India imports coal
Why in News
• Despite the increase in demand for electricity, India has achieved great success in reducing coal imports.
• India is the third largest energy consuming country in the world and the demand for electricity here grows by 4.7 percent every year.
• In order to realize the vision of “Self-reliant India”, the Ministry of Coal has taken major reforms to reduce dependence on coal imports.
• The Ministry approved the Mineral Concession (Amendment) Rules, 1960 under the MMDR (Amendment) Act, 2021 to allow the lessees of captive mines to sell coal or lignite up to 50 per cent of the total additional production after meeting the requirements of the target plants. has also been amended.
• With this amendment, the Ministry has paved the way for release of additional coal in the market by leveraging the mining capacity of captive coal blocks.
• Due to this the production of coal has increased by 36.6 per cent to 53.27 MT in November, 2019* from 39.15 MT in the corresponding period of FY 2022.
• At the same time, due to these reforms, the domestic production of coal has increased by 9.01 percent. The total production of coal increased to 447.54 MT by November, 2021.
• Earlier this figure was 410.55 MT in the same period of the financial year 2020.
• With the increase in domestic production of coal, we have registered a significant reduction in coal imports despite an increase in power demand.
• The figure stood at 638.82 billion units during the same period of FY20. An increase of 5.17 per cent has been registered during this period.
• Import of non-coking coal, mainly used in power sector, declined by 57.59 per cent to 19.73 MT from 46.53 MT till November, 2021 as compared to the same period of FY 2020. It has opened doors to become self-reliant in coal production.
• Industrial production was severely affected in the financial year 2020-21 due to restrictions related to COVID-19. Hence, this period has not been taken for the purpose of comparison.
GS PAPER II & III
Atal Tunnel: World Book of Records
Why in News
• Atal Tunnel has been officially recognized by the World Book of Records as the ‘Longest Highway Tunnel at an altitude of more than 10,000 feet’ during a historic ceremony held on 9 February 2022 in New Delhi.
• Director General of Border Roads Organization (DGBR) received the award for the outstanding achievement of Border Roads Organization (BRO) in the construction of this excellent engineering linking Manali with Lahaul-Spiti valley.
• The World Book of Records UK, is an organization that catalogs and verifies exceptional records around the world with recognized certification.
• Visionary project and nation’s pride Atal Tunnel was dedicated to the nation by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on 03 October 2020.
• The strategically important 9.02 km long Atal Tunnel passes through ‘Rohtang Pass’, which was constructed under challenging conditions of freezing temperatures in extremely rough terrain on the Manali-Leh highway.
• Before the construction of this tunnel, this highway used to be closed for six months during the winter season separating Lahaul and Spiti from the mainland.
• Construction of Atal Tunnel has reduced the distance of 46 kms and travel time on Manali-Sarchu road from four to five hours, providing all-weather connectivity on Manali-Leh highway.
• Constructed in the Pir Panjal ranges of the Himalayas, the construction of this tunnel is as much a test of technical and engineering prowess as human endurance and mechanical effectiveness.
• It is constructed in extremely harsh and challenging terrain, where the temperature drops to minus 25 °C in winter and often the temperature inside the tunnel rises up to 45 °C.
• Problems like fragile geology and leakage of Seri Nala have come to the fore during its construction, which causes floods in the Atal Tunnel.
• It was accompanied by some major construction difficulties in the form of high loads and excessive snowfall, but the BRO staff successfully overcame these challenges.
• In keeping with its motto ‘Connecting Place Connecting People’, Border Roads Organization has built this marvel of modern engineering at Atal Tunnel, Rohtang.
• This tunnel is also turning out to be a boon for the residents of Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh, apart from providing strategic advantage to the armed forces by providing an alternate link route to the country’s crucial Ladakh region.
• With the construction of the Atal Tunnel, there has been an unprecedented increase in tourist arrivals in the region. In a little over a year, the Valley and the state have seen rapid development in the socio-economic sphere.
GS PAPER III
Tiger-infested Bali island rejuvenation
Why in News
• In the dense mangrove areas of the Sundarbans, the deserted tiger-infested Bali island has been historically rejuvenated. This island, which was completely cut off from the mainstream of development since independence, has now been spurred on by Khadi activities.
• The island of Bali has more than a hundred tiger widows (locally called Inev Bagh Bidhoba). She was associated with the spinning activity of Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) in 2018.
• They can now boast of modern facilities and modern equipment like charkha, loom and marketing support.
• These facilities have been made available to these women artisans to provide sustainable livelihood. A temporary structure set up by KVIC three years ago to start Khadi activities in the island has now been converted into a permanent workshed.
• Recently a newly constructed 3000 sq ft work shed and 500 sq ft common facility center have been inaugurated for Khadi artisans in Bali Island.
• The “Tiger Victim Khadi Harvesting Center” is now equipped with 125 new model Charkhas, 15 modern looms, which provide employment to about 150 women artisans of the island of Bali.
• KVIC has also provided ‘Yarn Dyeing Machine’ and readymade garment preparation machines to these artisans.
• The center has been modernized at a cost of Rs.95 lakh, funded by KVIC under its Khadi Reform and Development Program (KRDP) and Workshed Scheme for Khadi Artisans.
• This center is being run by a local Khadi Institute in West Bengal.
• KVIC had inaugurated spinning center in Bali Island in the year 2018 and distributed 75 charkhas to local women artisans for spinning activity.
• KVIC also distributed 500 bee-boxes containing live bee colonies to empower the economically backward people of the island to provide self-employment in the island. These artisans were also provided extensive training by KVIC.
GS PAPER III
Bi-monthly monetary policy
Why in News
• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced its bi-monthly policy decisions on 10 February 2022.
• RBI has not changed the repo rate and has kept it at 4 per cent. RBI has kept the rates unchanged for the 10th time in a row.
• RBI has also retained the reverse repo rate at 3.35 percent.
• This is the first and last bi-monthly monetary policy of this fiscal year after the central bank’s budget.
• Repo rate is the rate at which loans are given by RBI to banks. Banks give loans to customers with this loan. The lower repo rate means that many types of loans from the bank will become cheaper.
• MSF Rate and Bank Rate: At a Glance
• MSF rate and Bank rate will remain 4.25 percent without any change. RBI has also retained the reverse repo rate at 3.35 percent.
• RBI has kept the repo rate and reverse repo rate unchanged this time too without any change.
• Reverse Repo Rate is the rate at which RBI gets interest on deposits from banks. Liquidity control is done in the market through reverse repo rate.
Inflation rate forecast
• RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das, while talking about the estimate of inflation, said that 4.9 percent in the first quarter of the financial year 2022-23 and 5 percent in the second quarter of the financial year 2022-23, 4 percent in the third quarter and fourth quarter. The inflation rate is expected to be 4.2 percent.
• India largest economy
• RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said the recovery has been largely supported by vaccination and fiscal and monetary support.
• RBI Governor said that India will grow at the fastest pace as the largest economy. According to the RBI governor, the balance sheet of banks has strengthened.
• It is worth noting that RBI last changed the policy rates on 22 May 2020. Let us inform that in May 2020, the RBI had reduced key policy rates to a historic low to support the economy affected by the Kovid-19 epidemic. RBI has maintained the status quo since then.