News & Editorial Analysis 5 January 2023
1 – Green Hydrogen Mission:
GS II Topic Government Policies and Interventions
The Union Cabinet approved the National Green Hydrogen Mission on January 4, with the goal of making India the world’s centre for the production of green hydrogen.
Out of the total investment for the mission, the government has allocated 17,490 crores for the Strategic Interventions for Green Hydrogen Transition (SIGHT) programme, 1,466 crore for upcoming pilot projects, 400 crore for R&D, and 388 crore for other mission components.
What is the Green Hydrogen Policy?
According to the strategy, the government will create manufacturing zones for production, provide access to the ISTS (Inter-State Transmission System) priority, and offer free transmission for 25 years if the production facility is operational by June 2025.
As a result, it won’t be necessary for a manufacturer of green hydrogen to pay any interstate transmission costs in order to construct a solar power plant in Rajasthan that will send clean energy to a green hydrogen factory in Assam.
Additionally, producers would be allowed to build bunkers near ports to store green ammonia for export transportation.
Renewable energy (RE) capacity can be installed anywhere by manufacturers of green hydrogen and ammonia, either directly or through another developer. They can also purchase RE through the power exchange.
It allows producers the choice to bank any extra renewable energy they create with discoms (power distribution companies) and use it as necessary for up to 30 days.
What is the significance of the policy?
According to Indian Oil Corp. (IOC), the largest oil refiner in India, GHP activities are anticipated to reduce the cost of creating green hydrogen by 40–50%.
A nation’s security of supply for renewable energy depends on fuels like green hydrogen and green ammonia.
As a disruptive feedstock, green hydrogen will be a key component in India’s move away from coal and oil. By 2070, India has already made a commitment to having net-zero carbon emissions.
The GHP creates a solid base for the development of a competitive green hydrogen market in India.
What problems do these solutions present?
Transmitter payments: A 70 percent electrolyser efficiency results in a production of 1 kilogramme of green hydrogen using about 50 kWh of electricity.
Even though India has some of the lowest average costs in the world for producing renewable energy, transferring power between the places where it is produced and where it is used comes with a number of costs.
Less Cost-Effective Than Green Hydrogen: The cost of production for green hydrogen is based on the landed cost of power, which can be anywhere from $3.70 and $7.14 per kWh in a remotely located renewable energy plant.
The cost of manufacturing green hydrogen will be approximately $500 per kg at this rate, which is nearly 3.5 times the cost of producing grey hydrogen.
Therefore, the landing cost of RE from a remote source must be at least halved in order to make green hydrogen competitive with grey hydrogen.
States’ reluctance to relinquish their distribution monopolies is reflected in the hesitation of many public energy utilities. States with a lot of real estate either stop allowing RE banking or impose regulations to curtail this practise.
Gujarat only allows solar energy banking during the hours of 7am and 6pm and levies a price of 1.5 per unit for “high-tension” clientele.
Rajasthan allows for up to 25% of RE generation and settlement to be banked annually, but it also levies one of the highest fees in India: 10%.
Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh both forbid RE banking.
Additionally, most states prohibit using stored energy during periods of peak demand.
Reduced Producer Margin: The GHP does not include any waiver of ISTS losses for green hydrogen and ammonia facilities.
It also enables discoms to buy and distribute RE to manufacturers of green hydrogen/ammonia at procurement costs with a very small margin defined by the SERCs.
This margin might not offer discoms a sufficient long-term incentive to source and supply RE to green hydrogen producers.
Industries’ reluctance Industries including chemicals, fertilisers, steel, and refineries are unlikely to move to low-carbon alternatives because of the increasing costs required. These industries could be unable to change without financial incentives to reduce emissions.
Which options are available?
Duties of state governments: The implementation of the GHP plans would require strong collaboration between the relevant SERCs and the state governments (including the allocation of land in RE parks and projected manufacturing zones).
The GHP may not be very helpful to green hydrogen producers if the RE-rich states do not adopt the GHP’s banking requirements and uniform pricing.
The central government’s role is to consider removing the aforementioned surcharges for open-access RE projects and capping RE-banking fees at the amount specified in the GHP in exchange for the discoms in RE-rich states agreeing to receive concessional funding to pay their debts to electricity producers.
Demand Generation: Even if big refiners like Reliance and IOC have pledged to construct green-hydrogen production facilities, other businesses and RE developers would be hesitant to make sizable investments in the absence of demand generators.
The GHP initiatives will enhance demand in addition to expanding the supply of green hydrogen at competitive costs.
Promoting Industries: Hydrogen-purchase requirements or other demand-boosters are required to promote the growth of a green hydrogen ecosystem.
To encourage fertiliser and oil refiners to develop and use green hydrogen, the Center may consider offering subsidies based on how much of it they use as feedstock.
India would be able to achieve its goal of having net-zero emissions by 2070 thanks to this.
2 – Purchasing Manager Index:
GS III Topic Indian Economy
The S&P Global India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index indicates that, despite selling prices increasing more quickly than input costs for the first time in 2.5 years, India’s manufacturing sector saw its greatest increase in output in 13 months in December 2022. (PMI).
The seasonally adjusted PMI index for December 2022 improved to 57.8 from 55.7 in November, reflecting a significant improvement in the sector’s health—the greatest since October 2020. The PMI recorded its best score in a year, averaging 56.3 across the three months from October to December. A PMI score of 50 denotes that business activity has not changed at all.
It is a survey-based indicator that asks participants about shifts in their perceptions of key business indicators from one month to the next. It acts as a barometer for recent changes in the industrial and service sectors of the economy.
The PMI’s goal is to educate investors, analysts, and business decision-makers about the current and future business climate.
After being calculated separately for the industrial and services sectors, a composite index is also produced.
The PMI is an integer that ranges from 0 to 100.
Scores above 50 suggest expansion, while scores below 50 imply contraction.
A reading of 50 indicates no change.
If the PMI for the previous month is higher than the PMI for the current month, the economy is said to be contracting.
It usually makes its appearance at the start of each month. It is therefore recognised as a trustworthy leading indicator of economic activity.
More than 40 economies around the world have their PMIs compiled by IHS Markit.
IHS Markit is a leading global authority on data, analytics, and solutions for the crucial markets and sectors that drive economies around the world.
IHS Markit is a component of S&P Global.
Because official figures on manufacturing, industrial output, and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth are issued much later, the PMI helps people make decisions early.
It differs from the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), a different instrument for gauging economic activity.
IIP covers more industrial sectors than PMI does.
However, compared to a conventional industrial production indicator, the PMI is more dynamic.
Significance of PMI:
The PMI is one of the indicators employed globally to gauge business activity.
It provides a reliable measure of how the economy, in general, and the manufacturing sector in particular, are doing.
Along with academics, businesses, dealers, investors, and financial specialists keep a close eye on it as a trustworthy predictor of boom-and-bust cycles in the economy.
The PMI is also considered a leading indicator of economic activity because it is released at the beginning of every month.
It comes before the reported numbers for industrial production, manufacturing output, and GDP growth.
Aids to Decision-Making: The PMI is used by central banks to determine interest rates.
Along with the stock market, the bond and currency markets are also impacted by PMI releases.
Improves the Appeal of the Economy
An economy’s appeal relative to rival economies is increased by a positive PMI reading.
In response to changes in the PMI, suppliers may adjust their prices.
3 – Central Electricity Regulatory Commission:
GS II Topic Statutory and Non-Statutory Bodies
Tuesday’s announcement by the nation’s power regulator that Indian power plants that rely on imported coal should be compensated in full when required to generate electricity allowed companies to recover losses brought on by a government decision last year.
India ordered power plants using imported coal to commence production in May under an emergency clause in the Electricity Act in order to meet the nation’s high demand. The power plants, which had a total capacity of about 17 gigawatts, had ceased operation as a result of increased coal prices.
The CERC is a statutory organisation acting under Section 76 of the Electricity Act of 2003.
The following responsibilities are now within the Commission’s purview under the Electricity Act of 2003:
To regulate the prices producers that the government owns or has authority over charge.
To limit the rates generating companies, as defined in clause, that are not controlled by or under the control of the Central Government, charge.
If these power-generating companies sign a composite agreement or otherwise have a strategy for generating and trading electricity across several States.
To regulate the transfer of power among states.
To calculate the cost of interstate electricity transmission.
To provide individuals permission to carry out their interstate operations as an electrical trader and transmission licensee
Increasing the amount of information available to all parties to settle disputes about clauses involving production companies or transmission licensee.
To charge fees in order to achieve the objectives of the Act.
Defining Grid Code while taking Grid Standards into consideration.
To specify and uphold the standards of quality.
Licensees offer dependability and service continuity.
To fix the trading margin for electricity exchanged between States, if judged necessary.
Fulfil any extra duties that the Act imposes.
4 – Jallikattu:
GS I Topic Indian Culture
All eyes in Tamil Nadu are focused on the court’s five-member Constitution Bench ruling regarding a number of petitions that seek to invalidate a 2017 law protecting the bull-racing ritual of jallikattu. After the holiday break, the Supreme Court got back to work. Due to the fact that the event’s execution fell on the Pongal festival, the Bench, which put a decision on hold as of December 8, is expected to make its ruling next week.
Jallikattu is a more than 2,000-year-old tradition that honours bull owners who raise their animals for mating while also serving as a competitive sport.
If the contestants are unsuccessful in taming the bull, the bull owner receives the reward. It is a cruel game.
Sports: It is mainly popular in the Madurai, Tiruchirappalli, Theni, Pudukkottai, and Dindigul districts of Tamil Nadu, which is known as the “Jallikattu belt.”
It takes place during the second week of January, during the Tamil harvest festival of Pongal.
Importance in Tamil Culture: The farmer community uses jallikattu as a customary method of protection for their native bulls of pure ancestry.
At a time when cattle breeding is typically an artificial process, conservationists and peasants argue that Jallikattu is a way to protect these male bulls that are otherwise used only for meat, if not for ploughing.
Kangayam, Pulikulam, Umbalachery, Bargur, and Malai Maadu are a few of the well-known indigenous cow varieties used during Jallikattu. The owners of these rare breeds are revered by the community.
Jallikattu legal interventions: In 2011, the Centre added bulls to the list of animals whose training and exhibition are prohibited.
The Supreme Court banned bull-taming in 2014 in response to a petition that highlighted the 2011 warning.
Laws currently in effect regarding Jallikattu:
The state administration has declared these activities legal, which has been challenged in court.
In 2018, the Supreme Court referred the Jallikattu case to a Constitution Bench, which is now on hold.
Resolution of Conflict: Whether the Jallikattu practise of Tamil Nadu may be protected as a fundamental cultural right.
Animal rights are prohibited by Article 29 (1).
Article 29 of the Indian Constitution provides that “Any segment of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a separate language, script, or culture of its own shall have the right to keep the same” (1).
Position for Comparable Sports in Other States: A law passed in Karnataka saved the comparable sport of kambala.
Thanks to the Supreme Court’s 2014 ban ruling, bull-taming and racing are still outlawed in all other states, including Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, and Maharashtra, with the exception of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, where they are still organised.
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The Hindu Editorial Analysis
Macro Economic Data
Despite an increase in manufacturing, inflation is still a concern.
Index of Industrial Production:
It is an indicator that monitors changes in the volume of manufactured goods produced over a given time frame.
IIP is created and distributed monthly by the Central Statistical Organization (CSO), Ministry of Statistics, and Programme Implementation.
It measures the growth of the following industry groupings as a composite indicator:
Electricity, manufacturing, and mining are three major industries.
Three use-based sectors include basic products, capital goods, and intermediate goods.
The base period for IIP is from 2011 to 2012.
Eight major sectors:
Eight main industries account for 40.27% of the weight of the elements that make up the Index of Industrial Production. (IIP).
In decreasing order of weight, the following eight core sector industries are listed: Crude oil, natural gas, steel, electricity, coal, cement, and fertilisers are examples of refinery products.
Current macroeconomic data:
Preliminary figures from the government show that in November, output in the major industries—from coal to electricity—grew by an average of 5.4% year over year.
The index increased as a result of double-digit growth in the following industries: cement, coal, energy, and steel. Although six of the eight sectors had contractions, including the two heavyweight sectors of power and refinery products, which together make up roughly half of the index, the average core output remained steady sequentially.
While power output decreased 2.1% from October, refinery products dipped 3.1% sequentially.
Cement consumption is encouraging and, if it keeps increasing, could boost the expansion of the entire economy. Cement is an essential building component that cuts across the employment-intensive housing and infrastructure sectors.
The 12.3% annual and 15.1% sequential increases in coal output are also positive news because they demonstrate that there is now more fuel available to power captive power plants and furnaces in the crucial process and metal-making industries.
According to the current PMI data, the manufacturing sector’s momentum dramatically increased in December as businesses reported the largest growth in new orders since February 2021.
According to a confidential survey of purchasing managers at over 400 manufacturers, these companies’ average output growth hit a 13-month high last month. The PMI figure of 57.8 represented the industry’s strongest gain since October 2020.
– Manufacturers of goods upped their hiring to help them deal with a backlog of orders. Additionally, even though the rate of job growth was the slowest since September, employment as a whole climbed for a tenth straight month, indicating greater optimism among manufacturers.
Manufacturers reported that for the first time in almost two and a half years, selling price rises have exceeded increases in input costs, which is consistent with the PMI survey’s finding that the private sector’s overall output charge inflation has accelerated. Policymakers cannot afford to relax their standards when it comes to inflation at this moment
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The Indian Express Editorial Analysis
Ayushmaan Bharat Digital Mission
India has demonstrated its expertise in the digital sector by developing the Aadhaar digital identity system, the DPGs built on top of Aadhaar, and the Unified Payments Interface.
Aadhaar has emerged as a fundamental component of India’s governmental service delivery architecture, while UPI has revolutionised payment processes.
Our digital public infrastructure has proceeded to its last mile with the aid of 800 million internet users and 1.2 billion wireless connections.
The improvement of healthcare delivery facilities thanks to digital health systems:
India used information and communications technologies during the outbreak (ICTs).
Digital health technology proved crucial in bridging the gap as healthcare delivery systems went online to provide contactless care.
Two DPGs developed during the pandemic include the Covid Vaccine Intelligence Network (CoWIN) and the Aarogya Setu application.
As a result of CoWIN, India altered its vaccination policy to be totally digital.
Aarogya Setu provided real-time information on open cases and containment regions to help locals assess the level of risk in their neighbourhoods.
During the pandemic, telemedicine platforms had a high increase in user acquisition as 85% of doctors used teleconsultations, underscoring the need for improved integration of cutting-edge digital technology into healthcare services.
Though the pandemic’s effects on healthcare services highlighted the benefits of digital innovation and technology-enabled solutions, the public sector, corporate organisations, and players in the health technology industry have all been instrumental in the sector’s digitisation for some time.
It is now clear that the advancement of proactive, comprehensive, and citizen-centric healthcare necessitates a full digital healthcare ecosystem that integrates the various siloed initiatives currently underway.
There are several government programmes to enhance digital health:
The government has created a framework for a national digital health system and shared public goods for healthcare in response to this necessity. The state of Indian healthcare changed as a result of this.
The Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM), which was overseen by the National Health Authority, was introduced by the PM on September 27, 2021. ABDM has established a strong basis for providing equitable, affordable, and accessible healthcare through digital highways a year after its launch.
The ABDM has put in place important building blocks to unite all participants in the digital healthcare ecosystem.
All healthcare providers provide their patients with a consistent identity through the Ayushman Bharat Health Account (ABHA).
Using the ABHA and the Personal Health Record (PHR) app, citizens can link, save, and share their health records to access healthcare services freely and with their consent. With more than 300 million ABHAs and 50 million linked health records, the mission is significantly growing.
The Health Facility Registry (HFR) and the Health Professional Registries (HPR):
It provides authorised digital IDs for large and small public and private healthcare facilities as well as professionals.
As a result, clients have access to a single source of precise information about healthcare providers and can link to a significant digital ecosystem.
HFR and HPR, which also make it easier to identify healthcare facilities, allow health practitioners to more easily create an online presence and sell their services.
The goal of the Drug Registry is to provide a single, up-to-date, central repository of all licenced pharmaceuticals across all medical systems.
The Unified Health Interface is a further DPG that will soon be available (UHI).
It aims to advance the healthcare sector by enabling all healthcare service providers and end-user applications to communicate with one another across its network.
This will make it easier to locate services, schedule appointments, use teleconsultations, access ambulances, and other services.
Because it is based on open network protocols, the UHI can address the problem of different digital solutions being unable to connect with one another.
Taking advantage of the advantages of the existing digital health platforms in use:
Aarogya Setu and CoWIN are being repurposed by the government to provide UHI the necessary push. From Aarogya Setu, a programme for overall health and wellness is being developed.
CoWIN will also be connected to a minimal Hospital Management Information System (HMIS) for small clinics in order to spread digitization.
Another application of ABDM is Scan and Share, which employs a token system based on QR codes to regulate line management at hospital counters. The fundamental elements of ABHA and PHR are used to expedite the outpatient registration procedure at large hospitals.
The ABDM has been promoted for state adoption by the National Health Authority since it has proven to be a valuable tool.
By laying the foundation for a durable digital public health infrastructure, it hopes to advance the G20 concept of “One Earth. One Family. One Future” and help India achieve universal healthcare.
The deployment of digital technologies is followed by the process of digitising and automating the insurance claim settlement process through the Health Claim Exchange platform.
By making claim-related information verifiable, auditable, traceable, and interoperable among various institutions, claim processing would be made economical, transparent, and done in real time.
The government also plans to expand Heal by India’s digital healthcare initiatives, making Indian healthcare providers’ services available to the rest of the world.
Additionally, a technology is being developed to automate and improve the delivery of dead donor organ and tissue contributions.
The Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission, or ABDM:
It aims to develop the infrastructure needed to support the country’s integrated digital health infrastructure. It would reduce the distance between the various healthcare ecosystem stakeholders through digital highways.
In order to support universal health coverage in an efficient, affordable, accessible, inclusive, timely, and safe manner, as well as to provide a variety of data, information, and infrastructure services, as well as to effectively utilise open, interoperable, standards-based digital systems and ensure the security, confidentiality, and privacy of health-related personal information, a national digital health ecosystem is being developed.
Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission components
Only with the requisite authorization may new medical records be created and only then can they be given to the right person or seen by a health information user.
Before issuing the UHID, the system must collect certain basic data, like demographics, location, family/relationship, and contact details. The important thing is being able to quickly update contact details.
Individuals will be uniquely identified, authenticated, and connected to their health records across numerous systems and stakeholders using the ABHA (Ayushman Bharat Health Account) Number (but only with the patient’s informed consent).
ABHA mobile application (PHR):
In accordance with nationally recognised interoperability standards, a personal health record (PHR) is an electronic record of a person’s health-related information that is managed, shared, and controlled by the person.
The fact that the PHR puts the user in control of the information it holds, distinguishing it from the EMR and EHR, is its most salient feature.
Health Facility Register (HFR):
This comprehensive database lists all of the nation’s medical facilities from different medical systems. It includes both public and private healthcare establishments, including pharmacies, clinics, hospitals, diagnostic centres, and imaging facilities.
By registering with the Health Facility Registry, they can establish a connection to India’s digital health ecosystem.
A complete record of all healthcare professionals working in both traditional and contemporary medical systems is kept in the Healthcare Professionals Registry (HPR). By registering for the Healthcare Professionals Registry, they will be able to link to India’s digital health ecosystem.
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