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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 3 May 2021


NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.


General Studies – 1


 

Topic: Important Geophysical phenomena

1. Explain the theory around Earth’s axial tilt. Discuss the major factors causing the shift in Earth’s axis. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question:

The question is based on the theory of Earth’s axial tilt.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain the theory around Earth’s axial tilt. Discuss the major factors causing the shift in Earth’s axis.

Directive:

Explain – Clarify the topic by giving a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Define the concept of Earth’s axial tilt briefly.

Body:

The Earth’s axis of rotation is the line along which it spins around itself as it revolves around the Sun. The points on which the axis intersects the planet’s surface are the geographical north and south poles.

The location of the poles is not fixed, however, as the axis moves due to changes in how the Earth’s mass is distributed around the planet. Thus, the poles move when the axis moves, and the movement is called “polar motion”.

Discuss the major factors causing the shift in Earth’s axis.

Conclusion:

Conclude with its importance.

Introduction

The angle Earth’s axis of rotation is tilted as it travels around the Sun is known as obliquity. Obliquity is why Earth has seasons. Over the last million years, it has varied between 22.1 and 24.5 degrees perpendicular to Earth’s orbital plane.

Body

Theory of axial tilt

  • The greater Earth’s axial tilt angle, the more extreme our seasons are, as each hemisphere receives more solar radiation during its summer, when the hemisphere is tilted toward the Sun, and less during winter, when it is tilted away.
  • Larger tilt angles favor periods of deglaciation (the melting and retreat of glaciers and ice sheets).
  • These effects aren’t uniform globally — higher latitudes receive a larger change in total solar radiation than areas closer to the equator.
  • Earth’s axis is currently tilted 23.4 degrees, or about half way between its extremes, and this angle is very slowly decreasing in a cycle that spans about 41,000 years.
  • It was last at its maximum tilt about 10,700 years ago and will reach its minimum tilt about 9,800 years from now.
  • As obliquity decreases, it gradually helps make our seasons milder, resulting in increasingly warmer winters, and cooler summers that gradually, over time, allow snow and ice at high latitudes to build up into large ice sheets.
  • As ice cover increases, it reflects more of the Sun’s energy back into space, promoting even further cooling.

Climate change and axial tilt

  • Rising sea levels, heatwaves, melting glaciers and storms are some of the well-known consequences of climate change.
  • New research has added yet another impact to this list – marked shifts in the axis along which the Earth rotates.
  • A study published in Geophysical Research Letters of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) says that due to the significant melting of glaciers because of global temperature rise, our planet’s axis of rotation has been moving more than usual since the 1990s.
  • A century ago, Serbian scientist Milutin Milankovitch hypothesized the long-term, collective effects of changes in Earth’s position relative to the Sun are a strong driver of Earth’s long-term climate, and are responsible for triggering the beginning and end of glaciation periods (Ice Ages).
  • According to NASA, data from the 20th century shows that the spin axis drifted about 10 centimetres per year. Meaning over a century, polar motion exceeds 10 metres.
  • Generally, polar motion is caused by changes in the hydrosphere, atmosphere, oceans, or solid Earth. But now, climate change is adding to the degree with which the poles wander.
  • As per the study, the north pole has shifted in a new eastward direction since the 1990s, because of changes in the hydrosphere (meaning the way in which water is stored on Earth). From 1995 to 2020, the average speed of drift was 17 times faster than from 1981 to 1995. Also, in the last four decades, the poles moved by about 4 metres in distance.
  • The faster ice melting under global warming was the most likely cause of the directional change of the polar drift in the 1990s.
  • Hence combatting climate change is crucial to slow down the changes in axial tilt.

Conclusion

Scientific research to better understand the mechanisms that cause changes in Earth’s rotation and how specifically Milankovitch cycles combine to affect climate is ongoing. But the theory that they drive the timing of glacial-interglacial cycles is well accepted.

 

Topic: Social empowerment

2. Monetizing the household care is instrumental in addressing the gender disparity in India. Explain. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question:

The article explains the measures to address gender inequalities through recognition of unpaid care work.

Key Demand of the question:

Election promises have sparked a debate on the issue of care work and possible solutions to address the disparities therein.

Directive:

Explain – Clarify the topic by giving a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with brief background of the question.

Body:

Explain the recent initiatives that have brought the issue to fore – From a monthly assistance to women family heads in Tamil Nadu to an enhanced Orunodoi scheme in Assam, pension for housewives in Kerala and income support to female heads of households in West Bengal, various proposals for ‘empowerment’ have been put forward by various parties to reach out to women voters.

The promises have sparked a debate on the issue of care work and possible solutions to address the disparities therein.

Define unpaid care work, according to the OECD, refers to all unpaid services provided within a household for its members, including care of persons, housework and voluntary community work. These activities are considered work because theoretically one could pay a third person to perform them.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

Household care and work amounts to unpaid work, especially with the burden falling on women.  It is widely recognized that women perform the bulk of unpaid work in households and even in paid labour force. This work is often socially, politically, and economically devalued because “work” is often defined in conventional statistics as paid activities linked to the market.

Body

Debate on monetizing the household care

  • From a monthly assistance to women family heads in Tamil Nadu to an enhanced Orunodoi scheme in Assam, pension for housewives in Kerala and income support to female heads of households in West Bengal, various proposals for ‘empo
  • werment’ have been put forward by various parties to reach out to women voters. The promises have sparked a debate on the issue of care work and possible solutions to address the disparities therein.
  • As the time use survey shows, women spend a disproportionate amount of time (compared to men) on unpaid domestic work, which is ironically the ‘hidden engine’ that keeps economies, businesses and societies running and contributes significantly to individual well-being.
  • While this work is foundational for societies, it is mostly invisible, undervalued and unaccounted worldwide.
  • The ILO estimates that if such services were to be valued on the basis of an hourly minimum wage, they would amount to 9 per cent of global GDP (US$11 trillion).

Need of the hour

  • Existing patriarchal norms pose a significant constraint to the take-up of public or market services.
  • Addressing the issue of childcare and flexible work could help initiate positive social norms that encourage the redistribution of unpaid care and domestic work burden.
  • A huge spectrum of women’s skilled but unpaid work contributes directly to the economy. Yet, its devaluation by not being accounted for ‘work’ weakens women’s status, leading to their vulnerability.
  • Sharing the responsibilities of childcare can be difficult in a culture where parental leave is given only to the mother.
  • This further reinforces the notion that unpaid care work is the sole responsibility of the women.
  • The government has a crucial role to play in promoting gender equality by ensuring equality of opportunity in public services.
  • However, these solutions will have a limited impact unless the behavioural change of each and every individual is targeted.

Conclusion

According to an ILO report on ‘Care work and care jobs for the future of decent work’, unpaid care work is the main barrier preventing women from getting into, remaining and progressing in the labour force. Therefore, policies should address the rising need for care and tackle the huge disparity between women’s and men’s care responsibilities. This is especially true for India, given that a major challenge on the economic front is getting more women into the formal workforce.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

3. How far do you agree with the view that a law for criminal contempt is asynchronous with the freedom of speech guaranteed under Indian constitution. Evaluate. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The Supreme Court has issued a timely warning to the States against any attempt to clamp down on the dissemination of information about the serious health crisis besetting the country, or calls for help through social media from citizens affected by COVID-19.

Key Demand of the question:

One is expected to analyse in what way law for criminal contempt is asynchronous with the freedom of speech guaranteed under Indian constitution.

Directive:

Evaluate – When you are asked to evaluate, you have to pass a sound judgement about the truth of the given statement in the question or the topic based on evidences.  You have to appraise the worth of the statement in question. There is scope for forming a personal opinion here.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with present conditions in the country in relevance to the question.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Discuss the present nuances with respect to criminal contempt law and explain in what way freedom of speech guaranteed under our constitution is being compromised by it.

One must give examples amidst covid-19 cases and justify the answer.

Conclusion:

Suggest solutions to address the issue at hand.

Introduction

The Supreme Court has issued a timely warning to the States against any attempt to clamp down on the dissemination of information about the serious health crisis besetting the country, or calls for help through social media from citizens affected by COVID-19.

In this background, it is necessary to revisit criminal contempt, and role of judiciary and executive that implement the law.

Body

Criminal contempt: A special law is asynchronous with freedom of speech

  • The objective for contempt is stated to be to safeguard the interests of the public, if the authority of the Court is denigrated and public confidence in the administration of justice is weakened or eroded.
  • But the definition of criminal contempt in India is extremely wide, and can be easily invoked.
  • Suo motu powers of the Court to initiate such proceedings only serve to complicate matters. And truth and good faith were not recognised as valid defences until 2006, when the Contempt of Courts Act was amended.
  • Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer famously termed the law of contempt as having a vague and wandering jurisdiction, with uncertain boundaries; contempt law, regardless of public good, may unwittingly trample upon civil liberties. It is for us to determine what is the extent of such trampling we are willing to bear.
  • On the face of it, a law for criminal contempt is completely asynchronous with our democratic system which recognises freedom of speech and expression as a fundamental right.
  • This holds true even for the executive to use laws such as UAPA and the NSA to clamp down on dissent.
  • Recently in Uttar Pradesh, government publicly announced that those creating fear or spoiling the atmosphere by posting false grievances will be punished under National Security Act goes against the ethos of the Constitution.
  • Given the propensity of such leaders to treat the voicing of grievances by citizens as a personal affront to their administrative capabilities, the Court’s warning that any attempt to stifle the people’s voices would attract action for contempt of court is quite timely and necessary.

Way forward

  • As Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, remarked, any clampdown on information is contrary to basic precepts.
  • He underscored the significance and necessity for the free flow of information during a grave crisis by recalling the role it played in containing a famine in 1970.
  • The Court was apparently drawing inspiration from the theory, articulated by economist Amartya Sen, that the fundamental attributes of democracy — such as a free press and the need to face the people at elections and respond to political criticism — help prevent famines.

Conclusion

Besides needing to revisit the need for a law on criminal contempt, even the test for contempt needs to be evaluated. If such a test ought to exist at all, it should be whether the contemptuous remarks in question actually obstruct the Court from functioning. It should not be allowed to be used as a means to prevent any and all criticism of an institution.

 

Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

4. Analyse the scope and potential of India-Japan ties in the background of new dynamism of global politics and closeness of US-Japan relations. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The article analyses the scope and potential of India-Japan ties in the background of new dynamism of global politics and closeness of US-Japan relations.

Key Demand of the question:

Analyse the scope and potential of India-Japan ties in the background of new dynamism of global politics and closeness of US-Japan relations.

Directive:

AnalyzeWhen asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with brief history of India-Japan ties.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Discuss the Scope for a deepened India-Japan ties – Balancing security policy against China, Scope for technology partnership, Economic ties, Scope for expansion: Support for key manufacturing initiatives such as ‘Make in India’ and Japan Industrial Townships, secure infrastructure investments in strategically vital connectivity projects currently underway in Northeast and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Etc.

Explain that time has come for India and Japan to take a hard look at reports suggesting that joint infrastructure projects in Africa and Iran have stalled with substantial cost overruns and different stand on Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

Conclusion:

Writing in 2006, Shinzo Abe, in his book, Utsukushii Kuni E (Toward a Beautiful Country), expressed his hope that “it would not be a surprise if, in another 10 years, Japan­India relations over­ take Japan­U.S. And Japan­China relations.”

Introduction

In years past, New Delhi and Tokyo have collaborated to build infrastructure in Iran and Africa, provide vital aid to Myanmar and Sri Lanka and hammer out a common Association of Southeast Asian Nations outreach policy in an attempt to counter China’s growing influence in these corners of the globe. However, unlike previous summits, the time has come for India and Japan to take a hard look at reports suggesting more substantial areas of cooperation especially when US, Japan and India relations are on an all-time high.

Body

US-Japan relations providing foray into India-Japan ties

  • Japanese PM visit to the United States last month has set the agenda for the wider Indo-Pacific engagement of Tokyo and its evolving priorities.
  • Tokyo and Washington also rallied around the standard of shared values. Both powers repeatedly emphasised their vision of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific that respects the rule of law, freedom of navigation, democratic norms and the use of peaceful means to settle disputes.
  • In the aftermath of the successful Quad Summit, both parties expressed their continued support for the four-nation grouping of the United States, India, Australia and Japan.
  • China’s human rights violations in Xinjiang, its heavy-handed suppression of protests in Hong Kong and military aggression towards Taiwan came in for heavy criticism.
  • Given that the Japanese premier plans to visit India as soon as the situation permits following the COVID-19 pandemic, his dealings with the U.S. are a preview of what New Delhi can expect from Tokyo.
  • Current Indo-Japan ties Within India: Japan has been a leading financial donor in the form of ODA (Official Development Assistance) to India.
  • It continues to maintain a high degree of interest and support for India’s mega infrastructure projects like the Delhi-Mumbai Freight Corridor, Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, Chennai-Bangalore Industrial Corridor and the Ahmedabad-Mumbai High Speed Rail
  • Outside India: Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGR) announced in 2017 and joint projects in some third countries like Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka and in Africa as well will be taken jointly.
  • Defence ties: Quadrilateral Security Dialogue is a strategic dialogue between India, United States, Japan and Australia will be carried out.
  • Malabar exercise has been carried by India Japan and USA on a continuous basis.
  • 2+2 dialogue at the defence and foreign minister level.

Way Forward

  • It is clear that the government has set India-Japan ties on an accelerated geopolitical course that will be a major factor in its dealings with the rest of the world, especially China, at a time when the U.S. is perceived to be retreating from the region.
  • However, the strategic partnership needs stronger economic ties. While Japan is India’s largest donor and the third largest provider of FDI, bilateral trade has steadily declined since 2013.
  • Today, India-Japan trade languishes at around $15 billion, a quarter of trade with China while Japan- China trade is around $300 billion.
  • The two countries have decided to boost defense ties given the escalating tension in the region in the wake of the nuclear test by North Korea and China’s growing assertiveness in the South China Sea.
  • However, certain issues still remain like sharing of the defence technology, delay of US-2 amphibian aircraft.
  • Both countries need to work on trade, defence and regional issues. A strong Indo- Japan will arrest the inconsistency being witnessed in the region thus contributing to peace and prosperity in the region and the world.

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Disaster and disaster management.

5. Discuss the measures that need to be adapted to prevent fire hazards in hospitals during the COVID-19 health crisis and suggest post-disaster recovery plan. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

Over the past few weeks there have been deadly fires in hospital buildings, including those treating COVID-19 patients, thus the question.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the measures that need to be adapted to prevent fire hazards in hospitals during the COVID-19 health crisis and suggest post-disaster recovery plan.

Directive:

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with recent episodes of fire safety breaches that occurred in hospitals across the country.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Discuss the reasons first – The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) says 330 people died in commercial building fires in 2019, while fatalities for residential or dwelling buildings were much higher at 6,329. Electrical faults are cited as the leading cause of fires, but State governments are also widely criticized+ for being lax with building safety laws and for failing to equip public buildings with modern technology.

Discuss what needs to be done. What measures must be taken to prevent these incidences.

Suggest a Disaster recovery plan.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

Over the past few weeks there have been deadly fires in hospital buildings, including those treating COVID-19 patients. Over the past few weeks there have been deadly fires in hospital buildings, including those treating COVID-19 patients, compounding what is already a severe crisis that the country is facing.

Body

Background on fire hazards especially in hospitals

  • The most recent incident was on May 1, when at least 18 people died after a fire broke out in a COVID hospital in Bharuch in Gujarat.
  • A spate of recent hospital fires has also been reported from Maharashtra, at Virar, a suburb of Mumbai, and Mumbra near Thane and earlier in the year at Nagpur.
  • Fires breaking out in buildings, big and small across India is not a new phenomenon. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) says 330 people died in commercial building fires in 2019, while fatalities for residential or dwelling buildings were much higher at 6,329.
  • Electrical faults are cited as the leading cause of fires, but State governments are also widely criticised for being lax with building safety laws and for failing to equip public buildings with modern technology.

Measures needed to ensure fire safety in hospitals

  • At the macro level, the NBC recommends the location of buildings by type of use in specific zones to ensure that industrial and hazardous structures do not coexist with residential, institutional, office and business buildings.
  • It specifies, among other things, the technical requirements for special buildings, high rises, educational and institutional buildings higher than 9 metres, and those with an area of over 300 square metres.
  • Next, the Code drills down into the specifics of fire resistance based on the materials used — exterior walls, interior bearing walls, floor, roof, fire check doors, fire enclosure exits, and so on.
  • Technologies to sound alerts in case of a fire and also to fight it are expected to be incorporated into buildings.
  • Examples given in the Code are automatic fire detection and alarm system, down-comer pipelines connected to a roof tank, dry riser pipelines that fire-fighters can use to douse upper floors, automatic sprinklers and water sprays, fireman’s lift, fire barriers, escape routes, markings, and so on.
  • Incorporating these into a proper design and ensuring that certified fire-resistant materials are used in the construction can avert deadly fires, giving occupants sufficient time to exit safely.

Way forward

  • Fire service is a state subject and has been included as municipal function in the XII schedule of the Constitution. The municipal corporations and local bodies are responsible for providing fire services in many states.
  • All State governments should require mandatory compliance with such safety features for any institution handling patients or giving care.
  • Certification of facilities through third-party audit should be made compulsory to eliminate conflicts of interest involving official agencies.
  • The institutions should also be insured for the highest levels of public liability.
  • At a broader level, governments must shed their indifference and work to make all spaces safe.
  • In private, public or commercial buildings, official agencies tend to favour tokenism rather than high standards for the safety of occupants and visitors.
  • They are ever-willing to “regularise” deviations in construction over time. It is time to fix responsibility for deadly accidents on a single official agency.

 

Conclusion

In December last year, the Supreme Court directed all States to carry out fire safety audits of dedicated COVID-19 hospitals. It has become evident that State forces lack the manpower to inspect and ensure compliance with safety codes, including the NBC, where it is mandatory. One option is to make heavy fire liability insurance compulsory for all public buildings, which would offer protection to occupants and visitors and bring about external inspection of safety.

 

Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

6. Critically analyse the various provisions of National Policy on Biofuels-2018 which were different from 2009 policy. (250 words)

Reference:  Economic Times.

Why the question:

The question is based on the National policy on Biofuels -2018.  

Key Demand of the question:

Critically analyse the various provisions of National Policy on Biofuels-2018 which were different from 2009 policy.

Directive:

Critically analyze – When asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with the definition of Biofuels.

Body:

Discuss in detail the decision of the government to make alcohol from rice. The move was bound to trigger the debate over food security of the country with a population ravaged by hunger and poverty. While the 2009 biofuel policy had stressed the use of non-food resources, the 2018 updated policy allowed using excess grains.

Compare the two and critically analyse.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what should be the way forward.

Introduction

The Union Cabinet approved National Policy on Biofuels – 2018 to encourage the generation and use of biofuels. Biofuel is any hydrocarbon fuel that is produced from organic matter in a short period of time. This is in contrast with fossil fuels, which take millions of years to form. Biofuels are considered renewable form of energy as it emits less than fossil fuels

Body

Background

Different generation biofuels

  • First Generation Biofuels: It uses the food crops like wheat and sugar for making ethanol and oil seeds for bio diesel by conventional method of fermentation.
  • Second Generation Biofuels: It uses non-food crops and feedstock such as Wood, grass, seed crops, organic waste are used in fuel preparation.
  • Third Generation Biofuels: It uses specially engineered Algae whose biomass is used to convert into biofuels. The greenhouse gas emission here will be low in comparison to others.
  • Fourth Generation biofuel: It aimed at not only producing sustainable energy but also a way of capturing and storing CO2.

Salient features of the National Biofuels policy 2018

  • Categorisation of biofuels to enable extension of appropriate financial and fiscal incentives under each category. The two main categories are:
    • Basic Biofuels- First Generation (1G) bioethanol & biodiesel
    • Advanced Biofuels – Second Generation (2G) ethanol, Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) to drop-in fuels, third Generation (3G) biofuels, bio-CNG etc.
  • Expands the scope of raw material for ethanol production by allowing use of Sugarcane Juice, Sugar containing materials like Sugar Beet, Sweet Sorghum, Starch containing materials like Corn, Cassava, Damaged food grains like wheat, broken rice, Rotten Potatoes, unfit for human consumption for ethanol production.
  • Allows use of surplus food grains for production of ethanol for blending with petrol to ensure appropriate price to farmers during surplus. However, it needs the approval of National Biofuel Coordination Committee.
  • Thrust on Advanced Biofuels: Viability gap funding scheme for 2G ethanol Bio refineries of Rs.5000 crore in 6 years in addition to additional tax incentives and higher purchase price as compared to 1G biofuels.
  • Encourages setting up of supply chain mechanisms for biodiesel production from non-edible oilseeds, used Cooking Oil, short gestation crops.
  • Synergising efforts by capturing the roles and responsibilities of all the concerned Ministries/Departments with respect to biofuels in the policy document itself.

Potential Benefits

  • Reduce Import Dependency: The large-scale production of biofuels would reduce import dependency on crude oil and save forex.
  • Cleaner Environment: By reducing crop burning & conversion of agricultural residues/wastes to biofuels there will be reduction in GHGs emissions and other particulate matters.
  • Municipal Solid Waste Management: It is estimated that, annually around 62 MMT of Municipal Solid Waste gets generated in India. The policy promotes conversion of waste/plastic, MSW to drop in fuels (hydrocarbon fuels from solid waste).
  • Infrastructural Investment in Rural Areas: addition of 2G bio refineries across the Country will spur infrastructural investment in the rural areas.
  • Employment Generation: the establishment of bio-refineries would create jobs in Plant Operations, Village Level Entrepreneurs and Supply Chain Management.
  • Additional Income to Farmers: Farmers can capitalize on agricultural residues /waste which otherwise are burnt by them. They can sell their surplus output to ethanol making units when price dump, thus, ensuring appropriate price.

Critical analysis

  • Abuse of policy especially when prices of crude oil soar as farmers would find it economically more rewarding to convert farm produce into ethanol for doping with petrol.
  • Need of improvement in technological and financial feasibility with respect to production of biofuels. Thus, industry academic collaboration should be enhanced in an integrated manner.
  • Inadequate supply-chain infrastructure to deliver biofuels to the final consumer. Hence, improved investment should be done in building robust infrastructure.
  • Limits on private investment: The government should also take steps to remove policy barriers that have discouraged private investment in building supply chains for tapping India’s huge biofuel potential.

Way Forward

  • The government has set some ambitious goals for the energy sector which include electrification of all census villages by 2019, 24×7 electricity and 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022, reduction in energy emissions intensity by 33%-35% by 2030 and producing above 40% electricity from non-fossil fuels by 2030.
  • These goals clearly exhibit the Centre’s push towards strengthening the energy infrastructure of the country while promoting the agenda of sustainability.
  • Additionally, in the official gazette of the National Policy on Biofuels, 2018, MNRE has also discussed the government’s five-point strategy to curb the country’s dependency on foreign imports in the oil and gas sector.
  • The strategy involves increasing domestic production, adopting biofuels and renewables, energy efficiency norms, improvement in refinery processes and demand substitution.

 

Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

7. India needs a Solar Waste Management and Manufacturing Standards Policy. Do you agree? Comment. (250 words)

Reference:   Economic Times.

Why the question:

The question is based on the theme of Solar Energy.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the need for needs a Solar Waste Management and Manufacturing Standards Policy for India.

Directive:

Comment– here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with the definition of Solar energy; The radiation that is received from the sun and utilized in the form electricity and thermal energy by using various available technologies like photovoltaic panels, solar heater etc.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

First discuss the importance of solar energy, its need in terms of energy security, economic development, social development, environmental concerns etc.

Then discuss the challenges and more so specifically with respect to Solar Waste Management and Manufacturing Standards Policy.

Suggest what needs to be done to overcome these challenges.

Conclusion:

Conclude with solutions and importance of solar energy as a source of renewable energy in the country.

Introduction

There is an urgent need to formulate appropriate quality standards for use of environmentally sustainable materials in manufacturing of modules in Solar energy set up, when India plans to scale up the production. This will help in minimising potentially hazardous end-of-life module waste in India.

Body

Issue of solar waste management

  • Solar sector continues to grow robustly, from a mere three gigawatt (GW) in 2014 to over 28 GW currently, but there is still no clarity on solar waste management in India.
  • To make solar a truly green source of energy, it is imperative for the industry as a whole to work together and proactively towards ensuring a sustainable waste management plan for solar energy systems.
  • India has set an ambitious target of having 100 GW of solar energy by 2022. Bride to India BTI has estimated the solar module waste volume to grow to 1.8 million tonne by 2050, which is close to the total e-waste volume being annually generated in India currently.
  • Solar modules use potentially hazardous materials, including lead compounds, polymers and cadmium compounds.
  • If disposed of in an inappropriate way, potential leaching of those hazardous materials can have negative environmental and health impacts.
  • Currently, India neither has a requisite policy guideline nor the minimal operational infrastructure to ensure recycling of module waste using conventional recycling technologies.
  • Most of the central bidding documents rest the responsibility of handling and disposing photo voltaic (PV) waste on the developers as per E-waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011.

Measures to manage solar waste

  • Mandating module manufacturers to use environmentally sustainable design and materials with end-of-life in mind (similar to the eco-design initiative of the EU).
  • Specifying liability and responsibility of each stakeholder for waste management and treatment.
  • Laying down standards for PV waste collection, treatment and disposal.
  • Encouraging mutual recycling responsibility agreements between module suppliers, project developers and power purchasers.
  • Undertaking regular surveys of recycling facilities to understand technology and capacity levels.
  • Identifying investment and technical requirements for dedicated PV recycling facilities with focus on high-value recovery.

Conclusion

PV and solar waste recycling is still at a nascent stage globally, both in terms of technical standards and physical infrastructure. Global cooperation in this regard and domestic capacity boost is the right way forward.


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