News & Editorial Analysis 6 January 2023
The Hindu News Analysis
1 – Public Premises Amendment Bill:
GS II Topic Government Policies and Interventions
The Indian Railways and the local administration were given a week to remove thousands of low-income persons who were living on railway property in the Haldwani area after the Uttarakhand High Court issued an order on December 20. The Supreme Court stayed that directive on December 25.
Some of these inhabitants have resided on the property for 50 to 70 years, and it is not reasonable to want them to leave within a week, according to a bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and A.S. Oka.
The bill modifies the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorized Occupants) Act of 1971. The Act permits the eviction of unauthorised occupants from public venues in certain situations.
Notification of eviction: The Bill contains a provision defining the procedure for leaving a residential property. A central government estate officer is required to give someone an official notice if they are occupying a residential property without permission. From the date of notification, the person has three working days to give justification for why an eviction order shouldn’t be issued against him. The written notification needs to be attached to the hotel in a certain fashion to a visible spot.
Directive for eviction:
After considering the cause presented and performing any extra research, the estate officer will issue an eviction order. If the person disobeys the order, the estate officer may evict them from the residence and seize their custody of it. The estate officer is also authorised to use any necessary force in this situation.
Payment of damages: The individual occupying the residential property without permission will be required to pay damages for each month of such possession if he challenges the estate officer’s decision to evict him in court.
The modifications will make it simpler to swiftly and smoothly evict unauthorised occupants from public housing, and those vacant apartments will be prepared for distribution to qualified people once their place on the waiting list has become available.
The wait time for using the residential accommodation service will be shorter as a result.
The PPE Act, 1971 mandates that the Government of India expel unauthorised tenants from Government properties. But because the eviction proceedings take an exceptionally long time, fewer new residents can get government housing.
The PPE Amendment Bill, 2015, which updated the PPE Act, 1971, said that the eviction procedure normally takes 5 to 7 weeks to complete. However, it can take months or even years to evict unauthorised tenants.
2 – Green Hydrogen:
GS II Topic Environmental Conservation
The National Green Hydrogen Mission, which would invest 19,744 crores and make India a “global hub” for utilising, producing, and exporting green hydrogen, was approved by the Union Cabinet on Wednesday.
Ammonia, a crucial fertiliser, steel, refineries, and power may all be produced using hydrogen, a crucial industrial fuel. But the only hydrogen created at this time is the so-called “black or brown” hydrogen made from coal.
One of the most prevalent substances on earth, hydrogen makes for a more environmentally friendly alternative fuel.
The type of hydrogen depends on how it is created: green hydrogen, which has a lower carbon footprint, is created by electrolyzing water with renewable energy sources (such solar and wind).
Water is split into hydrogen and oxygen by electricity.
Water and water vapour are byproducts.
When brown hydrogen is created from coal, airborne pollutants are discharged.
Natural gas is used to make grey hydrogen, and the resulting emissions are released into the atmosphere.
Natural gas is used to create blue hydrogen, and carbon capture and storage is used to reduce emissions.
Uses: Hydrogen can transport or store a significant amount of energy and is not an energy source.
It can be utilised in fuel cells to produce power and heat as well as electricity.
The two industries where hydrogen is currently most widely employed are fertiliser manufacturing and petroleum refining, with the developing markets of utilities and transportation.
Energy from hydrogen and fuel cells can be used in many different applications, such as portable power, backup power, distributed or combined heat and power systems, and systems for storing and enabling renewable energy.
Hydrogen and fuel cells have the potential to minimise greenhouse gas emissions in many applications due to their high efficiency and emissions-free (or almost emission-free) operation.
Worldwide Situation Right Now:
Green hydrogen is created in very small amounts—less than 1%.
By 2050, the capacity of electrolysers, which is currently 0.3 gigawatts, would need to have increased to over 5,000 gigawatts at an unparalleled rate.
Indian Case Study:
Hydrogen consumption: India uses roughly six million tonnes of hydrogen annually to produce ammonia and methanol for use in fertilisers and refineries, among other industrial applications.
By 2050, this might rise to 28 million tonnes, primarily as a result of increased industry demand but also as a result of the growth of the transport and power sectors.
Cost of Green Hydrogen: By 2030, it’s anticipated that the price of green hydrogen will be comparable to that of hydrocarbon fuels (coal, Crude Oil, natural gas).
As production and sales rise, the price will decline even further. In addition, it is predicted that by 2050, India’s need for hydrogen will have increased fivefold, with 80% of that demand being green.
India will become a net exporter of green hydrogen by 2030 as a result of its affordable renewable energy tariffs.
Green hydrogen’s advantages for India:
India’s move to sustainable energy and fight against climate change can be fueled by green hydrogen.
In accordance with the Paris Climate Agreement, India committed to reducing its economy’s carbon intensity by 33–55% from 2005 levels by 2030.
It will lessen reliance on fossil fuel imports.
The localization of electrolyser production and the growth of green hydrogen projects have the potential to generate thousands of employment as well as a new market for green technologies in India worth $18–20 billion.
India has the potential to produce green hydrogen due to its favourable geographic location, an abundance of sunlight, and strong winds.
In industries where direct electrification is not practical, green hydrogen technologies are being encouraged.
Some of these industries are heavy-duty, long-distance transport, certain industrial ones, and long-term storage in the power industry.
To create a national hydrogen ecosystem, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has distributed a draught cabinet note.
Due to the industry’s infancy, it is possible to establish regional hubs that export high-end green products as well as engineering, procurement, and construction services.
Economic Sustainability: The industry’s main obstacle to using hydrogen for commercial purposes is how to extract green hydrogen in a way that is economically viable.
Hydrogen must be cost-competitive with traditional fuels and technology for transportation fuel cells on a per-mile basis.
High costs and inadequate infrastructure support:
Fuel cells, which turn hydrogen fuel into a form of useful energy for automobiles, are still pricy.
The infrastructure for hydrogen refuelling stations necessary for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles is still in dire need of development.
Steps to Take:
Set a national goal for the capacity of green electrolysers and hydrogen: To develop a thriving export sector for hydrogen goods in India, such as green steel, a phased production schedule should be implemented (commercial hydrogen steel plant).
Implement complementary strategies that promote virtuous cycles. For instance, airports can instal hydrogen infrastructure for refuelling, heating, and energy production.
Decentralized Production: Open access to renewable energy to an electrolyser is necessary to support decentralised hydrogen production (which splits water to form H2 and O2 using electricity).
Finance: To improve the technology for usage in India, policymakers must support investments in early-stage piloting and the research and development necessary.
3 – Auli Ropeway:
GS I Topic Places in News
The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Tapovan Vishnugad hydropower project and all other construction projects in the region, including the Helang bypass road, have been ordered to stop by the district administration after Joshimath town residents reported an increase in landslides and the development of cracks in hundreds of their homes. The Auli ropeway, one of Asia’s longest, has likewise ceased operations.
The Auli Ropeway is the town’s biggest draw and provides amazing vistas of the Himalayas. The Auli cable car, which travels a distance of 4 km, is Asia’s tallest and longest ropeway after Gulmarg.
The Auli cable car, commonly referred to locally as the Gondola, connects Auli and Joshimath. The most well-liked skiing and paragliding location in India is Auli, which is 3010 metres above sea level.
4 – Rental Housing Scheme:
GS II Topic Government Policies and Interventions
The number of the 66 proposals that were filed as part of the Affordable Rental Housing Scheme, which was created for the urban poor, notably migrant workers, during the COVID-19 epidemic, has been requested by a parliamentary panel.
According to information supplied to Parliament by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, 66 bids from public and private organisations have been received for the building of 1,02,019 units in 18 States and Union Territories. The relevant urban local council is now reviewing these ideas while they wait for the required permissions.
The Affordable Rental Housing Complexes Scheme (AHRC) is a sub-scheme of the PM Awas Yojana – Urban.
The Union Cabinet gave its approval before it was launched on July 31, 2020.
According to the concept, existing, vacant government-funded housing complexes would be converted into ARHCs via concession agreements with a 25-year lifespan.
The concessionaire will make the complexes habitable by repairing, modernising, and maintaining the rooms as well as filling any essential infrastructure gaps in the areas of water, sewer, septage, sanitation, and roadways.
The concessionaire will be chosen by the states and UTs in an open competition.
Complexes will return to ULB after 25 years in order to restart the cycle or operate on their own.
Special incentives will be provided to private and public businesses, such as a 50% increase in the number of FAR/FSI (floor area ratio and floor space index) licences, a concessional loan with a priority sector lending rate, a tax break comparable to that for affordable housing, etc.
Rs 600 crore will be given out as part of the initiative for construction projects using cutting-edge technology.
The intended beneficiaries are workers in manufacturing, service providers in the hotel, healthcare, domestic, and commercial sectors, labourers, and students relocating from rural areas or small towns to cities.
The ARHC scheme will be implemented using two models:
utilising abandoned homes that the government has already funded and turning them into ARHCs through public-private partnerships or public entities
Public and private organisations creating, managing, and sustaining ARHCs on their own undeveloped land
The aims of the ARHC are:
Through creating a sustainable ecosystem of affordable rental housing options for urban migrants and the impoverished, to significantly advance the “AtmaNirbhar Bharat Abhiyan” goal.
To achieve the main objective of “Homes for All,” which calls for the provision of affordable rental housing for urban migrants and the less fortunate.
It will also aid in creating a favourable environment to attract both public and private organisations to make investments in rental housing.
Participants in the programme:
The workforce in manufacturing industries, service providers in the hospitality, health, domestic/commercial establishments, and construction or other sectors, labourers, students, etc. who migrate from rural areas or small towns in search of better opportunities are among the target beneficiaries under ARHCs.
Benefits of AHRCs:
Most of these migrants live in slums, illegal colonies, or peri-urban areas to avoid paying rent.
In an effort to save money, they put their lives in danger by riding or walking to work and spending a lot of time on the roads.
By providing affordable housing in close proximity to centres of employment in urban areas, ARHCs will create a new atmosphere.
Investments made under ARHCs are expected to lead to new employment opportunities.
Utilizing ARHCs will cut down on pointless travel, traffic, and pollution.
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The Hindu Editorial Analysis
The Value Of Local Self Governance
When discussing federalism, it is important to go into deeper detail about power distribution difficulties at the federal, state, and local levels.
In December 1992, Parliament enacted the 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments, which created panchayats and municipalities, respectively.
With these changes, each region had to have a municipality (in the form of municipal corporations, municipal councils, and nagar panchayats), as well as panchayats (at the village, block, and district levels).
They sought to create a third level of governance within the federal framework by delegating duties, funds, and staff to local governments.
Basis for local self-government in theory:
The idea of subsidiarity is linked to local self-governance, which is typically defended by two basic arguments.
First, because smaller governments are better able to cater their service offerings to the requirements of their residents, it enables the efficient provision of public goods.
Second, it promotes a stronger democracy by making it easier for citizens to participate in governmental matters.
These principles may also serve as the inspiration for India’s decentralisation strategy.
States are required by the 73rd and 74th amendments to grant municipalities and panchayats the power “to operate as institutions of self-government,” including the ability to establish and implement plans and programmes for social and economic development.
The 73rd and 74th Amendments’ criteria are as follows:
They also set up participatory forums like ward committees in municipal corporations and gramme sabhas in panchayats, hold regular local elections, and reserve seats for women, people of colour, and those who belong to scheduled castes and tribes.
Thus, the fundamental principles that the changes want to instil are increasing local democracy and delegating tasks to meet the objectives of economic development and social justice.
Despite the constitution’s guarantee of local self-governance, local governments—particularly municipalities—have little autonomy and authority.
The Patna High Court recently ruled:
The Patna High Court’s decision that parts of the Bihar Municipal (Amendment) Act, 2021 are unconstitutional is groundbreaking in this regard.
Instead of the Empowered Standing Committee of the municipality, which had this ability before to the 2021 amendment, the Directorate of Municipal Administration, which is controlled by the State government, now has the authority to designate Grade C and D workers for municipalities.
According to the court, recentralizing power and eroding self-governance are “incompatible with the idea, intent, and design of the constitutional amendment.”
This decision is special because it evaluated state municipal laws against the letter and spirit of the 74th Amendment and has the potential to alter the place of local governments in India’s federal structure.
Federalism is once again emphasised as India’s politics, business, and culture all become more centralised. However, this assertion of State rights hardly counts as a normative claim based on values.
Many of the theoretical grounds for federalism also promote local self-government, according to our analysis of them.
Since local governments form an essential component of the federal framework of the Constitution, both normatively and structurally, arguments on federalism should cover more ground regarding how power should be allocated and shared among the Union, States, and local governments.
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The Indian Express Editorial Analysis
Net Zero Carbon Emission
India ranks third in the world for emissions despite having very low per-person emissions (1.8 tonnes of CO2e).
India claims to have zero emissions by 2070. This objective can only be reached with quick action during this decade, maybe assisted by India’s recent takeover of the G20 leadership.
And achieving net-zero might benefit India by bringing down energy prices, enhancing energy security, and encouraging the growth of innovative businesses.
Current Indian Situation:
If things keep going as they are, India’s emissions would rise from 2.9 GtCO2e yearly to 11.8 GtCO2e in 2070.
According to a recent McKinsey report, India will need to invest $7.2 trillion in green initiatives in order to successfully decarbonize to 1.9 GtCO2e by 2070.
This “line of sight” (LoS) scenario is based on previously stated restrictions and predicted technological adoption.
Investments in technology connected to decarbonization that will help lower GHG emissions:
According to a “accelerated scenario” that would reduce emissions to just 0.4 GtCO2e by that year, or practically net zero, further decarbonization would require $12 trillion in overall green expenditures by 2050.
India could produce 287 gigatonnes (GT) of carbon space for the planet, or roughly half of the global carbon budget, in order to have an equal chance of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Decarbonization will have a significant impact on a variety of things, including how we produce materials, grow food, travel, dispose of rubbish, and use land.
India might lessen its carbon footprint and develop a growth engine that transitions smoothly to net zero.
For instance, if India shifted to an energy and material system that depends predominantly on renewable (and hydrogen) sources, it might save $3 trillion in foreign currency by 2070. (largely crude oil and coking coal). The vast majority of the abatement programmes are profitable despite the extent of the investment.
This is explained by the peculiar geographic location of India. Till 2050, India won’t have completed all of its structures, infrastructure, and industrial capacity. Either we can make investments in the technologies of today, or we can consider the future.
India will need to move swiftly this decade in the areas of regulation, technology development, and technology adoption if it is to make the right investments.
India has already carried out similar actions. The effective legislation, strong institutions, and industrial skills developed in the preceding 10 years have given India the basis to grow four to five times in this decade in terms of renewable energy.
Moving toward decarbonization requires the following actions:
Describe the nation’s intentions for decarbonization during the following ten, five, and twenty-five years:
If we don’t set up and support such a policy, more fossil fuel-driven infrastructure will be created, tying India to higher emissions for decades.
Without decarbonization strategies, it’s likely that companies won’t invest enough in increasing capacity out of concern that they’ll fall behind later. This would lead to shortages, inflation, and a higher reliance on imports, or, to put it another way, a chaotic transition.
The overall cost could occasionally be higher because being green requires a larger initial investment. However, if legislation is in place to support carbon prices or blend standards, the economics may be feasible.
Collaboration between the steel, hydrogen, and electricity industries is required in order to uphold such policies.
Investment decisions might be made quickly with the aid of a national decarbonization strategy.
Second, a national land use plan:
India stands the risk of running out of land to achieve its dual goals of growth and decarbonization
Forests and renewable energy, for instance, need an additional 18 million hectares of land, according to McKinsey.
In order to produce more renewable energy, India would need to enhance the density of its forests, urbanise vertically, increase agricultural productivity, and make the most of its underutilised land.
This strengthens the case for setting up a central agency to draught land-use legislation with the states.
Third, hasten compliance with rules governing the carbon market:
Pricing carbon creates demand signals that speed up the reduction of emissions, especially in sectors where doing so is challenging.
Let’s utilise steel as an example, whose demand is anticipated to more than eightfold by the year 2070. Right now, it seems likely that a sizable amount of the extra capacity will be installed using high-emission coal.
More expensive green steel can compete with steel with high emissions when carbon emissions are priced.
Investing funds in domains of technology that are only emerging:
Businesses might strive to get an advantage by investing in prospects including recycling, hydrogen, biomass, electrolysers, rare earths, battery components, and battery production.
Some of these opportunities would take time to materialise. In the interim, businesses might make investments in the chances brought about by the decarbonization of other countries, including exporting green hydrogen derivatives like ammonia.
India must therefore use innovation, realism, drive, and a sense of urgency to start down the path to net zero in a planned manner. In order to set the basis, build momentum, and properly build India for future generations, we must act during this decade.
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