At post-Budget webinar, PM underlines potential of renewable energy sources
Relevance in UPSC: General Studies paper -3: Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development and Employment.
- Addressing a webinar, Mr. Modi said that India’s future development would be based on three pillars for green growth and energy transmission: increasing the production of renewable energy; reducing the use of fossil fuel in the economy; and moving towards a “gas-based economy”.
- The “green growth” webinar was the first of a series of 12 post-Budget webinars organised by the government to seek ideas and suggestions for the effective implementation of the initiatives announced in the Union Budget, 2023.
Renewable Energy in India
- With a population of 1.3 billion, India has a massive demand for energy to fuel its rapidly growing economy.
- From a power deficit nation at the time of Independence, the efforts to make India energy-independent have continued for over seven decades.
- Today, we are a power surplus nation with a total installed electricity capacity of over Four lakh MW.
- Keeping in mind the sustainable development goals, India’s power generation mix is rapidly shifting towards a more significant share of renewable energy.
- Today, India is the world’s third largest producer of renewable energy, with 40% of its installed electricity capacity coming from non-fossil fuel sources.
Promoting Clean Energy and Climate Change
- India has progressively decoupled economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions. For example, the Net Zero Emissions target by 2030 by Indian Railwaysalone will reduce emissions by 60 million tonnes annually.
- India’s massive UJALA LED bulb campaign is reducing emissions by 40 million tonnes
- To further complement these ongoing efforts, India launched the National Hydrogen Mission in 2013 to make India the world’s largest hydrogen hub.
- Even though it supports the second largest population in the world, India’s sustained efforts have ensured that its per capita CO2emissions are much lower than the global average.
- The US emits 14.7 tonnes per capita, China emits 7.6 tonnes per capita, while India’s CO2emissions amount to 8 tonnes per capita.
- At COP-21 in Paris in 2015, India committed to a 40% share of power generation from non-fossil fuel sources. We have achieved this target a decade ahead of the 2030 timeline.
- The country’s vision is to achieve Net Zero Emissions by 2070, in addition to attaining the short-term targetswhich include:
- Increasing renewables capacity to 500 GW by 2030,
- Meeting 50% of energy requirements from renewables,
- Reducing cumulative emissions by one billion tonnes by 2030, and
- Reducing emissions intensity of India’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 45% by 2030..
Ministry seeks report on Kaziranga rhino estimation
Relevance in UPSC: General Studies paper -3: Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment.
- The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has sought a “factual report” on the rhino population enumeration, conducted in the Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve in March 2022.
- The information was requested on the basis of a representation the Ministry received from environmental activist Rohit Choudhury, alleging anomalies in the estimation of the rhinos in the national park.
- The Assam Forest Department and the Kaziranga authorities said the estimation was consistent with the rhino’s average annual growth of 2.7% in the park.
Conservation of the Indian Rhino
- The IUCN Red List lists the Indian Rhino as vulnerable with its population range being severely limited. As per the World Wide Fund for Nature –India (WWF-India), the population of India rhinos is beyond 3600 as of 2020.
- The most important habitats of the rhino being the alluvial Terai-Duar savanna and riverine forests are on decline due to human encroachment
- Kaziranga National Park and the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam are one of the most well-known Indian Rhino sanctuaries in the country.
- The Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary has the highest density of Indian rhino with 84 individuals in an area of 14.98 sq mi.
- Due to human activities and natural disasters like floods, the habitat of the Indian rhinos is deteriorating causing large number of deaths
Lack of habitat diversity
- Since the population range of the Indian rhino is limited, with 70% of population occurring at a single site – Kaziranga National Park – an unexpected catastrophic event such as disease, natural disaster or habitat loss will have a severe impact on the Indian rhino’s status.
- To ensure the survival of rhinos in case of epidemics, animals were translocated annually from Chitwan to Bardia National Park and Shuklaphanta National Park since 1986.
Indian Rhino Vision 2020
- Launched in 2005, Indian Rhino Vision 2020 was an ambitious effort to attain a wild population of at least 3,000 greater one-horned rhinos spread over seven protected areas in the Indian state of Assam by the year 2020.
- Wild-to-wild translocations were an essential part of IRV2020 – moving rhinos from densely populated parks like Kaziranga NP, to ones in need of more rhinos, like Manas NP.
- It is a collaborative effort between various organisations, including the International Rhino Foundation, Assam’s Forest Department, Bodoland Territorial Council, World Wide Fund – India, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
India’s R&D estimates are an incomplete picture
Relevance in UPSC: General Studies paper -2: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
- India’s research and development (R&D) expenditure-GDP ratio of 0.7% is very low when compared to major economies and is much below the world average of 1.8%.
- The main reason is the low investment in R&D by the corporate sector.
- While the corporate sector accounts for about two-thirds of gross domestic expenditure on R&D (GERD) in leading economies, its share in India is just 37%. There is evidence; however, suggesting that India’s GERD data are an underestimate.
- A 2022 info brief of the National Science Foundation (NSF) of the United States on Foreign R&D by U.S.-based multinational corporations (MNCs) shows a spend of $9.5 billion (₹649.7 billion) on R&D in India in 2018, which increased to $9.8 billion (₹690.2 billion) in the following year.
- There are MNCs from other leading countries also spending on R&D in India.
- But the latest Research and Development Statistics, published by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) in 2020, has provided an estimate of ₹60.9 billion in R&D spending in 2017-18 by foreign MNCs, which is only about 10% of what U.S. firms have reported having spent in India on R&D.
Issues with the current system
- The National Science and Technology Management Information System (NSTMIS) of the DST is the agency that compiles GERD statistics in India. It is easier to gather the information on R&D by the government sector, the higher education sector and public sector enterprises. The challenge lies in collecting data from the private corporate sector.
- The method used for identification of R&D performing firms does not capture all the R&D performing firms. The NSTIMS relies on the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) list of recognised R&D units and the Prowess database of the Centre For Monitoring Indian Economy Pvt. Ltd. for this purpose.
- The DSIR list may not have many of the actual R&D performers for two reasons: firms which consider government incentives as not attractive enough or that are sensitive about sharing critical information with the DSIR may not be inclined to register themselves with the DSIR. Second, it may be difficult for R&D firms in services such as software and R&D services to meet the requirement of having separate infrastructure for R&D to distinguish it from their usual business.
- The survey conducted by the NSTMIS is the key source of R&D statistics of India. For those firms which do not respond to the survey, the data is collected from secondary sources such as annual reports and Prowess. This method will work only if firms disclose their R&D spending.
What is to be done
- Transforming India’s R&D statistics to truly reflect the R&D ecosystem calls for short-term and medium-term measures. In the short term, the NSTMIS should use the patents granted data, both in India and the U.S., in addition to its current method to identify R&D performing enterprises.
- While surveys can collect much more information related to innovation activities, R&D statistics should not be confined to the responses to the surveys.
Protests in the age of YouTube and WhatsApp
Relevance in UPSC: General Studies paper -3: Challenges to Internal Security through Communication Networks, Role of Media and Social Networking Sites in Internal Security Challenges, Basics of Cyber Security; Money-Laundering and its prevention.
- Thanks to social media, protesters are now surprisingly well-informed, but a uniform narrative can also be unhelpful
- Social media has contributed greatly to mobilising people into action and amplifying voices.
- Thanks to social media tools, the demands of protesters are well coordinated and their chants reverberate across geographies.
- The visual nature of the medium, which makes the task of eliciting support and sharing evidence of disasters and injustice, has made the job of reporting simpler.
- However, there are problems too. Uniform narratives such as these can tend to paint everyone with the same brush. It is also hard sometimes to figure out when respondents are mixing fact with fiction.
For a reporter, the challenge now is to pay attention to the larger narrative while also looking for individual stories and varied experiences
Effect on Function & Performance of government
- Accountability and transparency in Government
- Various deals, decisions by representative are Instantly getting shared on Social media
- In a way it is Helping people decide What things are actually Government is doing and its viewpoint
- It is also causing swift actions by the government
- Making representative more closer through Digital interface
- Democratizing effect
Effect on Governance and Institutions
- Various consultations like recent by TRAI on net neutrality was immediately circulated shared.
- It is providing voice to the people and Voices are heard Like recently Post protest over Airtel charging on OTT services caused to take it back
- Office delays ,and Bureaucratic red-tapism, absenteeism has been affected greatly.
- Recent protest on Free speech has also caused Judicial activism thus Prudent judiciary in even of Infringement of rights
- Not only Public, It also helped Political leader during election Campaign, propagating manifesto
- Cost of dissemination of Information ,expenditure of government has been reduced Vis a Vis to other forms of Information
- The IT act of 2002 (amended in 2008) section 69 and 69A provides the Government with power to issue directions for interception/monitoring of any information through any computer resource and block it, in interest of sovereignty or integrity of India.
- Relevant sections of IPC and CrPc are also applicable other laws dealing with cyberspace is discussed in chapter of cyber security.
|What is Section 69A of IT Act, 2000?
It empowers the government to direct an intermediary to block any information for public access in the interest of
This is the same Section under which hundreds of Chinese apps have been banned in recent months.
Need for regulation of Social Media
- Exponential increase– in social media profiles on the platforms such as Whatsapp, Facebook etc.
- Quick spread of information– If some event happens in one part of the world, its information or disinformation can be spread in minutes, which can create chaos or panic.
- Disparity of information available– Owing to the limited knowledge about the source of news and fact check mechanisms.
- To curb illegal activities– such as spread of fake news, pornographic and anti-national content, among other things.
- Ensure violence does not take place– such as against religious and ethnic groups. E.g. Muzaffarnagar riots.
The past and present of Russia’s war in Ukraine
Relevance in UPSC: General Studies paper -2: Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
- A year after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, there are signs of escalation everywhere.
- The West has recently announced the supply of more advanced weapons to Ukraine, deepening its involvement in the conflict.
- In response, Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has already reinforced Russian positions along the 1,000-km-long frontline in Ukraine with hundreds of thousands of troops, announced the suspension of his country’s participation in the New Start treaty, which could trigger a nuclear arms race.
|What is the Conflict?
Person in News- Ajay Banga
- S. President Joe Biden is nominating former Mastercard chief executive Ajay Banga to lead the World Bank, after its current chief David Malpass announced plans to step down early.
- The development lender has just started accepting candidate nominations in a process set to run until March 29, with the bank saying women candidates would be “strongly” encouraged.
- Banga, 63, is currently serving as vice chairman at equity firm General Atlantic.
Sri Lanka gives nod to Adani Group’s wind power project
- Crisis-hitSri Lanka has approved a $442-million wind power projectof Adani Green Energy, barely a month since the Indian multinational conglomerate’s stocks plummeted following U.S.-based short-seller Hindenburg’s damaging report on the Group.
- Adani, a leading Indian company” received the project approval “to start two wind power plants in Mannar and Pooneryn areas of [northern] Sri Lanka.
- The BOI’s approval takes the Adani Group’s total investments in the island nation over the $1 billion mark.
- It has already committed to pumping $700 million into a strategic port terminal in Colombo.
- Work on the project — the West Container Terminal — began in November 2022.
Central Excise Day 2023 observed on 24th February
- Central Excise Day also commemorates the Central Excise and Salt Act, which was passed on February 24, 1944.
- Customs, Goods and Services Tax (GST), Central Excise, Service Tax (CST), and Narcotics are administered by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) in India.
- Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) is a branch of the Department of Revenue which lies under the Ministry of Finance, Government of India.