No shortage of anything; reports of coal crisis baseless: FM Sitharaman

Amid reports of the ongoing coal shortage in the country, Finance
Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stressed that there is no shortage and
termed these as absolutely baseless , saying India is a power surplus

coal shortage

Sitharaman said that Power Minister R K Singh went on record just two
days ago when he said absolutely baseless information is floating around
that there is probably shortage of coal, shortage of other inventories
which will lead to a sudden gap in the supply demand situation in the
energy consumption.

Nirmala Sitharaman’s statement on Coal Shortage

“Absolute baseless! There is no shortage of anything. In fact, if I
recall the minister’s statement, every power producing installation has
the next four days’ stock absolutely available within their own premises
and the supply chain has not broken at all, Sitharaman said here at
Harvard Kennedy School on Tuesday.

nirmala sitharaman coal shortage

During the conversation organised by the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for
Business and Government, Sitharaman was asked by Harvard Professor
Lawrence Summers about energy shortage and reports of reduced coal
inventories in India.

There are not going to be any deficiencies which may lead to any
shortfall of supply. So that takes care of India’s power situation. We
are now a power surplus country.

We are also taking fairly good amount of risks to see what the basket of
energy is available for India, how much is based on fossil fuel and how
much comes from renewable and we are always looking at ways in which it
can be shifted in favor of renewable energy. So the picture is not of
short supply, but it’s also picture of newer components into the basket,
she said.

R K Singh on shortage of coal

On the vaccination drive in India against COVID-19 and how has the
Indian government managed to come close to administering a billion
doses, Sitharaman said over the decades, India has steadily built up
this institutional arrangement where even down to the village level,
primary health centers exist and they take care of basic requirements of
the fundamental primary care that has to be given to patients in those

These centers have over the years undertaken those inoculations for
newborn children which have to be given in a periodic interval India has
been very successful in containing the spread of polio, she said.
Further, she stated that over the years, periodic malaria or seasonal
illnesses for which doctors attend to patients in a particular region
have given India the capacity to handle large epidemic-proportion
illnesses and to treat them.

Just as soon as the vaccines became available, our systems were ready to
fan out, even go to some of the far flung areas, and give the doses to
the people. So, institutional arrangement in India has always been the
framework which has been built over the years, she said.

She said the question regarding the vaccines was if they had to be
preserved in a certain temperature to be carried around and distributed
across India.

Luckily the two vaccinations which we have used are quite amenable to
the Indian conditions and therefore the logistics required for moving
this from one place to another did not pose quite a challenge and
therefore we’ve been successful, she said.

The vaccine Covishield is the version of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine
produced by the Serum Institute of India. Covaxin is the indigenously
developed vaccine by pharma company Bharat Biotech.

covishield shortage

She noted that India has been giving vaccines for free through some of
the bilateral arrangements with countries.

Furthermore, the Finance Minister clarified that the country was not heading toward any deficiency which may trigger any shortfall of supply. The Minister said that the administration has been taking ‘fairly good amount of risks to see what the basket of energy is available and how much is based on fossil and fuel. Additionally, she said that Centre was constantly searching for ways to transfer energy usage in favour of renewable energy and the concern was no disruption in the supply chain but identifying newer components in the energy sector. 

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