Comprehensive News Analysis - 02 April 2016

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:

1. Create your own blood bank account

2. Coterminous LS, State polls not feasible’

3. SC can’t be bypassed on inter-State disputes: Haryana

4. Housing scheme for hill-country Tamils to take off this month

5. Chinese infrastructure bank eyes loans to India

C. GS3 Related:

1. The unbearable lightness of being

2. More heatwaves likely this summer Average increase of 1? Celsius forecast for summer 2016

3. Modi outlines nuclear security steps ‘Terror has evolved but our responses are rooted in the past’

4. NITI Aayog member’s push for GM pulses draws flak

5. Obama, Xi vow to sign Paris accord Climate change pact will enter into force only when signatories cover 55 per cent of emissions

6. NITI Aayog finalises Model Act for farm land lease

D.GS4 Related
E.Important Editorials : A Quick Glance
The Hindu:

1. Accidents and criminal liability

2. Harking back to an interventionist era

Indian Express:

1. Like-minded partners

Others:

1. Business Line: Go global in solar

F.Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
G.Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
H.Archives

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Useful News Articles

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today folks!

 

B. GS2 Related

1. Create your own blood bank account

Topic: Governance

Category: Health

Location: The Hindu Pg8
Key points:

  • A mobile app designed by Indian Red cross society
  • Blood banks depend heavily on replacement to maintain stocks. Even if a person finds his group in a blood bank, the blood is made available only with replacement. This app can do away with such hassles
  • Users can open a Blood Bank account at any Red Cross-affiliated Blood Bank.
  • The account can be created through the app and a unique account number will be assigned to each individual.
  • The app will record the required information, track the account and provide timely reminders on when the next savings(blood donation) is due.
  • users can make ‘Blood Transfers’ to their near and dear ones at the click of a button

2. Coterminous LS, State polls not feasible’

Topic: Governance

Category: Elections

Location: The Hindu pg15
Key points:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi advocated making Lok Sabha and State Assembly polls coterminous at a meeting of the BJP office bearers
  • The former Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi feels that :
    • Mr. Modi’s concerns were valid with regard to the monetary expenditure on polls every year, or even the administrative lethargy that sets in at the imposition of a Model Code of Conduct before every election.
    • But, Constitutionally it will be impossible to implement.
    • For example when the former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s 13-day government fell in 1996, should all the State Assemblies have been dissolved at that time? Would it have been valid to disturb the mandate of those governments.
    • All of these issues can be tackled through electoral reforms, without getting into Constitutional matters.
    • Expenditure undertaken by political parties for various elections the parties, can be capped, or even state funding of political parties can be adopted
    • For the model code of conduct to not be stretched out, we can have a single phase parliamentary election or even State polls, provided at least 10 battalions of paramilitary are raised.
    • Main worry, for the conduct of free and fair polls is,the security of the process.
    • The EC gives an informally held notice or leeway to political parties in states, of around 21 days before the actual poll dates before announcing it. This can be reduced to seven days, the EC announces dates, and the period that the model code of conduct is in place becomes shorter.
  • The 79th report of the standing committee on law and justice that went into the issue reflects a plurality of opinion on the matter
    • In its recommendations, the committee suggests a two-phase poll, with States divided into two groups, one for which elections would be in the middle of the current Lok Sabha (16 States) and another where elections will be held at the end of the current Lok Sabha (19 States).
    • Only Bihar is to have polls in 2021, along with the repeat polls in the first group.
    • By this process, at least half the States in India will have polls alongside Lok Sabha polls, and the rest in the middle of that term.
  • This recommendation has received a mixed response from the political parties

3. SC can’t be bypassed on inter-State disputes: Haryana

Topic: Governance

Category: Inter-state relations

Location: The Hindu pg15
Key points:

  • The Haryana government invoked judicial precedents in the Cauvery river water sharing dispute case involving Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka, saying that,no State Assembly can pass a law to negate the apex court’s constitutional powers to adjudicate and decide inter-State disputes.
  • In a hearing of the Presidential Reference on the validity of the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act of 2004 — which has jeopardised the Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal project
  • A law passed by the State legislature to circumvent or render infructuous a Supreme Court verdict was a clear encroachment by the lawmakers into the judiciary’s terrain.
  • Bill to return land
    • Earlier, as the Supreme Court began hearing the President’s Reference on the 2004 Act, the Punjab Assembly went ahead and passed the Punjab Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal (Rehabilitation and Re-vesting of Proprietary Rights) Bill, which provided for the return of over 5,000 acres of land acquired from farmers for the canal.
    • The apex court ordered status quo and made it clear that it would not be relegated to the status of a “silent spectator” by any State Assembly..

4. Housing scheme for hill-country Tamils to take off this month

Topic: India and world

Category: neighbourhood relations

Location: The Hindu pg16
Key points:

  • Funded by India, the project seeks to build 50,000 houses in Sri Lanka
  • The much-awaited housing project for hill-country Tamils in Sri Lanka will take off later this month.
  • 4,000 houses to be built in Central and Uva Provinces, where the hill-country Tamils live in large numbers.
  • Funded by the Indian government, the project is part of a programme to build 50,000 houses in the country, of which 46,000 units are being set up in the Northern and Eastern provinces.
  • Although the MOU was signed in 2012, there were certain bottlenecks
    • The absence of land deeds for the prospective beneficiaries is one among them.
    • Hill-country Tamils are landless people as they have been working as resident labour in tea and rubber plantations for over 150 years.

5. Chinese infrastructure bank eyes loans to India

Topic: International Relations

Category: Multilateral institutions

Location: The Hindu pg17
Key points:

  • In about six months, funds could start flowing from AIIB
  • India hopes to receive one of the first loans issued by the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) later this year, as it looks to raise $500 million for solar power projects from the newly created lender.
  • Funding for clean energy projects would allay fears of environmental lobbyists that the bank’s relaxed lending criteria could promote dirty fuels like coal in developing economies, like India, that are in a hurry to ramp up energy output. T
  • The multilateral investment bank, which has authorised capital of $100 billion, plans to join global clean-energy initiatives, and could fund eco-friendly investment projects to avoid allegations of promoting pollution.
  • India, the bank’s second biggest shareholder after China, is looking to borrow from the AIIB, a senior official said, to back the plan of expanding installed solar capacity to 100 gigawatts by 2022.
  • Interest on the loan is likely to be 2-2.5 per cent and would be linked to LIBOR — a floating benchmark based on the rate at which commercial banks lend to each other — for a term of over 15 years.
  • India is in talks with the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, Germany’s KfW and the New Development Bank, set up by big emerging economies that form the BRICS bloc, to raise more than $3 billion in the financial year that starts April 1.

 

C. GS3 Related

1. The unbearable lightness of being

Topic: Indian Economy

Category:Industries, MSME, GI tag

Location: The Hindu Pg 1
Key Points:

  • Weavers from Andhra Pradesh were known for producing extremely light fabric
  • Muslin,a fabric ofplain weave made in a wide range of weights from delicate sheers got its name from the port town, machalipatnam,
  • Building on that expertise weavers elsewhere- for e,g Prakasam district in Andhra Pradesh, have been able to weave a cotton sari weighing as low as 75g
  • Notably,elsewhere in Prakasam district, weavers have been able to weave saris of such fineness that can be woven and kept in a match box
  • Some of the Saris from venkatgiri and other places come with a GI (Geogrpahical indication) tag

Note: Please familiarize yourself with places famous for types of saris and GI tags for famous places( one of the questions in 2014 GS prelims was based on places in Andhra Pradesh where saris are found)

2. More heatwaves likely this summer Average increase of 1? Celsius forecast for summer 2016

Topic: Environment

Category: Climate change

Location: The Hindu pg 15
Key Points:

  • Average rise of 1 degree Celsius in summer temperatures — as predicted by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) — over most of India would mean more days of extreme heat as well as a higher likelihood of heat waves compared to last year.
  • The Indian Meteorology Department (IMD) defines a heatwave as an excess of five to six degrees C over the maximum daily temperature (over a 30-year period) of less than 40 degree C or an excess of four to five deg. C over a normal historical maximum temperature of over 40 degree C. The IMD declares a heat wave when the actual maximum temperature is above 45 degree C.
  • More heatwaves could mean a greater public health concern.
  • Last year, heat waves killed over 1,500 in Andhra Pradesh alone.
  • Met Department stated that the summer months of 2016 would be warmer than normal across all meteorological sub-divisions of the country and above-normal.
  • Heat wave (HW) conditions are very likely over central and northwest India during the period.
  • India experienced significantly above normal temperatures during January and February of this year with monthly anomalies of 1.5 deg. C and 2 deg. C, when compared to the thirty-year average of 1961-90.
  • The IMD concurs that the frequency and duration of heat waves over the country are increasing and attributes it to increasing greenhouse gases due to anthropogenic activity and the El Nino — characterised by the warming of sea surface temperatures over the Pacific Ocean and correlated with droughts in India — that is also linked to more heat waves.
  • Generally, El Nino years are followed by warmer temperatures, but were a La Nina (an anti-El Nino) to form then that could reduce temperatures as well.

3. Modi outlines nuclear security steps ‘Terror has evolved but our responses are rooted in the past’

Topic: Security

Category: Terrorism and International responses and institutions

Location: The Hindu pg 14
Key Points:

  • India has pledged a contribution of $1 million to the IAEA nuclear security fund. India has already made a contribution of $ 1 million.
  • India was moving to safer technologies to protect radioactive material.(For example, the shift to the use of Cesium 137 only in its vitrified form in medical equipment, moving away from powder and liquid forms.)
  • India’s plans to enhance engagement with the IAEA, the Interpol and other international forums on the issue of nuclear security were also outlined at the summit.
  • The question of Pakistan’s continuing deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in battlefields has not been raised by India as it was more a question of disarmament and arms control,
  • The possibility of individuals within the state structure getting friendly with a terrorist, leading up to a nuclear terrorism incident, was raised by the PM, without naming any particular country
  • Global terrorism has evolved over time and terrorists are now using modern technology and devices while national and international efforts to counter them have become outdated.
  • The Prime Minister identified three “contemporary features of terrorism:”
    • First, today’s terrorism uses extreme violence as theatre.
    • Second, we are no longer looking for a man in a cave, but we are hunting for a terrorist in a city with a computer or a smart phone.
    • Third, state actors working with nuclear traffickers and terrorists present the greatest risk.
  • While terrorism has become globally networked, “we still act only nationally to counter this threat.” “The reach and supply chains of terrorism are global; but genuine cooperation between nation states is not.”
  • Without prevention and prosecution of acts of terrorism there could be no deterrence against nuclear terrorism.

4. NITI Aayog member’s push for GM pulses draws flak

Topic: Indian Economy

Category: Agriculture Sector

Location: The Hindu pg15
Key Points:

  • NITI Aayog member has backed cultivation of genetically modified (GM) pulses to ensure food security in the country.
  • Farmer groups and agriculture experts have asked the government to first focus on establishing an assured market mechanism for pulses to aid farmers and lower the country’s dependence on imports.
  • NITI Aayog feels that, GM crops cultivation should be allowed in those crops in which we are not able to break through, like in pulses. However, while progressing with GM crops, proper safeguards should be taken.
  • The farmer groups have criticised the idea of cultivating GM pulses saying the government should instead focus on setting up an effective system to provide assured purchase and returns to pulses farmers, that would motivate farmers to grow more.
  • In 2015-16 crop year, pulses output is estimated at 17.33 million tonnes and the demand is pegged at 23.66 million tonnes. To bridge this gap of about over 6 million tonnes, the country is relying on imports.
  • If farmers are confident that they would get assured returns on their produce it will motivate them to go for pulses farming, resulting in better production, lesser dependence in imports and most importantly will bring price stabilization.

5. Obama, Xi vow to sign Paris accord Climate change pact will enter into force only when signatories cover 55 per cent of emissions

Topic: Environment

Category: climate change

Location: The Hindu pg 16
Key Points:

  • U.S. President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping of China said on Thursday that they would sign the Paris Agreement on climate change on April 22, the first day the UN accord will be open for government signatures.
  • It is seen as a joint resolve by the world’s two largest greenhouse gas polluters, even though there are doubts about whether the U.S. can meet its obligations under the agreement.( Because in February, the US Supreme Court temporarily blocked an Obama administration regulation to curb greenhouse gas pollution from power plants.)
  • Combined, the U.S. and China account for about 40 per cent of global emissions.
  • The Paris Agreement, reached in December 2015, is the first global accord to commit nearly every nation to take domestic actions to tackle climate change.
  • To promote the accord, Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General, planned the signing ceremony for April 22, Earth Day, although world leaders will have a year afterward to sign.
  • The announcement by Mr. Obama and Mr. Xi is intended to push other countries to sign on, particularly since diplomats say the Supreme Court order has caused some countries to question American climate policy and might cause them to refuse or hesitate to sign the accord.
  • The Paris Agreement will enter into legal force only when enough countries have signed on: together they have to be responsible for causing 55 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The regulation would help the U.S. cut greenhouse gas emissions between 26 and 28 per cent from 2005 levels by 2025.
  • Experts feel China is doing this for its own interests. Chinese administration has endorsed an aggressive expansion of renewable energy sources in China. The country’s latest five-year economic plan calls for the country to generate 15 per cent of its energy from non-fossil fuel sources by 2020.
  • In the U.S., enactment of Mr. Obama’s climate change commitments under the Paris deal will ultimately fall to the next President.

6. NITI Aayog finalises Model Act for farm land lease

Topic: Indian economy

Category: Land resources

Location: The Hindu pg 18
Key Points:

  • NITI Aayog is all set to propose a Model Act for freeing up of farm land through leasing.
  • The Act is meant for States that plan to legalise farm land leasing. State governments are expected to improvise it to suit the local socio-political requirements.
  • Land ownership will remain secure and will revert to the owner and in case the parcel of land is sold before the tenure of the lease is complete, the rights of the tenants will be secure.
  • No changes will be made in the land records.
  • Attestation of the lease is proposed to be done at the level of the sarpanch, local bank official or notary.
  • The Model Act proposes that farmers and farmer groups be allowed to lease out land. The definition of ‘farm land’ is proposed to be broadened to include food processing.
  • The Model Act proposes quicker litigation process in case of disputes, by suggesting recourse through criminal proceedings and special tribunal.
  • It is expected that the dispute settlement will be taken up at the level of the Gram Sabha, Panchayat and Tehsildar.
  • At present, only land owners can avail of crop insurance schemes or loans. Also, disaster relief in case of drought and crop damage is provided only to the owners and not cultivators.
  • The Model Act will enable share croppers to receive such benefits and relief.
  • Lessee cultivators could raise crop loans on the basis of expected produce.
  • The Model Act is being finalised by an expert committee which NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya had set up in September 2015 under former Commission for Agricultural Costs & Prices (CACP) chairman T. Haque.
D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today folks!

E. Important Editorials : A Quick Glance
The Hindu:

1 .Accidents and criminal liability

Topic: Disaster Management
Category: man-made disasters, urban planning
Key points:

  • Human error and negligence that cause accidents.
  • The collapse of a portion of a flyover under construction in Kolkata points to gross mismanagement and neglect by the construction company and administration
  • The project, which began in 2008 as part of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, was delayed following objections from local residents, difficulties in land acquisition, want of mandatory clearances and cost escalation.
  • It acquired a fresh life only recently with West Bengal govt asking for the work to be completed before the Assembly election in April-May.
  • Failure to adhere to safety norms and the deviations from standard operating procedures by the builder is the root cause.
  • The scale of the tragedy, should prompt the State government to rethink the way such projects are executed and awarded.
  • Instead of indulging in a blame game, and trying to shift responsibility for the loss of lives , the administration should take corrective measures and ensure an impartial investigation into the cause of the accident.
  • The govt must fix responsibility for acts of omissions and commissions on all stakeholders including those in the administration.

2 .Harking back to an interventionist era

Topic: Polity
Category: centre-state relations
Key points:

  • Government is putting the clock back by imposing President’s rule on flimsy grounds in States run by rival parties
  • The country is reminded of the period prior to the 1990s when the union govt, used to invoke the Article 356 with malafide intentions to bring down the state government’s headed by rival political parties.
  • At a time when Supreme Court judgments and amendments to the law appeared to have put an end to the mischief of Article 356 and inducements to defection, a new methodology has been created to bring out regime change without having to dissolve the Assembly or placing the relevant Presidential Proclamation before Parliament.

The Uttarakhand example

  • According to certain political thinkers, it is a partisan decision that flouts the principles laid down by the Supreme Court in the Bommai case of 1994.
  • The justification for the resort to Article 356 of the Constitution in Uttarakhand, (pls read the article for in the hindu for those three points) ,broken down point by point, is quite apparent that either there was no ground for invoking Article 356 within the parameters laid down by the Supreme Court or that a situation warranting Central intervention had not yet arisen.
  • The question whether the Appropriation Bill can be passed by voice vote is obviously barred from judicial scrutiny by Article 212 of the Constitution (which disallows courts from inquiring into internal matters of the legislature).
  • However, there may be substance to the point that the refusal to have a division raised a presumption of loss of majority.
  • This was taken into account by the Governor, who asked the Chief Minister to prove his strength through a trust vote.
  • The Governor’s response was reasonable and right because the manner in which a Bill is passed — by voice vote, show of hands or a division — is normally well within the province of the Speaker, and he cannot take the absence of division itself as proof of loss of majority.
  • Therefore, the Governor’s decision to order a floor test directly addressed the original concern that the State government may have lost its majority.
  • Once a date for the trust vote was fixed, there is really no case to act on the suspicion that the motion may be carried by unfair means.
  • The Proclamation of President’s Rule as a pre-emptive measure against a possibly manipulated vote is impermissible, according to the Supreme Court, which has made it clear that unless there is an extraordinary situation — such as all-pervasive violence — the Governor cannot come to a conclusion that there will be no free vote.
  • In 2005, the Bihar election had thrown up a hung Assembly, and the State was under President’s Rule, with the House under suspended animation.The Governor recommended dissolution of the Assembly because of what he called an alleged attempt to cobble together a majority through horse-trading and other foul means.
  • The Supreme Court declared the dissolution unconstitutional and indicted the Governor for his hasty recommendation based on irrelevant and extraneous factors.

A lesson has been learnt.

  • The union govt, at present does not enjoy majority support in the Rajya Sabha
  • Since an Assembly cannot be dissolved prior to both Houses adopting resolutions approving President’s rule, one way of achieving some political objectives is to dismiss the State government first, and utilise the period in which the legislature is under suspended animation to install a new regime consisting of defectors backed by the Opposition.
  • In this way, both the floor-test requirement and the bar on premature dissolution of the Assembly are utilised to the advantage of the ruling party at the Centre, instead of serving as salutary measures to curb undemocratic dissolution of an elected legislature.

The defector’s privilege

  • There is another dimension to such manipulative politics: the hurdle posed by the anti-defection law.
  • After the 2003 amendment, now a legislature party can’t even split into two. Legislators dissatisfied with their party can only merge with another, but such members will have to constitute two-thirds of the original strength for it to be a valid merger.
  • Here comes ‘the defector’s privilege’. Defecting or rebel MLAs now feel free to voice their criticism of their Chief Minister and join hands with the Opposition in political activities.
  • If the Speaker warns or disqualifies them, it is challenged on the ground of not providing adequate opportunity for the MLA’s to explain themselves
  • It is equally true that partisan Speakers use the disqualification provision to sustain a regime’s lost majority or gloss over the support bought over from Opposition members or independents.

Where does the buck stop?

  • The question that arises is whether the Speaker is the right authority to adjudicate matters of defection
  • In the judgment that upheld the validity of the Tenth Schedule (the anti-defection law), a dissenting judge had pointed out that the Speaker’s “tenure being dependent on the will of majority therein, likelihood of suspicion of bias could not be ruled out.”
  • Changing the adjudicating authority in matters of disqualifying defectors is a key reform that is required in law.
Indian Express::

(STUDENTS PLS NOTE : The lead article in today’s Indian Express “The American Hug” about multilateral alignment is a good read for understanding of international relations. Please read it, as summarizing such an article will not bring clarity due to complicated linkages in international relations. Therefore students are advised to read the full article)

1 .Like-minded partners

Topic: International Relations
Category: Multilateral engagements
Key points:

  • The visit of Indian Prime Minister to Brussels and the India-EU Summit meeting, with Presidents Donald Tusk of the European Council and Jean-Claude Juncker of the European Commission, was enormously productive.
  • Covering a wide array of subjects, and addressing the many challenges that the EU and India — as the two biggest democracies — face separately and together, our leaders have laid out an agenda for dialogue and cooperation over the next five years which has the potential to cement their strategic partnership and have a significant impact on some of the major issues of our time.
  • That PM Modi kept to his planned visit so soon after the terrorist attack in Brussels is a mark of solidarity with Europe and sympathy for the victims.
  • Indians are among those who died and were injured.
  • Major agendas and agreements in the summit:
    • counter-terrorism was on the summit agenda
    • joint declaration includes action to prevent extremism and radicalisation, disrupt recruitment and financing, and for police and immigration authorities working closer together.
    • Work together to reduce tensions in the geographical neighbourhood through dialogue and coordination, particularly in the context of Afghanistan,
    • A ministerial conference in Brussels in October and the Heart of Asia Conference in New Delhi later this year will focus international efforts to bring peace and development in Afghanistan
    • A plan for joint cooperation in many areas under the title “EU-India Agenda for Action 2020”.

Some major initiatives under “EU-India Agenda for Action 2020”.

  • Initiatives launched or strengthened can be grouped into a few broad categories, such as economic cooperation, sustainable development, research and education.
  • Economic:
    • Promoting flows of trade and investment and thereafter promoting growth has been a common economic strategy for India and the EU.
    • A political impetus has, therefore, been given to negotiations for a Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement
    • work will intensify to promote EU investments as part of Make in India.
    • The European Investment Bank, whose exposure in India is already in excess of €1 billion, announced at the summit that it will invest €450 million (Rs 3,375 crore) in the metro rail project for Lucknow.
  • Sustainable development :
    • It is a cornerstone for all our policies, following the adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals last year
    • Joint declarations signed at the summit focus our cooperation on issues such as water quality, with a focus on the rejuvenation of the Ganga, and on clean energy and climate to implement the Paris commitments.
    • The EU welcomed renewable energy developments and the International Solar Alliance, and suggested holding an urban forum to bring expertise and investments to bear on the Smart Cities initiative.
    • Pilot projects have already shown how innovative technologies in waste minimisation and management, transport, smart grids, clean coal and offshore wind have the potential not only to mitigate the climate and pollution impacts of India’s rapid urbanisation but also promote growth and jobs in a way that doesn’t jeopardise health.
  • Research, innovation, intellectual property protection and skill development:
    • They form the third leg of the Agenda for Action 2020.
    • The summit welcomed the fact that the EU-India Science and Technology Agreement has been renewed for another five years, and co-funding mechanisms for joint projects agreed.
    • Cooperation in information and communication technologies is also growing, notably in the area of standardization.
    • joint declaration on 5G networks is likely later this year.
    • Meanwhile, Indian scientists are beneficiaries of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Scholarships and of the highly prestigious European Research Council grants, several of whose recipients have in recent years gone on to win Nobel prizes.
    • Masters-level Erasmus scholarships, highly popular in India, have supported the European sojourns of several thousand Indian students.
    • The Common Agenda on Mobility and Migration paves the way for further work on enhanced mobility for businessmen, students and researchers, as well as cooperation on facilitation of the return of irregular migrants and a readmission agreement.
    • This agenda will support better understanding of our peoples and greater integration of our economies.

Way forward:

  • Relations between the EU and India began in 1962. Since then, a lot of change has occurred and we live in a globalised world where close cooperation between like-minded partners is essential.
  • The EU-India Summit in Brussels has given a new momentum to our relationship to infuse dynamism into the global economy and contribute to peace and stability in the world.
Others:

1 .Business Line: Go global in solar

Topic: Economy
Category: Energy sector
Key points:

  • Domestic content norms may not help the programme
  • India seems to have been caught off guard by a recent WTO ruling (which acted on a complaint by the US) against the ‘domestic content requirement’ (DCR) of its solar programme.
  • Under this, a solar power producer may have to use photovoltaic cells ‘made in India’ in order to enter into long-term purchase agreements with state utilities.
  • Trying to seize upon the US’ double standards here — its States too mandate local content norms — India has decided to move the WTO on the same grounds.
  • If the Centre’s objective is to radically increase the solar component in the energy mix and control the emissions intensity of its growth, it should focus on keeping solar power, as cheap as possible.
  • That aim is not served by insisting on DCR, as the cost of Indian modules is at least 10 per cent more than global levels.
  • As for job generation, the manufacture of PVs is a capital intensive activity, and therefore imports are not likely to have serious employment consequences.
  • Most jobs in this sector are created in installation and maintenance
  • If DCR is driven by the idea of developing indigenous technology, we are late entrants in a field where China, the US and Germany hold the aces.
  • A push to local manufacturing makes sense where jobs are to be created and we have some sort of an R&D advantage.
  • While focusing on semi-conductor research even at this late stage could lead to spin-offs in other areas (we started in the late 1980s but inexplicably lost interest), this need not be linked to DCR.
  • The Centre should focus on sustaining foreign investor interest and entering into PPP models that facilitate transfer of know-how.
  • Solar power remained a sunrise sector in 2015, despite rock bottom oil prices, due to strong PV demand in China, which has committed to major emissions cuts.
  • A globalised solar industry — both rooftop and utility plants — is the way to go.
  • The union govt has done a lot of things right — for instance, seeking reverse bids after arriving at a benchmark price, rather than offering a feed-in tariff in order to keep costs low.
  • An investor-friendly environment for solar should be a top economic and environmental priority.
F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
  1. WTO and Solar related news
  2. Electoral reforms
  3. Centre State relations and S.R. Bommai Case
  4. AIIB and BRICS NDB
  5. GI Tag, I.P Rights in India
  6. Anti- Defection Law
  7. Heat waves, Floods, Flash Floods and other types of Disasters
G. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1:Which of the following statements are correct about Heat Wave?
  1. A heat wave is a very short period of excessive heat, often combined with excessive humidity.
  2. According to IMD, Heat Wave need not be considered till maximum temperature of a station reaches atleast 40*C for Plains and atleast 30*C for Hilly regions

a)1 only

b) 2 only

c) both 1 and 2

d) None of the above

Question 2:Which of the following about IAEA are incorrect?
  1. IAEA is a specialized agency working on behalf of United Nations to promote world peace and security and peaceful use of nuclear energy
  2. India is a member of the IAEA
  3. The lastest member to join IAEA is Turkmenistan

a) 1 and 3 only

b) 1,2,3

c) 3 only

d) None of the above

Question 3:Which of the following enjoy GI tag?
  1. Madurai Sungudi
  2. Chanderi Fabric
  3. Mysore Agarbatthi
  4. Kangra tea

a) 1, 2 and 3

b) 2 and 4

c) 1,3 and 4

d)All the above

Question 4:Which of the following are true about Anti-Defection law? 
  1. It is a part of IX schedule of the Indian Constitution
  2. A legislature party splitting into two halves is not an act of defection

a) 1 only

b) 2 only

c) 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2

Question 5:The minimum voting age was reduced from 21 to 18 through which constitutional amendment?

a)61 st constitutional amendment act

b)91st constitutional amendment act

c)86th constitutional amendment act

d)73rd constitutional amendment act

Check Your Answers

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H. Archives:

You can check out some more recent News Analysis sections to build even more context

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