‘India needs to focus on increasing coking coal production to cut imports’ - The Daily Guardian
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‘India needs to focus on increasing coking coal production to cut imports’

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India needs aggressive focus on increasing coking coal production to reduce import dependence. The Minister for Coal, Mines, and Parliamentary Affairs, Pralhad Joshi, said this while inviting suggestions from all stakeholders for finding technology solution and using available coking coal in the country.

The minister was addressing at the Workshop on Coking Coal Strategy for Indian Steel Sector, moving towards an Atmanirbhar Bharat, organised by the Ministry of Coal, the state-owned Coal India Limited, and the Confederation of Indian Industry. Speaking at the occasion, the minister stated that there has been increase in import of coking coal in the last few years although coking coal production also increased to 51.7 Mt.

This year in 2022-23 in the first quarter the growth in coking coal production was 26%. The coking coal block auction has received a lukewarm response from industry and Ministry of Coal is keen to understand the issues faced by industry in this regard. The minister invited Amrit Manthan on finding technology solution and powerful strategies for using available coking coal in the country which will help the sector aligning with the Prime Minister’s five-point vision towards an Atmanirbhar Bharat.

The policy enablers are in place mainly with the amendments of MMDR Act with respect to relaxation of norms for private sector in allocation of coking coal mining blocks, exploration norms, and 50% rebate for coal gasification, among others. Government is ready to bring in place all measures to enhance coking coal production, the minister added, with the abandoned coal blocks being sought from PSUs to be auctioned and rolling auction in commercial coking coal Blocks.

There are nine new coking coal washeries having capacity 30 MT to be set up by CIL and the necessary infrastructure reform has been made towards that.

Shri Sanjay Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Steel made a narrative on domestic coking coal production while highlighting the dichotomy of coking coal. The Steel sector needs 60 MT coking coal, 90% of which is met through imports. The ministry has initiated working on a strategy for having domestic coal use in blast furnaces and washeries and increase domestic coal blending to 25-35%. Shri Singh suggested for increase in consumption and scrap generation as short-term strategy and four-time production increase in the longer-term for lowering dependence on iron ore and coking coal.

Shri A K Jain, Secretary, Ministry of Coal too acknowledged the significant progress in coking coal production. The next attention needs to be on exploring billion tons of domestic coking coal. Highlighting Government’s mission strategy for augmenting coking coal, Shri Jain said, coking coal is a fuel for the steel sector and reforms are needed to track investment in the industry, especially in the coal abundant areas. Significant use of technology will be in focus for washing coal, lowering ash content and further bringing end to end solution to enhance domestic coking coal production. The government is open to all ideas including opening of closed washeries, leasing out washeries set up by CIL, managing coking coal mines, and integrating technology applications.

Welcoming the minister and other dignitaries in the seminar, Shri Pramod Agrawal, Chairman, Coal India Limited emphasised on a four-point agenda of bringing balance between the supply and demand sides of coking coal, delineating the role of private sector, improving the quality by substituting low-grade coal, and bringing high focus on technology integration.

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Policy & Politics

Kharge resigns as Rajya Sabha Lop, following ‘one person, one post’ formula

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Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge submitted his resignation as Leader of the Opposition in the Upper House as he filed his nomination for the party’s chief post, after the Udaipur announcement of “one person, one post.”

“I hereby tender my resignation from the post of Leader of Opposition, Rajya Sabha, consequent upon my filing of nomination for the post of President, All India Congress Committee,” Kharge said in his letter to interim party president Sonia Gandhi.

In February 2021, Kharge took over as the Leader of the Opposition in the Upper House following Ghulam Nabi Azad’s retirement. If Kharge, who is considered to be the front-runner, is chosen as the party president, the Congress may need to find a new LoP in the Rajya Sabha.

Although the selection process for Kharge’s replacement won’t begin until the results are announced, party leaders said that Digivjaya Singh, Mukul Wasnik, or Ranjit Ranjan may be possible candidates.

According to party insiders, Singh, who opted out of the race to support Kharge, might emerge as a possible successor to Kharge. “He doesn’t hold any organisational position and a leader from the Hindi belt can also act like a balancing factor,” said a leader, adding that senior party leader Mukul Wasnik may also be considered. Among women leaders, Ranjit Ranjan, a fierce orator from Bihar, or Gujarat’s former leader of the Opposition Shakti Sinh Gohil could also be considered, said a Congress leader from Rajya Sabha.

In an April 2022 decision, the Udaipur Chintan Shivir demanded that the policy be put into effect at all party levels.

Ashok Gehlot, the chief minister of Rajasthan, decided not to run for president of the Congress after Rahul Gandhi’s strongly advocated “one person, one post” formula sparked an uprising inside the state party last week. A majority of Congress MLAs in Rajasthan staged a separate meeting and prevented the adoption of a one-line resolution authorising the party leader to propose Gehlot’s replacement.

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As ‘Bharat Jodo’ enters Karnataka, rattled BJP gives front-page ad that distorts history: Jairam Ramesh

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As Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra entered the BJP-ruled state, according to Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Saturday, the BJP placed a front page advertisement in a Kannada newspaper. Ramesh said in a tweet, “The advertisement mischievously distorts history as usual. Savarkar propounded two-nation theory & Jinnah ensured it got done. Syama Prasad Mukherjee, founder of Jan Sangh championed partition of Bengal.” BJP is rattled by the yatra’s success, the Congress leader continued.

The Bharat Jodo Yatra of Rahul Gandhi entered the election-bound state of Karnataka on Friday. There, the yatra will travel 511 kilometres across seven districts in 21 days.

Rahul Gandhi remarked in a statement at the beginning of the march’s Kerala leg that the Bharat Jodo Yatra is the voice of the nation and that no one can stop it.

“Entire control is lying with the (Central) government. If we speak in Parliament, they shut our microphones,” Rahul Gandhi said.

A new Rahul Gandhi and a new Congress party have emerged from the Bharat Jodo Yatra which forced the BJP and the RSS on the backfoot, Jairam Ramesh said on Friday. “People asked who is ‘thodoing’ (breaking) Bharat for Congress to do Bharat Jodo, our answer is Mr Modi’s ideology, policies, personality is thodoing Bharat. Because economic inequality is increasing, social polarisation is increasing and political over-centralisation is increasing, the Congress is doing this yatra,” Jairam Ramesh said.

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Rajnath Singh Urges Industry cooperation to take Indian defence sector to new heights

Government Steps to Improve Defence Industry manufacturing eco system are showing results: RM

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Rajnath Singh

Introduction
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh exhorted the Indian defence Industry to make new investments and lay more emphasis on research & development to scale new heights. He was addressing the 117th Annual session of PHD Chamber of Commerce & Industry (PHD-CCI ) held in New Delhi on September 30th, 2022. “Make new investments, put more emphasis on research & development, and harness its full potential to take the Indian defence industry to new heights. This effort of yours will be very important not only for the defence industry, but also for the overall growth of the entire country,’ he said.
Raksha Mantri added that the Indian defence sector offers immense potential and the companies even from abroad see opportunities. PHD-CCI being one of the oldest industry associations having many national and international members could act as ambassador of the Indian defence industry. “Your roots are spread far and wide in the country and abroad. You can fulfil your role by communicating with all the domestic and foreign companies, connecting them with the Indian defence industry and acting as a bridge between these two,” he said
Appreciating the PHD-CCI for scheduling a dedicated session on ‘Make in India: A success story of India’s Defence Indigenization’ Raksha Mantri said that this is equally related to the national security, and the economic progress of the country. National security is one of the most important components in the progress of a nation. The social, economic and cultural upliftment of the nation are not possible without security.. India had paid the price in past for neglecting national security. Even after independence not enough attention was given to make defence sector strong and self-reliant, he lamented.
Striking an optimistic note, Raksha Mantri said that Indian defence industry is progressing steadily in partnership with private sector.”There was either no way for the private sector in the past to enter the defence sector, and even if there was some scope, the industry was not ready to set foot in the defence sector due to various reasons”. These reasons were lack of political will, appropriate policy to incentivize their entry, high investment and long gestation period.
Raksha Mantri noted that the government has removed these bottlenecks and played the role of an incubator, catalyst, consumer and facilitator in the case of private industry. Several steps have been taken by the Ministry of Defence, under the ‘Make in India’ and ‘Self-reliant India’ initiatives of the Government, to change the old traditions, and to create a manufacturing climate, in which the public and private sectors could participate.
Elaborating upon the far-reaching reforms undertaken by the MOD to bolster the private sector participation in defence sector, Raksha Mantri said that Government labs opened to the private industry, transferred technology at zero fee, provided access to test facilities, and upfront funding through DRDO was provisioned.
The Ministry of Defence has issued 3 positive indigenization lists of 309 items which will be procured from domestic vendors as per norms. Three lists have also been issued by Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSU), in which more than 3700 are Line Replacement Units, Sub-systems and other Components. In addition, an iDEX initiative has been launched to encourage innovators and start-ups. The policy decision has been taken to increase the limit of FDI to 74% by the automatic route, and to 100% by the government route in special cases. Government has taken several steps like introduction of defence industrial corridors– two Industrial corridors have been set up each in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, corporatization of OFB which creates win-win situation for armed forces, industry, start-ups and innovators, said Raksha Mantri.
He further said : “The magnitude of all these efforts is beginning to come before us. Today we are not only producing to meet our own defence needs, but also fulfilling the defence needs of many other countries under ‘Make for the World’. It is a matter of great happiness that defence exports have increased manifold from what we used to have, and have reached Rs 13,000 crores last year. We used to be counted as one of the biggest arms importers in the world until now. But today we are one of the top 25 arms exporting countries of the world. We have targeted a turnover of Rs 1.75 lakh crore in defence manufacturing, including Rs 35,000 crore from exports in aerospace, and defence goods and services by 2025.”
PHD-CCI is one of the oldest chambers in the country. Since its establishment in 1905, it has been proactive National Apex Chamber working at the grass-root level and with strong national and international linkages. The Chamber acts as a catalyst in the promotion of industry, trade and entrepreneurship. PHD Chamber, through its research-based policy advocacy role, positively impacts the economic growth and development of the nation.

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Indian Railways to release its new All India Railway time table

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Indian Railways to release its new All India Railway time table

The Ministry of Railways will be releasing its new All India Railway Time Table known as “TRAINS AT A GLANCE (TAG)” effective from 1st October, 2022. The new Trains at a Glance will also be available w.e.f. 1st October, 2022 on Indian Railways’ official website i.e. www.indianrailways.gov.in.

Highlights of the new time table are as follows:
I. Indian Railways runs about 3,240 Mail/Express trains which include Vande Bharat Express, Gatimaan Express, Rajdhani Express, Shatabdi Express, Humsaafar Express, Tejas Express, Duronto Express, Antyodaya Express, Garib Rath Express, Sampark Kranti Express, Yuva Express, Uday Express, Janshatabdi Express and other types of trains. In addition, about 3,000 Passenger trains and 5,660 suburban trains are also operated over the Indian Railways network. The volume of passengers carried daily is about 2.23 Crore.
II. To clear extra rush and meet passenger demand, more than 65,000 Special train trips were operated during 2021-22. About 566 coaches were permanently augmented to increase the carrying capacity.
III. Maximize the utilization of rolling stock:
i. During review of the lie over of rakes it was observed that the rakes can be better utilized for extending the existing services or increasing the frequency. This would maximize the utilization of the rolling stock and provide better connectivity to the travelling passengers.
ii.During the year 2021-22, 106 new services were introduced, 212 services were extended and frequency of 24 services was increased.
IV. Proliferation of Premium Trains:
i. At present, Vande Bharat Express trains are operating between New Delhi – Varanasi and New Delhi – Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra. One more Vande Bharat Express train has been introduced between Gandhinagar Capital and Mumbai Central w.e.f. 30.09.2022. It has been proposed to introduce more Vande Bharat Express trains over the Indian Railways network.
ii. Tejas Express services offering onboard services like entertainment, local cuisine, wifi etc. are also being proliferated over Indian Railway network. At present, 7 pairs of Tejas Express services are operational over Indian Railways.
V. Provision of Corridor Blocks in the working Time-Table of the divisions:
To provide sufficient time for the maintenance of the fixed infrastructure like track structure, signaling gears, overhead equipments, it has been planned to ensure provision of fixed corridor blocks. The duration of these corridors blocks will be from 3 hours in each section. This will not only improve the reliability of the assets but also enhance the passenger safety.
X. Conversion of Rakes ICF to LHB:
The conversion of Mail/Express trains operating with ICF design rakes is being undertaken to improve passenger safety and provide faster transit with better riding comfort. Indian Railways converted 187 Rakes of ICF to LHB for the period of 2021-2022.
VII. Efforts to improve punctuality of late running trains:
Necessary changes in the time table have been incorporated to improve punctuality. Due to concerted efforts the punctuality of Mail/Express trains has improved by about 9% as compared to the punctuality during pre Covid (2019-20).
viii. Standardization of rakes:
The rakes at different maintenance depots have been standardized by integration of the rake links to improve flexibility in operations and thereby help in improving punctuality.
IX. Replacement of conventional Passenger trains with MEMU/DEMU:
In the year 2021-22, 60 number of conventional passenger services have been replaced by MEMUs thereby increasing the overall mobility of the system.
X. Availability of Trains at a Glance as “e-Book”:
As a part of digitalization of train Time Table, Trains at a Glance (TAG) will now also be available as ‘e-Book’ which can be downloaded from IRCTC website (www.irctc.co.in & www.irctctourism.com).

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Strict Action against defaulters: Union Environment Minister Bhupendra Yadav

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Strict Action against defaulters: Union Environment Minister Bhupendra Yadav

Union Minister of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav, conducted a detailed review on 30.09.2022 on measures and actions planned towards abatement of air pollution by all stakeholders concerned in the National Capital Region and adjoining areas, in the wake of poor air quality conditions generally prevailing during the period between October – January each year,
Union Minister impressed upon key sectors that contribute to air pollution and are critical in the ensuing 3-4 months period. He emphasized that source of air pollution such as paddy stubble burning, open biomass / municipal solid waste burning, industrial emissions and particulate matter / dust emissions from construction / demolition activities and roads / open areas were directed to be focussed for concerted preventive and mitigative actions.
Union Minister directed for timely and effective implementation of various components of the detailed plan of actions, developed by the NCR States and Punjab, pursuant to CAQM Framework / Directions on management of paddy stubble burning. Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change called upon Punjab to expand the coverage of area under Bio-Decomposer through pro-active action by the State Government specially since a very marginal increase had been proposed in the coverage of area under Bio-Decomposer i.e. form 7500 acres in 2021 to merely 8000 acres in 2022.
Chairman, CAQM also emphasized the need of time bound implementation of the action plan particularly by the State of Punjab. Optimal utilisation of available crop residue management machinery with the states was identified as a key factor towards effective management of stubble. Extensive use of technology and mobile applications for mapping the demand and supply of such CRM machinery through the CHCs and cooperatives was emphasised upon during the meeting. It was also stressed upon enhancing the net of PUSA bio‑decomposer application for in-situ management of the stubble. Towards ex-situ utilisation of paddy straw various options are now being progressed with including biomass power generation, bio-ethanol production, CBG production, co-firing in thermal power plants, fuel for industrial boilers and other misc. applications, composting, cattle fodder and misc. commercial applications in furnishing materials and packaging etc. Progress on co-firing of biomass in thermal power plants has not been up to the desired levels and the Minister called for immediate corrective measures by Thermal Power Plants to substantially enhance co-firing. The Minister asked CAQM to utilize his statutory powers to take action against the defaulting the Power plants and also any other defaulting entities.
Union Minister expressed his concern and dis-satisfaction with the preparedness of Punjab in taking concrete action on the ground towards Air Quality Management while pointing out that the State Government had not planned adequately for management of almost 5.75 million tons of stubble which is a huge gap and was likely to have an adverse impact on the air quality in Delhi and NCR region.
The Minister exhorted the need to switch over to clean fuels for industrial applications and directed for a quick transition to clean fuels as per the approved standard fuel list for NCR as directed for by the CAQM. Controlling heavy pollution from a large number of diesel generator sets operating in NCR was also identified as key action area and the Minister emphasised on strict implementation of restrictions on use of DG Sets and emission control measures in this context.
The review highlighted the need for effective dust control measures in various anthropogenic activities, construction / demolition activities, roads and open areas. Effective utilisation and augmentation of mechanised road cleaning equipment, water sprinklers and anti-smog guns by NCR State Governments / GNCTD was also emphasized during the meeting.
Considering the criticality of air pollution related mattes including the weather conditions around Diwali festival, the Minister directed for special and timely measures to control the air pollution levels.
As air pollution in the region is a multi-dimensional and multi-sectoral phenomenon, spreading across geographical boundaries, the Minister reiterated the need for collective and concerted efforts of all the stakeholder agencies, departments in the State Govts. and public at large towards abatement of air pollution in the region and to this effect directed that all directions, orders and guidelines of the CAQM / CPCB/ State Pollution Control Boards be implemented in right earnest and critically monitored / reviewed periodically by the authorities concerned.
Senior officials from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change including Secretary, Chairman, Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM), Secretary in-charge in the State Govts. of Punjab, Haryana, UP and GNCT of Delhi, Chairman, Central Pollution Control Board, NCR State Pollution Control Boards, DPCC and other major stakeholders participated in the review meet.

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India today aspires to take our ranking in the GII Index to the top 25: Piyush Goyal

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Union Minister for Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Textiles, Piyush Goyal said that India had come a long way in the Global Innovation Index (GII) from the 81st spot in 2015 to the 40th spot in 2022 today. ‘We were 46 last time the ranking was done. We have also maintained 1st rank in ICT services exports over the years’ he added. Shri Goyal was delivering a virtual message to mark the launch of the Global Innovation Index, 2022 by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
The Minister said that GII has established itself as a tool for Governments across the world to reflect upon policies and their impact. “GII has over the years recognized India’s continuous rise due to the progressive measures taken by the government and industry working hand in hand”, he added. He also expressed his gratitude to WIPO on behalf of 1.3 billion Indians and said that India today aspires to take our ranking in the GII Index amongst top 25, he said.
India Innovating Like Never Before!
India climbs to the 40th rank in the Global Innovation Index of @WIPO, a huge leap of 41 places in 7 years.
The steady rise testifies that India under the leadership of PM @NarendraModi ji is rapidly emerging as the global innovation hub. pic.twitter.com/pltqW8kdUh
— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) September 29, 2022
Goyal said that Innovation has been a catalytic force for the economy and society. “Though innovation implies novelty, it is also rooted in tradition for us in India. Ancient scientific knowledge including the Vedas and traditional medicine are a testament to India’s innovative spirit”, he added.
The Minister said that India had established the first of its kind Global Centre for Traditional Medicines in collaboration with the WHO, representing India’s ancient scientific prowess.
Goyal said that as the importance of the ‘knowledge economy’ grows, innovation will lay the roadmap for development in India. “We have been working to strengthen Research & Development across sectors as amplified by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s clarion call to make innovation our nation’s mission”, he added.
The Minister noted that agility, enthusiasm and energy of our youth are powering the start-up ecosystem. He observed that India today the 3rd largest start-up ecosystem and is home to over a 100 unicorns. “Start up revolution has spread across India. Over half the start-ups are from remote small towns”, he said.
Goyal opined that incubation, handholding, funding, industry-academia partnership and mentorship have stirred entrepreneurial spirit across the country. He said that India had embarked on the ‘Digital India’ journey in 2015 and have set up a goal of a trillion-dollar digital economy in the next few years. “Digitization of Government initiatives and public services has been our continuous focus”, he observed.
The Minister outlined several areas in which digital technologies are employed from mapping capital assets using GIS technology to revolutionizing payments through UPI. In fact, 40% of global real-time digital transactions happened in India last year, he underscored. “To further strengthen innovation, we have introduced the National Education Policy, which promotes the spirit of enquiry by setting up incubation & technology development centers. With over 9000 Atal Tinkering Labs, we encourage youth to develop solutions to society’s problems”, he added.
Shri Goyal also stressed that India has taken up structural reforms to strengthen its IPR regime including modernization of IP office, reducing legal compliances and facilitating IP filing for start-ups, women entrepreneurs, the small industries and others. “Domestic filing of Patents registered a 46% growth in the last 5 years. We are now transitioning to a knowledge-based economy”

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