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Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE)

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About:-

  • The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is the nodal Ministry of the Government of India for all matters relating to new and renewable energy. The broad aim of the Ministry is to develop and deploy new and renewable energy for supplementing the energy requirements of the country. Creation CASE and Ministry:
  1. Commission for Additional Sources of Energy (CASE) in 1981.
  2. Department of Non-Conventional Energy Sources (DNES) in 1982.
  3. Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources (MNES) in 1992.
  4. Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources (MNES) renamed as Ministry of New and
  5. Renewable Energy (MNRE) in 2006.
  • The role of new and renewable energy has been assuming increasing significance in recent times with the growing concern for the country’s energy security. Energy self-sufficiency was identified as the major driver for new and renewable energy in the country in the wake of the two oil shocks of the 1970s.
  • The sudden increase in the price of oil, uncertainties associated with its supply and the adverse impact on the balance of payments position led to the establishment of the Commission for Additional Sources of Energy in the Department of Science & Technology in March 1981.
  • The Commission was charged with the responsibility of formulating policies and their implementation, programmes for development of new and renewable energy apart from coordinating and intensifying R&D in the sector.
  • In 1982, a new department, i.e., Department of Non-conventional Energy Sources (DNES), that incorporated CASE, was created in the then Ministry of Energy. In 1992, DNES became the Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources. In October 2006, the Ministry was re-christened as the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

Pollution threat to Taj Mahal

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Pollution threat to Taj Mahal:-

Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. It attracts around 3 million visitors a year from all over the world. In the recent past, several alarming cases have come to light threatening the aesthetic beauty of the Taj Mahal.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court and the NGT (National Green Tribunal) heard issues such as tree felling in the eco-sensitive zone near the 17th century mausoleum, on a plot which was about 2.4 km away from monument’s boundary, illegal constructions in and around the white marble mausoleum, construction for residential and commercial purposes in the green belt and agricultural land within 100 meters of the boundary of the monument, etc.

The courts in such cases have directed Government of Uttar Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) and Archaeological Survey of India to submit reports on illegal construction Agra in the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) near the boundary of the Taj Mahal.

In a PIL filed by reputed environmental advocate M C Mehta, the Supreme Court on November 17, 2015 sent a clear warning to Uttar Pradesh government not to allow destruction of the aesthetic beauty of the Taj Mahal by poor quality of constructions around.

The bench of Justice TS Thakur and Justice C Nagappan issued notice to the ASI in petition where Indian Tourism Development Corporation was seeking no-traffic zone around Taj and better tourist management steps.

Rain-bearing clouds thinning over India

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Rain-bearing clouds thinning over India:-

  • India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted that this year’s monsoon rainfall will be around 98 per cent of the long-period average, which is good news in this drought-prone era. But another study by the same IMD shows a more worrying trend. It has found that rain-bearing clouds have been thinning out across the country over the last 50 years.
  • The study, published in the IMD journal, ‘Mausam,’ shows that between 1960 and 2010, annual mean low cloud cover (responsible for the bulk of the rainfall) over India has been decreasing by 0.45 per cent per decade on average. Low clouds are declining over various seasons as well, the most significant one being during the monsoons. The study has found that the decline during the monsoon has been 1.22 per cent per decade on an average.
  • India gets around 70 per cent of its annual rainfall and snowfall during the monsoon, from June to September. According to the study, the number of rainy days is also declining during the monsoon season at an average rate of 0.23 days for every decade. This means that the country has lost approximately one rainy day over the last five decades. IMD defines a rainy day as a day when total precipitation is 2.5 mm or more.
  • A.K. Jaswal, retired scientist from IMD and leader of the study, told indiaclimatedialogue. net. “We have on an average lost one rainy day at each location that was studied across India, and that is of significance.” As expected, the study found a strong correlation between low cloud cover and the number of rainy days. A thinning of this cloud cover also seems to lead to rising maximum temperature.
  • “Since monsoon season alone contributes to approximately 70 per cent of annual rainfall, the significant decrease in LCC (low cloud cover) as well as NRD (number of rainy days) in monsoon season during 1961-2010 obtained in this study is a cause of worry,”.
  • Annual low cloud cover was found to have decreased at 61 per cent of the stations studied. During the monsoon season, the thickest low cloud cover was recorded in 1961 (46.7 per cent), and the thinnest in 2009 (33.5 per cent).
  • The study found there has been an increase in the low cloud cover over the Indo-Gangetic plains and northeast India, while it has decreased over the rest of the country. The authors say more studies are needed to account for these regional differences.
  • Rainfall and temperature data was also obtained for all the stations to find out their correlations with the low cloud cover. Around 60 per cent of the earth’s surface is covered by clouds. They play a critical role in weather and climate by reflecting sunlight, blocking outgoing longwave radiation and producing rain and snow, recycling water vapour and in global energy balance.
  • Various factors are being blamed for declining cloud cover climate change, aerosols and other pollutants. But given the complexities of multiple factors impacting weather, more studies are needed to find the cause.
  • Though the study does say, “One factor causing decrease in low cloud cover may be the direct effect of aerosols. As aerosols can cool the earth’s surface by reflecting sunlight and warm the aerosol layer by absorbing downward longwave radiation, the lapse rate will decrease and atmospheric stability will increase, suppressing cloud formation and reducing the cloudiness.”

 

PM Narendra Modi-Donald Trump Meet To Set Forth Vision To Expand Indo-US Ties: White House

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PM Narendra Modi-Donald Trump Meet To Set Forth Vision To Expand Indo-US Ties: White House:-

  • US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi would “set forth a vision” to expand the US-India partnership in an ambitious way. The leaders of the world’s two largest democracies, home to 1.6 billion people, will meet on June 26 to discuss a gamut of bilateral issues including terrorism and India’s concerns over possible changes in H-1B visa rules.
  • “I think you can expect the two of them to set forth a vision that will expand the US-India partnership in an ambitious and worthy way of both countries’ people,”.
  • Mr Spicer , the two leaders were expected to set forth a “common vision” on expanding the US-India partnership. He cited fighting terrorism, promoting economic growth and reforms and expanding security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region as shared priorities.
  • “President Trump and Prime Minister Modi will look to outline a common vision for the United States-India partnership that is worthy of their 1.6 billion citizens,” Mr Spicer said.
  • Mr Trump invited PM Modi to Washington after the latter rang him in January to congratulate the new president on his inauguration.

Ministry of Power | Government of India

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Responsibilities of Ministry of Power:-

The Ministry of Power is mainly responsible for evolving general policy in the field of energy. The main items of work dealt with by the Ministry of Power are as below:-

  • General Policy in the electric power sector and issues relating to energy policy and coordination thereof. (Details of short, medium and long-term policies in terms of formulation, acceptance, implementation and review of such policies, cutting across sectors, fuels, regions and intra country and inter country flows.
  • All matters relating to hydro-electric power (except small/mini/micro hydel projects of and below 25 MW capacity) and thermal power and transmission & distribution system network;
  • Research, development and technical assistance relating to hydro-electric and thermal power, transmission system network and distribution systems in the States/UTs;
    Administration of the Electricity Act, 2003, ( 36 of 2003) , the Energy Conservation Act , 2001 (52 of 2001 ), the Damodar Valley Corporation Act,1948 ( 14 of 1948) and Bhakra Beas Management Board as provided in the Punjab Reorganisation Act,1966 (31 of 1966 ).
  • All matters relating to Central Electricity Authority, Central Electricity Board and Central Electricity Regulatory Commission;
    1) Rural Electrification;
    2) Power schemes and issues relating to power supply/development schemes/ programmes/decentralized and distributed generation in the States and Union Territories;
  • Matters relating to the following Undertakings/Organizations:-
    1) The Damodar Valley Corporation;
    2) The Bhakra Beas Management Board (except matters relating to irrigation
    3) National Thermal Power Corporation Limited;
    4) National Hydro-electric Power Corporation Limited;
    5) Rural Electrification Corporation Limited;
    6) North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited;
    7) Power Grid Corporation of India Limited;
    8) Power Finance Corporation Limited;
    9) Tehri Hydro Development Corporation;
    10) Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd.;
    11) Central Power Research Institute;
    12) National Power Training Institute;
    13) Bureau of Energy Efficiency;
  • All matters concerning energy conservation and energy efficiency pertaining to Power Sector.

GST: Impact on SMBs, technology services and startups

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GST: Impact on SMBs, technology services and startups:-

  • The Lok Sabha has passed the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill and the rates for goods and services have been determined, clearing the path for the most significant tax reform in post-independence India.
  • GST has been hailed as a much-needed overhaul of the indirect tax system, many small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) across sectors – services and product alike – are wary of its impact on them. It is but natural for there to be teething issues, but once the dust settles down, there will be significant benefits from GST that will fuel the growth of businesses and the Indian economy.

Ease of Doing Business:-

  • The primary intent of rolling out GST is to promote ease of doing business. This will be possible through the unified tax system under GST which does away with the multiple taxes that businesses are currently subjected to. In the new tax regime, businesses need to be worried about only one tax, namely GST.

There are three types of GST:-

1) SGST or State GST – part of GST collected by states for the movement of goods and services within a state

2) CGST or Central GST – part of GST collected by the center for the movement of goods and services within a state

3) IGST or Integrated GST – GST collected by the center when goods and services cross state or national boundaries. States will work with the center to reconcile taxes due to them for such movement of goods and services.

  • GST is a destination based tax system, meaning that the tax will be determined based on where the consumption of goods or services will take place. For technology service providers, this means that customers will be billed or taxed based on the destination at which their service has been consumed.

Lower Taxes:-

  • Any business providing products and services is subjected to both VAT and Service Tax. This adds to the burden of tax compliance while also increasing cost of doing business in the form of higher taxes. GST does away with the distinction between products and services. This means that tax calculation for such businesses will be much simpler and in many cases lead to lowering of taxes.
  • GST provides for a unique tax reconciliation mechanism for businesses to reduce their taxes. A business will be able to avail of tax credit only if its supplier has uploaded the corresponding invoice to the GSTN. This will have a cascading benefit for the entire supply chain in terms of improved transparency and lower taxes.

Digitization and Business Opportunities:-

  • Under GST, businesses need to upload their invoices to the GSTN (GST Network) on a regular basis. In addition, businesses need to upload and download various forms from the GSTN thrice a month, every month. This design of GST makes it necessary for businesses to employ technology to run their business and accounting processes.

Compliance and Higher Operational Efficiencies:-

  • Businesses will need to organize themselves better, as compliance requirements under GST are well-defined and require almost real-time compliance. Most businesses will move to increased automation of their accounting processes increasing operational efficiencies. Indian SMBs will now have to ensure that their processes, including accounting and data management are efficiently organized so as to be able to file a compliance reports three times a month.

 

 

 

Centre proposes to defer e-way bill under GST citing lack of software

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Centre proposes to defer e-way bill under GST citing lack of software:-

  • GST rollout, the Centre is in favour of postponing by a few months the implementation of the e-way bill, which requires movement of good above Rs 50,000 to be to pre-registered online.
  • The GST Council agreed to rope in National Informatics Centre (NIC) to work along with GST-Network to assess if an all India e-way bill system can be created in a short time-frame
  • The GST Council, headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and comprising of representatives of all states, had in April come out with the draft e-way bill rules that made it necessary for any movement of goods, within or outside the state, having value of more than Rs 50,000 to be registered with the GST-Network (GSTN) website.
  • GSTN would generate e-way bills that will be valid for 1-15 days, depending on distance to be travelled — one day for 100 km and 15 days for more than 1,000 km transit. The tax officials can inspect the ‘e-way bill’ anytime during the transit to check tax evasion
    Industry however has expressed concerns over this saying that the Rs 50,000 limit was too low and that the timeline for completion of transport operation was “impractical and removed from reality”.
  • They also felt that the e-way bill would be applicable to movement of all kinds of goods without making any distinction between goods that were evasion prone or not.
  • June 3 meeting of the GST Council, the Centre contended that GSTN will be busy in the first three months of GST rollout as it has to ensure that technology backbone for the new indirect tax regime is working fine and hence would take about 6 months to build the platform for ‘e-way bill’.
  • The Centre also said that feedback from the industry was yet to be examined by the law committee and hence finalisation of rules would take sometime.
  • Stating that the GSTN can start developing the software only after finalisation of rules and forms, the Centre suggested that the “implementation of the ‘e-way bill’ system could be postponed by a few month” .
  • States like West Bengal, Kerala, Bihar, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh stated that they already had a robust e-way bill system, which should be continued as reverting to hand bills would lead to “considerable loss of revenue”.
  • The GST Council then decided to defer a decision on the e-way bill system and entrusted the GSTN to check from the NIC whether they could develop a e-way bill system in a short time frame, during the last three decades, NIC has implemented many network centric application software for Programme implementation in various ministries and departments.
  • The draft e-way bill rules provide that the person in- charge of conveyance will be required to carry the invoice or bill of supply or delivery challan, and a copy of the e-way bill or the e-way bill number, either physically or mapped to a Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) embedded on to the conveyance.

 

 

 

 

Indo-Japanese Nuclear-deal

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Indo-Japanese Nuclear-deal:-

  • The Diet on June 7 endorsed the controversial Japan-India civil nuclear cooperation agreement that will allow the nation’s firms to export nuclear materials and technology to India for non-military purposes.
  • Signed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Narendra Modi in November last year, the agreement passed a plenary session of the Upper House with a vote of 151 to 87. The agreement is set to take effect early July.
  • The move is in line with Abe’s initiative to help Japanese companies export nonmilitary nuclear technology to other countries.
  • The accord follows a landmark 2006 US-India nuclear pact, in which Washington agreed to provide nuclear technology while New Delhi designated 14 of its 22 nuclear reactors for civil use.
  • India has agreed to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to inspect the nonmilitary reactors, it adds. Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Japan in November 2016 signed a deal with his counterpart Shinzo Abe on nuclear energy.
  • Though deal has been in discussion between the two countries for six years before it was signed, the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster delayed it. This is the first time that Japan signed such a deal with a non-signatory of Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
  • The deal gives Japan to supply nuclear reactors, fuel and technology, to India. This deal is to help in India build the six nuclear reactors planned in Delhi, to be completed by 2032. The bilateral framework stipulates that the materials and technology supplied by Japan may only be used for peaceful purposes.
  • It also requires India to accept inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The deal has a separate “nullification clause” that will cancel the pact if India conducts a nuclear test – a guarantee for Japan to limit its technology for peaceful and commercial purposes.
  • India is also the first country that has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty to have such an agreement with Japan, where two atomic bombs were detonated during World War ll. But other nations have signed civil nuclear deals with India, including France, Australia and the United States, which inked a similar deal a decade ago.

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e-NAM still a work-in-progress

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  • Agriculture Market (e-NAM), the Union government move that was designed to help them in that very task, is still a work-in-progress.
  • The prime minister launched it amid much fanfare in April 2016, with the target of reaching 400 large mandis by the first year and 585 by March 2018.
  • Initially, 25 commodities were to be available for trade.
  • After a year later, while the network was short of the initial targets as of March, even in the mandis that have enrolled, facilities have not reached optimal levels.
  • The country needs 44,000 go-downs, it has only 7,700. This is where e-mandis and projects like e-NAM come into the picture.

Why e-NAM was formed?

  • Agriculture marketing is administered by states, under own regulations.
  • A state is divided into several market areas, each of which is administered by a, APMC with own regulations, including fees.
  • This fragmentation of markets even within a state hinders free flow of commodities from one area to another. The multiple handling of produce and multiple levels of mandi charges result in escalating of prices for consumers, without commensurate benefit to the farmer.

Agricultural produce market committee (APMC):-

APMC operate on two principles:-

  • Ensure that farmers are not exploited by intermediaries (or money lenders) who compel farmers to sell their produce at the farm gate for an extremely low price.
  • All food produce should first be brought to a market yard and then sold through auction.
  • Each state which operates APMC markets geographically divide the state and markets (mandis) are established at different places within the state.
  • Farmers are required to sell their produce via auction at the mandi in their region. Traders require a license to operate within a mandi. Wholesale and retail traders (e.g. shopping mall owners) and food processing companies cannot buy produce directly from a farmer.

Progress Report:-

  • In Madhya Pradesh, is one of a dozen that have joined the e-NAM platform. According to the e-NAM portal, of the 250 mandis registered across the country, 21 are in MP.
  • While Bhopal’s Karond mandi is the biggest in the state, with the highest number of commodities listed for trade, Mandsaur (listed in the portal as Mandsore), centre of the ongoing farmer protests, is also one of the mandis registered.
  • It is still in the registration stage at some places.
  • One state which has made considerable progress is Karnataka. Where 157 mandis use e-trading, e-permits, e-payments, and scientific grading and assaying services.

Advantages of e-NAM:-

  • A reduction in book keeping and reporting system (reports were previously prepared viz. daily minimum, maximum and modal prices and arrivals of commodities) that are now generated automatically.
  • For better monitoring and regulation of traders and commission agents (CA’s).
    Completely transparent system that eliminates any scope of intentional/un-intentional manipulation of tendering / auctioning process.
  • Improvement in the market fee collection by means of accounting all the transactions that are taking place in the market.
  • Reduction in manpower requirements as tendering/auctioning process takes place through the system.
  • Analysis and forecasting of the arrivals and prices.
  • Availability of the activities of each APMC on the website directly.