The minister was addressing investors at a meet in Hongkong, organised by the Infrastructure Development Financial Corporation. He is heading a delegation of ministry officials and the chairman of Coal India Ltd for road shows at Singapore and Honkong to attract foreign investors in infrastructure development in India.
Jaiswal told the meet participants that modernisation and technology upgradation plans are in the pipeline to achieve desired growth in coal production and foreign investors could participate in these efforts by making investment in coal mining and related infrastructure.
The coal minister’s invitation came a couple of days after India’s worst blackout has focused attention on the issue of adequate power generation in the country.
He briefed investors about efforts being made by India for more investment in infrastructure sectors like power, railways, roads, and coal. He said about 580 million tonnes coal would be available from domestic sources during the current financial year in order to achieve the target of additional 18,000 megawatt power generation capacity by 2012-13.
India needs about $1 trillion over the next five years for developing infrastructure and the minister said that such huge investment is possible only by taking care of investors’ sentiments.
The minister apprised investors about availability of huge coal reserves in India, which continue to be the main source for power generation.
Since 1993, the Indian government has allowed coal mining for end-use by both public and private sector players, particularly for power generation, and for consumption at iron, steel and cement plants.
The government has also allocated coal blocks to private parties for coal gasification and coal liquefaction (processes to convert coal to gas, gasoline and diesel).
Coal India, the largest coal producing government company, has entered the share market by disinvesting 10 percent of its shares.
The coal production of 580 million tonnes expected during the current year is likely to go up to 780 million tonnes by 2016-17, and the minister affirmed that the sector holds tremendous promise for investing in a safe environment.