent policies on allocation of critical natural resources such as coal, minerals and spectrum
  • Reforms in coal sector to attract private investment
  • Expand National Solar Mission and connect households and industries with gas grids
 
 
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