According to recent reports India is to see the largest increase in energy demand worldwide over the next 20 years. While it is third-largest producer, it is also currently the third-largest consumer of electricity in the world – outstripping the supply. Just this week the Government of India has mandated Coal India (CIL) to be ready to import 12 million tonnes of coal for July this year to July 2023. This will be the first time since 2015 that CIL will import the cargo. According to industry experts, the government is making all efforts to build up stock of coal to avoid the reoccurrence of power outrages which happened in April on account of shortage of the fossil fuel.
The Peoples’ Commission on Public Sector and Public Services (PCPSPS) has demanded an independent probe into the coal crisis and called for corrective action. The commission, which includes eminent academics, jurists, erstwhile administrators, trade unionists and social activists, intends to have in-depth consultations with all stakeholders and people concerned with the process of policymaking and those against the government’s decision to monetize, disinvest and privatize public assets/enterprises and produce several sectoral reports before coming out with a final report.