GS Paper III –  Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

India ranks 87th on energy architecture performance: WEF

What’s Happening-

  • India has marginally improved its position to 87th place on a global energy architecture performance index, but ranks among the worst for pollution.

Key Points discussed were:

  • Switzerland topped the annual list released by Geneva- based World Economic Forum (WEF) and was followed by Norway, Sweden, Denmark and France in the top five.
  • India’s rank improved three places from 90th last year. 
  • According to the findings, the world’s biggest energy consumers struggle to take leading positions on the index as they grapple with inherent challenges of their large, complex energy systems and are outperformed by more nimble economies. 
  • Overall, some of the largest consumers of energy such as China (95th), India, Japan (45th), the Russian Federation (48th) and the United States (52nd) have either slipped in the rankings or experienced only marginal gains.
  • Bahrain is ranked the lowest at 127th. 
  • Regarding India:
  • WEF said it is gradually improving its performance on the index, but faces an uphill battle to increase energy access and security (95th). 
  • A large percentage of the population still lacks access to electricity (101st) and uses solid fuels for cooking (108th).
  • The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is taking action on this, having committed to increase solar power capacity to 100 gigawatts by 2022, which would make India a leader in renewable capacity.
  • The study further said that India, just like China, boasts of a strong score on the indicator for diversification of import counterparts (5th), but its energy system continues to face some significant challenges, particularly in environmental sustainability (109th). 
  • India has some of the lowest scores in the EAPI for CO2 emissions from electricity production and PM2.5 levels (117th and 123rd, respectively). 
  • “While sources of pollution are diverse and intermittent (such as agricultural crop burning, refuse combustion, fireworks), the energy sector is a large, consistent contributor to this issue of major concern.

About Report:

  • The report, developed in collaboration with Accenture Strategy and launched today at the European Commission, ranked 127 countries based on their ability to provide energy across three dimensions of the ‘energy triangle’. 
  • The Energy Architecture Performance Index (EAPI) is a composite index that focuses on tracking specific indicators to measure the energy system performance of 127 countries. 
  • It has 18 indicators defined across the three sides of the ‘energy triangle’ — economic growth and development, environmental sustainability, and energy access and security.

GS Paper II –  Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Cabinet approves Indo-US MoU on partnership for Cyber Security

What’s Happening-

  • The Union Cabinet approved the Indo-US MoU that intends to promote closer co-operation and exchange of information pertaining to the Cyber Security in accordance with the relevant laws, rules and regulations and on the basis of equality, reciprocity and mutual benefit.

Background-

  • The MoU was signed between the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-ln) under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and the US Homeland Security Department on cooperation in the field of Cyber Security in Delhi on January 11. 
  • Previously, the two countries had signed an MoU on July 19, 2011 to promote a closer cooperation and timely exchange of information between the organisations of their respective governments responsible for cybersecurity. 
  • “Since, July 19, 2011, regular interactions between CERT-In and US CERT are taking place to share the information and discuss cyber security related issues,” a government statement said on January 11. 
  • In continuation to the cooperation in cybersecurity areas, both have renewed the MoU.
  • Last year India concluded broad cyber cooperation documents with top strategic partners US and Russia eyeing to safeguard cyberspace amid growing security challenges. 
  • The MoU intends to promote closer co-operation and exchange of information pertaining to the Cyber Security in accordance with the relevant laws, rules and regulations and on the basis of equality, reciprocity and mutual benefit. 

Sources- The Indian Express, The Hindu. Page 12

GS Paper II  International Relations.

India, Pakistan to review Miyar project

What’s Happening-

  • India and Pakistan agreed on redesigning the Miyar Hydroelectric project, at the end of two-day talks of Indus Water Commissioners in Islamabad.

Key Points discussed were:

  • It was also agreed that the Lower Kalnai and the Pakal Dul projects would be inspected again.
  • The Pakistani delegation was headed by Mirza Asif Saeed while P.K. Saxena led the Indian team.
  • The talks between the two countries began after 22 months when Pakistan in 2015 skipped consultations following objections on the Kishenganga and the Ratle hydroelectric projects by India.

Washington meet:

  • Kishenganga is in arbitration while officials of the two countries are meeting in Washington next month on the Ratle project on the invitation of the World Bank.
  • Pakistan’s request for arbitration on Ratle is still pending with the World Bank, which is the guarantor of the 1960 Indus Water Treaty.

Background-

Project Location:

Miyar Hydroelectric Project is located in District Lahaul and Spiti, Himachal Pradesh on the Miyar Nallah which is a major tributary of Chenab River.

  • Project Capacity – 120 MW:
  • The project envisages an installation of 120 MW capacity and has been awarded to Hindustan Power through the international competitive bidding process.
  • The project component comprises of a construction of a 25-m high diversion structure, about 6.6 km long headrace tunnel, an open to sky restricted orifice surge tank, a surface powerhouse complex on the right bank of river Chenab near Udaipur town.
  • Power would be generated by harnessing 215.54 m of rated head between intake and tail race outfall location.
  • Project Objectives:
  • The Project shall provide:
  1. Peaking power.
  2. Renewable energy which helps reduce carbon emissions.
  3. Development of remote area.

Sources- The Indian Express, The Hindu. Page 13