DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 12th August 2023

  • IASbaba
  • August 12, 2023
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Steel Authority of India (SAIL)


  • Prelims –Economy

Context: The Steel Authority of India (SAIL) has registered a growth of 8 percent in Crude Steel Production and 23 percent in Sales Volumes over the corresponding last year (2022).


  • This is its best-ever performance in Crude Steel Production and Sales.
  • It added that its turnover has increased by just one percent due to a decline in price realization, irrespective of the increase in the prices.

About the Steel Authority of India (SAIL):-

  • Establishment:
  • Ministry: Ministry of Steel and Mines.
  • HQ: New Delhi.
  • Vision: To be the leader in the Indian steel business in quality, productivity, profitability, and customer satisfaction.
  • Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) is one of the largest steel-making companies in India. (PLI Scheme For Specialty Steel)
  • It is one of the Maharatnas of the country’s Central Public Sector Enterprises.
    • Maharatnas : it is a category of Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) that meets certain operational and financial eligibility such as average annual turnover, annual net worth, and net profit after tax.

Ownership and Management of SAIL:-

  • The Government of India owns about 65% of SAIL’s equity and retains voting control of the Company.
  • However, SAIL, by virtue of its ‘Maharatna’ status, enjoys significant operational and financial autonomy.

Functions of SAIL:-

  • It produces iron and steel at five integrated plants and three special steel plants.
  • It manufactures and sells a broad range of steel products.
  • It handles Strategically Located Integrated Operations with Access to Resource Base Including Large Landbank, Captive Mines.
  • It has an in-house R&D centre, a centre for engineering & technology, and captive engineering shops for Research and Development.

Integrated Steel Plants of SAIL:-

  • Bhilai Steel Plant: Chhattisgarh  ( Integrated Steel Hub)
  • Durgapur Steel Plant: West Bengal  
  • Rourkela Steel Plant: Odisha
  • Bokaro Steel Plant: Jharkhand     
  • IISCO Steel Plant: West Bengal  




Q.1) Consider the following minerals: (2020)

  1. Bentonite
  2. Chromite
  3. Kyanite
  4. Sillimanite

In India, which of the above is/are officially designated as major minerals?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 4 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 2, 3, and 4 only

Q.2) Steel slag can be the material for which of the following? (2020)

  1. Construction of base road
  2. Improvement of agricultural soil
  3. Production of cement

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme


  • Prelims –Economy

Context: Recently, the government said that it has disbursed 2,900 crore rupees till March 2023, under the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme.

About Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme:-

  • Launched:2020.
  • To enhance India’s Manufacturing capabilities and Exports, Union Budget 2021-22 announced the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for 13 key sectors.

Objectives of the PLI scheme:-

  • To boost domestic manufacturing and cut down on import bills.
  • Introduce non-tariff measures that make imports more expensive.
  • Promote domestic manufacturing by offering production incentives.
  • Attract core knowledge competency and cutting-edge technologies.
  • Promote job generation and employment.
  • Construct district-level export hubs.

Salient Features of the PLI Scheme:-

  • Incentives: incentive of 4% to 6% on incremental sales (over base year) of goods manufactured in India and covered under target segments, to eligible companies.
  • Time Period: incentives will be available for a period of five (5) years.
  • Base year for the calculation of incentives: (FY) 2019-20.
  • The Scheme will be implemented through a Nodal Agency which shall act as a Project Management Agency (PMA).


  • All manufacturing companies which are either Indian or have a registered unit in India will be eligible to apply for the scheme.
  • These companies can either create a new unit or seek incentives for their existing units from one or more locations in India.
  • Exception: all investments done by companies on land and buildings for the project will not be considered for any incentives or determine eligibility of the scheme.

Sectors under PLI Scheme:-

  • Mobile Manufacturing and Specified Electronic Components (Production Linked Incentive Scheme (PLI) For Large Scale Electronics Manufacturing)
  • Critical Key Starting materials/Drug Intermediaries & Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients
  • Manufacturing of Medical Devices
  • Automobiles and Auto Components
  • Pharmaceuticals Drugs
  • Specialty Steel
  • Telecom & Networking Products
  • Electronic/Technology Products ( Production Linked Incentive scheme (PLI) for IT Hardware)
  • White Goods (ACs and LEDs)
  • Food Products
  • Textile Products: MMF segment and technical textiles (Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for Textiles)
  • High-efficiency solar PV modules
  • Advanced Chemistry Cell (ACC) Battery
  • Drones and Drone Components

Benefits of the PLI Scheme:-

  • Boost domestic manufacturing and attract large investments in the electronics value chain.
  • Encourage local companies to set up or expand existing manufacturing units.
  • Inviting foreign companies to set up shops in India.
  • Target labor-intensive sectors in the hope to create new jobs in India.

MUST READ: Production Linked Incentives in Key Sectors



Q.1) With reference to foreign-owned e-commerce firms operating in India, which of the following statements is/are correct? (2022)

  1. They can sell their own goods in addition to offering their platforms as marketplaces.
  2. The degree to which they can own big sellers on their platforms is limited.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.2) Which of the following activities constitute a real sector in the economy? (2022)

  1. Farmers harvesting their crops
  2. Textile mills converting raw cotton into fabrics
  3. A commercial bank lending money to a trading company
  4. A corporate body issuing Rupee Denominated Bonds overseas

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2, 3 and 4 only
  3. 1, 3 and 4 only
  4. 1, 2, 3 and 4

Increase in the number of Elephants


  • Prelims –Environment and Ecology

Context: Recent estimates suggest that the number of elephants in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu has increased.


  • Karnataka’s elephants increased from 6,049 in 2017 to 6,395 in 2023, the reports showed.
  • In Tamil Nadu, there was a rise to 2,961 in 2023 from 2,761 in 2017.
  • Meanwhile, in Kerala, the population has dropped from 9,026 to 4,306 in the same period.
  • The overall elephant population for the three states was registered to be 13,662 in 2023, compared to 17,836 in 2017.

About Asian Elephants:


  • Height: Males: 9.0 ft and Females: 7.9 ft.
  • Weight: Males: 4.4 short tons and Females: 3.0 short tons.
  • Distribution: India, Nepal, Bangladesh, China, Laos, Malay, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam, Sumatra, Sri Lanka.
  • In India: Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Western Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Southern part of West Bengal, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
  • Global Population: Estimated 20,000 to 40,000.
  • More than 60% of the world’s elephant population is in India. (Technology and Conservation: Elephants counted from Space)
  • There are three subspecies of Asian elephants which are the Indian, Sumatran, and Sri Lankan.

Conservation Status:-

  • International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of threatened species:
    • African Forest Elephant– Critically Endangered
    • African Savanna Elephant– Endangered
    • Asian Elephant– Endangered
  • Convention of the Migratory Species (CMS): Appendix I
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I

Concerns regarding Elephants:-

  • Escalation of poaching. (Project Re-Hab)
  • Habitat loss.
  • Human-elephant conflict.
  • Mistreatment in captivity.
  • Abuse due to elephant tourism.

Government and International Initiatives:-

  • Project Elephant: it was launched in 1991-92 as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme of the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
  • Elephant Reserves were created to safeguard their population.
  • Elephant Reserves: Elephant Reserve is a management entity notified by the State Governments as per the recommendation of the Government of India.
  • Monitoring of Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) Programme: it was mandated by the Conference of Parties (COP) resolution of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
  • It was launched to build institutional capacity within the range of States for the long-term management of their elephant populations.
  • Important Mike Sites in India:
    • Chirang-Ripu Elephant Reserve (Assam)
    • Deomali Elephant Reserve ( Arunachal Pradesh )
    • Dihing Patkai Elephant Reserve ( Assam )
    • Garo Hills Elephant Reserve ( Meghalaya )
    • Eastern Dooars Elephant Reserve ( West Bengal )
    • Mayurbhanj Elephant Reserve ( Odisha )
    • Shivalik Elephant Reserve (Uttarakhand )
    • Mysore Elephant Reserve ( Karnataka )
    • Nilgiri Elephant Reserve ( Tamil Nadu)
    • Wayanad Elephant Reserve ( Kerala)

 MUST READ: Elephant Conservation



Q.1) Which of the following is not a bird? (2022)

  1. Golden Mahseer
  2. Indian Nightjar
  3. Spoonbill
  4. White Ibis

Q.2) With reference to Indian elephants, consider the following statements: (2020)

  1. The leader of an elephant group is a female.
  2. The maximum gestation period can be 22 months.
  3. An elephant can normally go on calving till the age of 40 years only.
  4. Among the States in India, the highest elephant population is in Kerala.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 4 only
  3. 3 only
  4. 1, 3, and 4 only

Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA)


  • Prelims –Environment and Ecology

Context: The Pilibhit Tiger Reserve and Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) has joined hands for turtles and tortoises conservation.


  • Pilibhit Tiger Reserve, formulated its inaugural ‘five-year plan’ to safeguard turtles, conduct species identification and estimate their populations both within and outside the reserve.

About Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA):-

  • Formed: 2001.
  • HQ: USA.
  • Objective: it is a global partnership committed to achieving zero turtle extinctions in the 21st century.
  • It was initially designated a Task Force of the IUCN Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. (Indian Tent Turtles)

Activities of TSA:-

  • Captive breeding and reintroduction programs.
  • In and ex-situ conservation programs.
  • Research and surveys.

Pilibhit Tiger Reserve:-

  • Location: Pilibhit and Shahjahanpur district of Uttar Pradesh.
  • It forms the part of Terai Arc Landscape in the upper Gangetic Plain.
    • Terai Arc Landscape (TAL): an 810 km stretch between the river Yamuna in the west and the river Bhagmati in the east.
  • It is one of the finest examples of the exceedingly diverse and productive Terai ecosystems.
  • The northern edge of the reserve lies along the Indo-Nepal border while the southern boundary is marked by the river Sharada and Khakra.
  • 2014: It was notified as Tiger Reserve.
  • 2020: it bagged the international award TX2 for doubling up the number of tigers in the past four years.
  • Flora: It has high sal forests, plantations, and grasslands with several water bodies.
  • Fauna: Wild animals include tiger, swamp deer, Bengal florican, leopard, etc.

Turtle And Tortoise:-

  • They are the reptiles of the order Testudines.
  • They are characterized by a special bony or cartilaginous shell developed from their ribs and acting as a shield.
  • Habitat: freshwater or saltwater.
  • Turtles are cold-blooded species.
  • Tortoises are land dwelling.

Conservation status of turtles found in India:-

  • Olive Ridley – Vulnerable
  • Green turtle – Endangered
  • Loggerhead – Vulnerable
  • Hawksbill – Critically Endangered
  • Leather back – Vulnerable
  • Indian Wildlife Protection Act of 1972: Schedule I.
  • They are also protected under the Biodiversity Conservation and Ganga Rejuvenation programme.

MUST READ: Pilibhit Tiger Reserve bags international award TX2



Q.1) Certain species of which one of the following organisms are well known as cultivators of fungi? (2022)

  1. Ant
  2. Cockroach
  3. Crab
  4. Spider

Q.2) With reference to Indian laws about wildlife protection, consider the following statements: (2022)

  1. Wild animals are the sole property of the government.
  2. When a wild animal is declared protected, such animal is entitled to equal protection whether it is found in protected areas or outside.
  3. Apprehension of a protected wild animal becoming a danger to human life is sufficient ground for its capture or killing.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2
  2. 2 only
  3. 1 and 3
  4. 3 only

National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP)


  • Prelims –Governance

Context: Around Rs 79 crore was transferred to ineligible beneficiaries under the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) between 2017 and 2021.


  • An audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has revealed the information regarding the transfers.

About National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP):-

  • Started: 1995.
  • Ministry: Ministry of Rural Development
  • Objective: to provide financial assistance to Below Poverty Line (BPL) individuals, elderly, widows, and persons with disabilities.
  • Significance: It represents a significant step towards the fulfillment of the Directive Principles in Article 41 of the Indian Constitution.

Salient Features of NSAP:-

  • It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme. (NSAP)
    • Centrally Sponsored Schemes: schemes that are implemented by state governments of India but are largely funded by the Central Government with a defined State Government share.
  • It provides financial assistance to Below Poverty Line (BPL) individuals, the elderly, widows and persons with disabilities, and bereaved families on the death of a primary breadwinner, in the form of social pensions.

Components of NSAP:-

  • At its inception, NSAP had three components:-
    • National Old Age Pension Scheme (NOAPS),
    • National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS) and
    • National Maternity Benefit Scheme (NMBS).
  • The National Maternity Benefit Scheme (NMBS) was subsequently transferred to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in 2001.
  • Presently, NSAP comprises five schemes:-
    • Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS),
    • Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme (IGNWPS launched in 2009),
    • Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme (IGNDPS launched in 2009),
    • National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS) and
    • Annapurna (launched in 2000).
  • Eligibility and scale of assistance:-


  • The eligible age for IGNOAPS is 60 years.
  • The pension is Rs 200 per month for persons between 60 – 79 years.
  • For persons who are 80 years and above the pension is Rs 500/ – pm.


  • The eligible age is 40 years and the pension is Rs 300 pm.
  • After attaining the age of 80 years, the beneficiary will get Rs 500/ – pm.


  • The eligible age for the pensioner is 18 years and above and the disability level has to be 80% (Dwarfs are eligible).
  • The amount is Rs 300 pm and after attaining the age of 80 years Rs 500/ – pm.


  • Rs 20000/ – will be given as a lump sum assistance to the bereaved household in the event of the death of the breadwinner.

Annapurna Scheme:

  • 10 kgs of food grains (wheat or rice) is given per month per beneficiary.
  • The scheme provides food security for those eligible old-aged persons who are not covered by the IGNOAPS.

MUST READ: Old Pension vs New Pension Scheme (NPS)



Q.1) With reference to Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission, consider the following statements: (2022)

  1. Private and public hospitals must adopt it.
  2. As it aims to achieve universal health coverage, every citizen of India should be part of it ultimately.
  3. It has seamless portability across the country.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Q.2) In India, which one of the following compiles information on industrial disputes, closures, retrenchments, and lay-offs in factories employing workers? (2022)

  1. Central Statistics Office
  2. Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade
  3. Labour Bureau
  4. National Technical Manpower Information System

PUShP portal


  • Prelims –Governance

Context: Recently, the National Power Committee (NPC) favored offering incentives for buying & selling power on the PUShP portal.

About the PUShP portal:-

  • Launched:
  • Ministry: Ministry of Power.
  • Objective: to enhance power availability during peak demand periods by enabling certain categories of sellers to offer power at prices surpassing the Rs 12 per unit ceiling.
  • It is a national-level generating capacity utilization mechanism to help States, which are facing power cuts, buy power.
  • The tariffs are regulated and determined by the concerned regulatory commissions.
  • It facilitates the submission of surplus power availability by power distribution companies (DISCOMs) across various time blocks, days, or months.
  • DISCOMs in need of power can requisition the surplus power indicated on the portal. (State of DISCOMs)

Transaction mechanism:-

  • The new buyer acquires the surplus power and pays both variable charge (VC) and fixed cost (FC) as determined by Regulators.
  • Upon reassignment, the original beneficiary relinquishes the right to recall, transferring the entire FC liability to the new beneficiary.


  • Reduces fixed cost burden on DISCOMs. Issues with DISCOMS)
  • Maximizes the utilization of available generation capacity.

Progress so far:-

  • It has seen 17 States utilizing it.
  • So far, 14 requests have been processed and the power has been reallocated to the new beneficiaries.

MUST READ: India’s Power Crisis



Q.1) With reference to the ‘Banks Board Bureau (BBB)’, which of the following statements are correct? (2022)

  1. The Governor of RBI is the Chairman of BBB.
  2. BBB recommends the selection of heads for Public Sector Banks.
  3. BBB helps the Public Sector Banks in developing strategies and capital raising plans.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Q.2) Consider the following statements: (2022)

  1. In India, credit rating agencies are regulated by the Reserve Bank of India.
  2. The rating agency popularly known as ICRA is a public limited company.
  3. Brickwork Ratings is an Indian credit rating agency.

Which of the statements given above is correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3


Smartphone Ban in Schools


  • Mains – GS 2 (Governance)

Context: Recently, UNESCO recommended a universal ban on the usage of smartphones in schools.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Recommendation:

  • Caution against Uncritical Embrace of Digital Technology: UNESCO has warned against blindly adopting digital products in education, pointing out that there is limited robust evidence to support the benefit of digital technology in learning.
  • Negative Link Between Screen Time and Education: The study reveals that higher screen time among young people aged 2 to 17 is associated with poorer well-being, reduced curiosity, self-control, and emotional stability, along with higher levels of anxiety and depression diagnoses.
  • Smartphone Ban in Schools: UNESCO’s report endorses the idea of banning smartphones in schools, especially when technology integration fails to improve learning or adversely affects student well-being.
  • Concerns About Digital Infrastructure Costs and Inequality: The cost of moving to basic digital learning in low-income countries and connecting all schools to the internet in lower-middle-income countries would add 50% to their current financing gap for achieving national SDG 4 targets.
  • Children’s Privacy and Data Protection: The report underscores the risk to children’s privacy posed by indiscriminate use of digital technology in education.
    • The report reveals that only 16% of countries guarantee data privacy in education by law.

Mobile and smartphone users in India:

  • India has 1.2 billion mobile phone users and over 600 million smartphone users. That figure is expected to cross a billion by 2026, according to a Deloitte study, indicating that a future world will be dependent on these small devices.
  • However, one place where smartphone usage has become controversial is the classroom.

Countries restricting mobile use in schools:

  • In England, children are allowed to bring in their phones from about Year 4 and Year 5, but they will have to deposit their phones.
  • In Finland, from about 12 years of age, they are allowed to bring their phones along with them and they are allowed to keep it in their hands even when the classes are run.
  • Earlier, Australia had no restrictions, but post-COVID, looking at the mental well-being and the emotional well-being, at the behaviour problems, which have started; they have also brought in some kind of restrictions with regard to usage of smartphones inside the campuses.
  • While India does not have a legal ban on smartphones in schools, state governments and school, administrations take their own call on the matter.

Arguments against using smartphones by students:

  • Engagement on social media: Children studying in schools are getting too much engaged in social media, playing games leading to complete decline in their focus on academic tasks.
  • UNESCO’s rationale: UNESCO has clearly warned against an uncritical rush towards embracing digital products in educational settings.
    • There is little evidence of digital technology’s benefit in education. However, there is a clear threat also, with the report highlighting that mere proximity to a mobile device was found to distract students.
    • This is more than sufficient for us to understand that mobile phones should not be allowed in the education system.
  • Addiction and anxiety issues: Psychologists also advocate that mobile phones are addictive in nature, and can hinder concentration and social skills, and cause an increased number of anxiety and mental illness cases.
    • Students are vulnerable to cyber bullying, comparisons, unrealistic standards, resulting in depression, feelings of inadequacy.
  • Disparities among students: It might raise the disparities among students belonging to various socio-economic backgrounds, because students with access to the latest expensive devices could experience an advantage, while those with limited resources might feel left out or stigmatized.
    • The presence of mobile phones also increases the risk of theft, and schools may struggle to manage security.
  • Healthy learning: It is argued that we should promote more face-to-face interaction to maintain academic integrity and to foster a healthy learning atmosphere.
    • Because in those times when there were no mobile phones in the class, then also learning happened.

Concern Raised on smartphones in School:

  • Dangers and Alarming Research: Research from the London School of Economics suggests that not allowing mobile phones in schools enhances academic performance.
  • Addictive nature of Mobile phones: Psychologists also raise concerns about the addictive nature of mobile phones, their potential to hinder concentration and social skills, and their contribution to increased anxiety and mental illness cases.
  • Vulnerability to Cybercrime: Schools can be vulnerable to problems like cybercrime due to the presence of mobile phones, as they are seen as sensitive targets.
  • Disparities in Socio-Economic Backgrounds: Potential disparities could arise due to varying access to smartphones among students from different socio-economic backgrounds.
    • Students who cannot afford high-end smartphones may feel left out or stigmatized, affecting their confidence and overall engagement in learning activities.

Way Forward:

Digital technology, including artificial intelligence, should always be subservient to a human-centred vision of education, and never replace face-to-face interaction with teachers and neglect the social dimension of education. The digital revolution holds immeasurable potential but just as warnings have been voiced for how it should be regulated in society, similar attention must be paid to the way it is used in education.

Source:   The Hindu

Mines and Mineral Bill 2023


  • Mains – GS 2 (Governance)

Context: The Parliament recently passed the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2023.

Scenario of the Mining Sector in India:

  • Mining industry plays a crucial role in the country’s economy, serving as the backbone for manufacturing and infrastructure sectors.
  • According to the Ministry of Mines (UPSC CSP: Bureau of mines), the total value of mineral production (excluding atomic and fuel minerals) during 2021-22 amounted to Rs. 2, 11,857 crore.
  • India ranks 4th globally in terms of iron ore production and is the world’s 2nd largest coal producer as of 2021.
  • Combined Aluminium production (primary and secondary) in India stood at 4.1 MT per annum in FY21 becoming the 2nd largest in the world.
  • In 2023, the mineral’s demand is likely to increase by 3%, driven by expanded electrification and overall economic growth in India. ( Deep sea mining)

Key Features of the Bill:

  • It was passed to attract private sector investment in the exploration of critical and deep-seated minerals in the country.
  • The Bill puts six minerals used in electric vehicle batteries and other energy storage into a list of critical and strategic minerals.
    • It includes lithium, beryllium, niobium, titanium, tantalum, and zirconium.
  • The exploration and mining of these minerals (previously classified as atomic minerals), were restricted to government-owned entities.
  • The Bill seeks to bring exploration processes at par with that of developed countries by getting private sector capacity into exploration.
    • In Australia and multiple other jurisdictions globally, private mining firms (junior explorers), engage in risk-taking by putting their expertise and limited financials into explorations to find potential mines.
  • The Bill allows prohibited activities under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act (MMDR) like pitting, trenching, drilling, and sub-surface excavation as part of reconnaissance including mapping and surveys.
    • Once discovered, these private companies can sell these to bigger mining companies who then develop and run these mines.
  • This would multiply exploration projects and accelerate the pace of exploration.

Significance of private sector participation in the exploration of critical and deep-seated minerals:

  • Expertise and Innovation: Private companies often bring specialized technical expertise and innovative approaches to mineral exploration. They invest in advanced exploration techniques, technologies, and methodologies that can lead to more efficient and effective discovery of mineral resources.
  • Accelerated Exploration: Private companies, often referred to as junior explorers, have the flexibility and incentive to accelerate exploration efforts. Their focus on quick and efficient project development can lead to a higher number of exploration projects, increasing the chances of discovering new mineral deposits.
  • Increased Investment: Private sector involvement attracts investment from various sources, including venture capital, private equity, and exploration-focused funds. This infusion of funds can lead to larger exploration budgets, enabling more extensive and in-depth exploration activities.
  • Resource Multiplication: Private exploration firms can multiply the number of exploration projects compared to government agencies alone. This diversification increases the likelihood of discovering valuable mineral resources across different geographic regions.
  • Reduced Burden on Government: Engaging the private sector in mineral exploration reduces the financial burden on government agencies, allowing them to allocate resources to other critical areas while benefiting from private sector investments.
  • Efficient Resource Allocation: Private companies typically allocate resources based on market demand and economic viability. This market-driven approach can lead to the discovery of minerals that are in high demand and align with the country’s industrial and technological needs.
  • Technology Transfer and Capacity Building: Private sector participation facilitates technology transfer from experienced explorers to local professionals, enhancing domestic capacity and knowledge in mineral exploration.
  • Competition and Collaboration: Private sector participation fosters healthy competition among exploration firms, encouraging them to innovate and adopt best practices. Collaboration between government agencies and private firms can lead to synergies and knowledge sharing.
  • Job Creation and Economic Growth: Exploration activities create jobs and stimulate local economies. Private sector involvement can lead to increased employment opportunities and economic development in regions with potential mineral resources.

Issues with the Bill:

  • The primary way to generate revenue for a private company with an exploration license would be a share of the premium paid by the miner.
    • A successfully discovered mine should be auctioned and operationalized for that purpose.
  • The Bill has a provision that if the resources were proven after exploration, the state government would conduct a mining lease auction within six months of the submission of the report by the exploration license holder.
    • Such a process would take a long time to materialize owing to government timelines for clearances, the complexity of the deposit, and geography.
  • It would be difficult to find the value of the minerals before exploration and using the auction method of allocation for exploration licenses.
  • A huge capital investment is needed to discover natural resources through exploration and mining contracts.
  • In the new policy, only the government can auction the discovered mineral, but the explorer would only get a share of the premium at an unknown stage.
  • This is unlike other global jurisdictions where private explorers can sell their discoveries to miners.

Supreme Court directions:

  • It ruled that the First Come First Served (FCFS) method was vulnerable to manipulation, favoritism, and misuse, asking the government to adopt a transparent and reasonable method.
  • Auction that was duly published and fair would be the best method for resource distribution.
  • Auctions were not the only available method for mineral extraction.
  • The method should be fair, reasonable, non-discriminatory, transparent, non-capricious, unbiased, and without favoritism or nepotism.
  • It should promote healthy competition and equitable treatment.

Way Forward:

Private players always get motivated by the profit they are going to make. If government want them to participate in the exploration of critical minerals in India, it needs to provide them certainty of the revenue stream from that investment, then only, India’s efforts towards self-sufficiency will be successful.

Source:  The Hindu

Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q1) Consider the following pairs:

Steel Plants Location
1.IISCO Steel Plant West Bengal
2.Visvesvaraya Iron & Steel Plant Tamil Nadu
3.Salem Steel Plant Karnataka

How many of the above pairs are correctly matched?

  1. Only one
  2. Only two
  3. All three
  4. None

Q2) Consider the following statements


Annapurna Scheme provides 10 kgs of food grains (wheat or rice) is given per month per beneficiary.


National Social Assistance Programme is a centre sector scheme.

Which one of the following is correct in respect of the above statements?

  1. Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is the correct explanation for Statement-I
  2. Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is not the correct explanation for Statement-I
  3. Statement-I is correct but Statement II is incorrect
  4. Statement-I is incorrect but Statement II is correct

Q3) Consider the following statements


Leatherback is critically endangered under the IUCN red list.


Loggerhead turtle is Vulnerable under the IUCN red list.

Which one of the following is correct in respect of the above statements?

  1. Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is the correct explanation for Statement-I
  2. Both Statement-I and Statement-II are correct and Statement-II is not the correct explanation for Statement-I
  3. Statement-I is correct but Statement II is incorrect
  4. Statement-I is incorrect but Statement II is correct

Mains Practice Questions

Q.1) Examine the rationale behind recommending a universal ban on the usage of smartphones in schools. Suggest the middle path for balancing digital literacy along with implementing such bans. (250 words)

Q.2) Despite India being one of the countries of Gondwanaland, its mining industry contributes much less to its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in percentage. Discuss. (250 words)

Comment the answers to the above questions in the comment section below!!

ANSWERS FOR ’ 12th August 2023 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.st

ANSWERS FOR 11th August – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – b

Q.2) – b

Q.3) -c

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