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Day 44 – Q 2. Examine the key factors that have contributed to India’s coal crisis? Suggest a roadmap to address this crisis. (10 Marks)

  • IASbaba
  • March 15, 2022
  • 0
GS 3, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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2. Examine the key factors that have contributed to India’s coal crisis? Suggest a roadmap to address this crisis. (10 Marks)

भारत के कोयला संकट में योगदान देने वाले प्रमुख कारकों की जांच करें? इस संकट से निपटने के लिए एक रोडमैप सुझाएं।

Approach 

Students are expected to write about the recent coal crisis in India with highlighting the factors responsible for it and then suggest some measures. 

Introduction 

According to International Energy Agency (IEA), coal-generated power plant account for around 70 percent of India’s electricity generation. As eighty percent of India’s 135 coal-powered plants had less than 8 days of supplies left more than half of those had stocks worth two days or fewer.

Body

Considering the limited reserve potentiality of petroleum & natural gas, eco Conservation restriction on hydel project and geo-political perception of nuclear Power, coal will continue to occupy centre-stage of India’s energy scenario we need to study the challenges associated with coal sector:

  • Recent crisis due to excessive rainfall, international price rise, Covid-19 pandemic, less production, transportation issues including freight rates and high consumption were the reason for the coal shortage. 
  • In the first eight months of 2021, India’s power demand rose by 13.2 percent after a decline for the first time in over three decades in 2020.
  • Being the world’s third largest coal importer, India’s imported supplies have shrunk by an unprecedented 44 percent
  • In era of rising competition from the renewable energy and fossil fuel related climate politics thermal power plants posses the challenges of commercialization of coal stock and reserves. 
  • Default in payments by power plants or generating companies to Coal India forced the miner to go slow on deliveries to those with large outstanding.
  • The coal sector has low productivity. The use of unscientific mining methods is a major contributor.
  • The delay in clearance for mining coal impedes the realisation of the reserves’ actual potential.
  • The sector requires high operational and maintenance cost.

Measures:

  • Entrance of private players in the sector will improve the coal quality and supply. 
  • Coal gasification is one of the technology that can be potentially used. It is the conversion of coal into syngas which can be used for power generation.
  • Government support for the early resolution in land acquisition-related issues is needed to ensure timely operationalisation of coal mines.
  • Improving the productivity of the sector is lucrative only in the short term. There is an inescapable need to understand the fact that it is a major contributor to climate change and our economy must gradually shift to renewables.

Conclusion

There is a need to encourage development and deploy technologies which involve extraction, transportation and burning of the black gold in the most efficient and environment friendly manner. R&D is necessary for improving the sector’s efficiency. Simultaneously, training and awareness programs are needed for information dissemination.

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