1)Supply of Quality Coal to Power Stations :-
In order to produce better quality coal and to improve the quality as well as Gross Calorific Value (GCV) of coal, CIL(Coal India Limited) has adopted the following steps to improve the quality of coal:-
i) Selective mining by Surface Miner in opencast mine and Continuous Miner in underground mine for elimination of bands wherever necessary /feasible.
ii) Appropriate positioning of coal benches to avoid contamination.
iii) Scrapping/cleaning of coal benches before blasting.
iv) Installation of metal detectors / magnetic separators over running conveyors before coal loading.
v) Crushing arrangement are also provided for supply of sized coal for better consumer satisfaction
vi) All the major projects having high capacity coal handling plants dispatch sized and uniform quality of coal to suit the requirement of consumers.
vii) Participation of consumer representative in Joint Sampling/ Third Party Sampling and analysis of coal with consumers, based on which consumers are provided with the facility of adjustment of payment against coal value.
viii) Arrangement for awareness programmes / imparting training to the personnel involved in production of coal regarding importance of coal quality and need to improve and maintain the same during mining operations.
Coal related questions are of importance for both Prelims and Mains.In prelims 2014, UPSC has asked a question related to import of Coking Coal. Also , in Mains paper , question were asked what are the issues arising out of open-cast mining and underground mining. Hence it is important to understand how the coal mining is done and related facts about it.
Open Cast Mining :-
- Open-pit or open-cast mining is a surface mining technique of extracting rock or minerals from the earth by their removal from an open pit or borrow.
- Open-pit mines are used when deposits of commercially useful minerals or rocks are found near the surface; that is, where the overburden (surface material covering the valuable deposit) is relatively thin or the material of interest is structurally unsuitable for tunneling (as would be the case for sand, cinder, and gravel)
- Open-pit mines that produce building materials and dimension stone are commonly referred to as “quarries”
- Noise Pollution
- Run off from the coal degrades surrounding landscpae
- Scars the landscape
- Natural vegetation is lost and restoration of the landscape is almost impossible due to loss of top soil.
- Creates risks when open pits are left unfilled
- Release dust and gaseous pollutants to air
- Most coal seams are too deep underground for opencast mining and require underground mining, a method that currently accounts for about 60 percent of world coal production
- Black damp: a mixture of carbon dioxide and nitrogen in a mine can cause suffocation, and is formed as a result of corrosion in enclosed spaces so removing oxygen from the atmosphere.
- Fire damp: consists of mostly methane, a highly flammable gas that explodes between 5% and 15% – at 25% it causes asphyxiation.
- Stink damp: so named for the rotten egg smell of the hydrogen sulphide gas, stink damp can explode and is also very toxic.
- White damp: air containing carbon monoxide which is toxic, even at low concentrations
- Chronic Lung disease such as pneumoconiosis (black lung)
- Reduced Life expectancy for miners
- Mine Collapse
What is Coking Coal?
Coking coal is an essential ingredient in steel production. It is different to thermal coal which is used to generate power. Coking coal, also known as metallurgic coal, is heated in a coke oven which forces out impurities to produce coke, which is almost pure carbon.
2)”Operation Smile-II” to start from 1st January, 2016 throughout the country
- The States have so far reported that 9146 children under Operation ‘Smile’ and 19742 children under Operation “Muskaan” were rescued/rehabilitated. A large number of missing children have been reunited with their families which is a remarkable achievement made by the field offices. In order to motivate the policemen to take up such causes with sincerity and empathy
- During the operation, the particulars of such identified children will be uploaded on the ‘Missing child’ portal of the Ministry of Women and Child Development by the respective State Police. Rehabilitation measures whenever needed are to be taken up in coordination with the other line Departments like Department of Women & Child Development, Police, Labour, etc so that scope of re-victimization is eliminated. It has also been emphasized that public awareness should be increased by way of national campaign, advertisement on national media, etc.
3)Gender Gap in Labour Force :-
Increasing the female labour force participation rate is a global concern and the G-20 countries have targeted to reduce the gender gap in these rates by 25 % by 2025.
It has also been estimated by the G-20 group, that if the number of female workers were to increase to the same level as the number of men, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would expand by 5 percent in the United States, by 9 percent in Japan and by 27 percent in India.
Decline in female labour force participation rate during 2004-05 to 2011-12 may be attributed to increase in level of income in rural areas due to increase in real wages, higher level of participation in education, etc.
Government has implemented the National Career Service having a portal (www.ncs.gov.in) for online registration and posting of jobs for job-seekers and provide other employment related services.
Measures through schemes such as Ajeevika, Seeko Aur Kamao, National Rural Livelihood Mission, National Urban Livelihood Mission etc. will enhance the skill Potential of rural and urban females and make them employable
4)Special Category States :-
Special Category Status for plan assistance has been granted in the past by the National Development Council (NDC) to some States that are characterized by a number of features necessitating special consideration.
These features include:-
(i) hilly and difficult terrain
(ii) low population density and / or sizeable share of tribal population
(iii) strategic location along borders with neighbouring countries
(iv) economic and infrastructural backwardness
(v) non-viable nature of state finances
The 14th Finance Commission recommendations provide for higher share of divisible pool of central taxes for the award period of 2015-20 from the earlier 32 per cent to 42 per cent from 2015-16. This would increase the quantum of untied funds available to the States which could be utilized for the various schemes /programmes.
5)‘National Young Leaders Programme (NYLP)’ :-
‘National Young Leaders Programme (NYLP)’ was launched in December, 2014 in order to develop leadership qualities among the youth. The Scheme has the following 5 components, namely,
- a) Neighbourhood Youth Parliament (NYP): The platform of youth clubs of NYKS will be developed in the shape of vibrant ‘neighbourhood youth parliament’ to educate the youth club members about contemporary socio-economic development issues and to involve them in debate/ discussions on such issues.
- b) Youth for Development Programme (YFD): To channelise the immense youth energy towards the nation-building, by involving them in Shramadaan (voluntary labour) on a large-scale all over the country.
- c) National Young Leaders Awards (NYLA): To motivate the youth to strive for excellence in their respective fields by recognising and rewarding the outstanding work done by them.
- d) National Youth Advisory Council (NYAC): to seek active involvement of the youth leaders as well as other stakeholders in the decision-making process on the youth related issues.
- e) National Youth Development Fund (NYDF): To mobilise funds for youth development from non-Government sources like CSR funds.
6)TAPI Pipeline project:-
The Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India Pipeline (TAPI), also known as Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline, is a natural gas pipeline being developed by the Asian Development Bank.
The pipeline will transport Caspian Sea natural gas from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan into Pakistan and then to India.
The launch of TAPI also marks the first step towards fulfilling the vision of an economically integrated region stretching from the Bay of Bengal to the Caspian Sea.
IPI -Iran-Pakistan-India is also another pipeline which is yet to take shape.