Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2021

Jul 12, 2021

Current Affair 1:
Implication of rise in Chinese solar PV module price

The rise of China’s solar PV industry has intensely reshaped the global landscape of solar energy generation.

China’s solar PV manufacturing accounts for around 71 per cent of the world’s total capacity: It grew to 106 gigawatts in 2019 from 10 GW in 2010. The country is also a leading producer of silicon wafers with a 97 per cent share of the global market, 79 per cent share of PV cells and 67 per cent share of polysilicon.

The PV industry has experienced several rounds of price increases since the second half of 2020, from polysilicon to materials such as steel, aluminum, copper, PV glass and films.

Escalating prices for freight and transportation due to supply chain bottlenecks developed under the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) regulations is another reason for the rise in PV prices.

Rapid construction and industrial recovery from COVID-19 lockdowns outpaced underutilized production capacity, thereby further increasing price.

Three important martials in solar PV:

EVA (Ethyl Vinyl Acetate) and POE (Polyolefin Elastomer) and Ag paste: Prices for EVA (Ethyl Vinyl Acetate) and POE (Polyolefin Elastomer) encapsulant films rose by more than 40 and 10 per cent, respectively. Prices for silver paste also rose 7 per cent and have since remained high. (Ag paste materials developed to provide better yields and higher outputs for solar PV cell)

India ki halat kya h:

India is also not a producer or refiner of many minerals required for the manufacturing of solar modules, batteries for power storage or other renewable energy systems.

India is targeting 280 gigawatts (GW) of solar power by 2030. To achieve this goal, it will have to install about 25 GW of capacity every year.

The target means that India would end up importing millions of solar modules worth billions of dollars over the years, since the domestic manufacturing of modules is not enough to fulfil the demand.

Thus, experts believe, India needs to ensure a robust long-term policy addressing these gaps so that a pandemic or geopolitical disputes can’t derail its clean energy plans.

Current Affair 2:
Another veterinary painkiller, nimesulide, causing vulture deaths in India

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A study conducted on four white-rumped vultures, found dead in Gujarat in 2019, has shown that the vultures were exposed to veterinary drug nimesulide, through the carcasses of cattle they consumed.

As per the study, nimesulide appears to act similar to another drug diclofenac in exerting toxic effects on vultures.

Diclofenac has long been established as the prime reason for wiping out 99 percent of the vulture population in India in the 90s. Later two more veterinary drugs – aceclofenac and ketoprofen – were found to be toxic for vultures. While diclofenac is banned, a proposal to ban the other two drugs is already under consideration by the Indian government

As per the new study, nimesulide appears to act similar to diclofenac in exerting toxic effects on vultures.

The study has been conducted on white-rumped vultures (Gyps bengalensis), listed as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list since 2000 and categorized under Schedule I of Indian Wildlife Protection Act 1972 for its safety and conservation.


Current Affair 3:
Technology can bridge the gap between climate talk and action

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As society pressures leaders for a more environmentally-friendly agenda, governments responsible for 63% of world emissions have committed to net zero with corporate net-zero commitments covering 12% of the global economy (representing $9.81 trillion in revenue). However, it is not uncommon to see large disconnects between targets and actual emissions.

Carbon management can be broken down into three main categories: emission measuring and reporting, abatement, and offsetting.

Measuring and reporting carbon footprint

The first step is to measure carbon emissions. Currently, emission data may be obtained through meter readings, purchase records, utility bills, engineering models, direct monitoring, etc. Challenges associated with measuring and reporting commonly include the laborious data collection process, difficulty reviewing carbon footprints across business units and assets, as well as validating underlying assumptions of emissions.

Abatement planning and management

Abatement planning involves identifying key sources of emissions and implementing measures to reduce them. Due to the multiple variables that need to be considered in such planning, the process can be uncertain and complex. Furthermore, tracking the performance and progress of abatement programmes is laborious. Organizational challenges include a lack of both transparency regarding marginal cost-benefit of abatement programmes, and resources for managing and executing this abatement journey.

Carbon offsetting

Carbon offsetting is considered the option of last resort once all abatement efforts and decarbonization investments have been exhausted. It is a way of taking responsibility for unavoidable carbon emissions by paying for others to reduce or absorb CO2. However, offsets also come with challenges, from accurate measurement to transparency and verification to ease of trade.

How technology can help?

Artificial intelligence of things (AIoT) solutions are integral to tackling some of the challenges associated with carbon management. There are three main areas of focus to make carbon management more efficient, transparent and effective.

1. AIoT – integration into measurement and reporting

With a myriad of databases and systems involved with different carbon-producing assets, the labour required to simply categorize and organize the data from multiple business units and assets is immense. AIoT integration enables seamless sourcing of real-time activity level data and asset inventory data from a variety of systems.

2. Abatement intelligence – predictive analytics to simulate emissions over time

Abatement planning is a challenge primarily due to the lack of accurate measures for determining the emissions derived from certain processes. AIoT technology tackles this challenge by creating insights from real-time data to better predict process emissions. By analysing and learning through data from multiple processes, AIoT can refine the performance evaluation of abatement measures and optimize emissions predictions.

3. Carbon offsetting and offset integration

Although a last resort, the carbon offset market plays an essential role towards achieving global net-zero emissions goals for countries and organizations. However, verification of carbon offsetting and difficulty in trading plagues the industry. Technology can support validation of RECs in near real-time and offer a marketplace for affordable and fast carbon offsetting.

Offset integration would provide a global pool of offsets to an organisation, improving ease of trade and emissions planning, reducing organizational hassle, and optimising the timings of REC purchases and retirement.

Current Affair 4:
A Kerala Model of Anti-Discrimination law

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The authors with the assistance of Professor Tarunabh Khaitan of Oxford University have drafted an Anti- discrimination Bill for the Kerala government to consider introducing in the State Legislative Assembly.

With increasing practices of discrimination in the society, the article suggests introducing an anti-discrimination law by states as it will lead to expansion of civil rights covered under the legislation.

What Article 15 does not bar?

Article 15 – prohibits the state to discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them.

However, Article 15 does not bar private individuals or institutions from doing what the state is not permitted to.

Article 15 does not expressly list ethnicity, linguistic identity, nationality, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance and other personal characteristics as prohibited grounds of discrimination.

Discrimination Practiced in Society

Discrimination practiced in India operates on various levels and can be categorised as direct discrimination, indirect discrimination or intersectional discrimination.

Direct Discrimination – is characterized by the intent to treat less favourably a person or a group. Eg: An employer refuses to interview a candidate because he belongs to a scheduled caste. This is direct discrimination in relation to caste.

Eg: An employer fires a female employee after her marriage because he makes a stereotypical assumption that married women do not make efficient workers. This is prima facie direct discrimination in relation to gender.

Indirect Discrimination - Discriminatory practices may also be indirect in nature, whereby policies that seem neutral and not expressly targeted at a particular group, still cause a disproportional adverse impact on disadvantaged sections of society.

Eg: An employer pays part-time workers at a lower hourly rate than full-time workers, for doing the same work. A majority of part-time workers in his establishment are women but a majority of full-time workers are men. This is prima facie indirect discrimination in relation to gender.

Intersectional Discrimination - was highlighted by Supreme Court in Patan Jamal Vali vs State of Andhra Pradesh. Intersectional Discrimination happens when two or multiple grounds operate simultaneously and interact in an inseparable manner, producing distinct and specific forms of discrimination.

Eg: discrimination on the basis of the intersection of personal characteristics, such as that faced by Dalit women as Dalits, as women and in the unique category of Dalit women.

Need for Legislation to tackle Discrimination

Thus, to tackle the dimensions of discrimination being practiced in the society, legal remedies in the form of comprehensive anti-discrimination legal framework is required to fill the existing legal lacunae.

It is based on this understanding, ANTI-DISCRIMINATION AND EQUALITY BILL was introduced in Parliament in 2016 but it lapsed with the dissolution of Lok Sabha in 2019.

So, the authors have argued that even states under Entry 8 (Actionable Wrongs) of Concurrent List of Seventh Schedule can introduce an ANTI-DISCRIMINATORY LAW that attracts civil penalties for those engaging in discriminatory practices.

Current Affair 5:
India Industrial Land Bank (IILB)

Source Link

Department for Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade (DPIIT) has developed IILB portal, a GIS-enabled database of industrial areas/clusters across the country to adopt a committed approach towards resource optimization, industrial upgradation and sustainability.

The portal serves as a one-stop solution to the free and easy accessibility of all industrial information including availability of raw material, agriculture, horticulture, minerals, natural resources; distance from key logistic nodes; layers of terrain and urban infrastructure.

It aims to provide information on available land for prospective investors looking at setting up units in the Country.

It also provides links to State GIS Portals and State Land Banks.

A small look to its information: Few examples.


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