New Delhi: The coal ministry has suggested establishing a fund on the lines of sovereign wealth fund to purchase coal assets overseas, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said Friday.
"There are issues which need to be resolved urgently in regard to acquisitions abroad especially in view of the fact that other energy deficit countries are rapidly buying assets abroad," he told reporters at an event organized by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in New Delhi.
Jaiswal said though Coal India Ltd has surplus resources for investing abroad, it is important to have financial support from the government for acquiring very large assets.
'Sovereign Wealth Funds', like Kuwait Investment Authority and the Korea Investment Corporation, are owned and operated by governments directly or indirectly and are created for the purpose of making investments in high-priced assets, such as companies, ports and oil blocks, in other countries.
"We are facing tough challenges in meeting the energy needs of the country. The nation's energy requirements are envisaged to increase to about 1667-2077 million tonnes by 2031-32 as per the projections made in Integrated Energy Policy Committee Report...This kind of growth in energy demand and the increasing gap between domestic supply and demand, will make it imperative to secure energy supplies through imports," Jaiswal added.
Coal accounts for more than half of India's power generation.
The Coal Regulatory Bill, the minister said, is likely to come up before the Cabinet next week.
Jaiswal also said that the government is expected to begin the auctioning of coal blocks in the next two months, and added that a list of 54 coal blocks that will be auctioned to companies for industrial use has been finalized.