Industry Economic Times reported that the government will soon invite bids from private players to kick-start coal mining in a public-private partnership mode in the country, effectively ending the monopoly of public sector behemoth Coal India Ltd. According to official data, total domestic demand for coal in 2012 to 2013 was 772.84 million metric tons (mt) against supply of 568.7 million mt. This has resulted in a deficit of 204.1 million mt per year, a huge part of which is being met by imports from Indonesia, South Africa and Australia. Reducing coal import is part of the government’s plan to reduce the record current account deficit. A decision was made at the prime minister’s office recently by a nine-member high-level committee, headed by the coal secretary, with senior officials from the finance ministry, planning commission, as well as the law ministry. As per the proposal, the coal mine, as well as the coal, will remain in the ownership of the public sector while the private partner will receive a mining charge on the coal mined. The sale of such coal will be undertaken by the public entity, which grants the PPP concession. The official said that, “The only option before us is to increase domestic production and since Coal India is struggling to meet domestic requirement, it is best to involve private players, who will produce faster and cheaper coal.”