geography

Arctic Region and Arctic Council

The Arctic is a polar region located at the northernmost part of Earth.

8 Jul, 2020

BRAHMAPUTRA AND ITS TRIBUTARIES

About Brahmaputra River: The Brahmaputra called Yarlung

3 Jul, 2020
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    Current Affairs – 15th February 2022

    1.    PSLV AND SATELLITE LAUNCH

    • News: ISRO had its first launch of 2022 on 14th February 2022.
    • About PSLV:
      • The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) is an expendable medium-lift launch vehicle designed and operated by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
      • It was developed to allow India to launch its Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites into sun-synchronous orbits, a service that was, until the advent of the PSLV in 1993, commercially available only from Russia.
      • PSLV can also launch small size satellites into Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO).
      • Some notable payloads launched by PSLV include India’s first lunar probe Chandrayaan-1, India’s first interplanetary mission, Mars Orbiter Mission (Mangalyaan) and India’s first space observatory, Astrosat.
      • PSLV has gained credibility as a leading provider of rideshare services for small satellites, owing to its numerous multi-satellite deployment campaigns with auxiliary payloads, usually ride-sharing along with an Indian primary payload.
      • As of February 14, 2022 the PSLV has made 54 launches, with 51 successfully reaching their planned orbits, two outright failures and one partial failure, yielding a success rate of 94% (or 96% including the partial failure).
      • All launches have occurred from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, known before 2002 as the Sriharikota Range (SHAR).

    2.    MINES AND MINERALS

    • News: Environment clearance issued to as many as 60 mining areas has paved the way for legal mining of bajri (riverbed sand) in Rajasthan, more than four years after the Supreme Court banned the sand mining activities in riverbeds until a scientific replenishment study was completed.
    • About Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act:
      • The Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act (1957) is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted to regulate the mining sector in India. It was amended in 2015 and 2016.
      • This act forms the basic framework of mining regulation in India.
      • This act is applicable to all mineral except minor minerals and atomic minerals.
      • It details the process and conditions for acquiring a mining or prospecting licence in India.
      • Mining minor minerals comes under the purview of state governments.
      • River sand is considered a minor mineral.
      • For mining and prospecting in forest land, prior permission is needed from the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
    • About Minor Minerals:
      • “Minor Minerals” means building stones, gravel, ordinary clay, ordinary sand other than sand used for prescribed purposes, and any other mineral which the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare to be a minor mineral.
      • Major minerals are those specified in the first schedule appended in the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 (MMDR Act 1957) and the common major minerals are Lignite, Coal, Uranium, iron ore, gold etc. It may be noted that there is no official definition for “major minerals” in the MMDR Act.
      • Hence, whatever is not declared as a “minor mineral” may be treated as the major mineral.
      • The major-minor classification has nothing to do with the quantum /availability of these minerals, though it is correlated with the relative value of these minerals. Further, this classification is based more on their end use, rather than level of production, level of mechanization, export and import etc. (eg. Sand can be a major mineral or a minor mineral depending on where it is used; same is the case for limestone.)
      • India produces as many as 88 minerals which include 4 fuel minerals, 3 atomic minerals, 26 metallic & non-metallic minerals and 55 minor minerals (including building and other materials and the recently notified 31 additional minerals).
      • The central government has the power to notify “minor minerals” under section 3 (e) of the MMDR Act, 1957. On the other hand, as per Section 15 of the MMDR Act, 1957 State Governments have complete powers for making Rules for grant of concessions in respect of extraction of minor minerals and levy and collection of royalty on minor minerals.
      • In addition to the minor minerals specified in Section 3(e) of the MMDR Act, the Central Government has declared the following minerals as minor minerals:
        • boulder,
        • shingle,
        • chalcedony pebbles used for ball mill purposes only,
        • lime shell, kankar and limestone used in kilns for manufacture of lime used as building material,
        • murrum,
        • brick-earth,
        • fuller’s earth,
        • bentonite,
        • road metal,
        • reh-matti,
        • slate and shale when used for building material,
        • marble,
        • stone used for making household utensils,
        • quartzite and sandstone when used for purposes of building or for making road metal and household utensils,
        • saltpeter and
        • ordinary earth (used or filling or leveling purposes in construction or embankments, roads, railways, building).
      • Further, Ministry of Mines, on 10 February 2015, notified 31 additional minerals, hitherto under the list of major minerals, as minor minerals. These 31 minerals account for over 55% of the total number of leases and nearly 60% of total leased area. This was done with the intention to “devolve more power to the States, and consequently, expedite the process of mineral development in the country”. The 31 additional minerals notified as minor minerals are:
        • Agate;
        • Ball Clay;
        • Barytes;
        • Calcareous Sand;
        • Calcite;
        • Chalk;
        • China Clay;
        • Clay (Others);
        • Corundum;
        • Diaspore;
        • Dolomite;
        • Dunite/pyroxenite;
        • Felsite;
        • Felspar;
        • Fireclay;
        • Fuschite Quartzite;
        • Gypsum;
        • Jasper;
        • Kaolin;
        • Laterite;
        • Limekankar;
        • Mica;
        • Ochre;
        • Pyrophyllite;
        • Quartz;
        • Quartzite;
        • Sand (Others);
        • Shale;
        • Silica Sand;
        • Slate;
        • Steatite/Talc/Soapstone.
      • Andhra Pradesh, with share of 23.5% in the value of minor minerals produced in the country, occupied the top position. Gujarat was at second place with a share of 23.0% in the value of minor minerals. Next in the order were Maharashtra 14.6%, Rajasthan 12.9%, Uttar Pradesh 7.6%, Kerala 5.9%, Karnataka 3.9%, Madhya Pradesh 3.7% and Goa 1.6%. The contribution of remaining states and Union Territories was less than one percent each
    • About Mining in India:
      • The mining industry in India is a major economic activity which contributes significantly to the economy of India.
      • The GDP contribution of the mining industry varies from 2.2% to 2.5% only but going by the GDP of the total industrial sector it contributes around 10% to 11%.
      • Even mining done on small scale contributes 6% to the entire cost of mineral production.
      • As of 2012, India is the largest producer of sheet mica, 2015 the fourth largest producer of iron ore, alumina, chromite, and bauxite in the world.
      • A coal and iron ore project is in the fifth largest reserve in world.
      • India’s metal and mining industry was estimated to be $106.4 billion in 2010.
      • In 2019, the country was the 4th largest world producer of iron ore; 4th largest worldwide producer of chromium; 5th largest world producer of bauxite; 5th largest world producer of zinc; 7th largest producer of manganese in the world; 7th largest producer of lead in the world; 7th largest producer of sulfur in the world; 11th largest world producer of titanium; 18th largest world producer of phosphate; 16th largest world producer of gypsum; 5th largest world producer of graphite; 3rd largest world producer of salt. It was the 11th the world’s largest producer of uranium in 2018.

    3.    REAL ESTATE (REGULATION AND DEVELOPMENT) ACT 2016

    • News: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to go through local laws of States with a fine-toothed comb to detect clauses which may harm homebuyers’ rights in rules framed under the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act.
    • About Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2016:
      • The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 is an Act of the Parliament of India which seeks to protect home-buyers as well as help boost investments in the real estate industry.
      • The Act establishes a Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) in each state for regulation of the real estate sector and also acts as an adjudicating body for speedy dispute resolution.
      • The Central and state governments are liable to notify the Rules under the Act within a statutory period of six months.
      • The establishment under Section 20 and 43 of the Act will help to establish state-level Real Estate Regulatory Authorities to regulate transactions related to both residential and commercial projects and ensure their timely completion and handover.
      • Appellate Tribunals will now be required to adjudicate cases in 60 days as against the earlier provision of 90 days and Regulatory Authorities to dispose of complaints in 60 days while no time-frame was indicated in the earlier Bill.