• Current Affairs, 13 May 2020

    THE KERALA WAY

    RELEVANT FOR: DEVELOPMENTAL ISSUES | TOPIC: HEALTH & SANITATION AND RELATED ISSUES

    • Kerala is an outlier among other Indian states in terms of social indices and its success is often touted as an “experience” or a “lesson”. The Kerala story has been widely talked about even by scholars such as Amartya Sen. There is a renewed sense of pride among a large section of people in Kerala that the state’s social indicators are at par with those of Nordic countries and that the state has outsmarted even rich Western countries in combating COVID-19.
    • How is it that Kerala could effectively combat COVID-19 when the world at large appeared ill-prepared to respond to this health emergency? Kerala has the lowest mortality rate as well as the highest recovery rate with respect to coronavirus The initial statistical projection of cases and deaths became redundant due to the organic method adopted by Kerala. The number of tests conducted in Kerala is just 10 per cent of the figures for countries such as the US. But aggressive contact tracing and keeping a large number of people under observation helped Kerala in preventing community spread. Ninety per cent of the positive cases were detected among people who were kept under observation.
    • Comparative analysis will invariably become the premise for understanding the experiences of various countries. The experiences of New York and Kerala are compared to highlight the stark difference in the approach of two systems. The population of Kerala is 33 million whereas that of New York is 19 million. The per capita income of Kerala is $2,937 while that of New York state is $88,981. There are 1.8 hospital beds for every 1,000 people in Kerala whereas the corresponding figure for New York is 3.1 beds. Kerala has 1.7 doctors per 1,000 persons, New York is credited with 3.8 doctors. However, the total corona positive cases in Kerala as on May 11 was 512 and the state had reported just four deaths. On the corresponding date, New York had over 3.4 lakh corona positive cases with more than 27,000 deaths. The credit should go to Kerala’s robust local governance, effective social structure and well-knit multi-layered public health structure. The state may be a laggard in industrial production, but its human development indices are stellar.
    • The world is once again discussing the Kerala story. It has acquired a halo thanks to its efficiency and resilience in successfully battling infectious diseases and natural calamities over successive years. In recent years, the state government, in close collaboration with its people, managed to minimise human and economic losses due to floods, the Nipah virusoutbreak and now the COVID-19 pandemic. Unsurprisingly, the results have attracted worldwide attention. Kerala is now a topic of discussion worldwide — on TV channels and in mainstream newspapers of all ideological persuasions, and in seminar rooms.
    • We say in a lighter vein that Kerala consumes a heavy dose of politics. Indeed, politics pervades all aspects of life in the state. A positive aspect of this is that there is a close interconnect between the layers of administration and people. Real-time auditing, which becomes handy when mammoth exercises, like fighting a pandemic, is in place in the state.
    • The Left has always been decried for its redistribution-oriented economic model and blamed for its “skewed” nurturing of the public sector. The Left Democratic Front governments have always laid emphasis on public education and public health. Official numbers from the period — whenever the Left has been in office — confirm a preference for state-run institutions over private enterprises. Since people have gained massively from such measures, even the rival political formation would not dilute the Left’s people-centric policies for fear of a popular backlash when it is elected to office.
    • The message from Kerala is that the world should be prodded to do business in the state, especially in sectors such as tourism, hospitality, education, health, biotechnology and IT. Kerala’s weather, friendly people, stable law and order are clearly pluses for investors. There are millions of people across the world who are curious about this small patch of land and they can be induced to have an interface with state. Moreover, the entrepreneurship of those Malayalis who would be returning with vast expertise and experience, can be channelised for productive purposes. Take the tourism sector. If each Malayali brings one tourist home, the loss the state suffered on account of the pandemic can be compensated to a large extent.
    • It is not an exaggeration to say that Malayalis get an adrenaline rush during a crisis and plunge into humanitarian efforts. But he or she often squanders opportunities to make the state proud on normal occasions. This is another Kerala paradox! The Malayali has a penchant to dwell on controversies, which often result in administrators and decision-makers wasting their time over trivial matters. Paul Antony, a former chief secretary of Kerala, once said the only industry that was thriving in the state was that of controversy!
    • Kerala cannot afford to the miss new opportunities coming its way in this fast-changing world unless it wants to miss the bus of progress and development. Late US President John F Kennedyis reported to have said: “The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis’. One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger — but recognise the opportunity.” Kennedy may have misunderstood the Chinese characters, but Kerala should lean on the second brush stroke he spoke about and turn the present adversity into opportunity.

     

    INDELICATE IMBALANCE: THE HINDU EDITORIAL ON SUPREME COURT ABDICATING JUDICIAL RESPONSIBILITY ON KASHMIR

    RELEVANT FOR: INDIAN POLITY | TOPIC: INDIAN CONSTITUTION – FEATURES & SIGNIFICANT PROVISIONS RELATED TO FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS, DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLES AND FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES

    • The Supreme Court has failed to discharge a judicial duty it was called upon to perform. Its decision to send the question of restoring 4G connectivity in Jammu and Kashmirfor a review to the very authorities who imposed the restriction in the first place is a clear abdication of responsibility. The mandate that the Court enjoys under Article 32 of the Constitution — to enforce fundamental rights — cannot be transferred to the executive. It is quite stark that the three-member Bench has resorted to this measure despite coming to the conclusion that the grievance of the petitioner’s merits consideration. The judgment is in consonance with a judicial trend that seeks ‘balance’ between rights and ‘national security’. In the J&K context, this approach inevitably results in unquestioning deference to any claim that the executive makes without scrutinising the nature and quality of the claim. The Court has not even pursued the attempt it made in Anuradha Bhasin, to lay down a set of rules by which authorities seeking to impose restrictions on fundamental rights must adhere to the doctrine of proportionality. In that case decided in January, the Court refrained from taking any view on the legality of the government’s imposition of a blanket communication lockdown in J&K in the wake of the abrogation of the special status enjoyed till then by the erstwhile State. However, it held that repeated resort to Section 144 of the CrPC to impose wide restrictions without territorial or temporal limits was unacceptable. It directed the authorities to review each one of them from time to time. In the present case, it has asked two Secretaries in the Union government and the J&K Chief Secretary to consider the case made out by the petitioners for restoring 4G services.
    • The Court acknowledges that it might be better and convenient to have better Internet facilities during a global pandemic and a national lockdown. It also notes that the entire Union Territory has been put under curbs that allow only 2G speed. However, it takes into account two claims by the government: one, that there ought to be limits on data speed to prevent terrorists misusing it to disturb peace and tranquillity; and two, that there has been a spike in incidents of terrorism — 108 incidents, in fact, between August 5, 2019 and April 25, 2020 — in the area. The Court also considered recent incidents including the encounter at Handwara. A question that it failed to ask was how these incidents could be linked to Internet speed when all of them took place while severe restrictions were in place. Without a judicial standard to scrutinise claims made in the name of national security, is it right to use them to dislodge fundamental rights? Further, the institutional discrimination against J&K that this approach causes is not taken into account at all. The delicate balancing the Court attempts is, in fact, no balance at all.

     

    ATMANIRBHAR BHARAT AND ECONOMIC STIMULUS

    RELEVANT FOR: – INDIAN ECONOMY/ TOPICS: – GROWTH & DEVELOPMENT, MOBILIZATION OF RESOURCES, GOVERNMENT POLICIES & INTERVENTIONS

    • Recently, the Prime Minister has announced the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (or Self-reliant India Mission)’with an economic stimulus package — worth Rs 20 lakh crores aimed towards achieving the mission.
    • The announced economic package is 10% of India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2019-20.
    • The amount includes packages already announced at the beginning of the lockdown incorporating measures from the RBI and the payouts under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana.
    • The package is expected to focus on land, labour, liquidity and laws.

    Self-Reliant India Mission

    • The Self-Reliant India Mission aims towards cutting down import dependenceby focussing on substitution while improving safety compliance and quality goods to gain global market share.
    • The Self-Reliance neither signifies any exclusionary or isolationist strategiesbut involves creation of a helping hand to the whole world.
    • The Mission focuses on the importance of promoting “local” products.
    • The Mission will be carried out in two phases:
    • Phase 1:It will consider sectors like medical textiles, electronics, plastics and toys where local manufacturing and exports can be promoted.
    • Phase 2:It will consider products like gems and jewellery, pharma and steel, etc.
    • The Mission would be based onfive pillars namely,
    • Economy
    • Infrastructure
    • System
    • Vibrant Demography
    • Demand
    • The Mission is also expected to complement ‘Make In India Initiative’which intends to encourage manufacturing in India.

    Analysis of Declared Economic Package

    • Inclusion of RBIs’ Expenditure in Fiscal Package:
    • The declared package is considered to be substantially less becauseit includes the actions of RBI as part of the government’s “fiscal” package, even though only the government controls the fiscal policy and not the RBI (which controls the ‘monetary’ policy).
    • Thus, the Government expenditure and RBI’s actions are neither the same nor can they be addedin this manner. And thus nowhere in the world fiscal packages are declared in this manner.
    • For instance, when the US announced a relief package of $3 trillion (Rs 225 lakh crore), it only refers to the money that will be spent by the government — and does not include the expenditure of the Federal Reserve (US central bank).
    • Implication of Inclusion of RBIs’ Expenditure :
    • If the government is including RBI’s liquidity decisions in the calculation, then the actual fresh spending by the government could be considerably lower.
    • That’s because RBI has been coming out with Long Term Repo Operation (LTRO), to infuse liquidity into the banking system worth Rs 1 lakh crore at a time. If RBI launches another LTRO of Rs 1 lakh crore, then the overall fiscal help falls by the same amount.
    • The direct expenditure by a government usually includes wage subsidy or direct benefit transfer or payment of salaries, etc —immediately and necessarily stimulates the economy. In other words, that money necessarily reaches the people — either as through salary or purchase.
    • But measures from RBI include credit easing—that is, making more money available to the banks so that they can lend to the broader economy — is not like government expenditure.
    • In times of crisis, banks may take that money from RBI and, instead of lending it, may park it back with the RBI.
    • Recently, Indian banks have parked Rs 8.5 lakh crores with the central bank. So in terms of calculations, RBI has given a stimulus of Rs 6 lakh crore. But in reality, RBI has received an even bigger amount back from the banks.
    • Thus, the declared amount is 10% of GDP, but less than 5% cash outgo is expected.

    GLOBAL NUTRITION REPORT 2020

    RELEVANT FOR :- SOCIAL JUSTICE/ TOPICS :- HEALTH, ISSUES RELATED TO CHILDREN, ISSUES RELATED TO WOMEN

    • TheGlobal Nutrition Report 2020 stated that India is among 88 countries that are likely to miss global nutrition targets by 2025.
    • It also identified the country as one with the highest rates of domestic inequalities in malnutrition.

    Global Nutrition Targets

    • In 2012, the World Health Assembly (the decision-making body of the World Health Organisation) identified six nutrition targets to be met by 2025. These are:
    • Reduce stunting by 40% in children under 5.
    • Reduce the prevalence of anaemia by 50% among women in the age group of 19-49 years.
    • Ensure 30% reduction in low-birth weight.
    • Ensure no increase in childhood overweight.
    • Increase the rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months up to at least 50%
    • Reduce and maintain childhood wasting to less than 5%.

    India’s Status

    • India will miss targets for all four nutritional indicatorsfor which there is data available, i.e.
      • Stunting among under-5 children,
      • Anaemia among women of reproductive age,
      • Childhood overweight and
      • Exclusive breastfeeding.
    • Stunting and wasting among children
      • Data:9% of children under 5 years are stunted and 20.8% are wasted, compared to the Asia average of 22.7% and 9.4% respectively.
      • Inequity:
        • India is identified as among the three worst countries,along with Nigeria and Indonesia, for steep within-country disparities in stunting, where the levels varied four-fold across communities.
        • For example, Stunting level in Uttar Pradesh is over 40% and their rate among individuals in the lowest income group is more than double those in the highest income group at 22.0% and 50.7%, respectively.
        • In addition, stunting prevalence is 10.1% higher in rural areas compared to urban areas.
      • Overweight and Obesity
        • Data: Rate of overweight and obesity continues to rise,affecting almost a fifth of the adults, at 21.6% of women and 17.8% of men.
        • Inequity:There are nearly double as many obese adult females than there are males (5.1% compared to 2.7%).
      • Anaemia
        • One in twowomen of reproductive age is
      • Underweight children
        • Between 2000 and 2016, rates of underweight have decreased from 66.0% to 58.1% for boys and 54.2% to 50.1% in girls.
        • However, this is still high compared to the average of 35.6% for boys and 31.8% for girls in Asia.
      • Link Between Malnutrition and Inequity
        • The report emphasises on the link between malnutrition and different forms of inequity, such as those based on geographic location, age, gender, ethnicity, education and wealth in all its forms.
        • Inequities in food and health systems increase inequalities in nutrition outcomesthat in turn can lead to more inequity, perpetuating a vicious cycle.
        • Coming at a time the world is battling Covid-19, which has exposed different forms of socio-economic inequities, the report calls for promoting equity to address malnutrition.

    Malnutrition

    • Malnutrition refers to deficiencies, excesses or imbalances in a person’s intake of energy and/or nutrients.
    • The term malnutrition covers two broad groups of conditions.
    • One is ‘undernutrition’—which includes stunting (low height for age), wasting (low weight for height), underweight (low weight for age) and micronutrient deficiencies or insufficiencies (a lack of important vitamins and minerals).
    • The other is overweight, obesity and diet-related noncommunicable diseases (such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer).
    • In April 2016, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition from 2016 to 2025.
    • The Sustainable Development Goal (SD Goal 2: Zero hunger) aims to end all forms of hunger and malnutrition by 2030, making sure all people – especially children – have access to sufficient and nutritious food all year round.

    Global Nutrition Report

    • The Global Nutrition Report was conceived following the first Nutrition for Growth Initiative Summit (N4G) in 2013.
    • The first report was published in 2014.
    Qualifications
    §  Constitutional Provisions

    o    Citizenship of India.

    o    Subscription to an oath or affirmation before the person authorised by the Election Commission.

    o    Age must be not less than 25 years for the legislative assembly and not less than 30 years for the legislative council.

    o    Need to possess other qualifications prescribed by Parliament.

    §  Parliamentary Provisions (RPA, 1951):

    o    A person to be elected to the legislative assembly must be an elector for an assembly constituency in the concerned state.

    o    A person to be elected to the legislative council must be an elector for an assembly constituency in the concerned state and to be qualified for the governor’s nomination, he must be a resident in the concerned state.

    o    He must be a member of a scheduled caste or scheduled tribe if he wants to contest a seat reserved for them. However, a member of scheduled castes or scheduled tribes can also contest a seat not reserved for them.

    Disqualifications
    §  Constitutional Provisions:

    o    Any office of profit under the Union or State government (except that of a minister or any other office exempted by the state legislature).

    o    Unsound mind and stands so declared by a court.

    o    Undischarged insolvent.

    o    Not a citizen of India or has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a foreign state or is under any acknowledgement of allegiance to a foreign state.

    o    Disqualified under any law made by Parliament.

    §  Parliamentary Provisions (RPA, 1951):

    o    Must not have been found guilty of certain election offences or corrupt practices in the elections.

    o    Must not have been convicted for any offence resulting in imprisonment for two or more years. But, the detention of a person under a preventive detention law is not a disqualification.

    o    Must not fail to lodge an account of election expenses within the time.

    o    Must not have any interest in government contracts, works or services.

    o    Must not be a director or managing agent nor hold an office of profit in a corporation in which the government has at least 25% share.

    o    Must not have been dismissed from government service for corruption or disloyalty to the state.

    o    Must not have been convicted for promoting enmity between different groups or for the offence of bribery.

    o    Must not have been punished for preaching and practicing social crimes such as untouchability, dowry and sati.

    Note: On the question of whether a member has become subject to any of the above disqualifications, the governor’s decision is final. However, he should obtain the opinion of the Election Commission and act accordingly.
    • It acts as a report card on the world’s nutrition—globally, regionally, and country by country—and on efforts to improve it.
    • It is a multi-stakeholder initiative, consisting of a Stakeholder Group, Independent Expert Group and Report Secretariat.

    ANNULMENT OF ELECTION OF MLA

    RELEVANT FOR :- INDIAN POLITY/ TOPICS :- ELECTIONS, REPRESENTATION OF PEOPLE’S ACT, JUDICIARY, JUDGEMENTS & CASES

    The Gujarat High Court has set aside the election of a BJP leader in 2017 on grounds of “corrupt practice” and “manipulation of record”.

    Important Points

    • The order passed on a petition, filed by the opposing Congress candidate, alleged that the returning officer had illegally rejected 429 votes received via postal ballot.
    • The Court held election as void under Section 100(1)(d)(iv) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
    • The observation gains relevance since the number of rejected votes (429) was more than the victory margin (327).
    • The judgment also held that the instructions of the Election Commission was not followed,giving an unfair advantage to the winning candidate and thus materially affecting the election.

    Election to the State Legislature

    • The Constitution of India as well as the Parliament of Indiahas laid down qualifications and disqualifications for being elected as a member of State Legislative Assembly and State Legislative Council.
    • We can study about various provisions on the same in the table given below.

    Election Petition

    • TheConstitution lays down that no election to the Parliament or the state legislature is to be questioned except by an election petition presented to such authority and in such manner as provided by the appropriate legislature.
    • Since 1966,the election petitions are triable by High Courts alone. Whereas the appellate jurisdiction lies with the Supreme Court alone.
    • Article 323 Bempowers the appropriate legislature (Parliament or a state legislature) to establish a tribunal for the adjudication of election disputes.
      • It also provides for the exclusion of the jurisdiction of all courts (except the special leave appeal jurisdiction of the Supreme Court) in such disputes.
      • So far, no such tribunal has been established.
    • In Chandra Kumar case (1997),the clause of the exclusion of the jurisdiction of all courts in election disputes was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
    • Consequently, if at any time an election tribunal is established, an appeal from its decision lies to the high court.

    AAROGYA SETU DATA ACCESS AND KNOWLEDGE SHARING PROTOCOL

    RELEVANT FOR :- GOVERNANCE/TOPICS :- HEALTH, GOVERNMENT POLICIES & INTERVENTIONS, IT & COMPUTERS, ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

    • Recently, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY)has issued ‘Aarogya Setu Data Access and Knowledge Sharing Protocol, 2020’ laying down guidelines for sharing such data with government agencies and third parties amid Covid-19 pandemic.
    • The executive order issued came amid concerns and privacy issues expressed by a number of experts over the efficacy and safety of the app.

    Aarogya Setu App

    • It has been launched by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
    • It will help people in identifying the risk of getting affected by the Coronavirus.
    • It will also help to calculate risk based on the user’s interaction with others, using cutting edge Bluetooth technology, algorithms and artificial intelligence.
    • Once installed in a smartphone, the app detects other nearby devices with Aarogya Setu installed.
    • The app will help the Government take necessary timely steps for assessing risk of spread of Covid-19 infection and ensuring isolation where required.

    Important Points

    • Description:
      • The issued Protocol intends to ensure that data collected from the app is gathered, processed and shared in an appropriate way.
      • Theviolation of the protocol will lead to the penalties under the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
      • MeitYis designated as the agency responsible for the implementation of this Protocol. Further, the app’s developer, National Informatics Centre (NIC) shall be responsible for collection, processing and managing response data collected by the Aarogya Setu app under this Protocol.
      • Further, it also calls for the Empowered Group on Technology and Data Managementto review the protocol after six months; unless extended. It will be in force only for six months from the date of its issue.
        • Empowered Group of Ministers(EGoM) is a Group of Ministers (GoM) of the Union Government appointed by the Cabinet or the Prime Minister for investigating and reporting on such matters as may be specified.
        • These EGoMs are also authorised to take decisions in such matters after investigation.
      • Definition of Individual:
        • The order states that the data pertaining to individuals is urgently required in order to formulate appropriate health responses for addressing the Covid-19 pandemic.
        • The Protocol clarifies that individuals means persons who are infected or are at high risk of being infected or who have come in contact with infected individuals.
      • Categorisation of Data:
        • The data collected by the Aarogya Setu app is broadly divided into four categories—
          • Demographic Data:It includes information such as name, mobile number, age, gender, profession and travel history.
          • Contact Data:It is about any other individual that a given individual has come in close proximity with, including the duration of the contact, the proximate distance between the individuals and the geographical location at which the contact occurred.
          • Self-assessment Data:It includes the responses provided by that individual to the self-assessment test administered within the app.
          • Location data:It comprises the geographical position of an individual in latitude and longitude.
        • The demographic data, contact data, self-assessment data and location data are collectively called as response data.
      • Ground for Data Sharing:
        • The data can be shared only if it is strictly necessary to directly formulate or implement an appropriate health response.
        • It can also be shared forappropriate research work.
      • Allowed Entities to Access Data:
        • The response data containing personal datamay be shared by the app’s developer with the Health Ministry, Health Departments of State/Union Territory governments/local governments, National and State Disaster Management Authorities, other ministries and departments of the central and state governments, and other public health institutions of the central, state and local governments.
        • It can also be shared further with any third partiesthat include the Indian universities or research institutions and research entities registered in India.
          • Further, the Protocol also empowers above mentioned universities and research entities to share the data with other such institutions.
        • Checks and Balances:
          • De-identified Form:Except for demographic data, the response data must be stripped of information that may make it possible to identify the individual personally. De-identification is the process used to prevent someone’s personal identity from being revealed.
            • Stripped information must beassigned a randomly generated ID.
            • The Protocol also discourages reversal of de-identification and imposes penalties under applicable laws for the time being in force.
          • Maintenance of the List:The NIC needs to maintain a list of, the agencies with the time at which data sharing was initiated, the categories of such data and the purpose of sharing the data.
          • Data Retention:Any entity with which the data has been shared shall not retain the data beyond 180 days from the day it was collected.
        • Concerns:
          • There is a need for a Personal data protection lawto back the government’s decision to make the app mandatory for everyone.
            • ThePersonal Data Protection Bill 2019 is in the process of being approved by Parliament.
          • Theclause for data sharing with third parties is open ended and has a highest possibility of being misused. The stated list of the third parties with which the data can be shared would have been helpful.
          • Further, the process of de-identifying the data should have been detailed,given that reversing de-identification was not difficult.

    ENERGY NEEDS IN THE CONTEXT OF CLIMATE CRISIS

    RELEVANT FOR :- BIODIVERSITY & ENVIRONMENT/ TOPICS :-MINERAL & ENERGY RESOURCES, CONSERVATION OF RESOURCES, GOVERNMENT POLICIES & INTERVENTIONS, IMPORTANT INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS, NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY, CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION & DEGRADATION, ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT (EIA)

    • Recently, on the occasion of the National Technology DayPadma Vibhushan Anil Kakodkar conveyed a message to the people of India about‘Dealing with energy needs in the Context of Climate Crisis’.
    • National technology day marks the anniversary of the Pokhran Nuclear Tests of 1998that strengthened Indian national security.
    • India successfully test-fired its Shakti-1 nuclear missile in operation called Pokhran-II, also codenamed as Operation Shakti.
    • After the tests, India has entered into manyinternational agreements to promote nuclear commerce for peaceful purposes and to secure energy security through nuclear energy.
    • Nuclear commercein general refers to a worldwide trade centered on nuclear energy.

    Important Points

    • HDI and Energy Consumption:
    • Kakodkar highlighted the correlation between Human Development Index(HDI) and Per Capita Energy Consumption all over the world.
    • As per the statistics, countries with higher HDI have higher per capita consumption of energy.
    • HDI emphasizes thatpeople and their capabilities should be the ultimate criteria for assessing the development of a country, not economic growth alone.
    • Energy and Climate Security:
    • However, developing countrieslike India, on the other hand, face the challenge of choosing between energy security and climate security. It is important to strike a balance between enhancing the quality of human life as well as keeping a control over the climate crisis.
    • Emission Targets:
    • Various studies have been conducted on how to control carbon dioxide (CO2)emissions, which is a serious threat to the environment.
    • As per the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC), “staying below 5 degree increase in 2100 will require cuts in Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) emissions of 45% below 2010 levels by 2030 and to net zero by 2050”.
    • Decarbonisation:
    • Zero emission targetscan be easily met by the use of nuclear energy. It can also reduce the cost of deep decarbonisation.
    • Decarbonising meansreducing carbon intensity,e. reducing the emissions per unit of electricity generated (often given in grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour).
    • Decarbonisation isessential since the demand for electric power from industries/commercial sectors is high.
    • It is possible by increasing the share of low-carbon energy sources,particularly renewables like solarhydro and biomass (Biofuels) together with nuclear which can greatly contribute in achieving zero emissions.
    • Comparison:
    • Japansaw the negative effects of nuclear energy (bombing at Hiroshima and Nagasaki) yet it has drafted an energy plan, to generate 20% to 22% of their total energy consumption as nuclear energy and to reduce CO2 emissions by 2030.
    • Germanyhad also planned to cut GHG emissions by 2020 which has allotted huge amounts of production of renewable energy.
    • India,in order to decarbonise the energy consumption, needs a 30-fold increase in renewable energy, 30-fold increase in nuclear energy and doubling of thermal energy which would make 70% of energy carbon free.
    • Actions Required:
    • Different levels of consumption strategyneed to be observed by different countries based on their HDI so that they can actively contribute towards low/zero emissions. For example:
    • Countries withhigh HDI, should reduce their energy consumption since it may not affect their HDI, much. They should also decarbonise their electricity generation.
    • Countries with moderate HDIshould focus on non-fossil electricity consumption.
    • Countries withlow HDI should be able to provide subsidised sources of cleaner energy to their citizens.
    • Concerns and Solutions:
    • Management of nuclear waste,that is produced during energy generation, is a major
    • To tacklethe problem, India adopts the policy of ‘Nuclear Recycle Technology’.
    • Under it, the nuclear fuel-Uranium, Plutonium etc, once used for generation of energy, is reused as a resource material by the commercial industries to be recycled.
    • More than 99% of nuclear waste is reusedas the waste management program in India prioritises recycling.

    SMART METERS

    RELEVANT FOR :- INDIAN ECONOMY/ TOPICS :-  INFRASTRUCTURE, INDUSTRIAL POLICY, GROWTH & DEVELOPMENT

    • According to the Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL),the Smart Metering Programme (SMP) is helping electricity distribution companies (discoms) generate 95% of billing efficiency during the lockdown.
    • The discoms using smart meters have seen 15-20% average increase in monthly revenue per consumer.
    • EESL, a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) under the Ministry of Power, Government of India, is the designated agency to implement the smart metering programme in India.

    Important Points

    • Smart Meter National Programme:
      • It is being implemented to deploy smart meters across the country.
      • Under this programme, a total of 12,06,435 smart meters have been installed till date to enhance consumer convenience and rationalise electricity consumption.
    • Smart Meters –Advanced meter devices having the capacity to collect information about energy, water, and gas usage at various intervals and transmitting the data through fixed communication networks to utility, as well as receiving information like pricing signals from utility and conveying it to consumers.
    • Innovation:With electricity demand expected to rise by 79 % in the next 10 years, India is on a path of transforming its energy mix with innovation.
    • Reduction in AT&C Losses:
      • To meet energy needs, along with enhancing energy production, the nation also needs to cut Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT&C) losses to below 12% by 2022, and below 10% by 2027.
      • Smart meters minimize human intervention in metering, billing and collection, and help reduce theft by identifying loss pockets.
    • Smart Meters are part of the Smart Grid:
      • Smart grid includes the creation of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI).
      • AMIdescribes the whole infrastructure from Smart Meter to a two way-communication network to control center equipment and applications that enable the gathering and transfer of energy usage information in near real-time.

    Benefits of Smart Meters

    • Operational Benefits:It incentivises energy conservation by checking data-entry errors and billing efficiencies, and cutting the costs of manual meter reading through a web-based monitoring system.
    • Smart meters deployed can also switch to prepaid mode.
    • Benefits to Customers
      • It enhances consumer satisfaction through better complaint management, system stability, reliability and transparency.
      • The new meters have the Time of Day (ToD) tariff feature which allows consumers to reschedule electricity usage to the off-peak hours and reduction in the bill amount significantly.

    Challenges

    • High Capital Costs:A full scale deployment of smart meters requires expenditures on all hardware and software components,network infrastructure and network management software, along with costs associated with the installation and maintenance and information technology systems.
    • Integration:Samrt Meter is a complex system of technologies that must be integrated with utilities’ information technology systems, including Customer Information Systems (CIS), Geographical Information Systems (GIS), Outage Management Systems (OMS),Mobile Workforce Management (MWM), Distribution Automation System (DAS), etc.
    • Standardization:Interoperability standards need to be defined, which set uniform requirements for technology, deployment and general operations.
    • Release of Radiation:Unlike the electronic meter, the smart meter allows ‘communication’ among the consumer and the meter, hence there is probability of release of radiation.

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