ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From 50 Years Ago: Coal Price and Output.

Editorial from Volume IX, No 10, March 9, 1957.

The principle on which Shri R Maulik stakes his claim for a revision of coal prices is unexceptionable. Price control in a short period of emergency is one thing; as a part of general economic policy in a period of growth, it is quite another. For the price has to be, as argued by Shri Maulik, not only fair to the consumer but also adequate to enable the industry to expand, if such expansion is considered socially desirable. And who will question the necessity of expansion of coal production for the implementation of the Second or any other Plan? The unstated premise in this argument, and a major premise, is that capital for expansion has to come out of profits of the industry concerned...

But given this premise, the cost of development, for opening new collieries and deepening the mines that are already working, through greater mechanisation, if need be, and the ancilliary investments have all to come out of profits. Or if one likes to put it differently, an ‘element’ has to be worked into the price, which will pay for development. That there is no escape from this compulsion, the Government has realised through painful stages in the case of steel and cement. If steel and cement can be allowed to expand, why not coal? After all coal is just as basic to industrialisation as steel and cement, if not even more; how can steel be ever produced without coal?

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