Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 04 August 2023
- Indian Renewable Energy Adoption and Challenges
- Indian Land Record Digitization
Indian Renewable Energy Adoption and Challenges
India understands the importance of embracing cleaner energy sources and believes that the switch to renewable energy technology is essential for reducing climate change. Solar and wind energy have emerged as the top options for lowering greenhouse gas emissions and guaranteeing a sustainable energy future among the different renewable options available. This policy brief focuses on engineering, costs, and policy ramifications as it evaluates the benefits and difficulties of using solar and wind energy in India.
GS Paper 3 – Renewable Energy
Talk about the benefits and drawbacks of using solar and wind energy in India. How can the government encourage the use of renewable energy sources while addressing the waste management problems brought on by solar panels? (150 Words)
Benefits of Wind and Solar
The decreased carbon footprint of solar and wind energy is one of their many advantages. It is projected that the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions of solar and wind energy are at least 20 times lower than coal. For example, solar only emits 7-83 gCO2 equivalent per kWh and wind only emits 8-23 gCO2 equivalent per kWh, whereas coal emits 753-1095 gCO2 equivalent per kWh.
Challenges of Grid Stability and Intermittency
It is difficult to provide a steady and dependable power source because solar and wind energy are intermittent. Energy output can fluctuate due to changes in weather, necessitating the integration of backup systems. Battery storage is necessary to store excess energy and provide electricity during periods of low generation. The cost of battery storage is expected to vary between Rs. 6.7 and 7.1 per kWh for 2021 and to fall to Rs. 3.8 and 4.1 per kWh by 2030.
Although solar and wind energy are environmentally friendly, there are still questions about how competitively priced they are. In 2021, solar’s levelized cost of energy (LCOE) was Rs. 2.8 per kWh, but it was anticipated that by 2030, it would be Rs. 1.6. Similar to this, the LCOE for onshore wind energy was Rs. 3.6 per kWh in 2021 and was expected to drop to Rs. 2.8–3.2 per kWh by 2030. However, in order to guarantee a steady supply of power, additional costs related to backup capacity must be taken into account.
Targets and Challenges for Adding Capacity
- India has high goals for expanding its renewable energy capacity. By 2031-32, it is anticipated that solar would account for 42% of all installed capacity while wind will make up 14%. But reaching these goals is not without difficulties. Progress has been hampered by issues like land acquisition, lengthy clearance processes, legal wrangling, and COVID-19 pandemic-related delays.
- Significant advantages of rooftop solar installations include lowered land requirements and transmission costs. By 2022, India wanted to add 40 GW of rooftop solar, but as of February 2023, just 8 GW has been added. There are difficulties, such as the necessity for consumers to make an upfront capital investment and resistance from distribution utilities.
- The PM-KUSUM scheme’s solarization of agricultural pumps seeks to add 10 GW of small solar power plants and set up 35 lakh solar pumps in total. As of June 2023, 2.45 lakh solar pumps and 113 MW of small solar plants were operational. The success of the programme has been hampered by issues such a lack of state government subsidies and access to reasonable financing.
Existence of Solar Panels
More than 75% of India’s installed solar capacity is sourced from imports, which is a significant dependency. Imported panels have contributed to the country’s solar industry’s explosive rise. However, increasing reliance on imports presents issues with trade imbalances and energy security. The government has put in place a number of policies, including higher import taxes and production-based incentives, to lessen reliance on imports and stimulate indigenous manufacturing. As a result, it is anticipated that domestic solar panel production would expand dramatically in the upcoming years, increasing India’s ability to meet its own solar energy needs.
Unwanted solar panel waste
- As the number of solar panel installations rises, efficient waste management is essential to avoid threats to the environment and human health. Elements used in solar panels, including silicon, aluminium, silver, copper, lead, and cadmium, can be dangerous if improperly disposed of. The majority of solar panels now on the market were not created with recycling in mind, making it technically difficult and expensive to remove individual components from used modules.
- By 2050, it is anticipated that India will produce over 80 million metric tonnes of trash from solar panels. The nation must create efficient recycling and disposal systems to handle this problem. Recycling would reduce the environmental effect while also releasing the opportunity for reuse of valuable components in solar panels. A strong and sustainable waste management system for solar panels must be established through cooperation between policymakers and industry players. India can overcome the waste management difficulties brought on by the solar energy sector by putting an emphasis on eco-friendly product design and encouraging proper disposal practises.
Smart metres and other demand response tools can assist move electricity use to times when renewable energy is more readily available. The government has required that smart metres be installed by March 2025 and that time-of-day rates be implemented for all retail users (apart from agricultural consumers) by April 2025.
Increased demand and a renewable purchase obligation
Targets for renewable purchase obligations (RPOs) are essential for encouraging the demand for renewable energy. Many Indian states have fallen short of their RPO goals. The government has set an RPO target of 25% for 2022–2023, rising to 43% by 2029–2030 in order to increase demand. These lofty goals are intended to encourage investments in renewable energy initiatives and hasten the nation’s transition to a cleaner energy system. For implementation to be successful, nevertheless, issues with discom perceptions and grid integration must be resolved. India can expedite the adoption of renewable energy and meet its climate goals by developing an environment with supportive policy.
Concerning the Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO)
The RPO is a system that requires the required entities (often power distribution utilities or discoms) to acquire a specific percentage of their electricity from renewable energy sources relative to their overall electricity consumption.
In recent years, India’s use of solar and wind energy has become more and more important for the country’s shift to cleaner and more sustainable energy sources. Despite obstacles, the nation’s dedication to renewable energy has led to noteworthy technological improvements, the adoption of encouraging regulations, and better cost competitiveness in the industry. India can effectively accomplish its lofty renewable energy goals, greatly contributing to global efforts to combat climate change, and eventually paving the path for a cleaner and more sustainable future for future generations by persistently working to overcome these obstacles.
Indian Land Record Digitization
For India, where more than 50% of the working population is devoted to agriculture, land is of utmost importance. The National Land Record Modernization Programme (NLRMP), which was updated in 2016, gave birth to the Digital India Land Records Modernization Programme (DILRMP), which aims to create a contemporary, comprehensive, and transparent land record management system.
GS Paper 3: Economy- Land resource
Give examples of how digitising land records through the DILRMP will promote economic development, marginalised group empowerment, and sustainable land use. Analyse the function of coordination between the federal and state governments and suggest ways to increase stakeholder involvement and awareness. (250 Words)
How Important Land Is in India
- Source of Livelihood: Since agriculture continues to be a substantial component of the population’s primary occupation, land is essential to maintaining livelihoods. The area is also used for mining, forestry, and other pursuits that produce revenue and job possibilities.
- Economic Value: Land is a priceless asset that may draw capital, encourage industrialization, and accelerate economic expansion. One example of a land-based effort that aims to create hyper-liberalized enclaves for export-oriented production is the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) programme. Furthermore, when sold under certain terms and exclusions, land might also result in long-term financial gains.
- Natural Resources: The land contains a variety of natural resources that are essential to sustaining human industry and commerce, such as minerals, water, and forests.
- Culture and Identity: Land can have substantial cultural and social importance, serving as a place where people can feel a sense of identity and belonging. It might be connected to a specific culture or group and be used in spiritual and religious practises.
India needs to digitise its land records.
- Reduce Litigation: Many of the court cases that are now outstanding in India are related to land disputes, which leads to expensive and lengthy resolution timeframes. By ensuring clear and secure ownership rights that are supported by the government, a comprehensive and open land record management system can decrease the size and frequency of these disputes.
- Increase Transparency: Land records in India frequently contain errors, out-of-date data, and fragmentation across many levels of government. By digitising and connecting land records to spatial data and other databases like Aadhaar, tax records, etc., a comprehensive and transparent land record management system can improve the quality and accessibility of land records.
- Promote Development: By lowering transaction costs, risks, and uncertainties, a strong land record management system fosters the growth of land markets and transactions. This encourages expansion in a number of industries, including agriculture, infrastructure, and housing, as well as investment, industrialisation, and other factors.
- Ensure Equity: The execution of land reforms aiming at redistributing land among the landless and marginalised groups of society benefits from a thorough and open land record management system. Additionally, it strengthens the access of women and other vulnerable groups to land-related services while recognising and defending their rights to the land.
DILRMP, or Digital India Land Records Modernization Programme
- Unique Land Parcel Identification Number (ULPIN): The DILRMP uses geo-coordinates to provide each land parcel a 14-digit alphanumeric ULPIN or Bhu-Aadhaar number. This acts as a pan-Indian number for accessing information about a plot’s ownership, dimensions, and geographic location.
- NGDRS, or the National Generic Document Registration System NGDRS was created to overcome the disparities in state laws governing the registration of deeds and documents, and it strives to simplify the procedure and provide uniformity.
- Transliteration of Records: Using the 22 scheduled languages listed in the Constitution, the DILRMP transliterates the Records of Rights. By removing linguistic obstacles from land governance, this improves public access to and comprehension of land records.
- Enhanced Services: The DILRMP facilitates a number of citizen services, including the provision of caste, income, and domicile certifications, in addition to modernising land records. Additionally, it provides online access to information on crop profiles, crop insurance, and e-links to banks and credit institutions.
- Arbitration and Dispute Resolution: A thorough land record management system aids in the amicable resolution of boundary-related disputes and long-pending arbitration cases, easing the pressure on the judicial system and administrative staff.
DILRMP (Digitization of Land Records) benefits
- Better Quality and Accessibility: The digitization initiatives of the DILRMP guarantee the accuracy, dependability, and transparency of land records. Records that are available online are more accurate, consistent, and accessible to the public.
- Decreased Frauds and Litigation: Landowners are shielded from challenges and disagreements by competing claimants by the installation of a decisive land-titling system with title assurances. The frequency of land-related legal disputes and scams is dramatically decreased by this metric.
- Supporting Growth and Development: A thorough land record management system attracts investments, encourages industrialisation, and fosters growth in a variety of sectors by fostering an environment that is favourable for land markets and transactions.
- The DILRMP advocates land reforms that provide an equitable distribution of land among the landless and marginalised groups of society. Women are empowered and have better economic and social standing when their land rights are acknowledged and their access to land-related services is improved.
The Problems in Digitising Land Records
- Lack of State Coordination: Since land is a matter of state jurisdiction, state governments’ cooperation and willingness are essential to the DILRMP’s success. Due to political, administrative, legal, or technical limitations, some states may have trouble implementing the programme.
- Inadequate Resources and Capacity: A large amount of financial, human, and technological resources are needed for the successful implementation of the DILRMP. At many levels, a lack of resources such as money, people, tools, and infrastructure could impede development.
- Lack of Participation and Awareness: Directly impacted stakeholders must actively engage in and participate in the DILRMP implementation for it to be effective. However, these stakeholders’ participation may be hampered by a lack of awareness and education.
The Next Steps
- Improving Coordination: To harmonise land laws, policies, processes, and systems, the federal and state governments should work closely together. To make the DILRMP implementation process more efficient, they must also exchange best practises and insights.
- Ensuring Transparency: To sustain confidence and accountability in the system, strict actions against manipulation and sabotage, transparent land survey, digitalization, verification, and titling processes, and the creation of grievance redressal systems are all necessary.
- Allocating Appropriate Resources: For the DILRMP to be implemented successfully, enough financial support, the hiring of qualified personnel, the supply of appropriate infrastructure, as well as training and capacity building, are all important.
- Creating Awareness and involvement: The success of the programme will depend on awareness campaigns that educate and sensitise stakeholders about the advantages and procedures of the DILRMP, address their concerns, and encourage their active involvement.
Land governance in India has a tremendous amount of potential to change as a result of the digitalization of land records through the DILRMP. It has many benefits, including lessening litigation, increasing transparency, fostering development, and guaranteeing equity and empowerment. India may use the potential of digitalization to develop a cutting-edge, open, and effective land record management system that will benefit millions of individuals all over the nation by tackling the related issues and taking a cooperative stance.