Reading Time: 4 mins NITI Aayog’s Draft National Energy Policy had called for a single unified ministry to administer India’s energy sector. India currently has a number of ministries and government departments to deal with issues pertaining to the energy sector. This is not allowing for the optimum use of energy and is increasing the complexity of the energy-related issues. The Draft NEP is going to be placed for the Cabinet approval in the near future. Accepting and implementing the NEP’s recommendations on reforming energy governance is vital for addressing the country’s energy sector issues. However, the government should also carefully traverse the recommended reform given the hard-hitting implications on the existing bureaucratic structure.
Reading Time: 6 mins The government has set the target of achieving 100% Electric vehicles by 2030. Manufacturing and putting the electric cars on road is the vision to make India pollution free along with saving billions of dollars in fuel cost and creating new job opportunities. However, there are also criticisms that India is not yet ready for electric vehicles which we will discuss in this article with a suitable way forward.
Reading Time: 7 mins India is a victim of numerous road accidents annually. Road safety is a necessary measure that needs to be taken for the safety of all road users. It is the all-encompassing methods and measures used to prevent road users from being killed or injured. The typical road users include pedestrians, cyclists, motorists, vehicle passengers and passengers of on-road public transport. India’s road safety is the worst in the record. About 149,000 people lost their lives on Indian roads in 2018 alone. India accounts for about 2% of motor vehicles globally. Yet, it is the home for more than 11% of the world’s road traffic deaths. According to a UN study, India loses 3% of its GDP to road accidents by removing prime age adults from the workforce. The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019 was enacted this year to address the hazard of deaths and injuries due to road accidents. According to Union Transport Minister, it could come down by half if the provisions of this Act are implemented stringently.
Reading Time: 8 mins
The parliament had passed Special Economic Zone Amendment Bill, 2019. This Amendment allowed “trusts and any entity” to set up units in the SEZ. It aims to boost investment and generate employment in a wide range of economic activities, including in the infrastructure sector. This Bill opens up the possibility for all types of trusts to operate from the SEZs – public charitable trusts, private trusts run by big and small corporate houses, business trusts like the real estate investment trusts and infrastructure investment trusts and port trusts run by the government. The SEZs are of importance to the Indian economy as they are the catalyst for its growth. However, in India, its full potential is not being utilized like that of China. This new step may boost the SEZs’ potentials. However, necessary steps must be taken by the government to ensure that there is equal economic growth of the nation and not just in the SEZs.
Reading Time: 6 mins
On early September this year, the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs, headed by the Prime Minister, has approved the hike of the procurement prices of ethanol. This move comes amidst the crisis of sugar surplus and increasing tensions between Iran and the US.
This move is of significance as the high prices are being offered for the procurement of ethanol that is manufactured from all the sugarcane-based routes including the partial sugarcane juice routes. This move has also, for the first time, has allowed the use of sugar and sugar syrup for the ethanol production.
The world is currently facing high fuel prices due to the brewing tensions in the Middle East. India must take all steps necessary to reduce the oil consumption to reduce the dependence on oil imports. The promotion of ethanol manufacturing to increase its production is a need of the hour.
Reading Time: 4 mins India’s aviation sector is contributing about 30 billion USD to India’s GDP. India is one of the fastest-growing aviation markets in the world. Nearly 90% of the aviation traffic is at the domestic level. This means that UDAN scheme or the Regional Air Connectivity Scheme is an asset to the aviation sector. However, this scheme alone cannot address the growing crisis in the aviation sector. The government must launch a viable policy to support the growth of this sector.
Reading Time: 5 mins
A few years back, Beijing and Delhi were competing with each other for being some of the most polluted cities in the world. Between 2000 and 2009, Beijing was far worse than Delhi in terms of air pollution. However, in recent years, the air quality of Beijing began improving while Delhi’s pollution levels continued to increase. In 2017, the concentration of PM 2.5 (particulate matter with a size of 2.5 microns or less) in Beijing was less than half that of Delhi. The number of “very unhealthy” days in Delhi is four times more than that of Beijing. The reason behind Beijing’s successful reduction of atmospheric pollution is due to the series of stringent measures to reduce the carbon emission into the atmosphere. One among them is the focus on the automobile sector. In 2017, the quota for new vehicles was fixed at 150,000 cars of which 60,000 was allotted only to the fuel-efficient cars. In 2018, this quota was reduced to 100,000. Although an average Indian contributes only a microscopic amount of transport-related carbon dioxide emissions to the global climate change, congested streets and polluted air are common aspects seen in the Indian metropolises. It is not only discomforting on a daily basis but is also a long-term health hazard to those who are living in big cities like Delhi.
Reading Time: 6 mins
Whether we realise it or not, the drinking water scarcity problem that we see in different parts of India today is a direct result of climate change. India is very vulnerable to climate change — melting Himalayan glaciers will produce floods in north India; erratic monsoons will create droughts in peninsular India.
Global action against climate change is not enough even if the Paris Agreement is followed in letter and spirit which is already weakening due to nations such as the US and Brazil walking away from it. Therefore India will have to assume the worst of impacts of global warming and tailor its programmes accordingly.
With the threat of floods and droughts looming in various parts of the country, there is no option but to make the 150-year-old idea, that is, Interlinking of Rivers (ILR) happen, and fast. The NDA government has always been in favour of inter-linking of rivers and it is to be hoped that the government sees ILR in the light of climate action, rather than a developmental move.