Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 13 March 2023
- Rising Power Demand in India
- India’s plan to stop the Child marriage
Rising Power Demand in India
India’s rising energy needs present a challenge for a nation where solar energy is expanding quickly but whose generation capacity is limited after sunset.
GS Paper-3: Inclusive growth and issues arising from it, Energy
India’s expanding solar power industry faces a sizable challenge as a result of the country’s rising power demand. Analyze the factors causing the demand to increase so quickly and recommend actions the government can take to address the problem. (250 Words)
- From the previous year, India’s power demand increased by more than 149.7 terawatt-hours (TWh) in 2022, an increase of about 8%, or nearly twice the rate of the Asia Pacific region.
- Additionally, demand increased 10% from a year ago in the first two months of 2023.
- The northwest desert state of Rajasthan and the western states of Gujarat and Maharashtra, where many of the nation’s industries are based, experienced the highest growth in demand in terms of absolute numbers in 2022.
- In the five months following the end of the monsoon in 2022, the eastern state of Chhattisgarh, which is well-known for its extensive mining activity, saw a 16.6% growth, whereas Rajasthan’s power demand increased by 15.1% during that time.
- In the north, in Punjab, where agricultural demand accounts for the majority of all power use, as well as in Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, and Bihar, where residential demand has traditionally accounted for the majority of the load, growth rates were also high.
How Come Demand Is Growing?
- Previously, the Prime Minister and Finance Minister have connected rising energy demand to rising economic activity.
- More than half of India’s annual power consumption is accounted for by industrial and commercial activity.
- Homes make up a quarter of the total, while agriculture has recently made up more than a sixth.
- By state and season, consumption patterns vary drastically.
- In the first half of 2022, a heatwave and a relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions increased the demand for electricity.
- Two of the main causes of the high growth in the second half of last year were erratic weather and a rise in agricultural activity.
- Unexpected dry spells in northern Haryana and Telangana in the south contributed to an increase in electricity demand from agricultural consumers in November and December.
- Power consumption increased as a result of increased demand from Andhra Pradesh’s industrial sector and the return of tech workers to Bengaluru, India’s silicon valley, in the state of Karnataka.
- A power ministry official stated in the presentation that the live streaming of World Cup matches may have caused a 4.1% increase in peak demand in Kerala, a football-obsessed state in the south.
- The decision to extend the hours of power supply to agricultural consumers in Rajasthan caused a 22% increase in November and a 15% increase in December, while a policy in Punjab that gave some consumers free power increased demand.
Steps the Government Has Taken
- In order to meet demand at night, when solar capacity is not available, the government is working to increase the nation’s coal and hydropower capacity. It is also looking into other options, such as battery storage and natural gas-powered plants, to provide backup power.
- Secondly, the government is promoting energy efficiency measures, such as the adoption of LED lighting and efficient air conditioning systems, to reduce overabundance.
- The country’s energy sector faces significant challenges as a result of India’s rising power demand, particularly in ensuring a steady supply of electricity and diversifying the country’s energy mix.
- While the government has made efforts to promote renewable energy sources, such as solar power, more needs to be done to accelerate the transition towards a cleaner and sustainable energy system. Additionally, addressing regional issues such as water scarcity and climate change will be important in addressing the nation’s growing demand for electricity.
- India can address the issues posed by the rise in power demand and create a more robust, effective, and sustainable energy system with the right policies and investments.
India’s plan to stop the Child marriage
The steering committee of a global anti-child marriage programme is in India to see how state actions have helped reduce the number of child marriages. The reason for this visit is the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic is expected to increase the number of child marriages.
GS Paper 1:Social empowerment, Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.
GS Paper 2: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
Investigate the links between poverty and child marriages in India, as well as the country’s progress towards eliminating child, early, and forced marriages. (250 Words)
Child Marriages in India
- From 2005-2006 to 2015-2016, the number of child marriages in India went down from 47.4% to 26.8%.
- In the last five years, it has gone down by 3.5% points, and the latest data from the National Family Health Survey-5 show that it will be 23.3% in 2020-21.
- There is a growing trend for the number of child marriages to go down, but 23.3% is still a worryingly high number in a country with 141.2 crore people.
- According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS), eight states have a higher rate of child marriage than the national average. West Bengal, Bihar, and Tripura are at the top of the list, with more than 40% of women aged 20–24 married before they turned 18.
- Some states, like Madhya Pradesh (down from 32.4% in 2015-16 to 23.1% in 2020-21), Rajasthan (down from 35.4% to 25.4%), and Haryana, have seen a drop in child marriage.
- UNICEF says that 12 million girls get married when they are still young every year.
- Goal 5 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 is to get rid of all harmful practises, like child, early, and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.
Legal Intervention in India
- There are several laws, such as the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act of 2006 and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act of 2012, that are meant to protect children from violations of their human rights and other rights.
- The Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021, wants to raise the age at which women can get married from 18 to 21.
Why should the minimum age of marriage for women be raised?
- Lack of access to education and jobs: Because women get married at a younger age, they have less access to education and jobs than men.
- Women who get married at a young age often can’t go to school or get a job.
- If the minimum age for marriage goes up, more women will go to college and work instead of getting married.
- Effects of early marriage on the health of women and children: o Getting married and having children at a young age has a big effect on how well mothers and their children eat and on their overall health and mental health.
- Young mothers have a higher chance of having problems with their reproductive health, being malnourished, bleeding after giving birth, and getting sexually transmitted diseases.
Schemes/Policies to stop girl child marriage:
- Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana (SSY) – SSY was started in 2015 to help girls.
- It encourages parents to invest and save money for their daughter’s future education and wedding costs.
- Balika Samriddhi Yojana – The Balika Samriddhi Yojana is another programme run by the central government to help girls from poor families.
- This plan makes sure that girls get into and stay in elementary and secondary schools.
- It tries to help a girl’s child do well in life and gives them a better education.
- Beti Bachao Beti Padhao is the most popular programme for helping girls.
- This plan is a way to honour girls. Its name, Save the Girl Child, Educate the Girl Child, means exactly what it says. It believes in empowering women and making an environment where everyone can do that.
- The goal of this plan is to keep girls safe before and after they are born.