IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains Focus)- 19th April 2018
Poshan Abhiyaan to cover 550 districts
Part of: Mains GS Paper II- Government interventions
- The government has extended its ambitious Poshan Abhiyaan to 235 additional districts in its second phase taking the total of districts covered by the national nutrition mission so far to 550 districts.
- The additional districts to be covered during the current financial year were decided on the basis of the level of stunting prevalent in district as well as to ensure those districts affected by left wing extremism and those declared aspirational districts by NITI Aayog left out in the first phase covered.
About the mission:
- The Rs. 9,000-crore mission will strive to reduce stunting, under-nutrition, and low birth weight by 2 per cent and anaemia (among young children, women and adolescent girls) by 3 per cent annually over the three-year mission period.
- Anganwadi supervisors have been roped in for the mission.
- The focus of the Abhiyaan is on the first 1000 days of the child and preventive care for adolescent girls, women and mothers.
- Home-based Care for Young Child(HBYC) would be a crucial component of the Abhiyaan.
- In HBYC, ASHAs supported by Anganwadi workers will visit the homes of children aged between 3 to 15 months and sensitise mothers on energy density and diet of child, he said.
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Renewable Energy Sector: Missed the target again
Part of: Mains GS Paper III- Energy Security
- The renewable energy sector has missed its capacity addition target for the second year in a row.
- Against the target of 14,450 MW for 2017-18, the new capacity addition from all major segments stood at 11,754 MW, effectively achieving only 81 per cent of the target for the year ended March 31.
- As of March 31, the total grid-interactive installed capacity in the renewable energy sector stood at 69,022 MW.
- Solar (ground-mounted) saw new capacity addition of about 9,010 MW, marginally higher than the the target of 9,000 MW.
- The rooftop solar segment added only 353 MW against the target of 1,000 MW.
- New bio-power capacity addition stood at 519 MW against the target of 340 MW.
- Small hydro power added a new capacity of 106 MW, higher than the target of 100 MW.
- FY18 proved to be a challenging year for wind power, with the sector adding one of the lowest annual capacities in the recent years.
Against the target of 4,000 MW, this segment added just 1,766 MW.
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TOPIC : General Studies 3:
- Infrastructure: Energy
- Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
Rural Electrification: Where we stand and What more needs to be done?
Despite having 16% of the global population, India’s share in global energy use is only 4.2% and in global electricity consumption, 3.5%.
Access to affordable electricity for each and every household is a necessary condition for social and economic development.
Rural electrification has received attention in the development agenda mostly in the last one-and-a-half decades.
- In 2005, the Central government launched the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) which subsumed all other ongoing schemes related to rural electrification. The scheme focused on electrification of villages through implementation of decentralized distributed generation (DDG).
- RGGVY was later included in the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) (recently renamed the Saubhagya scheme), which additionally focuses on feeder separation, improvement of sub-transmission and distribution network, and metering to reduce losses.
All these schemes have delivered results and now only a few villages are left that have yet to achieve the target of 100% electrification.
Effects of energy poverty:
Lack of access to energy at home and for income-generating activities is associated with-
- Higher levels of poverty.
- Low productivity.
- Heavy workload.
- Women’s safety issues.
Energy poverty affects women and girls more as they have to bear the primary responsibility for collecting firewood, cooking and other domestic work. These tasks expose them to negative health impacts and increase their domestic and reproductive burdens.
- Missed educational opportunities.
- High exposure to health risks.
Latest statistics on rural electrification:
As per the latest government statistics, only 910 villages are yet to be electrified, which account for 5% of India’s un-electrified villages (as on April 2015), excluding some uninhabited villages.
However, the performance of rural household electrification is not that encouraging. Around 35 million households—approximately 11% of the total rural households—are yet to be electrified.
Reliability and quality of power supply: Remains a concern
The success of rural electrification should not be measured only on the basis of connections provided, but also on the basis of provision of reliable and quality power supply during peak hours.
Both of these are still persistent problems faced by a majority of India’s rural households.
As per the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) recommended “Energy Plus” approach, supply of electricity only for lighting is a necessary but not sufficient condition for rural livelihood development.
This framework emphasizes on energy access in combination with productive use of electricity for income generation and livelihood upliftment.
Ensuring productive use of electricity:
- To use electricity directly for income-generation activities, ownership of appliances plays an important role.
- Market availability, financial and technical assistance.
- Appliance ownership, in turn, depends on the household’s economic status and on the quality and availability of power supply.
The issue of high cost of power supply to rural areas:
As a majority of the rural households cannot afford high cost supply, utilities are reluctant to supply the required quality and quantity of electricity in these areas.
This is apart from the issue of capacity constraint in terms of power generation/purchase.
However, implementing some appropriate measures such as smart meters, infrastructure development, franchisee arrangements with local self-help-groups (for more effective billing, monitoring and collection) may improve the situation to some extent.
The Saubhagya scheme:
Aims to improve environment, public health, education and connectivity with the help of last-mile power connections across India along with prviding electricity connections to over 40 million families in rural and urban areas by December.
Households out of reach of the national electricity grid are proposed to be provided with solar power packs along with battery banks with the Rural Electrification Corporation as the nodal agency.
- The Saubhagya scheme will help India, the world’s third-largest energy consumer after the US and China, meet its global climate change commitments as electricity will substitute kerosene for lighting.
- It will also help improve education, health, and connectivity apart from having a multiplier effect on increased economic activities and job creation.
What more needs to be done?
There is a need to explore the role of rural electrification in promoting gender equality, which, along with women empowerment, is an integral part of inclusive development and sustainable development goals (SDGs).
None of the energy access programmes in India have incorporated gender equality in what they hope to achieve.
As India is currently focusing on the achievement of SDGs, women-centric energy access programmes will contribute more effectively in achievement of various SDGs such as Goal 1 (no poverty), Goal 3 (good health and well-being), Goal 5 (gender equality) and Goal 7 (affordable and clean energy).
Various government schemes have delivered results and now only a few villages are left that have yet to achieve the target of 100% electrification. A major step ahead will be ensuring productive usage of electricity and incorporating the objective of gender equality in electricity related schemes.
Connecting the dots:
- While we come a way long in electrification of rural areas. Two major focus areas, going ahead, should be- A need to explore the role of rural electrification in promoting gender equality and to ensure reliability and quality of power supply. Discuss.
TOPIC:General Studies 2:
- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
- Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests
India and UK: Evolving relationship
Both India and US are undergoing changes.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reforms are transforming India, and Brexit enables the UK to set its own trade and investment agenda.
At the same time, technology is changing the nature of the opportunities UK and Indian businesses see.
These changes offer an exciting opportunity to transform the UK-India relationship.
UK India Businesses:
Businesses from both countries are big investors in each other’s country.
- Since 2000, the UK has been the largest G20 investor in India, investing £17.5 billion. British companies now employ a staggering 800,000 people in India, representing one in 20 jobs in India’s organised private sector.
- There is a similarly positive story on Indian investment into the UK. There are around 800 Indian businesses in the UK, employing 110,000, and every year India is in the top 5 countries investing in the UK.
The volume and nature of investment has changed:
- More UK businesses are investing in India — the number of UK businesses in India has more than doubled since 2000.
- The range of sectors attracting UK investment has shifted.
Advanced manufacturing, financial and professional services have remained top for decades, but the 21st century has seen strong growth in sectors such as education, retail, consumer goods, life sciences, healthcare, and infrastructure.
- The investment relationship is generating ever-more successful R&D partnerships across a wide range of sectors.
The success is down to the interplay between governments, businesses, and universities/research institutions.
- The £50 million Newton Bhabha Fund co-created by the UK and Indian governments is stimulating UK and Indian scientific research into finding solutions to the challenges facing India’s economic development and social welfare.
- There are industry-academia partnerships, for example, Tata Motors-owned JLR and the Warwick Manufacturing group at Warwick University are opening the largest automotive R&D facility in Europe this year.
- These include a partnership between UK insurance major, Bupa, and Indian firms Practo and 1mg. Together, they have created an easy to access and customised holistic healthcare plan that brings health cover for Indians who currently can’t access insurance and, therefore, quality healthcare.
- The Rolls Royce-TCS partnership to explore the applications of IoT in expanding Rolls Royce’s manufacturing. This is the exciting place where Make in India meets Digital India. Where India meets the UK.
Positive changes ahead:
- As the UK and India forge more manufacturing and technology partnerships, there will be a greater geographical spread, with more UK businesses going into cities like Pune, Ahmedabad, Indore and Coimbatore to connect with their strong, well-developed industrial clusters.
- Indian investment into the UK, should also see a change, with Indian companies plugging into the UK’s manufacturing regions, particularly across the midlands, and in cities like Sheffield and Manchester.
What more can be done?
The governments can do following to spur bilateral activity.
- For instance, a continued focus on the ease of doing business in India will make a big difference.
- Tackling non-tariff barriers through the Governments’ Joint Trade Review, and
- Extending “accelerator” programmes supporting SMEs, such as the Access India Programme which is backed by the Indian Government and the Urban Gateway which is supported by the UK Government.
The two countries should celebrate the scale and holistic nature of the existing bilateral relationship, at the same time they also need to focus on how that relationship needs to evolve. New technologies should be at the heart of this evolution.
Connecting the dots:
- Both India and US are undergoing changes. Businesses from both countries are big investors in each other’s country. It is time the two governments focus on how the relationship needs to evolve. Discuss.
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