17 Dec, 2020
50 Min Read
|GS-I||5th India Water Impact Summit (IWIS)||Indian Geography|
|GS-III||Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment-12th GRIHA Summit||Economic Issues|
|Himalayan serow||Biodiversity & Environment|
|PT Pointer||Protected Special Agriculture Zone - Cauvery Delta||Indian Geography|
|National Family Health Survey- 5||S&T|
|Indian Bison||Biodiversity & Environment|
|Meeting on Chabahar Port - India-Iran-Central Asia||International Relations|
|Pink Phenomenon||Biodiversity & Environment|
|Himalayan Griffon Vulture||Biodiversity & Environment|
|Vijay Diwas-50 years celebration||Modern History|
|Important GS Topics||Centre for Science and Environment - Coal Analysis||Economic Issues|
5th India Water Impact Summit (IWIS)
GS-Paper-1 Resource management (MINS-I.V)
Organized by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and Center for Ganga River Basin Management and Studies (cGanga) has held virtually.
India Water Impact 2020 is hosting experts and academicians from all over the world to discuss and debate issues related to water conservation, water security and river rejuvenation.
Theme: Comprehensive analysis and holistic management of local rivers and water bodies with focus on Arth Ganga - river conservation synchronised development. At the event, Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research signed a MoU with cGanga for development of a sludge management framework in India.
National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG):
It is the implementation wing of the National Council for Rejuvenation, Protection, and Management of River Ganga also known as National Ganga Council-set in 2016; which replaced the NRGBA. NMCG was established in the year 2011 as a registered society.
The main pillars of the programme are:
Centre for Ganga River Basin Management and Studies (cGanga):
It was established at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IITK) in 2016.
The Centre is a Centre of Excellence for data collection, the creation and dissemination of knowledge and information for the sustainable development of Ganga River Basin.
The centre acts in the capacity of a comprehensive think-tank to the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), in its stated goals and objectives vis-à-vis the Ganga River Basin.
GS-Paper-Economic Issue- PT-MAINS
Context: GRIHA buildings ecosystem for sustainability and sanitation in inspiring behavioural change. Cities bear a massive responsibility to balance present & future needs.
**Theme: Rejuvenating Resilient Habitats.
Purpose: To serve as a platform to deliberate on innovative technologies and solutions which shall help in creating robust mechanisms for developing sustainable and resilient solutions for the benefit of the entire community.
Launch Event: The Vice President of India launched the SHASHWAT magazine and the book '30 Stories Beyond Buildings' during the event.
Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA): It is the national rating system of India for any completed building construction. GRIHA is recognised as India’s own green building rating system in India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Created By: It was conceived by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and developed jointly with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
Objective: To help design green buildings and, in turn, help evaluate the 'greenness' of the buildings.
Mechanism: The system has been developed to help 'design and evaluate' new buildings (buildings that are still at the inception stages). A building is assessed based on its predicted performance over its entire life cycle.
Benefits: This system, along with the activities and processes that lead up to it, benefits the community with the improvement in the environment by reducing GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions, reducing energy consumption and stress on natural resources.
Other missions for SUSTAINABLE URBANISATION
Smart Cities Mission: It is an innovative initiative under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life of people by enabling local development and harnessing technology as a means to create smart outcomes for citizens. It is working towards integrated and comprehensive development of cities
Global Housing Technology Challenge: The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
Launched: January 2019
To identify and mainstream the best available and proven construction technologies that are sustainable, green and disaster-resilient to enable a paradigm shift in housing construction.
Affordable Sustainable Housing Accelerators (ASHA): Under this initiative, five Incubation Centers have been set up for identifying innovative materials, processes and technology for resource-efficient, resilient and sustainable construction.
National mission on sustainable habitat
It is one of the eight missions under the national climate change action plan and aims to make cities sustainable through improvements in energy efficiency in buildings, management of solid waste & shift to public transport.
The National Mission for Sustainable Habitat which is a component of the National Action Plan for Climate Change will broadly cover the following aspects: Extension of the energy conservation building code - which addresses the design of new and large commercial buildings to optimize their energy demand; Better urban planning and modal shift to public transport - make long term transport plans to facilitate the growth of medium and small cities in such a way that ensures efficient and convenient public transport; Recycling of material and urban waste management - a special area of focus will be the development of technology for producing power from waste. The National Mission will include a major R&D programme, focusing on bio-chemical conversion, wastewater use, sewage utilization and recycling options wherever possible.
A Himalayan serow has been sighted for the first time in the Himalayan cold desert region-Spiti, Himachal Pradesh. Himalayan serow resembles a cross between a goat, a donkey, a cow, and a pig.
There are several species of serows, and all of them are found in Asia. The Himalayan serow, or Capricornis sumatraensis thar, is restricted to the Himalayan region. Taxonomically, it is a subspecies of the mainland serow (Capricornis sumatraensis).
Habitat: They are typically found at altitudes between 2,000 metres and 4,000 metres. They are known to be found in eastern, central, and western Himalayas, but not in the Trans Himalayan region. The Trans-Himalayas Mountain Region or Tibet Himalayan Region is located to the north of the Great Himalayas which consists of Karakoram, Ladakh, Zaskar and Kailash mountain ranges.
Salient Features of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972
The National Board for Wildlife was constituted as a statutory organization under the provisions of this Act.
Recent Sighting: The animal was spotted near Hurling village in Spiti, Himachal Pradesh. Spiti lies in the cold mountain desert region of the western Himalayas, and its valley floor has an average elevation of 4,270 metres above sea level, making the sighting special as Serows are generally not found at this altitude. This is the first recorded human sighting of the serow in Himachal Pradesh. The animal has been spotted a few times earlier in the state, but that has always been through camera traps.
The animal has also been spotted in the Rupi Bhaba Wildlife Sanctuary, and in the higher reaches of Chamba. The Sanctuary is locally well known for its extensive alpine pastures as well as the numerous treks, trails and passes that connect it with the neighbouring Great Himalayan National Park and Pin Valley National Park.
IUCN Red List: Vulnerable CITES: Appendix I The Wildlife Protection Act 1972: Schedule I
GS-Paper-1 Geography (PT-MAINS)
Tamil Nadu government has declared the Cauvery delta region as a Protected Special Agriculture Zone.
What is a Protected Agriculture Zone?
Declaring as a Protected Special Agriculture Zone ensures that a particular region will not be granted permission for any new projects like those related to hydrocarbons. Only Agro-based Industries would be given permission to be built.
The protected zone includes eight districts namely Thanjavur (Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu), Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Pudukottai, Cuddalore, Ariyalur, Karur, and Tiruchirapalli.
Such a declaration will prevent non-agrarian projects in the region. The Government has emphasized that central projects on hydrocarbon exploration in the delta region cannot be implemented without No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the State government.
The Cauvery delta region is an important agricultural region in Tamil Nadu. It has been seen that in the last four decades, Tamil Nadu’s food dependence on the delta has fallen from 65% to 40%. Hydrocarbon wells are one of the major reasons behind the same.
Significance of the move
GS-Paper-3 Application-based topic and PT
The National Family Health Survey is a survey carried out on a massive scale across the country to collect information on many parameters which would ultimately help the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) to frame policies and programs to help in the upliftment of the vulnerable groups in India. The first round of the National Family Health Survey was conducted in 1992-92. Subsequently, four other rounds have taken place, the latest being NFHS 5 which started in 2018-19, however, is stalled currently amid the COVID-19-associated lockdown at various states.
National Family Health Survey?
National Family Health Survey 5 is the recent round of the survey carried on by MoH&FW to bring out reliable data on emerging health and family welfare issues. The coordinating and implementing agencies that are helping the ministry to bring out this NFHS round are:
ICF International is providing technical assistance for the NFHS 5 while the United States Agency for International Development is providing financial assistance.
Seven lakh households are being covered to collect the data. 67 indicators are being used to cover the NFHS 5 data. The list of important indicators is mentioned below:
Note: The data for NFHS was expected to be released by July 2020 but due to the current pandemic situation, it has been delayed.
National Family Health Survey Rounds
Totally five rounds of survey have been conducted to date. The below information gives details on the round and the year it was conducted.
The Objective of conducting the NFHS is to collect information of the following
Total Fertility Rate (TFR): The TFR across most Indian states declined in the past half a decade, more so among urban women. This implies that India’s population is stabilizing. Sikkim recorded the lowest TFR, with one woman bearing 1.1 children on average; Bihar recorded the highest TFR of three children per woman.
In 19 of the 22 surveyed states, TFRs were found to be ‘below-replacement level (2.1)’.
TFR indicates the average number of children expected to be born to a woman during her reproductive span of 15-49 years.
The replacement level is the number of children needed to replace the parents, after accounting for fatalities, skewed sex ratio, infant mortality, etc. Population starts falling below this level.
Anaemia among Women: More than half of the children and women are anaemic in 13 of the 22 States/UTs.
It has also been observed that anaemia among pregnant women has increased in half of the States/UTs compared to NFHS-4. In all the states, anaemia is much higher among women compared to men.
Contraception: Female sterilization continues to dominate as the modern method of contraception in states like Andhra Pradesh (98%), Telangana (93%), Kerala (88%), Karnataka (84%), Bihar (78%) and Maharashtra (77%).
Overall Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) has increased substantially in most States/UTs and it is the highest in HP and WB (74%).
Child Marriages: There has been an increase in child marriages in Tripura (40.1% from 33.1% in 2015-16), Manipur (16.3% from 13.7% in 2015-16) and Assam (31.8% from 30.8 % in 2015-16),
States like West Bengal (41.6%) and Bihar (40.8%) still have high prevalence of child marriages. States such as Tripura, Manipur, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Nagaland have also shown an increase in teenage pregnancies.
Domestic/Spousal Violence: It has generally declined in most of the states and UTs. However, it has witnessed an increase in five states, namely Sikkim, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Assam and Karnataka. Karnataka witnessed the largest increase in spousal violence, from 20.6% in NFHS 4 to 44.4% in NFHS-5. Sexual violence has increased in five states (Assam, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Meghalaya and West Bengal).
Institutional Births: Have increased substantially with over four-fifth of the women delivering in institutions in 19 States and UTs. Institutional delivery is over 90% in 14 out of the total 22 States and UTs.
Caesarean (C-section) Deliveries: There has been an increase in the number of Caesarean section (C-section) deliveries in a majority of states.
The international healthcare community has considered the ideal rate for caesarean sections to be between 10% and 15%. States such as Telangana, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, and some in the northeast, have shown a jump in C-section deliveries, especially at private healthcare facilities, in the last five years. In some states like Telangana and West Bengal, the C-section deliveries, at private healthcare facilities rose up to 81% and 82%.
For the first time: Gaps in internet use
In 2019, for the first time, the NFHS-5, which collects data on key indicators on population health, family planning and nutrition, sought details on two specific indicators: Percentage of women and men who have ever used the Internet. On average, less than 3 out of 10 women in rural India and 4 out of 10 women in urban India ever used the Internet, according to the survey.
Sex Ratio at Birth: SRB has remained unchanged or increased in most States/UTs. Majority of the states are in normal sex ratio of 952 or above. SRB is below 900 in Telangana, Himachal Pradesh, Goa, DNH & DD.
Child Nutrition: Child nutrition indicators show a mixed pattern across states. While the situation improved in many States/UTs, there has been minor deterioration in others. Drastic changes in respect of stunting and wasting are unlikely in a short period.
Financial Inclusion: Considerable progress has been recorded between NFHS-4 and NFHS-5 in regard to women operating bank accounts.
Sanitation and Clean Air: The percentage of households with improved sanitation facilities and clean fuel for cooking has increased in almost all the 22 States/UTs over the last four years (from 2015-16 to 2019-20). The Government of India has made concerted efforts to provide toilet facilities to maximum households through Swachh Bharat Mission, and improved household environment through Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana in the country.
Who Published NFHS?
MOHFW has appointed International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS), Mumbai as the Nodal agency. IIPS has collaborated with the following international agencies for the successful conduct of the survey.
Note: in NFHS 4 and NFHS 5, along with USAID and ICF; DFID, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UNICEF, UNFPA, and the MacArthur Foundation, as well as the Indian Government also supported the surveys in a major way.
Which Agencies Provided the Funding for NFHS?
Many international agencies and the Central Government Ministry have provided the necessary funds to carry out the survey.
Also, the data that is published by the Ministry is also used by the WHO, World Bank & UNICEF.
What is NFHS-4?
It is the Fourth Round of National Family Health Survey conducted under the aegis of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW). The following are some of the major highlights of the program.
Health is the most important social infrastructure if we want to develop our demography. Current times require integrated and coordinated efforts from all health institutions, academia and other partners directly or indirectly associated with the health care services to make these services accessible, affordable and acceptable to all. The data in NFHS-5 gives requisite input for strengthening existing programmes and evolving new strategies for policy intervention, therefore government and authorities should take steps to further improve the condition of women in India.
An Indian Bison, or Gaur, in Pune’s urban landscape, died due to human-animal conflict. It is mainly found in South and Southeast Asia.
Location: Native to South and Southeast Asia in India, they are found in Nagarhole, Bandipur, Masinagudi National Parks and BR Hills.
Conservation Status: Vulnerable in IUCN Red List. Included in the Schedule I of the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972.
Important Facts: It is the tallest species of wild cattle found in India and the largest extant bovine. Recently, the first population estimation exercise of the Indian Gaur (Bison) was carried out in the Nilgiris Forest Division, Tamil Nadu. Recently, the conservation breeding of Gaur was started at Mysuru zoo under the conservation breeding programme of the Central Zoo Authority (CZA).
In India, the Gaur is mainly found in the Western Ghats, the forests of central India and forest patches in the Northeast. It is listed in Appendix I of the CITES.
The first Trilateral Working Group Meeting between India, Iran and Uzbekistan on the joint use of Chabahar Port was held virtually. The participants discussed the joint use of Chabahar Port for trade and transit purposes and enhanced regional connectivity. India has proposed to hold "Chabahar Day” on the sidelines of the International Maritime Summit to be hosted by India in January 2021.
Past related news
Chabahar Port: It is located on the Gulf of Oman and is only 72 km away from the Gwadar port in Pakistan which has been developed by China. The port serves as the only oceanic port of Iran and consists of two separate ports named Shahid Beheshti and Shahid Kalantari
Background: In May 2016, India, Iran and Afghanistan signed the trilateral agreement which entailed the establishment of Transit and Transport Corridor among them using Chabahar port in Iran as one of the regional hubs for sea transportation.
Construction of a rail line from Chabahar port to Zahedan, along the border with Afghanistan as an alternate trade route to Afghanistan and Central Asia, was also a part of it. The state-owned Indian Railways Construction Ltd. (IRCON) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Iranian Rail Ministry to provide all services, superstructure work and financing (around USD 1.6 billion).
Reasons for Excluding India:
Iran’s Stand: In July 2020, Iran decided to proceed with the rail line construction on its own, citing delays from the Indian side in beginning and funding the project.
India’s Stand: IRCON completed the site inspection and feasibility report, and had been waiting for the Iranian side to appoint a nodal authority.
Although the project has secured a special waiver from the USA, India is hesitant to deal with the construction company which has links with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and is under sanctions. The IRGC is a hard-line force which operates its own military infrastructure in parallel to Iran’s regular armed forces. In April 2020, it launched Iran’s first military satellite, Noor.
Fear of sanctions by the USA has also impacted Indian interest in the Farzad-B gas field project of Iran.
Trade: It is being considered a gateway to golden opportunities for trade by the three countries with other Central Asian countries in the wake of Pakistan denying transit access to India.
Security: China is aggressively pursuing its own Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) under the One Belt One Road (OBOR) project. The port can also act as a counter to Pakistan’s Gwadar Port, which is being developed with Chinese investment.
Connectivity: In future, the Chabahar project and the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) will complement each other by optimising Indian connectivity with Russia and Eurasia.
Farzad-B Gas Field
In Avalapandi, a village in Kerala, an aquatic plant forked fanwort has painted the water bodies pink, which led to the ‘pink phenomenon’. This plant comes from the family of Red Cabomba (Cabomba furcata).
Cabomba is a submerged perennial aquatic plant that grows in stagnant to slow-flowing freshwater. It is an invasive species that belongs to Central and South America.
It requires a huge amount of oxygen to grow and that could badly affect freshwater biodiversity. It has a high natural dispersal potential due to its ability to readily fragment and spread.
Invasive Species: Invasive alien species are any biological species that are introduced outside their natural range. They would negatively impact the native biodiversity, ecosystem function, health and human welfare.
They could reproduce rapidly and out-compete the native species for food, water and space. They are the second-biggest cause of biodiversity loss, next to habitat destruction.
It is a migratory bird species native to the Himalayas, has been spotted in Point Calimere wildlife sanctuary in Tamil Nadu. It is usually found in high-altitude regions.
They originate from the Himalayan Chain and Plateau of Tibet. The IUCN status of the bird is Near-threatened. It is listed in Appendix II of the CITES.
India will celebrate 50 Years of the Indo-Pak War, also called Swarnim Vijay Varsh on 16th December 2020. The inaugural event of the celebration will be held at the National War Memorial (NWM) in New Delhi which will be attended by the Prime Minister. The National War Memorial is a tribute to the soldiers who laid down their lives defending the nation, post-independence it also commemorates the soldiers who participated and made the supreme sacrifice in Peacekeeping Missions and Counter Insurgency Operations.
Vijay Diwas is observed on 16th December every year to mark India's victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war. The Government of India decided on 3rd December 1971, that India would go to war with Pakistan to save Bengali Muslims and Hindus. This war was fought between India and Pakistan for 13 days.
On 16th December 1971, the chief of the Pakistani forces with 93,000 soldiers surrendered unconditionally to the allied forces consisting of the Indian Army and Mukti Bahini in Dhaka. Mukti Bahini refers to the armed organizations that fought against the Pakistan Army during the Bangladesh Liberation War. It was a guerrilla resistance movement. Bangladesh was born on this day. Hence, Bangladesh celebrates its independence day (Bijoy Dibos) on 16th December every year.
GS-PAPER-3 Economic issues- Energy security (Mains-I.V)
According to the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), coal will continue to be the mainstay of India’s power generation till at least 2030. But efforts must be made to ensure that it is used efficiently to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Improving fleet technology and efficiency, propagating biomass co-firing and investing in carbon capture and storage are among the measures, among others, that could help cut GHG emissions by 22%.
Biomass co-firing is a globally accepted low-cost method for decarbonising a coal fleet. It is an option for efficiently and cleanly converting biomass to electricity by adding biomass as a partial substitute fuel in high-efficiency coal boilers.
Coal is the most important and abundant fossil fuel in India. It accounts for 55% of the country's energy needs. The country's industrial heritage was built upon indigenous coal. Commercial primary energy consumption in India has grown by about 700% in the last four decades.
The current per capita commercial primary energy consumption in India is about 350 kgoe/year which is well below that of developed countries. Driven by the rising population, expanding economy and a quest for improved quality of life, energy usage in India is expected to rise.
Considering the limited reserve potentiality of petroleum & natural gas, eco-conservation restrictions on the hydel projects and geo-political perception of nuclear power, coal will continue to occupy the centre stage of India's energy scenario.
Through the sustained programme of investment and greater thrust on the application of modern technologies, it has been possible to raise the **All India production of coal at 730.354 million tonnes in 2018-19 (Provisional) with a positive growth of 7.9%. Coal India Limited has set up Regional Sales Offices and Sub-Sales Offices at selected places in the country to cater to the needs of the consuming sectors in various regions.
Import: As per the present import policy, coal can be freely imported (under Open General Licence) by the consumers themselves considering their needs based on their commercial prudence.
Coking Coal is being imported by the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) and other Steel manufacturing units mainly to bridge the gap between the requirement and indigenous availability and to improve the quality of production. Coal-based power plants, cement plants, captive power plants, sponge iron plants, industrial consumers and coal traders are importing non-coking coal. Coke is imported mainly by pig-Iron manufacturers and Iron & Steel sector consumers using a mini-blast furnace.
Reserves: As a result of exploration carried out up to the maximum depth of 1200 m, a cumulative total of 319.02 Billion tonnes of Geological Resources of Coal have so far been estimated in the country till April, 2018. Hard coal deposit spread over 27 major coalfields, are mainly confined to eastern and south central parts of the country. The lignite reserves stand at a level around 36 billion tonnes, of which 90% occur in the southern State of Tamil Nadu.
**Top 5 States in terms of total coal reserves in India are: Jharkhand > Odisha > Chhattisgarh > West Bengal > Madhya Pradesh.
Classification of Coal
Coal is originated from organic matter wood. When large tracts of forests are buried under sediments, wood is burnt and decomposed due to heat from below and pressure from above. The phenomenon makes coal but takes centuries to complete.
Classification of Coal can be done on the basis of carbon content and time period. On the basis of carbon content it can be classified into the following three types:
Anthracite: It is the best quality of coal with the highest calorific value and carries 80 to 95% carbon content. It ignites slowly with a blue flame and is found in small quantities in Jammu and Kashmir.
Bituminous: It has a low level of moisture content with 60 to 80% of carbon content and has a high calorific value. Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh have deposits of Bituminous.
Lignite: carries 40 to 55% carbon content and is often brown in colour with high moisture content thus, gives smoke when burnt. Rajasthan, Lakhimpur (Assam) and Tamil Nadu have deposits of Lignite.
Peat: is the first stage of transformation from wood to coal with low calorific value and less than 40% carbon content.
**Despite having the world’s fourth largest coal reserves, India imported 235 million tonnes (mt) of coal last year, of which 135mt valued at Rs.171,000 crore could have been met from domestic reserves.
Problems of COAL mining
India has to import near 213 million tons coal and some Indian companies have also acquired coal mines overseas to ensure continuous supply. The import dependency for good quality coal is NOT good for India’s energy requirement and fiscal health.
1. In April 2018, The Ministry of Coal has launched the UTTAM (Unlocking Transparency by Third Party Assessment of Mined Coal) Application for coal quality monitoring. The app aims to ensure transparency and efficiency in coal quality monitoring process and bring coal governance closer to the people.
2. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved a new coal linkage policy to ensure an adequate supply of fuel to power plants through reverse auction. The new policy will help in ensuring fuel supplies to the power plants in an organised manner.
3. Ministry of Coal has developed an Online Coal Clearances System to provide a single window access to its investors to submit online applications for all the permissions/clearances and approvals granted by Ministry of Coal.
4. Coal Allocation Monitoring System (CAMS) is developed to monitor the allocation of coal by CIL to States, States to SNA and SNA to such consumers in a transparent manner.
5. Opening up of commercial coal mining for Indian and foreign companies in the private sector. The CCEA approved the methodology for auction of coal mines/ blocks for sale of the commodity on 20 February 2018. The move has been defined as the most ambitious reform of the sector since its nationalisation in 1973. The auction will be done on an online transparent platform. The bid parameter will be the price offer in Rupees/ Tonne, which will be paid to the State government on the actual production of coal.
This reform is expected to bring efficacy into the coal sector by moving from an era of monopoly to competition. It will increase competitiveness and allow the use of best possible technology in the sector.
The procedure established till now in Coal Mining:
Commercial mining allows the private sector to mine coal commercially without placing any end-use restrictions. The private firms have the option of either gasification of the coal or exporting it. They can also use it in their own end-use plants or sell them in the markets. The government expects more than Rs 33,000 crore of capital investments over the next five to seven years in the sector.
Further, with 100 per cent foreign direct investment allowed in the coal sector, global companies can also participate in the auctions. The complete freedom to decide on sale, pricing, and captive utilisation is expected to attract many private sector firms to participate in the auction process. The government expects these steps will generate employment and reduce India’s import bill.
Transformative reforms POST COVID- RSTV script
Presently, despite being the world's fourth-largest producer, India is the second-largest importer of the dry-fuel. Therefore, in line with the vision to build an ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’, a slew of reforms to promote commercial mining of coal in India, has been announced.
Unlocking coal mining for private players is a step forward to attain self-reliance in the coal sector. However, for sustainable utilization of coal, there is a need to look into these reforms from a multidimensional viewpoint.
Boost Economy and Employment: Allowing commercial mining may help to address India’s coal production needs, provide investment opportunities and save precious foreign exchange.
Plugging Supply Gap: The nationalisation of coal in 1973 meant that domestic coal could be mined only by public sector companies.
Win-Win Situation: The government has introduced a more equitable system of sharing of revenues, moving away from fixed rates to a revenue-sharing model.
Dominance of Coal India: While reforms are aimed at ending the monopoly of Coal India Ltd., that’s unlikely to happen in the near future.
Issue with Non-washing of Coal: Doing away with the regulation requiring power plants to use “washed” coal will have huge environmental and economic costs.
Is this the first attempt by govt to open up the sector?
Technology upgradation measures to be imposed to improve the productivity of the coal mines and improve recovery from the coal mines. The government may consider creating funds to support overseas acquisition to supplement domestic resources. Steps need to be taken to promote research and exploration activities and modern underground mass production technologies.
For easing commercialisation of coal, there is a need to establish a single-window clearance process for coal mines. Offering projects with secured clearances will boost timely development as well as increase industry participation. Government support for the early resolution in land acquisition-related issues is needed to ensure timely operationalisation of coal mines. Further, commercial mining projects can be aided with investment in initial infrastructure settings which is more capital intensive than mining.
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