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Monthly DNA

20 Mar, 2021

42 Min Read

Mission Innovation

GS-II : Government policies and interventions Government Schemes & Programmes

Mission Innovation

  • Mission Innovation is a global initiative of 24 countries and the EU launched during the Paris Agreement at COP21 on November 30, 2015.
  • The program focuses on Clean Energy Research, Development, and Demonstration (RD&D) initiatives to accelerate clean energy innovations.
  • Department of Biotechnology is the nodal agency for coordinating national efforts in clean energy R, D & D and implementing various activities in close collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology and other line ministries.
  • India is playing a crucial role in MI Activities at the global level by participating in eight Innovation Challenges and co-leading three challenges (Smart Grids, Off-Grid access to Electricity and Sustainable Biofuels).
  • India is a member of the MI Steering Committee and Co-lead of the Analysis and Joint Research Sub-Group along with Canada.
  • India has set up Clean Energy International Incubation Center to provide support to start providing the most impactful clean energy solutions for the societal good.
  • Department of Science & Technology is supporting R & D Projects on Smart Grid at various National Institutes, Universities, and IITs in collaboration with partnering institutes from Canada, Norway, UK, Germany, USA, Australia, and Italy.
  • Government has also committed an amount of Rs. 18 Crore for India-Sweden Collaborative Industrial Research & Development Programme 2020 on Smart Grids. A total of 9 projects have been supported for R&D on Smart Grid.

Source: PIB

Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups

GS-II : Governance Reservation issue

Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups

As of March 2021, India has 75 Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups across 18 states and the Union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)

  • In India, tribal population makes up for 8.6% of the total population.
  • PVTGs are more vulnerable among the tribal groups.
  • Due to this factor, more developed and assertive tribal groups take a major chunk of the tribal development funds.
  • In 1973, the Dhebar Commission created Primitive Tribal Groups (PTGs) as a separate category, that is less developed among the tribal groups.

Characteristics of PVTGs:

  • PVTGs have declining or stagnant populations,
  • Low level of literacy,
  • Pre-agricultural level of technology,
  • Economically backward,
  • Generally, inhabit remote localities have poor infrastructure and administrative support.
  • Among the 75 listed PVTGs, the highest number is in Odisha (13 PVTGs).
  • All 4 tribal groups in Andaman, and 1 in the Nicobar Islands, are PVTGs.
  • The largest population size among the PVTGs is the Saharia people of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
  • The smallest population size is the Sentinels.

Schemes for Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups

  • Ministry of Tribal Affairs implements the Scheme of “Development of PVTGs” exclusively for them.
  • Under this scheme, Conservation-cum-Development (CCD) / Annual Plans are to be prepared by each State / UT for their PVTGs based on their need assessment.

Also, priority is assigned to PVTGs under the schemes of

  • Special Central Assistance (SCA) to Tribal Sub-Scheme (TSS),
  • Grants under Article 275(1) of the Constitution.

Source: TH

MPLAD Scheme Funds for 2019-20

GS-II : Governance MPLAD

MPLAD Scheme Funds for 2019-20

The Finance Minister has said that the funds under the MPLAD scheme for 2019-20 are clear.

  • The government of India has decided to make the MPLADS scheme non-operational for 2 years.
  • These funds will be used to strengthen the Government’s efforts in managing the impact of COVID-19 in the country.

About MPLADs Scheme:

  • MPLADS is a Central Sector Scheme.
  • It was launched in 1993.
  • Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
  • States have their own version of this scheme with varying amounts per MLA.

Key Features of MPLAD Scheme:

  • Under the scheme, an MP receives Rs. 5 crores per annum to identify and fund developmental projects.
  • The funds released under the scheme are non-lapsable.
  • Non-Lapsable funds should be spent within the current financial year. These funds cannot be carried forward to the next year.
  • The role of the MP is recommendatory in nature.
  • The implementation of the project is done by local authorities.
  • The focus of the scheme is on the creation of durable community assets like roads, school buildings, etc.
  • Elected Members of Rajya Sabha can recommend works in the state from where they have been elected.
  • Nominated Members of both the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha can recommend works anywhere in the country.


EU Joins Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure Initiative

GS-II : International Relations Bilateral groupings and agreements

EU Joins Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure Initiative

The 27-member European Union joins the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) initiative.

About Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure Initiative:

  • The Prime Minister of India launched it in 2019 at the UN Climate Change Summit.
  • It is a multi-stakeholder global partnership of national governments, UN agencies, multilateral development banks, the private sector, and academic and knowledge institutions.
  • It aims to promote the resilience of new and existing infrastructure systems to climate and disaster risks.
  • It also supports sustainable development.
  • The Governing Council is the highest policy-making body of the CDRI.
    • It is co-chaired by India and a representative of another nation, nominated by rotation every 2 years.
  • Members of the CDRI may make voluntary contributions.

Source: TH

SC Hearing Issue of Electoral Bonds

GS-II : Governance Electoral reforms

SC Hearing Issue of Electoral Bonds

The Supreme Court agrees to hear a plea to stay the fresh sale of Electoral Bonds. The hearing of the case is set before the upcoming state assembly elections.

What are Electoral Bonds?

  • Electoral Bonds are interest-free bearer financial instruments for making donations to political parties.
  • They were introduced by the Government of India by the Finance Bill, 2017.
  • The bonds are issued in multiples of Rs. 1,000, Rs. 10,000, Rs. 1 lakh, Rs. 10 lakh and Rs. 1 crore without any maximum limit.

Key Features of Electoral Bonds:

  • Only the registered Political Parties which have secured atleast 1% of the votes polled in the last Lok Sabha elections or the State Legislative Assembly are eligible to receive the Electoral Bonds.
  • Electoral bonds may be purchased by a citizen of India or entities incorporated or established in India.
  • The State Bank of India has been authorised to issue and encash Electoral Bonds.
  • The Electoral Bonds shall be valid for 15 calendar days from the date of issue.
    • No payment shall be made to the Political Party if the Electoral Bond is deposited after the expiry of the validity period.
  • Political parties will create a specific account to encash money from electoral bonds.
  • This account will be verified by the Election Commission.

Arguments against Electoral Bonds:

  • Neither the donor nor the political party is obligated to reveal where the donation comes from.
  • The sale of electoral bonds had become an avenue for shell corporations and entities to park illicit money and even proceeds of bribes with political parties.
  • Electoral Bonds donations enjoy 100% tax exemption.
  • Further, they need not be reported to the Income Tax department either.
  • The government has removed the eligibility cap for funding political parties.
    • Earlier a company can make a political contribution only if it has 7.5% of the net average profit for 3 preceding financial years.


Ecuador’s Sangay Volcano Eruption

GS-I : Physical Geography Volcanic Activity

Ecuador’s Sangay Volcano Eruption

Ecuador’s Sangay volcano erupted and blew clouds of ash as high as 8,500 meters into the sky.

About Sangay Volcano:

  • Sangay is an active stratovolcano in central Ecuador.
    • Strato volcanoes are conical volcanoes composed of multiple layers of intermediate lava, ash, and other volcanic debris.
  • Sangay Volcano is located on the eastern edge of the Andes Mountains.
    • The Andes is the longest mountain range in the world and boasts some of the highest peaks.
    • The Andes extend from north to south through seven South American countries: Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina.
  • Sangay Volcano hosts a significant biological community.
  • Therefore, since 1983, its ecological community has been protected as part of the Sangay National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

About Ecuador:

  • Ecuador is a country in the northwestern part of South America.
  • It is bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and the Pacific Ocean on the west.
  • Ecuador also includes the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific which is about 1,000 kilometres west of the mainland.
  • Ecuador is a part of the Pacific Rim’s “Ring of Fire” region. It has eight volcanoes in its territory.

Source: TH

Mines and Minerals of India

GS-I : Indian Geography Minerals


  • Geological Survey of India: For all minerals except Uranium (AMD). It is the largest and most comprehensive provider of basic earth science information or database.
  • Indian Bureau of Mines, 1948:
    1. It is under the Ministry of Mines with responsibilities for conservation and systematic exploitation of mineral resources other than coal, petroleum and natural gas, atomic minerals and minor minerals.
    2. IBM performs regulatory functions under MMDRA, 1957.
  • NALCO is a Navratna company under the Ministry of Mines. The refinery is located at Damanjodi in Koraput district, Odisha.

Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957

  • It regulates the overall mining sector in India and specifies the requirement for obtaining and granting mining leases.
  • "Minerals” includes all minerals except mineral oils- natural gas and petroleum).
  • A person could acquire 1 mining lease for a maximum area of 10 sq km. Center can permit >1 lease.
  • A mining lease was grantMed for a minimum of 20 to a max of 30 years and could be renewed for a period not exceeding 20 years.
  • In India, the minerals are classified as minor minerals and major minerals under MMDRA, 1957. Classification is not related to quantum/ availability/ level of production/ mechanization/ EXIM of these minerals but related to relative value and end use of these minerals.

Minor Minerals

Major Minerals

  1. According to MMDR Act, 1957 “Minor Minerals” means building stones, gravel, ordinary clay, ordinary sand other than sand used for prescribed purposes, and any other Central Govt notified mineral.
  2. The Center has the power to notify “minor minerals” under MMDR Act, 1957. India has 86 minor minerals out of which 31 were added in 2015.
  3. The power to frame law for minor minerals is entirely delegated to State Govts. Thus, the administrative and regulatory jurisdiction of minor minerals falls under State govts.
  4. AP tops in the value of minor minerals produced in India followed by Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and UP.
  1. Major minerals are those specified in the first schedule appended in the MMDR Act 1957 and the common major minerals are Lignite, Coal, Uranium, iron ore, gold etc.
  2. There is no official definition for “major minerals” in the MMDR Act. Hence, whatever is not declared as a “minor mineral” may be treated as a major mineral.
  3. The power to frame law for major minerals is dealt with by the Ministry of Mines under Center.

MMDRA (Amendment) Act, 2015

  • Center can increase the area limits for mining, instead of providing additional leases.
  • The Bill creates a new category of mining license i.e. the prospecting license-cum-mining lease. The state govt shall grant prospecting license-cum-mining leases for both notified and other minerals. Prospecting license-cum-mining lease for notified minerals (like bauxite, iron ore, limestone and manganese ore) shall be granted with the approval of the Centre. The holder of this licence may transfer the lease to any eligible person, with the approval of the state govt.
  • The Center shall prescribe the terms and conditions, and procedure for auction, including parameters for the selection of bidders.
  • Center may reserve particular mines for a specific end use and allow only eligible end users.
  • Bill provides for the creation of a District Mineral Foundation (DMF) and a National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET).

DMF (District Mineral Foundation), 2015

PM Khanij Kshetriya Kalyan Yojana, 2015

National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET), 2004

  1. Trust. Non Profit Body. In those districts affected by mining. It should be in every district mandated by MMRDA, 2015. Operated by State Govt.
  2. Funded through contributions from miners.
    1. For all mining leases executed before 12 Jan 2015, miners will have to contribute 30% of the royalty payable by them to DMFs and
    2. If leases are granted after 12 Jan 2015 then pay 10%.
  3. DMF contribution would be < 1/3rd of royalty and Center retains the power to prescribe rates of contribution, though DMF is operated by the State Govt. DMF funds are treated as Extra Budgetary resources.
  4. It implements PMKKKY for the welfare of mining areas.
  5. DMFs are also directed to maintain utmost transparency in their functioning and provide periodic reports on various projects and schemes.
  1. To provide for welfare of areas & people affected by mining areas. Implemented by DMF. Affected persons include "affected family" and "displaced family".
  2. Objectives:
    1. To implement developmental & welfare projects in mining-affected areas.
    2. To reduce adverse impact on Environment & Health and
    3. Long-term sustainable livelihoods.
  3. Both directly & indirectly affected areas are covered.
    1. Directly affected areas include areas of direct mining-related operations like excavation, mining, blasting, etc.
    2. Indirectly affected areas include areas of deterioration of water, soil and air quality.
  4. Utilization of Funds
    1. 60 % of Funds to be used for High priority areas = Water, Health, Education, Vulnerable section, skills and sanitation.
    2. 40% Funds to be used for Infrastructure projects = Physical Infra, irrigation, Energy, Watershed development.
    3. <5% to be used for Admin expenses.
  5. Monitoring is done by DISHA, District Development Coordination and Monitoring Committee of MoRD.
  1. For regional & detailed exploration of minerals.
  2. Under MMRDA, 2015.
  3. Holder of mining use = pay MET = 2% of royalty.
  4. Under Central Govt.

Difference from DMF:

  1. Different rate of contribution 2% in NMET; 10% and 30% in DMF.
  2. NMET works relates to Exploration and DMF works in welfare.
  3. MET is under Central Govt and DMF is under State Govt.

Mining Surveillance System

  • by MoMines (IBM) + MEITy and BISAG (Bhaskaracharya Institute of Space App & Geoinfo)
  • To curb illegal mining. It is a satellite based monitoring system.

Mining Tenetment System (MTS): For accounting of all minerals.

Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2021

The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2021 was introduced in Lok Sabha on March 15, 2021. The Bill amends the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957. The Act regulates the mining sector in India.

  • Removal of restriction on end-use of minerals:
    1. The Act empowers the central government to reserve any mine (other than coal, lignite, and atomic minerals) to be leased through an auction for a particular end-use (such as an iron ore mine for a steel plant). Such mines are known as captive mines.
    2. The Bill provides that no mine will be reserved for a particular end-use.
  1. Sale of minerals by captive mines:
    1. The Bill provides that captive mines (other than atomic minerals) may sell up to 50% of their annual mineral production in the open market after meeting their own needs.
    2. The central government may increase this threshold through a notification.
    3. The lessee will have to pay additional charges for minerals sold in the open market.
  2. Auction by the central government in certain cases:
    1. Under the Act, states conduct the auction of mineral concessions (other than coal, lignite, and atomic minerals).
    2. Mineral concessions include mining leases and prospecting license-cum-mining leases.
    3. The Bill empowers the central government to specify a time period for completion of the auction process in consultation with the state government.
    4. If the state government is unable to complete the auction process within this period, the auctions may be conducted by the central government.
  3. Transfer of statutory clearances:
    1. Upon expiry of a mining lease (other than coal, lignite, and atomic minerals), mines are leased to new persons through auction.
    2. The statutory clearances issued to the previous lessee are transferred to the new lessee for a period of two years.
    3. The new lessee is required to obtain fresh clearances within these two years.
    4. The Bill replaces this provision and instead provides that transferred statutory clearances will be valid throughout the lease period of the new lessee.
  4. Allocation of mines with expired leases:
    1. The Bill adds that mines (other than coal, lignite, and atomic minerals), whose lease has expired, may be allocated to a government company in certain cases.
    2. This will be applicable if the auction process for granting a new lease has not been completed, or the new lease has been terminated within a year of the auction.
    3. The state government may grant a lease for such a mine to a government company for a period of up to 10 years or until the selection of a new lessee, whichever is earlier.
  5. Rights of certain existing concession holders:
    1. In 2015, the Act was amended to provide that mines will be leased through an auction process.
    2. Existing concession holders and applicants have been provided with certain rights including:
      1. Right to obtain a prospecting licence or mining lease to a holder of reconnaissance permit or prospecting licence (issued before commencement of the 2015 Amendment Act), and
      2. right for grant of mining lease where the central government had given its approval or letter of intent was issued by the state government before the commencement of the 2015 Amendment Act.
    3. The Bill provides that the right to obtain a prospecting license or a mining lease will lapse on the date of commencement of the 2021 Amendment Act.
    4. Such persons will be reimbursed for any expenditure incurred towards reconnaissance or prospecting operations.
  6. Extension of leases to government companies:
    1. The Act provides that the period of mining leases granted to government companies will be prescribed by the central government.
    2. The Bill provides that the period of mining leases of government companies (other than leases granted through auction) may be extended on payment of an additional amount prescribed in the Bill.
  7. Conditions for lapse of mining lease:
    1. The Act provides that a mining lease will lapse if the lessee:
      1. is not able to start mining operations within two years of the grant of a lease, or
      2. has discontinued mining operations for a period of two years.
    2. However, the lease will not lapse at the end of this period if a concession is provided by the state government upon an application by the lessee.
    3. The Bill adds that the threshold period for lapse of the lease may be extended by the state government only once and up to one year.
  8. Non-exclusive reconnaissance permit:
    1. The Act provides for a non-exclusive reconnaissance permit (for minerals other than coal, lignite, and atomic minerals).
    2. Reconnaissance means preliminary prospecting of a mineral through certain surveys.
    3. The Bill removes the provision for this permit.

Source: TH

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