A CIERP research seminar with Rohit Chandra
A CIERP research seminar with Rohit Chandra

India's Coal Industry: History and Prospects

Rohit Chandra

February 12, 2018
12:30–1:45 pm
Cabot 702
Light lunch will be served

Like many other countries, India's industrial base and electricity system has been built largely on the back of coal-based power generation. Since nationalization in the early 1970s, Coal India (CIL) has weathered many political and economic obstacles in trying to deliver on the nation's coal demands. In all the recent euphoria about renewable energy, the deep historical connections between the Indian state and the coal industry seem to be unacknowledged. Both financially, and politically, the Indian state is deeply invested in coal and coal-based power generation. This is likely to make the transition to renewable energy gradual, not precipitous, as many have been predicting.
In this talk, Rohit will give a brief historical sketch of the Indian coal industry, and then discuss some of the reasons why coal and its downstream use in power and other industries is likely to persist in India for the foreseeable future.  
Rohit Chandra is currently a sixth-year doctoral student at the Harvard Kennedy School focusing primarily on energy policy and economic history in India. His dissertation covers the economic and political history of the Indian coal industry from 1959-present. In particular, he looks at how the role of the Indian state, particularly through its state-owned enterprises (first NCDC and then Coal India), has adapted to various changes in the national political and economic environment. Other than his dissertation, he is also currently working with the Regulatory Assistance Project on electricity in Jharkhand and Brookings India on coal sector reforms. Prior to his doctoral work he worked at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi and the Center for Advanced Study of India in Philadelphia.

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