Current based PRELIMS QUESTION 26 May 2020

1. Consider the following statements with respect to the India’s thermal coal imports.
1. India’s thermal coal imports rose 12.6 percent to nearly 200 million tonnes in 2019.
2. Coal is among the top five commodities imported by India, the world’s largest consumer, importer and producer of the fuel.
3. Indonesia accounted for nearly 60% of India’s thermal coal imports in the April-December period, followed by South Africa accounted for 22% and Russia and Australia accounting for over 5% each.
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?
(a) 2 and 3 only
(b) 1 and 2 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Answer-d
Explanation-
India’s coal imports rise:
1. India’s thermal coal imports rose 12.6 percent to nearly 200 million tonnes in 2019. This is the second straight year of growth in shipments of the fuel.
2. Imports of coking coal – used mainly in the manufacturing of steel – fell marginally, following two straight years of increase.
Key facts:
Coal is among the top five commodities imported by India, the world’s largest consumer, importer and producer of the fuel.
Indonesia accounted for nearly 60% of India’s thermal coal imports in the April-December period, government data showed, while South Africa accounted for 22% and Russia and Australia accounting for over 5% each.
Coal 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.
Categorization of Resources
The Coal resources of India are available in older Gondwana Formations of peninsular India and younger tertiary formations of north-eastern region.
Based on the results of Regional/ Promotional Exploration, where the boreholes are normally placed 1-2 Km apart, the resources are classified into ‘Indicated’ or ‘Inferred’ category.
Subsequent Detailed Exploration in selected blocks, where boreholes are less than 400 meter apart, upgrades the resources into more reliable ‘Proved/Measured’ category.
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 following three types:
Anthracite: It is the best quality of coal with highest calorific value and carries 80 to 95% carbon content. It ignites slowly with a blue flame and 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 has deposits of Lignite.
Peat is the first stage of transformation from wood to coal with low calorific value and less than 40% carbon content.
History of Coal Mining in India
India has a long history of commercial coal mining covering nearly 220 years starting from 1774 by M/s Sumner and Heatly of East India Company in the Raniganj Coalfield along the Western bank of river Damodar.
However, for about a century the growth of Indian coal mining remained sluggish for want of demand but the introduction of steam locomotives in 1853 gave a fillip to it.
Within a short span, production rose to an annual average of 1 million tonne (mt) and India could produce 6.12 mts. per year by 1900 and 18 mts per year by 1920.
The production got a sudden boost from the First World War but went through a slump in the early thirties. The production reached a level of 29 mts. by 1942 and 30 mts. by 1946.
With the advent of Independence, the country embarked upon the 5-year development plans. At the beginning of the 1st Plan, annual production went up to 33 mts.
During the 1st Plan period itself, the need for increasing coal production efficiently by systematic and scientific development of the coal industry was being felt.
Setting up of the National Coal Development Corporation (NCDC), a Government of India Undertaking in 1956 with the collieries owned by the railways as its nucleus was the first major step towards planned development of Indian Coal Industry.
Along with the Singareni Collieries Company Ltd. (SCCL) which was already in operation since 1945 and which became a Government company under the control of Government of Andhra Pradesh in 1956, India thus had two Government coal companies in the fifties.
SCCL is now a joint undertaking of Government of Andhra Pradesh and Government of India sharing its equity in 51:49 ratios.
Nationalisation of Coal Mines
Right from its genesis, the commercial coal mining in modern times in India has been dictated by the needs of the domestic consumption.
On account of the growing needs of the steel industry, a thrust had to be given on systematic exploitation of coking coal reserves in Jharia Coalfield.
Adequate capital investment to meet the burgeoning energy needs of the country was not forthcoming from the private coal mine owners.
Unscientific mining practices adopted by some of them and poor working conditions of labour in some of the private coal mines became matters of concern for the Government.
On account of these reasons, the Central Government took a decision to nationalise the private coal mines.
The nationalisation was done in two phases, the first with the coking coal mines in 1971-72 and then with the non-coking coal mines in 1973.
In October, 1971, Coking Coal Mines (Emergency Provisions) Act, 1971 provided for taking over in public interest of the management of coking coal mines and coke oven plants pending nationalisation.
This was followed by the Coking Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1972 under which the coking coal mines and coke oven plants other than those with the Tata Iron & Steel Company Limited and Indian Iron & Steel Company Limited, were nationalised on from May 1972 and brought under Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL), a new Central Government Undertaking.
Another enactment, namely the Coal Mines (Taking Over of Management) Act, 1973, extended the right of the Government of India to take over the management of the coking and non-coking coal mines in seven States including the coking coal mines taken over in 1971.
This was followed by the nationalisation of all these mines in May 1973 with the enactment of the Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1973 which now is the piece of Central legislation determining the eligibility of coal mining in India.
After nationalisation of the coal industry in India, India never witnessed demand-supply gap until 1991.
After liberalisation reforms in 1993, to focus on the increasing energy demand, the government decided to allocate coal mines to various players for captive consumption (in captive mining coal is taken out by a company for its own use and it won’t be able to sell it in the market). Also the power sector reforms of 2003, resulting in significant growth in power sector.
Increasing demand of Coal by growing power sector could not be fulfilled by the state run CIL in the meantime, leading to higher demand-supply gap. This resulted into higher demands of imports.
By 2012, this demand-supply gap widened to near 20%. Moreover, the LARR Act, Forest Rights Act etc., also challenged the further expansion of coal mines.
The CAG report followed by the Supreme Court verdict in 2014 resulted into cancellation of allocation near all coal mines allocated after 1993.
GoI enables allocation of coal mines through auctions by enacting the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015.
In February 2018, CCEA permitted entry of private firms in commercial coal mining in the country.
Government Initiatives
In April 2018, The Ministry of Coal has launched 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 people.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved a new coal linkage policy to ensure adequate supply of the fuel to power plants through reverse auction. The new policy will help in ensuring fuel supplies to the power plants in an organised manner.
Ministry of Coal has developed 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.
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.
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.

2. Consider the following statements with respect to the Immediate Mobile Payment Service (IMPS).
1. IMPS is a multi-channel, multi-dimensional inter-bank electronic fund transfer platform that allows customers to transfer money electronically within fraction of seconds with all the standards and integrity maintained for security.
2. This service is offered by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) that empowers customers to transfer money instantly through banks and RBI authorized Prepaid Payment Instrument Issuers (PPI) across India.
3. There is no transaction time for using this fund transfer service (IMPS is 24/7 service) but there is a cap on maximum transaction which is up to 1 Lakhs.
4. This is the simplest form of fund transfer, all you need is just the recipients AADHAAR number or mobile number linked tp Bank account
Which of the following statements is/are correct?
(a) 1, 2 and 3 only
(b) 2, 3 and 4 only
(c) 1, 2 and 4 only
(d) All of the above
Answer-c
Explanation-
Immediate Mobile Payment Service (IMPS)
Immediate Mobile Payment Service (IMPS)-Immediate Mobile Payment Services is an instant inter-bank funds transfer system.
This funds transfer method is more customer-centric than the other two as it allows the remitter to transfer funds using their smartphones (only available in online mode).
Unlike the other two services there is no transaction time for using this fund transfer service (IMPS is 24/7 service) but there is a cap on maximum transaction which is up to 2 Lakhs.
While NEFT and RTGS was introduced by RBI (Reserve Bank of India), IMPS was introduced by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).
Services available under IMPS
Funds Transfer and Remittances
1. Sending Money
2. Receiving Money
Query Service on Aadhaar Mapper (QSAM)-QSAM (Query Service on Aadhaar Mapper) – This service helps user in knowing their Aadhaar Seeding status with their bank account.
1. This service can be availed by dialling *99*99#
2. User will know whether his/her AADHAAR number is seeded/linked to any bank account number or not
3. If yes, then with which bank and when it was last updated

3. Consider the following statements about Ramanujacharya.
1. He taught people that Divine entails rather than transcends all qualities.
2. He became a priest in the temple Varadaraja at Kanchi where he began to expound the doctrine who aspires to final release or moksha from transmigration.
3. He wrote commentary on the Bhagavad Gita known as the Bhagavadagita Bhashya.
Which of the following statements is/are correct?
(a) 2 and 3 only
(b) 1 and 2 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Answer-d
Explanation-
Ramanujacharya
Ramanujacharya is also known as Ramanuja. He was born in 11th century around 1017 A.D. in a Tamil Brahmin family in Sriperumbudur village of Tamil Nadu.
His birth name was Lakshmana and was also referred as Ilaya Perumal that is ‘the radiant one’. His legacy as a theologian, teacher and philosopher remains alive.
The northern and southern tradition of Vaishnavism was combined by him and he also strengthened the religious belief and the worship of Lord Vishnu.
He taught people that Divine entails rather than transcends all qualities. At the age of 120, he left the world in 1137 CE in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu.
Ramanujacharya: Early Life
About 25 miles west of Madras, Ramanujacharya was born in about 1017 in Sriperumbudur village. His father was Keseva Samayaji and his mother name was Kantimathi.
He married Rahshambal in around 1033. After the few days of wedding, his father died and he left alone with lot of grief. He with his mother and wife went to Kanchipuram and settled there.
It is said that Ramanuja’s marriage life lasted until he was thirty, when he gave up the worldly life for religion.
Ramanuja’s cousin, Govina Bhatta was his closest friend. He played an important role in Ramanuja’s life.
Ramanujacharya: Later Life
Under the teacher Yadava Prakasha, he learnt so many things in the school. Later, he had a vision of god Vishnu. Then, he started doing worship of Vishnu Narayana daily.
He became a priest in the temple Varadaraja at Kanchi where he began to expound the doctrine who aspires to final release or moksha from transmigration and further he told that Brahman is identified with the personal god Vishnu.
He was also associated with Ranganatha temple where he establish the teaching that the worship of god and the soul is an essential part of the doctrines of the Upanishads on which the system of Vedanta is built, therefore the teachings of the Vaishanavas and Bhagavatas are not heterodox. He returned to Shrirangam after 20 years and organised the temple worship, founded around 74 centres to disseminate his doctrine. And at the age of 120, he passed away.
Ramanujacharya: Philosophy and Teachings
Do you know that at the age of 16, he had mastered all the Vedas and Shastras.
He accepted that on three main points any Vedanta system is based namely the Upanishads, the Brahma-Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita.
He didn’t wrote any commentary on Upanishad but explained in detail all the methods of understanding Upanishads in his first major work known as Vedartha-Samgraha that is the summary of the meaning of the Veda.
His views are also seen through his commentary on the Brahma-Sutras known as the Shri- Bhashya. He also wrote commentary on the Bhagavad Gita known as the Bhagavadagita Bhashya.
He gave bhakti an intellectual basis with the pursuits of his philosophy. No doubt his contribution to Vedanta was highly significant. He emphasised on the necessity of religious worship as a means of salvation which continued to be more systematic in the devotional effusions of the Alvars who were the poet-mystics of Southern India (&-10th century). Their verse also incorporated in to the temple worship. His bhakti also made a way to northern India.
He also accepted the reality of three distinct orders: matter, soul and God. Ramanuja travelled throughout the country and spread the message of Visishtadvaita.
Do you know that Yagna Murthi by name confronted him for 16 days in endless arguments and counter arguments? Finally, he accepted defeat and became a disciple of Ramanuja and changed his name as ‘Arulala Perumal Emperumanar’. He wrote ‘Gnana Sara, and Prameya Saram’.
Ramanuja’s one of the most important disciples who were totally devoted to him was Kuresan also known as Kurattalwani. Ramanujacharya mastered the Bodhaayana Vritti of Sage Vyaasa, he wrote various works like Vedanta Sangraham by explaining the various viewpoints of Sankara, Yadhava, Bhaskara and others Vedanta Deepam, Geetha Bashyam etc. Later, he wrote a granth namely Nityam.
Ramanujacharya’s birthplace is now commemorated by a temple in Sriperumbudur and also in an active Vishishtadvaita school.
His religious practices and the doctrines that he had promulgated are also carried in two most important Vaishnava centres: the Ranganatha temple in Shrirangam, Tamil Nadu and the Venkateshvara temple in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh in South India.
So, we can say that Ramanujacharya was the greatest synoptic thinker who had systematised the Visishtadvaitic philosophy and faithfully interpret the ancient knowledge with several texts, letters. His teachings and philosophy are still practiced in southern India.

4. Consider the following statements regarding the Asset Quality Review (AQR).
1. AQR is the result of asset quality inspection by the RBI on commercial banks and main feature of AQR is that it may not be periodic and rather it is random check.
2. The AQR by the RBI revealed higher level of asset quality deterioration or NPAs with the inspected banks.
3. Banks were reported to be hiding bad assets under the practice of forbearance, but AQR has sidelined such practices to estimate the accurate level of NPAs.
Which of the following statements is/are correct?
(a) 2 and 3 only
(b) 1 and 2 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Answer-d
Explanation-
Asset Quality Review (AQR)
One of the leading financial sector problems is the rising NPAs with the banking system. In this context, accurately estimating asset quality is an important responsibility of the RBI. The central bank has several ways to examine the status of asset quality of banks. The most used one is the Annual Financial Inspection (AFI) through which the RBI makes inspects the balance sheets of every banks annually.
But the rising level of NPAs has tempted the RBI to come out with additional inspections on the balance sheets of the banks to check the genuine nature of bank assets. The RBI during 2015 has conducted inspection of selected banks’ balance sheets in random. The report from such inspection is termed as Asset Quality Review (AQR). So, AQR is the result of asset quality inspection by the RBI on commercial banks. Main feature of AQR is that it may not be periodic and rather it is random check.
Why the AQR became necessary?
RBI had a strong notion that some of the banks are underreporting their NPAs. Asset classification practices are not up to the mark and several banks have resorted to evergreening of accounts. Here, banks were postponing bad-loan classification while depicting accounts as performing.
AQR exercises
RBI made special inspections during August-November 2015 and prepared the AQR. Sample size of loans was bigger during the exercise. After the AQR, banks were given two quarters to complete the asset classification. RBI later revealed that AQR will not be made an annual or a frequent exercise.
Results of the AQR
The AQR by the RBI revealed higher level of asset quality deterioration or NPAs with the inspected banks. As per the review, almost all public-sector banks were having higher NPAs. In the case of private sector banks, the impact was limited to big lenders like ICICI Bank and Axis Bank.
Banks were reported to be hiding bad assets under the practice of forbearance. Actually, forbearance is a temporary postponement of mortgage payments. It is in the form of repayment relief granted by the bank to the borrower. Asset Quality Review has sidelined such practices to estimate the accurate level of NPAs.

5. Consider the following statements regarding the International Solar Alliance (ISA).
1. The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is a treaty-based international organization.
2. All costs relating to the running of the ISA will be funded through voluntary contributions of member-countries, partner countries, partner organisations and Strategic Partners.
3. The ISA was launched at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in November, 2015.
Which of the following statements is/are correct?
(a) 2 and 3 only
(b) 1 and 2 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Answer-d
Explanation-
International Solar Alliance (ISA)
The ISA is an Indian initiative which was launched by the Prime Minister of India and President of France on 30 November 2015, in Paris, France, on sidelines of COP-21. This treaty-based intergovernmental organization is an alliance of 121 solar resource-rich sunshine countries lying fully or partially between tropic of cancer and tropic of capricorn as prospective members.
The ISA is now perceived as key towards achieving 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and objectives of Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
Objectives: ISA aims to lower the cost of energy, increase investment in renewable energy, as well as train and share knowledge and technological know-how among the member countries. ISA’s overarching objective is to collectively address key common challenges to scaling up of solar energy in ISA member countries.
ISA Assembly: It is the supreme decision-making body of ISA. It gives directions on various administrative, financial and programme-related issues.
The second ISA Assembly was hosted by Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), and presided by MNRE Minister R K Singh who is also the President of ISA. Brune Poirson, the
French Minister for Ecological and Inclusive Transition is the current co-president of ISA. The first ISA Assembly was held in October 2018.