1. GREEN OPEN ACCESS RULES 2022
TAGS: GS 3: ENVIRONMENT
THE CONTEXT: Union New and Renewable Energy Minister has directed the industry to set targets under the Green Open Access Rules 2022, in a bid to accelerate the country’s renewable energy programmes.
- Electricity (Promoting Renewable Energy Through Green Energy Open Access) Rules, 2022 has been notified by Ministry of Power.
- The Ministry of Power notified Power System Operation Corporation (POSOCO) as Central Nodal Agency to set up and operate a single window green energy open access system for renewable energy under these Rules.
- It was launched in order to further accelerate our ambitious renewable energy programmes, with the objective of ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and green energy for all.
- As per the Electricity Act 2003, the tariff is determined by the Appropriate Commission. Accordingly, the tariff for the green energy shall be determined by Appropriate Commission and shall comprise of the average pooled power purchase cost of the renewable energy, cross-subsidy charges, if any, and service charges covering the prudent cost of the distribution licensee for providing green energy to the consumers.
- It is a major step towards achieving India’s aims to cut emissions in India to net zero by 2070 and aims to achieve 500 GW renewable power capacity, reduce emissions by one billion tonnes and an emissions intensity of the GDP by 45 percent by 2030.
- There will be a uniform Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO), on all obligated entities in area of a distribution licensees. Green hydrogen/green ammonia has also been included for fulfillment of its RPO. The consumers will be given green certificate beyond their RPO obligation.
- It will provide certainty on open access charges to be levied on Green Energy Open Access consumers which includes transmission charges, wheeling charges, cross-subsidy surcharge and standby charges.
- It also enables a simplified procedure for the open access to green power. Open access permits a consumer to purchase power from a source of his/her choice.
- The transaction limit would be minimum 100 KW for non-captive consumers. No limit has been kept for captive consumers.
- These rules are notified for promoting generation, purchase and consumption of green energy including the energy from Waste-to-Energy plants.
- Consumers are entitled to demand supply of Green Power from Discoms. Discoms would be obligated to procure and supply green power to eligible consumers.
- Commercial and Industrial consumers are allowed to purchase green power on voluntarily basis.
Green Open Access Registry:
- It is a transparent platform through which long term, medium term and short-term open access transactions will be managed and performed to interstate transmission system and intra state transmission system.
- The Power Ministry has notified the Grid Controller of India Limited as the central nodal agency to operate the Green Open Access Registry (GOAR) portal which is the single window portal to register and apply for the green energy open access.
- This platform will be accessible to all the stakeholders present in the Indian Power Market.
- This platform will provide automated transaction workflows to ease the turnaround time of transaction for all open access consumers.
Green energy open access portal:
- It will allow consumers with a 100 KW-sanctioned load to get a supply of renewables. The government rules mandate approval for green energy open access to be granted to consumers in a time-bound manner within 15 days.
Power System Operation Corporation Limited (POSOCO)
- It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL). It was formed in March 2010 to handle the power management functions of PGCIL.
- It is responsible to ensure the integrated operation of the Grid in a reliable, efficient and secure manner.
- It consists of 5 Regional Load Despatch Centres and a National Load Despatch Centre (NLDC).
2. 25 YEARS OF KUDUMBASHREE
TAGS: GS 1: SOCIETY
THE CONTEXT: In her maiden visit to Kerala, President of India inaugurated the silver jubilee celebrations of Kudumbashree, the largest self-help group network in the country. The president had also released a handbook titled chuvadu (footsteps) that codified ideas for the movement’s future and the achievements it has gained so far.
- Kudumbashree means “prosperity of the family” in the local Malayalam language is the Kerala government’s ongoing participatory “poverty eradication and women empowerment” mission.
- It began in 1998 as a cluster of microcredit neighbourhood groups with thrift and credit activities, creating many crisis managers and entrepreneurs of humble origins over the years.
- The collective transformed ordinary women from poverty-ridden families into agents of change and recovery in critical times like the flood and the pandemic.
- Now, Kudumbashree is Kerala’s biggest social capital. Its members have risen to become elected members of the three-tier local bodies after enforcing the 33 per cent women reservation (in Kerala local bodies, the percentage of reservations is 50).
The two immediate contexts for Kudumbashree are the following:
- First, in 1997, a three-member task force constituted by the Kerala Government recommended setting up a State Poverty Eradication Mission (SPEM). However, it became fully operational only in April 1999 with the name Kudumbashree Mission.
- The second immediate context was the 73rdand 74th Constitution Amendment Acts. The Kerala government used the amendment as an opportunity to deliver poverty alleviation programmes through local participation and self-government institutions.
- From the beginning, it has been functioning under the local self-government department by accepting financial support from the union government and NABARD.
- The Mission conceives women empowerment and community development as central to poverty eradication.
- Thus, the membership of the Mission’s community network is limited to women.
- During the initial phase, the membership consisted of women from below-poverty-line households but currently all adult women are eligible for membership to the Neighbourhood Groups the basic units of Kudumbashree’s community network.
- The membership follows a “one family, one member” rule. However, any women irrespective of this rule can participate in the discussion and activities of the Kudumbashree.
- A three-tiered community network or self-help groups of women implements this mission.
- At the primary level, Kudumbasree is the collective of Neighbourhood Groups (NHG). Area Development Societies (ADS) at the ward level and Community Development Societies (CDS) at the local government level.
- The first and the lowest tier of Kudumbashree’s community network is Neighbourhood Groups (or Ayalkootamin Malayalam) consisting of ten to twenty women. The second level consisting of two or more Neighbourhood Groups is Area Development Societies. All Area Development Societies in an area are affiliated to the local self-government level Community Development Society.
- The mission aims to eradicate poverty through women empowerment.
- economic empowerment such as through collective farming, livestock farming, market development
- social empowerment such as destitute identification and rehabilitation, and rehabilitation of mentally challenged persons
- women empowerment consisting of educational programmes and programmes for the elimination of violence against women.
- It also plans income-generating activities involving agriculture or micro-enterprises to be run jointly by members of the network.
- It also helps the local self-government institutions (Panchayats in rural areas and Municipalities in urban areas) in the preparation and implementation of the local bodies’ anti-poverty plan, women component plan, and other local development schemes.
- It also assists the local self-government institutions in the identification of beneficiaries of central (federal) and state (provincial) government’s welfare programmes.
- Community Development Society of the network acts as a liasing body with banks for loans for the network’s activities.
- It also facilitates capacity building activities by training and providing information to women in particular to assume leadership roles.
- It also helps in creating awareness around gender related government initiatives such as prevention of violence against women and legal literacy.
3. ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS
TAGS: GS 2: HEALTH ISSUES
THE CONTEXT: The World Health Organisation recommended against using artificial sweeteners to achieve weight loss and prevent lifestyle diseases such as diabetes. The report emphasized that while there was a need to cut intake of sugar, it should not be replaced by artificial sweeteners.
Artificial sweeteners or non-sugar sweeteners (NSS):
- Non-sugar sweeteners or artificial sweeteners are intensely sweet chemicals up to several hundred times sweeter than sugar that are used for sweeten food while only adding very little or no calories.
- It provides the sweet taste with very little to no calories. Many diabetics use the sweeteners in their tea and coffee, but there is a growing market for packaged foods and beverages using these sweeteners to offer low-calorie options.
- Common NSS include acesulfame K(Ace-K), aspartame, advantame, cyclamates, neotame, saccharin, sucralose, stevia and stevia derivatives. Erythritol, a popular artificial sweetener that is widely available in India and abroad under various brand name was associated with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
- The WHO guideline on NSS is part of a suite of existing and forthcoming guidelines on healthy diets that aim to establish lifelong healthy eating habits, improve dietary quality and decrease the risk of NCDs worldwide.
- While there could be some weight-lossand reduction in Body Mass Index in the short term as the artificial sweeteners bring down the calories consumed, but in the long run they have been linked to weight gain.
- The sweeteners have also linked to an increased risk of Type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and mortality in the long run. It is also linked to bladder cancer and preterm birth when consumed by pregnant women.
- Long-term adverse effects in the form of increased risk of death and disease offset any potential short-term health benefit resulting from the relatively small reduction in body weight and BMI observed in randomized controlled trials.
- The recommendation applies to all people except individuals with pre-existing diabetes and includes all synthetic and naturally occurring or modified non-nutritive sweeteners that are not classified as sugars found in manufactured foods and beverages or sold on their own to be added to foods and beverages by consumers.
- The recommendation does not apply to personal care and hygiene products containing NSS, such as toothpaste, skin cream, and medications, or to low-calorie sugars and sugar alcohols (polyols), which are sugars or sugar derivatives containing calories and are therefore not considered NSS.
4. SUSTAINABILITY AND RELATED INITIATIVES
TAGS: GS 3: ENVIRONMENT
THE CONTEXT: There are a number of traditional conservationists who dismiss the works covered under the broader sustainability/nature-based solutions framing it as deceptive. On the other hand, there are hardcore business folks who almost always feel a false sense of piety towards the sustainability agenda.
- Sustainability is the ability to maintain or support a process over time. There is need of the strengthening of a better understanding and a space for deeper engagement and collaboration.
- While conservation is more action-focused on specific areas (landscape, theme, species), sustainability remains a bit more overarching. It is a strategic process of convening multiple stakeholders around a policy objective and programme strategies that would augment the work being done through conservation approaches.
Environment, Social and Governance:
- It is a framework that helps stakeholders understand how an organization is managing risks and opportunities related to environmental, social, and governance criteria (sometimes called ESG factors).
- It typically includes managing and avoiding the depletion of natural resources to maintain global ecological balance.
- It takes the holistic view that sustainability extends beyond just environmental issues.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR):
- It is a management concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and interactions with their stakeholders.
- CSR is generally understood as being the way through which a company achieves a balance of economic, environmental and social imperatives (“Triple-Bottom-Line- Approach”), while at the same time addressing the expectations of shareholders and stakeholders.
ESG vs CSR:
CSR may be used as an internal framework, while ESG provides a measure of assessment for investors. Corporate social responsibility is a business model by which companies make a concerted effort to operate in ways that enhance rather than degrade society and the environment whereas ESG provides a more quantitative measure of sustainability.
European Deforestation Regulation (EUDR):
- It is an initiative to limit deforestation caused by forestry and agricultural activities all over the world.
- EU deforestation-free regulation is part of the EU Green Deal and a broader EU strategy to protect the world’s forests.
- While these regulations focus on deforestation caused by illegal timber logging, the new EU deforestation-free regulation covers a broader set of commodities.
- The regulation affects seven specific commodities (cocoa, coffee, soy, palm oil, wood, rubber, and cattle) and their derivatives, as well as products made using these commodities (e.g. leather, cosmetics, chocolate etc.).
- The new Regulation will require any companyimporting or exporting these commodities from the EU to prove the products are deforestation-free. This applies to any company, regardless of whether they are EU-based or not, and for legal and illegal sources of deforestation in Europe and overseas.
- The Regulation defines a product as deforestation-free when the product itself, its ingredients or its derivatives were not produced on land subject to deforestation or forest degradation after the cut-off date of 31 December 2020. This cut-off date has been suggested to minimize disruption to international supply chains.
- It is typically corporate action to be perceived as environmentally conscious for marketing purposes without any notable sustainability efforts.
- It happens when a company makes an environmental claim about something the organization is doing that is intended to promote a sense of environmental impact that doesn’t exist. The green claim is typically about some form of positive effect on the environment.
- Greenwashing is when an organization spends more time and money on marketing itself as environmentally friendly than on actually minimizing its environmental impact.
- It’s a deceitful marketing gimmick intended to mislead consumers who prefer to buy goods and services from environmentally conscious brands Whilst some greenwashing is unintentional and results from a lack of knowledge about what sustainability truly is, it is often intentionally carried out through a wide range of marketing and PR efforts. But the common denominator among all greenwashing is that it is not only misleading, but it’s also really not helping to further sustainable design or circular economy.
As the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s common but differentiated responsibilities says:
The aim is minimum disruption and destruction — not to destroy the planet, the environment and the existing human life and ensure that this life remains available to future generations in its totality. With this understanding, countries and companies are building sustainability reporting into everyday action and attempting to turn theoretical issues into concrete actions.
5. MISSION DefSpace AND 100TH SPRINT (NAVY) CONTRACT
TAGS: GS 3: SECURITY
THE CONTEXT: Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX), the flagship initiative of Ministry of Defence, has reached a milestone with the signing of its 250th contract – first under Mission DefSpace and 100th SPRINT (Navy) contract.
- Recognising the strategic significance of the space domain, Mission DefSpace was launched with 75 Defence Space Challenges to be addressed by the private sector in 2022.
- It aims to nurture the Indian Private Space industry through challenges addressing every stage of a space mission from mission planning to satellite data analytics.
Mission DefSpace contract
- The first iDEX contract of Mission DefSpace was exchanged where one of the winners of the challenge ‘Micropropulsion system for cubesats’. This challenge is being led by the Defence Space Agency.
- Cubesats are a class of smallsats, which are modular; low-cost; easy to manufacture, integrate, and launch; and form a critical component for launch-on-demand capabilities. For imagery/Intelligence Surveillance & Reconnaissance/communication purposes, cubesats need to be precisely aligned, hence there is a requirement of a compact micropropulsion system for precise manoeuvring and orbit correction.
- InspeCity is developing a gas-based system for this purpose. This technology, once developed, can be integrated with other satellites, including the cubesat swarm being developed under Mission DefSpace.
100th SPRINT (Navy) contract
- The initiative aims at inducting at least 75 technologies/products into the Indian Navy by August 2023 as part of ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’.
- The 100thSPRINT (Navy) contract was exchanged where the winner of the Challenge was development of a prototype that is a lightweight ASIC (Application-Specific Integrated Circuit) based communication system using software defined antenna for Low Earth Orbit, Medium Earth Orbit and Geostationary satellite communication.
- iDEX is being implemented by Defence Innovation Organisation(DIO), established under the Department of Defence Production, MoD.
- It will help India become the biggest defence innovation ecosystem in the world in the times to come.
- Its objective is to provide the platform of co-creation & co-development in the defence sector. It aims to engage start-ups to contribute to the defence sector and develop defence and aerospace setup in the country.
- iDEX has also been able to generate thousands of jobs and attract India’s talent back to the country.
- iDEX is working at a path-breaking pace to ensure that its agreements with the start-ups and innovators reach logical conclusions timely, eventually opening a myriad of options for the budding, soon to be unicorns and at the same time addressing the requirement of Services.