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Black and Dirty: the real challenges facing India’s coal sector

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Author(s): Ashok Sreenivas, Krutuja Bhosale Publication Date: January, 2013

The coal sector, which contributes over half of India’s primary commercial energy, has recently been beset with controversies such as the ‘coal-gate’ scam and insufficient coal production leading to questions about who should bear the increased costs of coal imports. This report presents a broad overview of the coal sector with the objective of highlighting the key challenges to be overcome and provides some suggestions on how this can be done. The study reveals that weaknesses in accountability mechanisms, planning and execution, transparency mechanisms and monitoring and oversight are some of the fundamental challenges faced by the Indian coal sector. Moreover, there is no silver bullet to address these challenges. Instead, a comprehensive, multi-pronged approach involving all stakeholders is required. The report gives some suggestions for such an approach. It is hoped that this report will contribute to a more informed debate about the fundamental challenges before the Indian coal sector and initiatives needed to address them.

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