Question: Coal industry is a major source of greenhouse gas emission but is also vital for social and economic development of the country. Elaborate.
Answer: Coal is a natural fossil fuel that is obtained through mining. India is one of the largest producers of coal. The fuel has been blamed as the major reason for greenhouse gas emissions across the globe but it also has its associated benefits.
Coal as a greenhouse gas emitter
- Industrial emissions
Coal is a vital part of industries such as iron & steel, electricity and many more. Their emission levels are quite higher than other sources.
- Domestic emissions
Coal is used as a cooking fuel in many domestic households. The fuel is increasingly becoming more polluted due to impurities being added.
Role of coal industry in development
- Employment creation
Coal industry creates employment in both formal and informal sectors. More than 4 million people are directly and indirectly dependent on coal industry for their livelihood.
- Cheap electricity
More than 60% of India’s electricity output is generated through coal powered plants. They are cheaper and easily transferable across the country.
- Source of revenue for government
Government earns large amount of revenue by imposing taxes on coal mining and transporting. Coal transportation is the largest source of revenue for Indian Railways.
- Industrial growth
India’s industries are concentrated in coal bearing regions. Their output and profits are heavily dependent on coal industry.
Thus, coal industry indeed has a major role in India’s growth. The use of coal should be slowly reduced so that interdependency is reduced on the longer run.