The value of India’s coal imports have risen by 38.2% to Rs.1,38,477 crore in 2017-18. However, the quantity of coal imports has increased only by 9.1% from 190.95 MT to 208.27 MT during this period.
The increase in value of coal imports is primarily due to:
Increase in international coal price leading to greater value increase as compared to absolute quantity increase in 2017-18.
Increase in value of imported coking coal. India is deficient in coking coal and as such imports of coking coal are inevitable. In 2017-18 the value of imported coking coal grew by 44%, from Rs. 41,230.06 crores to Rs.59,522.63 crores.
Many thermal power station are configured to use imported coal. As such imports by these thermal power plants are inevitable. During April-October 2018, these power plants have imported 22.27 MT of coal.
The imported quantity of 2017-18 at 208.27 MT is less than the imported quantity of 2014-15 which stood at 217.79 MT even as power generation and industrial activity grew substantially after 2014-15.
This was possible due to increased production of domestic coal, better quality management as well as improvement in availability of coal by improvement in transport infrastructure.
Thus, while there is an absolute increase in the value of the imports, the reasons are multi-functional and are not directly proportionate to domestic production alone.