India’s Changing Goal Posts Over Coal


Recently, Finance Minister said India’s transition away from coal as a fuel for power would be hampered by the Russia-Ukraine war.


GS III- Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Coal?
  2. Types of Coal
  3. Why is the ‘move away from coal’ so important?
  4. What is the extent of India’s dependence on coal?
  5. How has war made India’s move away from coal difficult?

What is Coal?

  • Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock rich in carbon and hydrocarbons that takes millions of years to develop, making it a non-renewable energy source.
  • Coal is also known as black gold
  • It contains energy stored by plants that flourished hundreds of millions of years ago in swampy forests.
  • Coal is made up of carbon, volatile matter, moisture, and ash, as well as [in some situations] sulphur and phosphorus.
  • Metallurgy and power generation are the most common applications for this material.

Coal is divided into two groups in India:

  • Gondwana Coalfields, which are 250 million years old,
  • Tertiary Coalfields, which are 15 to 60 million years old.

Types of Coal

It can be classified into the following types on the basis of carbon content:

  • This coal is of the highest quality, containing 80 to 95 percent carbon.
  • It contains extremely little volatile substances and a little amount of moisture.
  • It’s a hard, compact jet black coal with a semi-metallic lustre. It is the most valuable and has the highest heating value of all the coal kinds.
  • It is only found in limited quantities in India, and only in Jammu and Kashmir (near Kalakot).
  • This is the most common coal. It has a wide range of carbon content (60 to 80 percent) and moisture content.
  • It is dense, compact, and usually black in colour; it contains no remnants of the original vegetable material from which it was made; and it has a high calorific value due to a high carbon content and low moisture content.
  • Bituminous coal is utilised not only for steam generation and heating, but also for the manufacturing of coke and gas due to its high quality.
  • Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh produce the majority of bituminous coal.
  • Lignite, also known as brown coal, is a lower-grade coal that contains 40 to 55 percent carbon and is the intermediate stage in the transformation of woody matter to coal.
  • Its colour ranges from dark to black-brown, and its moisture content (around 35%) means it produces a lot of smoke but little heat.
  • It can be found in Rajasthan’s Palna, Tamil Nadu’s Neyveli, Assam’s Lakhimpur, and Jammu & Kashmir’s Karewa.
  • This is the first stage of the transformation of wood into coal, and it comprises less than 40% to 55% carbon, plenty of volatile stuff, and a lot of moisture.
  •  It is rarely compact enough to create a decent fuel without being compressed into bricks.
  • When left to its own devices, it behaves like wood, emitting less heat, producing more smoke, and producing a lot of ash.

Why is the ‘move away from coal’ so important?

  • The threat of global warming looms over the planet, promising to bring about unprecedented natural calamities.
  • An effective way to keep the danger at bay is to cut the use of fossil fuels — coal, natural gas and oil.
    • About 80% of the world’s energy requirements are met by these three fuels.
  • They have likely brought on the climate crisis we now face, as they trigger the emission of carbon dioxide.

Worst culprit: Coal

  • It emits nearly twice as much carbon dioxide as natural gas and about 60% more than oil, on a kilogram-to-kilogram comparison.
  • Combusting coal also leaves behind partially-burnt carbon particles that feed pollution and trigger respiratory disorders.
  • The consequence of these chemical reactions gains great significance because, the power sector in India accounts for 49% of total carbon dioxide emissions, compared with the global average of 41%.

What is the extent of India’s dependence on coal?

  • As of February 2022, the installed capacity for coal-based power generation across the country was 2.04 lakh megawatt (MW).
    • This accounts for about 51.5% of power from all sources.
  • This compares with about 25,000 MW of capacity based on natural gas as fuel, or a mere 6.3% of all installed capacity.
  • Renewable power accounted for 1.06 lakh MW or 27%.
  • Coal-based power stations are retired periodically which happens all the time.
  • But is not fast enough nor are new additions being halted. And with good reason – coal is still inexpensive compared with other sources of energy.
  • For FY20, for example, India added 6,765 MW power capacity based on coal as fuel. But only 2,335 MW was retired.
  • According to the IEA’s Coal Report 2021, India’s coal consumption will increase at an average annual rate of 3.9% to 1.18 billion tonnes in 2024.

How has war made India’s move away from coal difficult?

  • Natural gas has been dubbed as the transition fuel in India’s plans to move away from coal.
  • The international cost of natural gas has zoomed in the recent past from a level that was considered already too high to be financially viable.
    •  On May 17, 2022, the price per MMBTU of gas was ₹1,425, compared with ₹500 in April, 2021.
  • Even back in November last, well before the war made things difficult, the government put in place a committee to ensure that natural gas prices remained stable.
  • Of the 25,000 MW of gas-based power plants, about 14,000 MW remains stranded, or idle, because they are financially unviable.
  • While renewable energy sources are cheaper than coal, their ability to generate power consistently is subject to the whims of nature — the wind and the Sun.
  • Coal can give you power on demand.
  • Storage technologies are still not mature enough to help renewable energy sources become reliable generators of power.

Uniform Civil Code


Recently, an expert committee headed by a retired Supreme Court (SC) judge has been constituted by Uttarakhand to implement Uniform Civil Code (UCC) and for checking all the relevant laws that control personal matters for those living in Uttarakhand.


 GS II- Polity

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Uniform Civil Code (UCC)?
  2. Positive aspects of Uniform Civil Code include
  3. Challenges in Implementing Uniform Civil Code Include
  4. Does India not already have a UCC for civil matters?
  5. How does the idea of UCC relate to the Fundamental Right to religion?

What is Uniform Civil Code (UCC)?

  • The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India proposes to replace the personal laws based on the scriptures and customs of each major religious community in the country with a common set governing every citizen.
  • The constitution has a provision for Uniform Civil Code in Article 44 as a Directive Principle of State Policy which states that “The State shall endeavor to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.”
  • Article 44 is one of the Directive Principles of State Policy. These, as defined in Article 37, are not justiciable (not enforceable by any court) but the principles laid down therein are fundamental in governance.
  • Fundamental Rights are enforceable in a court of law. While Article 44 uses the words “state shall endeavour”, other Articles in the ‘Directive Principles’ chapter use words such as “in particular strive”; “shall in particular direct its policy”; “shall be obligation of the state” etc.
  • Article 43 mentions “state shall endeavour by suitable legislation”, while the phrase “by suitable legislation” is absent in Article 44. All this implies that the duty of the state is greater in other directive principles than in Article 44.

Positive aspects of Uniform Civil Code include

  • UCC will divest religion from social relations and personal laws and will ensure equality in terms of justice to both men and women regardless of the faith they practice.
  • There will be uniform laws for all Indians with regard to marriage, inheritance, divorce etc.
  • It will help in improving the condition of women in India as Indian society is mostly patriarchal
  • Informal bodies like caste panchayats give judgements based on traditional laws. UCC will ensure that legal laws are followed rather than traditional laws.
  • It can help in reducing instances of vote bank politics. If all religions are covered under same laws, politicians will have less to offer to communities in exchange of their vote.

Challenges in Implementing Uniform Civil Code Include

  • Implementation of UCC might interfere with the principle of secularism, particularly with the provisions of Articles 25 and 26, which guarantee freedom relating to religious practices.
  • Conservatism by religious groups, which resist such changes as it interferes with their religious practices.
  • It is difficult for the government to come up with a uniform law that is accepted by all religious communities. All religious groups- whether majority or minority have to support the change in personal laws.
  • Drafting of UCC is another obstacle. There is no consensus regarding whether it should be a blend of personal laws or should be a new law adhering to the constitutional mandate.

Does India not already have a uniform code in civil matters?

  • Indian laws do follow a uniform code in most civil matters — Indian Contract Act, Civil Procedure Code, Sale of Goods Act, Transfer of Property Act, Partnership Act, Evidence Act, etc.
  • States, however, have made hundreds of amendments and, therefore, in certain matters, there is diversity even under these secular civil laws. Recently, several states refused to be governed by the uniform Motor Vehicles Act, 2019.
  • If the framers of the Constitution had intended to have a Uniform Civil Code, they would have given exclusive jurisdiction to Parliament in respect of personal laws, by including this subject in the Union List. But “personal laws” are mentioned in the Concurrent List.
  • In 2020, the Law Commission concluded that a Uniform Civil Code is neither feasible nor desirable.

How does the idea of a Uniform Civil Code relate to the fundamental right to religion?

  • Article 25 lays down an individual’s fundamental right to religion; Article 26(b) upholds the right of each religious denomination or any section thereof to “manage its own affairs in matters of religion”; Article 29 defines the right to conserve distinctive culture. An individual’s freedom of religion under Article 25 is subject to “public order, health, morality” and other provisions relating to fundamental rights, but a group’s freedom under Article 26 has not been subjected to other fundamental rights.
  • In the Constituent Assembly, there was division on the issue of putting Uniform Civil Code in the fundamental rights chapter.
  • The matter was settled by a vote. By a 5:4 majority, the fundamental rights sub-committee headed by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel held that the provision was outside the scope of Fundamental Rights and therefore the Uniform Civil Code was made less important than freedom of religion.

India’s Startup Ecosystem


Recently, Prime Minister  praised India’s startup ecosystem as he highlighted that the country has reached a landmark figure of 100 unicorns with a valuation of more than $300 billion.


GS III- Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is a unicorn startup?
  2. India’s unicorn record
  3. Challenges faced by the Start up’s

What is a unicorn startup?

  • Unicorns are privately held, venture-capital backed startups that have reached a value of $1 billion.
  • The valuation of unicorns is not expressly linked to their current financial performance, but largely based on their growth potential as perceived by investors and venture capitalists who have taken part in various funding rounds.
  • American venture capitalist Aileen Lee is credited with coining the term in 2013.

India’s unicorn record

  • According to Invest India, the government’s National Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency, The year 2021, 2020, and 2019 saw the birth of the maximum number of Indian unicorns with 44, 11, and 7 unicorns coming each year, respectively.
  • It adds that between 2015 and 2021, the country’s startup ecosystem has seen a nine-time increase in the number of investors, and a seven-time increase in the total funding of startups.
  • We are gradually transitioning from the age of unicorns to the age of decacorns.
    • A decacorn is a company that has attained a valuation of more than USD10 billion.
  • As of May 2022, 47 companies world over have achieved the decacorn status.
    • India has four startups namely, Flipkart, BYJU’s, Nykaa and Swiggy, added in the decacorn cohort.
  • Bengaluru has more unicorns than cities like Boston, Palo Alto, Paris, Berlin, Chicago among others, with a tally of 28 such companies (the seventh-highest in the world).
  • India led the way for emigrant unicorn founders, followed by China, Israel and Russia.

Challenges faced by the Start up’s

  • Financial scarcity: Access to capital is important for startups, and obtaining sufficient funds is always a challenge.
  • Lack of Infrastructure: Incubators, science and technology parks, and other support mechanisms that play a vital part in the lifecycle of startups are lacking.
  • Regulatory bottlenecks: Starting and quitting a firm involves a number of government permits. Even while there is a noticeable difference, it remains a difficulty.
  • Compliance issues: For example, the earlier Angel tax, which has been repealed, is plagued by corruption and inefficiency in the bureaucracy.
  • Low success rate: Several firms fail as a result of a shift in focus away from the foundations of business.

Pacific Nations Reject China Security Pact


China has suffered a big diplomatic humiliation in the pacific. 10 island nations in the region rejected China’s proposed security pact.


GS II- International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Features of the Pact
  2. Why did Pacific Nations reject?

Features of the Pact

  • China has proposed to significantly up its activity in the South Pacific, directly threatening the US and its allies’ dominance in the strategically important region.
  • Beijing was supposed to:
    • Train Pacific island police,
    • Become involved in cybersecurity,
    • Strengthen political ties,
    • Conduct sensitive maritime mapping,
    • Gain more access to natural resources on land and in the water
  • As a bribe, Beijing is promising millions of dollars in financial aid, as well as the possibility of a lucrative China-Pacific islands free trade pact and access to China’s massive market.

Why did Pacific Nations reject?

  • The offer was deemed “disingenuous” and would “guarantee Chinese influence in government” as well as “economic control” of critical businesses.
  • A lack of regional consensus was also acknowledged by the nations. 


No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *