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Ministry to grade Coal India mines

  1. News: The Coal Controller’s Organisation, a Coal Ministry outfit, has been tasked with grading and notifying the mines of Coal India Ltd. from April 2017
  2. The change: This marks a significant change from the present practice of internal grading by Coal India
  3. This could also lead to a major change in the existing grades accorded to the mines
  4. Until now, the grading was done by the coal-producing subsidiaries of CIL and was vetted by the CCO
  5. Why change: The change has been triggered by a new thrust on quality following recurring complaints on coal quality and grade mismatch by coal consumers in both the power and the non-power sectors
  6. It was felt that while CIL had geared itself up to produce coal as per demand, quality still remained an issue
  7. In between coal-seams, presence of layers of stone and extraneous material lead to variation in grades


Important for prelims as well as mains.

Q. With reference to two non-conventional energy sources called ‘coalbed methane’ and ‘shale gas’, consider the following ‘statements: [Prelims 2014]

1. Coalbed methane is the pure methane gas extracted from coal seams, while shale gas is a mixture of propane and butane
only that can be extracted from fine-grained sedimentary rocks.
2. In India abundant coalbed methane sources exist, but so far no shale gas sources have been found.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: (d)

[pib] What is TAMRA

  1. TAMRA Portal and Mobile Application to ensure transparent award of Statutory Clearances for Mining Operations
  2. Transparency, Auction Monitoring and Resource Augmentation (TAMRA) is a Portal and Mobile Application, developed by the Ministry of Mines
  3. It was simultaneously launched across 12 mineral rich States

Salient features:

  1. It has an objective to enhance transparency and accountability, as a part of the Ease of Doing Business in the Mining sector
  2. TAMRA is a step to speed up mining activity in India and facilitate all the stakeholders to track the status of the statutory clearances associated with mining blocks for getting mines to reach till operationalisation for the same
  3. It will be an interactive platform for all the stakeholders to compress the timelines for statutory and other clearances as it would help minimize the gestation period for commencing production
  4. In case of delay in obtaining any clearances, TAMRA will send triggers to the concerned authority so that the remedial steps can be taken immediately by those responsible
  5. The Ministry of Mines will also receive triggers generated by TAMRA, which will facilitate in expediting clearances in case the timelines set against each of the statutory clearances are not met
  6. Further, the status of each of the clearances will be reflected on the portal


The information is very important for Prelims.


[pib] 4 Objectives of New Energy Policy & its difference from the old one

  1. The 4 key objectives of the NEP are: Access at affordable prices,
  2. Improved energy security and independence,
  3. Greater sustainability and
  4. Economic growth
  5. Previous Policy = Integrated Energy Policy (IEP). What’s the difference?
  6. NEP includes the issues related to sharp decline of crude oil prices, change in solar energy technology, heightened concern of climate change issues, ambitious target of Renewable energy and rural electrification agenda
  7. The policy is being discussed by NITI Aayog with different stake holders

What is Star rating system for mines?

  1. It rates mines out of five stars
  2. A two-layered system: First a self-evaluation by the mine operator & then validated by the Indian Bureau of Mines under the Ministry of Mines
  3. Objective: To bring all mines to minimum 4- or 5-star rating in the shortest possible time
  4. Parameters: Efforts taken to mitigate environmental impact of the mines and to resettle and rehabilitate the people affected and the adoption of international standards for mining operations and reporting
  5. There will be random third-party checks to see whether the information provided by the operators is correct, and there should be penalties for those providing false information

Centre unveils Internet portal for online tracking of mines

  1. News: The Ministry of Mines unveiled a web portal for the easy access to information regarding the mining sector in India, including a framework for rating mines
  2. Star ratings: The Ministry, through the Indian Bureau of Mines, has developed a template for the star rating of mines
  3. Web portal: Will have all the ratings of the mines and will also have information of the Sustainable Development Framework (SDF) for the mining sector

Days of coal shortage over: Union Secretary

  1. News: The increase in the production of coal has led to 15% reduction in the imports
  2. The govt. has done necessary ground work for auctioning of coal mines for private commercial mining
  3. Future: Coal India is now looking forward to 1-billion-tonne production by 2019-20, with a projected demand of around 1,200 million tonnes

Union Budget 2016-17: Coal cess doubled

  1. News: Finance Minister increased the cess on coal production from Rs 200 per tonne to Rs 400 per tonne
  2. The Clean Energy Cess would be renamed as Clean Environment Cess
  3. Background: In 2010, it was introduced as Rs 50 per tonne and this was the third time the cess was doubled
  4. Statistics: India produces coal about 600 million tonnes a year and imports about 150 million tonnes every year to meet its demand
  5. Impact: Along with domestically produced coal, the cess also applies to imported coal

‘Uncover’ project of the Geological Survey of India

  1. Context: state-of-the-art project to be implemented in 2 selected areas in the country is focused on probing for deep seated/ concealed mineral deposits
  2. Relevance: This programme is also one of the important action points of the draft National Mineral Exploration Policy (NMEP)
  3. Main components:
  • Characterizing India’s geological cover
  • Investigating lithospheric architecture
  • Resolving 4D geodynamic and metallogenic evolution
  • Detecting and characterizing the distal footprints of ore deposits

Coal linkages to steel, aluminium, cement sectors only via auction

Move for transparency & level-playing field; follows SC declaring allocation of 204 coal mines/blocks as illegal due to arbitrary procedure.

  1. This was decided by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) which met under Prime Minister Modi
  2. The auction ensures all market participants have a fair chance to secure the coal linkage, irrespective of their size
  3. It attempts to ensure an optimal allocation of coal across user industries and geographies
  4. The cabinet allowed the railways ministry to form joint venture (JV) companies with the state governments
  5. To mobilize resources for undertaking various rail infrastructure projects in states

Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) (Amendment) Bill, 2016

The new law will allow companies that received mining licences without having gone through the auction process to transfer these leases.

  1. The 2015 law allowed transfer of mines allotted through auctions but was silent on captive mining licences allotted in the past on the basis of recommendations by a screening committee.
  2. It will make M&As easier in the steel cement, and metals sectors.
  3. It gives acquirers raw material security and scope for its optimal use in end-use plants in the cement, steel and aluminium sectors.
  4. It will also help banks liquidate such licences if they have been mortgaged to it..

Govt to amend mining law

The govt will amend the mining law in order to facilitate transfer of mines allotted for captive use to end-user industries.

  1. It seeks to unlock thousands of crore worth of investments stuck in debt-laden minerals and commodities sector.
  2. It will also allow mergers and acquisitions of companies and facilitate ease of doing business for companies.
  3. Thid will improve profitability and decrease costs of the companies dependent on supply of mineral ore from captive leases.

Let’s know about Mines and Minerals Act 2015

  1. The Act was made to ensure transparent auctions of minerals and
    revolutionary change in the sector.
  2. The mining sector in India has been mired in controversy over the illegal allocation of resources.
  3. Earlier MMDR Act, 1957 regulated the mining sector in India and specified the requirement for obtaining and granting mining leases for mining operations.
  4. The 2015 law included bauxite, iron ore, limestone and manganese ore as notified minerals.
  5. The Bill provides for the creation of a District Mineral Foundation and a National Mineral Exploration Trust.

Govt. to amend ‘deal-breaker’ mining law in Budget session

The govt is planning to amend a law which is holding up mergers and acquisitions in the distressed commodities and mining sector.

  1. The current law is holding up mergers and acquisitions worth thousands of crore.
  2. The deals are stuck in a no-go zone due to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act of 2015.
  3. The act doesn’t allow transfer of captive mines allotted to end-user plants in the past.
  4. Govt. will amend this act because there is no alternative method to allow such acquisitions of captive mineral assets in the present law.

:( We are working on most probable questions. Do check back this section.

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