• Current Affair,10 JANUARY 2020

     

    NATIONAL NEWS

     

    1. PM interacts with economists, business leaders at NITI Aayog

     

    • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for focused efforts from all stakeholders in order to achieve the target of Five Trillion Dollar Economy in India. Mr Modi said, the idea of Five Trillion Dollar Economy is not a sudden development and it is based on a deep understanding of the strengths of the country.
    • The Prime Minister was interacting with Senior Economists, Private Equity and Venture Capitalists, Business Leaders from Manufacturing, Travel and Tourism, Apparel and Fast-Moving Consumer Goods, Analytics, subject experts in the fields of Agriculture, Science and Technology and Finance at the NITI Aayog today. The meeting was held as a part of the pre-budget exercise.
    • The Prime Minister said that the strong absorbent capacity of Indian economy shows the strength of basic fundamentals of the Indian economy and its capacity to bounce back. He said, sectors like Tourism, Urban Development, Infrastructure and Agro-based Industry have a great potential to taking forward the economy and for employment generation.
    • Stating that India is land with unlimited possibilities, the Prime Minister requested all stakeholders to do their bit to bridge the gap between reality and perception. He said, everyone must work together and start to think like a nation.
    • He said that open discussions and brainstorming in such forums lead to a healthy debate and understanding of the issues.
      Mr Modi said, it will also foster a positive mood and spirit in the society.
    • Prime Minister said that he was happy that the two-hour open discussion brought to forefront the experiences of people on the ground and those working in their respective fields. He said, it will enhance the synergy between policy makers and various stakeholders.
    • Economists like Shankar Acharya, R Nagaraj, Ms. Farzana Afridi, Venture Capitalist Pradip Shah, Industrialists Apparao Mallavarapu, Deep Kalra, Patanjali Govind Keswani, Deepak Seth, Srikumar Misra, Subject Experts Ashish Dhawan and Shiv Sarin were among the 38 delegates who participated in the discussions.
    • Home Minister Amit Shah, Road Transport and Highways and MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Railways and Commerce Piyush Goyal and Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development Narendra Singh Tomar, Secretaries from various Ministries, Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog Rajiv Kumar and CEO of NITI Aayog Amitabh Kant attended the meeting.

     

    1. Delegation of 15 foreign envoys on Jammu and Kashmir visit

    • Union Government has said that a delegation of 15 foreign envoys is visiting Jammu and Kashmir today. The visit has been organized by the government on the request of these envoys.
    • Ministry of External Affairs Spokesman Raveesh Kumar said, objective of the visit was for the Envoys to obtain first-hand information how normalcy has been largely restored in Jammu and Kashmir. The Envoys met civil society members and political leaders.
    • The Spokesman said, the European Union Ambassador wanted the delegation to be broad-based but the government wanted a group size which is manageble. The visit has been organized at a short notice.
    • Envoys from US, South Korea, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Maldives, Morocco, Fiji, Norway, Philippines, Argentina, Peru, Niger, Nigeria, Togo and Guyana.
    • Meanwhile, Congress today criticized the government for allowing foreign envoys to visit Jammu and Kashmir, but not opposition party leaders.
    • Talking to reporters in New Delhi, party leader Jairam Ramesh accused the Centre of  adopting double standards over the issue. He demanded that the government allowed unfettered access to Jammu and Kashmir to all the politicians.

     

    1. Army Chief MM Naravne makes first visit to Siachen after assuming office

    • Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Narawane visited Siachen base camp today morning. This was his maiden visit to any forward post after assuming the charge of Army Chief.
    • During his visit to forward post in the Siachen, he underlined the importance of the armed forces in the inhospitable conditions. AIR correspondent reports that General MM Narawane made his maiden visit after taking the charge of Army Chief to world’s highest battle filed Siachen today.
    • MM Narawane flew to a forward post location in Siachen battle field this morning. He witnessed dropping of essentials to the Jawans guarding country’s boundaries in freezing temperatures. Army Chief later laid wreath to the martyrs and paid homage at Siachen War Memorial at the base camp.
    • He said, soldiers may be working in distance, but they are very close to my heart. Later he presented badges to Army officials for their excellent performance in the Siachen battle filed.

     

    • Army Chief interacted with the Jawans and officials during his visit. General Manoj Mukund Narawane accompanied by the Chief of Staff Northern Command LtGen YK Joshi and GOC 14Core Lt Genl Harinder Singh.

     

    1. Centre notifies new Wetland Conservation Rules

    • Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has notified the new Wetland Conservation Rules which prohibit setting up or expansion of industries and disposal of construction and demolition waste within the wetlands. A wetland is a land area that is saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally, and it takes on the characteristics of a distinct ecosystem.
    • The Ministry has said that each state and Union Territory will have to set up an authority that will define strategies for conservation and wise use of wetlands within their jurisdiction.
    • The Authority will prepare a list of all wetlands of the State or UT within three months from the date of publication of these rules. It will develop a comprehensive list of activities to be regulated and permitted within the notified wetlands and their zone of influence.

     

    • It will also recommend mechanisms for maintenance of ecological character through promotional activities for land within the boundary of notified wetlands.
    • The Ministry has also created a web portal for sharing information regarding the implementation of Wetlands Rules where the central government, state governments are required to upload all relevant information and documents pertaining to wetlands in their jurisdiction.

     

    1. Shri Rajnath Singh & Japanese Defence Minister Mr Taro Kono discuss ways to enhance bilateral security cooperati
    • Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh held a telephonic conversation with the Minister of Defence of Japan Mr Taro Kono today.
    • The two Defence Ministers had discussions on enhancing the bilateral security cooperation under the framework of the India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership.
    • They also exchanged views on regional security situation.

     

    1. Sale of Electoral Bonds at Authorised Branches of State Bank of India (SBI)
    • Government of India has notified the Electoral Bond Scheme 2018 vide Gazette Notification No. 20 dated January 02, 2018. As per provisions of the Scheme, Electoral Bonds may be purchased by a person (as defined in item No. 2 (d) of Gazette Notification), who is a citizen of India or incorporated or established in India.
    • A person being an individual can buy Electoral Bonds, either singly or jointly with other individuals. Only the Political Parties registered under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (43 of 1951) and which secured not less than one per cent of the votes polled in the last General Election to the House of the People or the Legislative Assembly of the State, shall be eligible to receive the Electoral Bonds. The Electoral Bonds shall be encashed by an eligible Political Party only through a Bank account with the Authorized Bank.
    • State Bank of India (SBI), in the XIII Phase of sale, has been authorised to issue and encash Electoral Bonds through its 29 Authorized Branches ( as per list enclosed) w.e.f. 13.01.2020 to 22.01.2020.
    • It may be noted that Electoral Bonds shall be valid for fifteen calendar days from the date of issue and no payment shall be made to any payee Political Party if the Electoral Bond is deposited after expiry of the validity period. The Electoral Bond deposited by an eligible Political Party in its account shall be credited on the same day.

     

    1. Indian Railways to source about 1000 MW Solar Power by 2021-22

     

    • Indian Railways has planned to source about 1000 Mega Watt (MW) Solar Power and about 200 MW of wind power progressively by 2021-22 across Zonal Railways & Production Units. Of this, 500 Mega Watt (MW) solar plants are to be installed on the roof top of Railway buildings which will be used to meet non-traction loads at Railway Stations, etc. About 500 MW land based solar plants will be used to meet both traction & non-traction requirements.
    • South Central Railway is one of the zones actively implementing several measures aimed at energy conservation by harnessing renewable energy. One of the significant actions taken in this direction has been the installation of solar panels at stations, service buildings, LC gates etc across the zone. Taking this step to the next level, for the first time all the stations in a particular section of the South Central Railway have been provided with solar panels at one stretch to tap the natural energy. This will not only help in meeting power needs of all the stations in the section but also save expenditure for the Railways.
    • The Nandyal – Yerraguntla section in Guntakal Division has been declared as the first solar section in South Central Railway. Nandyal – Yerraguntla section is a new railway line laid by Railways and opened for passenger traffic in the year 2016 to bring the hinterland areas into rail map by providing rail connectivity. All the 08 stations in the section – Madduru, Banaganapalle, Koilakuntla, Sanjamala, Nossam, S.Uppalapadu, Jammalamadugu and Proddutur – have been provided with solar panels capable of meeting all the power needs at these railway stations.
    • In order to make use of solar power, 37 kWp off Grid Roof Top Solar plants along with 250/125 Wp solar panels have been installed in each station.  In addition, Inverters and 12V 150 AH Battery banks are also installed at all these stations. The total connected load on solar plants is on an average 30 kWp. In total, 152 solar panels have been installed at these stations. With an average exposure of 8 sunny hours per day, 148 KWh energy units can be generated throughout the year resulting in energy generation of 54,020 units. Anticipated savings in terms of revenue is around Rs 5 lakh per annum. Significantly, it also helps in reducing carbon footprint to the tune of 49 metric tonnes per annum thus contributing towards greener environs.
    • 16 stations have already been declared Green Railway stations across Indian Railways, which are meeting energy needs completely either through solar or wind power. These stations are Roha, Pen, Apta in Central Railway, Niamatpur halt, Kanhaipur halt, Teka Bigha halt, Mai halt, Garsanda halt, Niyazipur halt, Dhamaraghat in East Central Railway, Shri Mata Vaisno Devi, Shimla in Northern Railway, Unhel, Khanderi, Bajud, Ambli Road, Sadanapura & Sachin in Western Railway – are 100% Green Powered stations.

     

    1. Renewable Energy Sector Makes rapid Strides in 2019

     

    • As a part of Nationally Determined Contributions as per the Paris Accord on Climate Change, India has made a pledge that by 2030, 40% of our installed power generation capacity shall be from non-fossil fuel sources and also by 2030, reduce emission intensity of GDP by 33-35 % from 2005 level.
    • Economic growth, increasing prosperity, a growing rate of urbanisation and rising per capita energy consumption has increased the energy demand of the country.

    Keeping in view the above and our commitment for a healthy planet with less carbon intensive economy, we decided in 2015 that 175 GW of renewable energy capacity will be installed by the year 2022. This includes 100 GW from solar, 60 GW from wind, 10 GW from biomass and 5 GW from small hydro power.The substantial higher capacity target will ensure greater energy security, improved energy access and enhanced employment opportunities. With the accomplishment of these ambitious targets, India will become one of the largest Green Energy producers in the world, even surpassing several developed countries.

    The Prime Minister in his address atto Climate Action Summit stated that “India’s renewable energy capacity would be increased to much beyond 175 GW, and later till 450 GW”.In line with the objective of expanding renewable energy sector, several important initiatives were taken during year 2019.

    Renewable Energy capacity is rising rapidly and the status of projects as on 17.12.19 is given below:

     

    SectorInstalled capacity (GW)Under Implementation (GW)Tendered (GW)Total Installed/ Pipeline (GW)
    Solar Power32.5325.0525.7883.36
    Wind Power37.289.642.2049.12
    Bio Energy9.940.000.009.94
    Small Hydro4.650.550.005.20
    Wind Solar Hybrid01.440.001.44
    Round the Clock (RTC) Power00.001.601.60
    Total84.4036.6829.58150.66

     

    MAJOR INITIATIVES UNDERTAKEN DURING THE YEAR 2019

    1. Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM)

    In a major initiative towards making Annadata also a Urjadata PM-KUSUM scheme was approved on 8th March 2019 and implementation guidelines were issued on 22.7.2019. State-wise allocation of capacities for the first year was made on 13.8.2019. The scheme covers grid-connected RE power plants (0.5 – 2 MW)/ Solar water pumps/ grid connected agriculture pumps and has following three components:

    Component A: Installation of 10,000 MW of Decentralized Ground Mounted Grid Connected Renewable Energy Power Plants by farmers of 500 kW to 2 MW capacity within 5 km distance from sub-station primarily on barren/uncultivable land. The DISCOMs will purchase power at pre-fixed tariff for which they will get PBI of Rs. 0.40 per unit up to Rs. 33 lakh per MW in a span of five years.

    Component B: Installation of 17.50 lakh standalone Solar Powered Agriculture Pumps for which Government of India will provide financial support up to 30% of the cost of solar pump and States to also provide at least 30% of the cost of solar pump, balance cost to be shared by the beneficiary farmer. (For NE and hilly States/UTs the Central support would be up to 50% of the cost of solar pump)

    Component C: Solarisation of 10 Lakh existing Grid-connected Agriculture Pumps for which Government of India will provide financial support up to 30% of the cost of solarisation and States to also provide at least 30% of the cost of solarisation, balance cost to be shared by the beneficiary farmer. (For NE and hilly States/UTs the Central support would be up to 50% of the cost of solarisation)

    Targets: Setting up of 25,750 MW additional solar capacity by 2022.

    Implementing framework: Scheme will be implemented by agencies designated by States for the three components in the respective states as per implementation guidelines issued by MNRE. Centralised tendering envisaged for Component-B. Centralised tendering for 1.75 lakh solar pumps Component-B completed by EESL (Energy Efficiency Services Ltd.) and States started implementations of Component-B. For Component-A and C the States have to initiate process as per Guidelines.

     

    1. Standard bidding guidelines

    The Ministry has issued Guidelines for Tariff Based Competitive Bidding Process for Procurement of Power from Grid Connected Solar & Wind Power Projects with an objective to provide a framework for procurement of solar & wind power through a transparent process of bidding including standardisation of the process and defining of roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders.

    In order to strengthen the contractual provision in the Contract (Power Purchase Agreement) between the solar power generators and the Procurers, and to facilitate setting up of solar power projects, the Government, vide notification dated 22.10.2019 from Ministry of New & Renewable Energy, has made following major amendments to the ‘Guidelines for Tariff Based Competitive Bidding Process for Procurement of Power from Grid Connected Solar PV Power Projects:

    (i). Solar Power Generators have been allowed to submit documents/Lease Agreement to establish possession/right to use 100% (hundred per cent) of the required land in the name of the Solar Power Generator for a period not less than the complete term of the PPA, on or before the Scheduled Commissioning Date (SCD).

    (ii). Clear and elaborate provisions for time extension and compensation to affected party in the event of natural and non-Natural Force Majeure events with specific provisions regarding termination due to natural and non-natural Force Majeure events have been included.

    (iii). Quantum of Compensation for back-down has been increased from 50 % to 100% with provision for recognition of only written instructions of back-down and payment of back-down compensation.

    (iv). Corresponding Time Extension in date for achievement of financial closure and scheduled commissioning date, in case there is a delay in adoption of tariff by the concerned Electricity Regulatory Commission beyond a period of 60 days from the filing of such application.

    Similar relaxations were also made for wind power bidding guidelines.

    1. Development of Ultra Mega Renewable Energy Power Parks (UMREPPs)

    This Ministry has undertaken a scheme to develop Ultra Mega Renewable Energy Power Parks (UMREPPs) under the existing Solar Park Scheme. The objective of the UMREPP is to provide land upfront to the project developer and facilitate transmission infrastructure for developing Renewable Energy (RE) based UMPPs with solar/wind/hybrid and also with storage system, if required.

    The implementing agency of the UMREPPs may be a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) in form of a Joint Venture Company (JVC) to be set up between Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSU) and any State Public Sector Undertakings (SPSU) or State Utility or Agency of the State Government or a SPV fully owned by any CPSU or a SPV fully owned by any State PSU / State Utility / Agency of the State Government.

    NTPC, SECI, NHPC, THDC, NEEPCO, SJVNL, DVC, NLC and PFC have proposed to set up UMREPPs of around 42,000 MW in various states.

     

    1. Grid-Connected Rooftop Solar (RTS) Programme

    Phase II of the Grid connected rooftop solar programme was approved with a target for achieving cumulative capacity of 40,000 MW from Rooftop Solar (RTS) Projects by the year 2022 in February 2019. In the Phase-II Programme, Central Financial Assistance (CFA) for the residential sector has been restructured. Important features of the Phase-II of RTS are as under: –

    • Power Distributing companies (DISCOMs) will be the implementing agencies
    • Subsidy/CFA will be available for the residential sector only
    • CFA under residential category will be provided for 4000 MW capacity and the same will be provided on the basis of benchmark cost or tender cost, whichever is lower.
    • For RTS systems up to 3 kW, CFA is 40%; for capacity above 3 kW and up to 10 kW, CFA is 40% for first 3 kW and 20% for balance quantity; for capacity above 10 kW, CFA is 40% for first 3 kW and 20% for next 7 kW. No subsidy beyond 10 kW capacity.
    • For Group Housing Societies/Residential Welfare Associations (GHS/RWA), CFA will be limited to 20% for RTS plants for supply of power to common facilities; however, the capacity eligible for CFA for GHS/RWA will be limited to 10 kW per house with maximum total capacity up to 500 kWp.
    • Residential Consumers/Group Housing Societies/Residential Welfare Associations have to pay only balance amount after deducting the CFA to the empanelled vendor for installation of the RTS project
    • For availing the benefit of CFA, indigenously manufactured PV Modules and Cells are to be used.
    • Performance based incentives will be provided to DISCOMs based on RTS capacity achieved in a financial year (i.e. 1st April to 31st March every year till the duration of the scheme) over and above the base capacity i.e. cumulative capacity achieved at the end of previous financial year.

     

    1. Solar PV manufacturing

    Government Producer Scheme for setting up Solar PV Power plants using domestically manufactured SPV cells & modules

    Government have approved a Scheme [CPSU Scheme Phase-II (Government Producer Scheme)] for setting up of solar PV power plants by Government Producers [Central Public Sector Undertakings (CPSUs)/ State Public Sector Undertakings (SPSUs)/ Government Organisations, etc.], as per extant Guidelines, in a World Trade Organization (WTO) compliant manner, using domestically manufactured solar PV cells and modules to encourage ‘Make in India’ in Solar PV Manufacturing sector.

    Solar PV Manufacturing linked PPAs for Solar Power Plant

    Tenders for setting up Solar PV Manufacturing Capacities in India linked with assured off take in the form of PPAs for Solar Power Plant has been finalized. SECI has already concluded a bid for one such tender under which 2-3 GW of Solar PV Cells &Modules manufacturing capacity linked with 8-12 GW of Solar PV Power plants capacity is likely to come up.

    1. Wind-Solar Hybrid

    The main objective of the National Wind-Solar Hybrid Policy is to provide a framework for promotion of large grid connected wind-solar PV hybrid system for optimal and efficient utilization of wind and solar resources, transmission infrastructure and land. The wind – solar PV hybrid systems will help in reducing the variability in renewable power generation and achieving better grid stability. The policy also aims to encourage new technologies, methods and way-outs involving combined operation of wind and solar PV plants. So far, SECI has awarded 1440 MW capacity of wind solar hybrid projects after e- reverse auction. In addition, Hero Future Energies has commissioned wind solar hybrid project by adding 28.8 MW of solar project to an existing 50 MW wind project (Total 78.8 MW hybrid project) in Raichur district, Karnataka.

    1. Offshore Wind Power in India

    The National Offshore wind energy policy was notified in October 2015 with an objective to develop the offshore wind energy in the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) along the Indian coastline of 7600 km. eight zones are identified each in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu having cumulative offshore wind energy potential of 70 GW. Expression of Interest for first 1 GW offshore wind project was floated in April, 2018. More than 35 participants from in country onshore wind developer / manufacturer as well as international offshore wind developers had participated. The inputs received from the participants have been duly considered in designing the bid documents.

     

    1. Inter State Transmission System (ISTS) Phase-II (66.5 GW REZ)

    Potential renewable energy zones (66.5 GW – Solar 50 GW and Wind 16.5 GW) have been identified in the states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan & Madhya Pradesh and a comprehensive transmission scheme was evolved integrating these renewable energy zones.

    The scheme is being implemented in phases by way of either Tariff Based Competitive Bidding (TBCB) or through Regulated Tariff Mechanism (RTM) by PGCIL. The TBCB bids are being carried out by PFC and REC. The allotment of works in TBCB or RTM is done by established committees of transmission constituted by Ministry of Power.

    Of this, Phase-I projects (for evacuation of 12.4 GW) have been bid out, awarded and are under implementation. Phase-II projects (for evacuation of approx. 15 GW) have been allotted by Ministry of Power in October/November 2019 and the bids have been issued by PGCIL/PFC. The Phase-III (approx. 39 GW) projects are under approval of the National Committee on Transmission.

     

    1. Payment Comfort

     

    Opening of LCs by all DISCOMs/ distribution licensees for all producers

    Ministry of Power has issued an order regarding opening and maintaining of adequate Letter of Credit (LC) as Payment Security Mechanism (PSM) under Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) by Distribution Licensees (DISCOMs).

    Further, Ministry of Power has instructed Power System Operation Corporation Ltd. (POSOCO) that according to the Procedure for Scheduling of power to Distribution Company, Power will be scheduled for dispatch only after a written intimation is given to the appropriate Load Despatch Centre (LDC) i.e. NLDC/RLDC/SLDC that Letter of Credit (LC) for the desired quantum of power w.r.t the generating stations has been opened.

     

    Term loans to DISCOMs for clearing outstanding payments of RE generators

     

    Ministry has requested PFC/REC/IREDA to extend short term loan to DISCOMs for the purpose of making payments to renewable energy generators.

     

    1. Energy Storage

     

    SECI have floated two tenders which include battery storage systems: –

    1. 1200 MW tender with requirement of supplying power during evening/morning (six hours) peak, with battery storage system.
    2. 400 MW round the clock renewable, this will also come with battery storage system.

     

    1. Second Assembly of the International Solar Alliance (ISA)

     

    The Ministry hosted the second assembly of International Solar Alliance (ISA) on 30th and 31st October 2019 New Delhi. On 30th October 2019, coordination and consultation meetings on different aspects of ISA programmes and initiatives were held.

    The Assembly met on 31st October 2019 & was presided by Shri R.K. Singh, Hon’ble Minister & ex-Officio President of ISA. Delegations from 78 countries participated in the Assembly including 29 Ministerial delegations of which 25 are from ISA member countries, two from signatory countries, and two from prospective member countries. The Assembly deliberated upon ISA’s activities and new proposals for accelerating development and deployment of solar energy in ISA member countries and approved Rules and Procedure of the Assembly, Manual of Regulations of ISA, and Work Programme and Budget for the year 2020.

    1. Global Solar Event for commemorating 150thbirth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi

    Ministry in association with IIT Bombay organised Global Student Solar Assembly to commemorate 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and to promote the Gandhian idea of sustainable living. Over 6,800 students from National Capital Region created Guinnes world record by lighting the largest number of solar lamps together at Indira Gandhi Stadium Complex, New Delhi.  Another Guinness World Records was made during this event on sustainability lessons to the largest number of participants at a single place.

    1. Dispute Resolution Mechanism

    During the period MNRE set up a Dispute Resolution Mechanism for wind/solar projects to consider the unforeseen disputes between solar/wind power developers and SECI/NTPC, beyond contractual agreement. This mechanism will help in smooth implementation of solar/wind energy projects in India, by expeditiously resolving, unforeseen disputes that may arise beyond the scope of Contractual Agreements.

    1. Off-Grid Solar PV Applications Programme Phase III

    Government is implementing Phase-3 of the Off-Grid Solar PV Applications Programme for Solar Street Lights, Solar Study Lamps and Solar Power Packs. Based on the demand for solar street lights and solar study lamps sanction has been issued to States; EESL has completed centralised tendering for solar street lights and solar study lamps.

    Provision has been made for financial supportup to 90% of the benchmark cost of the system for NE States, Hilly States/UTs and Island UTs; up to 30% of the benchmark cost of the system for other States. Solar study lamps for students will be provided in NE States and LWE affected areas with 85% financial support from Central Government.

    Targets: 118 MW of off-grid solar power systems during 2018-20.

    Implementing framework: Projects will be implemented by State Nodal Agencies in their respective States. Centralised tendering will be done for solar streetlights and solar study lamps.

    1. Atal Jyoti Yojana (AJAY) Phase-II

    Applications covered: Solar Street Lights.

    Financial support: 75% of the cost by MNRE and balance 25% through MPLAD.

    Targets: A total of 3,04,500 Solar Street Lights (SSLs) will be installed in the following states/ regions:

    1. States of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and Assam, which were covered in Phase-I of the Scheme as there is additional demand in these States.
    2. Hilly States/UTs of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
    • North Eastern States including Sikkim.
    1. Islands of Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep.
    2. Parliamentary constituencies covering 48 aspirational districts of States other than those covered in (i) to (iii) above.

    Implementing framework: Project is proposed to be implemented by EESL. Hon’ble MPs of concerning parliamentary constituencies will provide consent letter along with location of lights. Respective DM will issue sanction for allocation of funds from MPLAD funds.

    Achievements: During Phase I of the Scheme, sanction for allocation of funds from MPLAD fund received for 96 parliamentary constituencies. Out of sanctioned 1.45 lakh Solar Street Lights 1.34 lakh have been installed.

    Current Status: Ph-II of the Scheme is under implementation. Consent letters for installation of 1,31,586 SSLs have been received from 120 Hon’ble MPs against which sanction from DMs has been received for 31,426 numbers of SSLs and 13,583 SSLS have been reported installed.

     

    INTERNATIONAL NEWS

     

    1. Nepal is following recent developments in West Asian region with serious concern

    • The Government of Nepal is following with serious concern the recent developments in West Asian region.
    • According to a press release issued by the Nepal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the region hosts a large number of Nepali migrant workers and therefore, security and safety of Nepali people in the region becomes a matter of utmost priority for Nepal.
    • It has called upon all sides to exercise restraints from taking measures and actions that contribute to the escalation of tension and endanger peace and stability in the region.
    • The release further said, it has been a principled position of Nepal that all disputes and differences must be resolved through peaceful means.

     

    1. British Parliament to finally approve terms of Brexit

    • Britain’s Parliament will finally approve the terms of Brexit today, clearing the divided country’s exit from the European Union on 31st of January. The House of Commons will rush through a final day of hearings and ratify Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s divorce deal with Brussels.
    • For much of the time since the 2016 Brexit Referendum, lawmakers have been deadlocked over how, when and even if Britain should leave its closest trading partners after nearly 50 years.

     

    • MPs gave their initial blessing to the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill before Christmas and the government set aside just three days this week for detailed scrutiny of the complex text.

     

    • The Brexit Bill must be passed by the unelected House of Lords and the European Parliament, but this is expected before 31st of January.
    • The Brexit deal covers separation issues such as EU citizens’ rights and Britain’s financial settlement and sets out an 11-month transition period in which to agree a wider partnership.

     

    1. Australia issues new warnings, evacuation notices as bushfires regenerate
    • In Australia, government issued new warnings and evacuation notices across the country’s heavily populated southeast today as a return of hot weather fanned huge bushfires threatening several towns and communities.
    • A disaster notice in Victoria State already in place for the past week, was extended by two days and people in danger zones were told to leave. In neighbouring New South Wales State, authorities told residents to prepare for worsening weather conditions tomorrow.
    • Victoria Emergency Services Minister Lisa Neville said in a televised briefing that these fires are absolutely still moving and still growing and they pose significant risk to communities.
    • Twenty-six people have died, thousands have been made homeless and thousands of others have had to evacuate repeatedly as the monster fires have scorched through more than 10.3 million hectares of land.
    • Authorities have warned that the summer fire season, spurred by high temperatures and strong winds will continue until the country experiences good rainfall.

    SPORTS NEWS

     

    1. Leh-Ladakh: Both Boys, Girls teams win 5th IHAI National Ice Hockey Championship 2020
    • In Leh-Ladakh, the home teams won the 5th Ice Hockey Association of India (IHAI) National Ice Hockey Championship -2020 in both Boys and Girls categories today. Ladakh Scouts Regiment Centre (LSRC) won the bronze medal, in Under-20 Boys category.
    • Maharashtra girls stood 3rd in the championship.
    • IHAI Secretary Harjinder Singh said that Ice Hockey National teams will be shortlisted from the Championship and teams will be selected after a coaching and conditioning camp.
    • The Under-20 boys will be playing Asia Challenge Cup between 10th and 15th of next month in Thailand. Girls will play in the  Asian Championship between  23rd and 28th of next month in the Philippines.

     

    1. Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal to headline Australian bushfire charity match 
    • Tennis greats Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal will headline an exhibition match ahead of the Australian Open. The exhibition match at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena will raise money for bushfire relief.
    • Tennis Australia announced that the match is slated for January 15, the week before the first Grand Slam of the year.
    • Vast wildfires continue to burn across eastern Australia. 25 people have been killed since the start of the disaster in September and destroyed more than 1,800 homes.
    • Milder conditions are providing a reprieve for firefighters, although more dangerous weather is forecast for later in the week.
    • There have been fears that smoke haze could affect the Australian Open, but Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley said this was unlikely.
    • Meanwhile, five-time Grand Slam winner Maria Sharapova was handed an Australian Open wildcard as she attempts to resurrect her career after an injury-plagued 2019.

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