IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains Focus)- 3rd May 2018
Draft National Telecom Policy, 2018
Part of: Mains GS Paper III- Infrastructure, Inclusive growth
- With the goal of making the nation’s telecom infrastructure and services ready for a digital future, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has laid out a blueprint for large-scale reforms in the existing policy framework.
- If the National Telecom Policy (NTP), 2018, aka the National Digital Communications Policy, 2018 framework achieves its objectives, India will move from the 134th rank into the top 50 in the ICT Development Index of the International Telecommunication Union, by 2022.
- The policy aims to provide broadband connectivity for all, generating 40 lakh jobs and requiring an investment of $100 billion in the next four years.
- The Policy also aims to increase the contribution of the digital communications sector to GDP to 8 per cent, from the estimated 6 per cent in 2017.
- The NTP also proposes to set up a new National Fibre Authority to ensure efficient rollout of broadband infrastructure.
- The policy aims to provide universal broadband coverage with 50 Mbps speed to every citizen.
- It also envisages 1 Gbps connectivity to all gram panchayats by 2020 and 10 Gbps by 2022 under the National Broadband Mission, fixed-line broadband access to 50 per cent of households, and a ‘unique mobile subscriber density’ of 55 by 2020 and 65 by 2022.
Public Wi-Fi hotspots:
- Other key highlights include deployment of public Wi-Fi hotspots to reach 50 lakh users by 2020 and 1 crore by 2022.
- The policy is committed to providing high-speed internet to all by various initiatives such as BharatNet, GramNet, NagarNet and Jan Wi-Fi.
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TOPIC: General Studies 3:
- Infrastructure: Energy
- Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
The Perform, Achieve and Trade (PAT) Scheme: An analysis
The Perform, Achieve and Trade (PAT) Scheme is a programme launched by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) to reduce energy consumption and promote enhanced energy efficiency among specific energy intensive industries in the country.
In the first cycle of this scheme from 2011-14:
478 energy-intensive units from eight large industrial sectors, namely thermal power plants, fertilisers, cement, aluminium, pulp and paper, iron and steel, textiles, and chlor-alkali were given specific energy reduction targets to be achieved.
- Those that overachieved the targets were awarded Energy Saving Certificates or ESCerts, each equal to 1 metric tonne of oil (MTOe).
- Those unable to meet their assigned targets were required to purchase ESCerts (from the overachievers) through a centralised online trading mechanism hosted by the Indian Energy Exchange (IEX).
Cumulatively, this was meant to achieve an energy savings of 6.68 MTOE by the end of 2014-15.
India has committed to a 20-25 per cent emission intensity reduction target as compared to 2005 levels in its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) as per the Paris Agreement.
- According to the BEE, PAT Cycle 1 has achieved more than 30 per cent of this targeted energy saving, along with an almost 2 per cent reduction in emissions.
With Cycle 1 being completed, this is an opportune moment to evaluate the experience of the scheme, so that future versions of PAT benefit from the learnings of PAT Cycle 1.
- Those who didn’t achieve their targets in cycle 1 were able to continue to delay investments in energy efficiency, and those who achieved their targets failed to gain supplementary finance. This situation needs to be fixed in PAT Cycle 2.
- It was stated that facilities that didn’t achieve their targets would be liable to pay an additional penalty of Rs. 10,00,000 if they failed to purchase ESCerts. In the case of continued failure to meet targets, further penalties would be levied.
However, there is no clarity on enforcement or timelines for defaulters to make these applicable. This needs to change.
- Bringing more transparency and clarity in the trading mechanism and regulations will build confidence amongst industries, and control liquidity interactions and balance in the system.
- India could learn from similar efforts in other countries including, Italy’s 2017 rules for white certificate trading to control effective obtainment of energy savings; liability for the implementation of energy efficiency interventions, stricter rules to calculate the baseline energy and associated energy savings.
This is expected to maintain the liquidity and stability of the white certificate in market.
While PAT Cycle 1 was a good start, Cycle 2 should see benefit from the lessons and experience of Cycle 1, while also lessons from similar efforts in other countries attempting to enhance their energy efficiency, and to design future policies in an effective and efficient manner.
Connecting the dots:
- What was the objective of the Perform, Achieve and Trade (PAT) Scheme? Analyse the success of cycle 1 of the PAT scheme and how cycle 2 should be tweaked and implemented.
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