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Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 13 December 2022


Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 13 December 2022


Contents

  1. The ‘futuristic’ Energy Conservation Bill  
  2. The UDAN 4.2 scheme

The ‘Futuristic’ Energy Conservation Bill


Context

  • The Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, 2022 was passed by the Rajya Sabha. The amendment was approved by the Lok Sabha in August 2022.
  • With this, India has cleared the way for the country to mandate the use of non-fossil sources of energy and feedstock, such as green hydrogen, green ammonia, biomass, and ethanol, and to establish carbon markets.

Relevance

GS Paper 3: Energy, Economy, Environment

Mains question

What do you mean by ‘power curtailment’ in the energy sector? How is it affecting renewable energy generation in India? (250 words)


Background

  • The Energy Conservation Act of 2001 establishes a framework for regulating energy consumption while also promoting energy efficiency and conservation.
  • Energy efficiency refers to using less energy to complete the same task.
  • The Act established the Bureau of Energy Efficiency to recommend energy consumption regulations and standards for appliances, vehicles, industrial and commercial establishments, and buildings.
  • An Act Amendment is Required:
  • At the Conference of Parties (COP-26) summit in Glasgow, UK in 2021, India made the following commitments that may be relevant for energy efficiency efforts:
    • Reducing total projected carbon emissions by one billion tonnes by 2030, and reducing the economy’s carbon intensity by 45% over 2005 levels by 2030. Carbon intensity is defined as the volume of carbon emissions per unit of GDP.
  • Furthermore, by 2030, India aims to have 500 GW of non-fossil energy capacity and meet 50% of its energy needs with renewable energy.
  • In August 2022, the Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, 2022 was introduced in Lok Sabha.

Concerning the Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, 2022:

  • The Bill seeks to amend the 2001 Act in order to: o Facilitate the achievement of COP-26 goals; and
    • Introduce concepts such as mandated use of non-fossil sources and carbon credit trading to ensure the Indian economy decarbonizes faster.
  • Bill’s Key Features –
    • Carbon Credit Trading – The Bill gives the central government the authority to design a carbon credit trading scheme.
  • Carbon credit denotes a tradable permit to emit a certain amount of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases.
  • Carbon credit certificates may be issued by the central government or any authorised agency to entities that have registered and are in compliance with the scheme.
    • Obligation to use non-fossil energy sources – The Act gives the central government the authority to set energy consumption standards.
  • The Bill also states that the government may require certain consumers to meet a certain percentage of their energy consumption from non-fossil sources.
  • Industries, transportation, and commercial buildings are examples of designated consumers.
    • Building energy conservation code – The Act empowers the central government to specify Building Energy Conservation Code.
  • The code establishes area-based energy consumption standards.
  • The Bill modifies this to include a ‘Energy Conservation and Sustainable Building Code.’
  • This new code will establish standards for energy efficiency and conservation, the use of renewable energy, and other green building requirements.
    • Vehicle and vessel standards – The Act allows for energy consumption standards to be specified for equipment and appliances that consume, generate, transmit, or supply energy.
  • The Bill broadens the definition to include vehicles (as defined by the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988) and vessels (includes ships and boats).
    • BEE governing council composition – The Bill proposes increasing the number of BEE members from 20-26 to 31-37.

Criticism

  • No clarity on who will regulate the carbon credit market – o The Bill makes no mention of how carbon credit certificates will be traded or who will regulate such trading.
    • The question is whether a regulator should be specified in the Act itself.
  • Which Ministry should be in charge of regulating carbon credit trading?
    • The goal of carbon credit trading is to reduce carbon emissions.
  • The question is whether the Ministry of Power or the Ministry of Environment should regulate this scheme.
  • Ambiguity surrounding various types of activities o The same activity may qualify for renewable energy, energy savings, and carbon credit certificates.
    • There is no mention in the bill of whether these certificates will be interchangeable.
  • Power concentration – o
  • The Bill proposes only five state representatives, which means that the majority of states will be unable to register their opinion with the Bureau of Energy Efficiency.

Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE)

  • The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) is a government agency that promotes energy efficiency.
    • In March 2002, the Government of India established the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) under the provisions of the Energy Conservation Act, 2001.
    • BEE coordinates with designated consumers, designated agencies, and other organisations, as well as recognises, identifies, and utilises existing resources and infrastructure, in order to perform the functions assigned to it under the Energy Conservation Act.
  • Ministry Concerned: Ministry of Power

The UDAN 4.2 scheme


Context

According to the Civil Aviation Minister, the country has effective international to domestic connectivity as well as domestic Tier-I to Tier-II connectivity. He also stated that the Centre is focusing on last-mile connectivity in the country through the UDAN 4.2 scheme.

Relevance

GS Paper 2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

GS Paper 3: Infrastructure, Airways

Mains Question

Examine the development of Airports in India through joint ventures under Public–Private Partnership (PPP) model. What are the challenges faced by the authorities in this regard? (UPSC 2017)


The RCS UDAN Scheme

  • The Regional Connectivity Scheme UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) was launched in 2016 by the Ministry of Civil Aviation with the goal of improving aviation infrastructure and air connectivity in Tier II and Tier III cities.
  • The scheme was developed to meet the aspirations of the average citizen based on a review of The National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP)-2016.
  • The scheme, which was intended to be in place for ten years, has a self-financing mechanism through the development of the Regional Connectivity Fund (RCF).
  • The RCF funds the scheme’s viability gap funding (VGF) requirements through a levy on certain domestic flights, thereby stimulating the sector’s growth and development.
  • Passengers benefited from air connectivity under the scheme, airlines benefited from concessions for operating regional routes, and unserved regions benefited from direct and indirect economic development benefits from air connectivity.

UDAN phases:

  • UDAN 1.0: 36 new airports are operational. 5 airline companies were awarded 128 flight routes for 70 airports.
  • UDAN 2.0: For the first time, a helipad was added. There were 73 unserviced airports announced in 2018.
  • UDAN 3.0: This included tourist routes, seaplanes connecting water aerodromes, and UDAN routes in the North-East.
  • UDAN 4.0: 78 new routes will be approved by 2020. Lakshadweep’s Kavaratti, Agatti, and Minicoy islands will also be connected by new routes during this phase.
  • UDAN 4.1: Its primary goal is to connect small airports, special helicopter routes, and seaplane routes under UDAN. Sagarmala seaplane services have also proposed new routes.
  • UDAN 4.2: This is a small aircraft scheme dedicated to less than 20-seater aircraft to ensure last-mile connectivity.
    • According to the Ministry, 132 routes (16 helicopter, 50 seaplane, and 66 fixed wing) have been awarded under this programme.

Scheme accomplishments

  • In the last five years, UDAN has significantly increased regional air connectivity in the country, increasing the number of operational airports from 74 in 2014 to 141 now.
  • The UDAN scheme has connected 68 underserved/unserved destinations, including 58 airports, 8 heliports, and 2 water aerodromes.
  • The UDAN framework resulted in the creation of: o Lifeline UDAN (for the transportation of medical cargo during pandemics), which was launched in 2020.
    • Krishi UDAN (agricultural product value realisation, particularly in the North-eastern Region NER and tribal districts).
  • International UDAN routes for NER to investigate international connectivity from and to Guwahati and Imphal

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