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GS Paper III  Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life
Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

NTPC installs India’s largest floating solar PV plant

What’s Happening-
State-run NTPC said it has installed India’s largest floating solar photovoltaic (PV) plant at Rajiv Gandhi Combined Cycle Power Plant (RGCCPP) at Kayamkulam in Kerala.

Key Points discussed were:

  • A 100 kWp (kilowatt peak) floating solar PV plant, the largest of its kind in India as on date, indigenously developed as a part of ‘Make In India’ initiative, was inaugurated.
  • This floating platform has been indigenously developed by NETRA (NTPC Energy Technology Research Alliance), the R&D arm of NTPC, in collaboration with Central Institute of Plastic Engineering & Technology (CIPET), Chennai and patent has been applied, according to the statement.
  • The system was installed by Swelect Energy Systems Ltd, Chennai with support from NETRA and NTPC Kayamkulam station in a short span of 22 days.

Benefits:

  • Such systems are fast emerging as an alternative to conventional ground mounted PV systems which are land intensive.
  • It has various benefits like conserving water through reduction of evaporation, increased generation due to cooling effect on the panels, reduced installation time etc and could be installed on saline water environment.
  • Installation potential of such type of systems in India is huge because of abundance of water bodies, within NTPC, the potential is about 800 MWp in various reservoirs in existing stations. Particularly in Kerala, due to availability of water bodies and lack of presence of enough land, this type of system has a great potential.
  • NTPC has already started working on scaling up such type of system for MW scale installation.

Background-
NTPC Ltd., formerly known as National Thermal Power Corporation Limited, is an  , engaged in the business of  and allied activities.
It is a company incorporated under the Companies Act 1956 and a “Government Company” within the meaning of the act.
The headquarters of the company is situated at .
NTPC’s core business is generation and sale of electricity to state-owned power distribution companies and State Electricity Boards in India.
From fossil fuels it has forayed into generating electricity via hydro, nuclear and renewable energy sources.
This foray will play a major role in lowering its carbon footprint by reducing green house gas emissions.
NTPC became a Maharatna company in May 2010,
NTPC was ranked 400th in the ‘2016, Forbes Global 2000’ ranking of the World’s biggest companies.

GS Paper II –International Relations

Government releases draft rules for wallet companies

What’s Happening-
To make transactions through e-wallets safer and strengthen the grievance redressal mechanism for consumers, government has released a set of guidelines for wallet firms.

Key Points discussed were:

  • The draft Information Technology (Security of Prepaid Payment Instruments) Rules 2017 which have been released for public consultation by the ministry of electronics and IT cover an entire spectrum such as protecting consumer information, particularly financial data.
  • The Rules mandate that each Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPI) company or wallet firm will have a privacy policy posted on its website.
  • It will also have to appoint a chief grievance officer, the contact details of whom will have to be prominently displayed on the website.
  • The grievance officer will have to “act upon” any complaint within 36 hours and “close” it in a month’s time.
  • The draft also mandate that companies have enough safeguards in place to avoid any hacking attacks and if there is on.
  • Personal information of the customers will be treated under Section 72A of the Information Technology Act, and the financial data of the customer shall be deemed to be sensitive personal data under the “Information Technology (Reasonable Security Practices and Procedures and Sensitive.
  • The guideline also mandate that CERT-In (Indian Computer Emergency Response Team) shall notify the categories of incidents and breaches that are required to be
    reported to it mandatorily.

Comparison:
Digital wallets and prepaid wallets serve different purposes.
In case of a digital wallet, your money continues to remain in your bank account or credit card. In a prepaid wallet, the money moves from your account to either a merchant’s current account or an escrow account depending on the type of wallet.
In both cases there are no additional charges attached to the wallets as of now.
Digital Wallet:
A digital wallet refers to an electronic device that allows an individual to make electronic transactions.
This can include purchasing items on-line with a computer or using a smartphone to purchase something at a store.
An individual’s bank account can also be linked to the digital wallet

GS Paper II –International Relations

Sri Lanka to scale back Hambantota port deal

What’s Happening-
The Chinese-built port is making losses
Sri Lanka is to scale back a profitable but controversial deal to sell a deep-sea port to a Chinese company after widespread protests, said by the Ports Minister Arjuna Ranatunga.

Key Points discussed were:

  • The port, built during the former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, has become a white elephant with revenues insufficient even to pay salaries of staff.
  • The new government, which came to power in January 2015, has been trying to renegotiate terms of its $8-billion Chinese debt, which includes the construction costs of the Hambantota port.
  • The government was renegotiating the sale of the debt-laden but strategically-located Hambantota port.
  • It had hoped to transfer an 80% stake to the China Merchants Port Holdings on a long lease, but the proposed deal met with opposition from residents in the southern town of Hambantota and some members of the ruling coalition.
  • Sri Lanka Ports Authority- SLPA wanted to reduce the Chinese company’s equity holding and the lease period, and ensure overall security of the port remained in its control.
  • Colombo had hoped to raise about a billion dollars from the deal to repay the money China lent it to build the $1.4-billion harbour.

Latest Developments:

  • Sri Lanka’s Cabinet approved the sale to a Chinese firm of a 70 per cent stake in the strategically-located Hambantota port.
  • The Chinese will manage port operations and Sri Lanka will handle port security.
  • Security of the port will not be given to anyone else. It will be handled 100 per cent by Sri Lankans,” Sri Lankan Govt said. 

Background-
A deep water port, is different from regular ports in respect of the depth of water.
A port is usually an area or platform entered into from the sea, by vessels, boats, ships, which also allows for protected staging and anchoring or docking for these ships to load and unload consignments and continue up towards its destination.
However, a deep water port is usually made up for the usage of very large and heavily loaded ships.
Regular ports are by and large of recreational types where the water is not more than 20 feet deep, whereas deep water port is compatible with the large heavy loaded ships which may require the water to be 30 feet deep or even more.
Deep water ports are also defined to be any port which has the capability to accommodate a fully laden , which is determined principally by the dimensions of the  lock chambers.

Sources- The Indian Express, The Hindu. Page 5