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Daily Current Affairs

6-April -2024- Top News of the Day

1. India abstains from UNHRC vote that called upon Israel for immediate ceasefire in Gaza

Topic: GS2 – International relations, GS2 – Important International institutions, agencies and fora – their structure, mandate.

This topic is significant for UPSC as it highlights India’s stance on UNHRC resolutions and its foreign policy approach.

Context
●  This news discusses India’s abstention on a UNHRC resolution calling for a Gaza ceasefire, citing past votes and concerns about Hamas condemnation.

 Additional information on this news:

  • India abstained from a UNHRC resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and an arms embargo on Israel.
  • The resolution was introduced by Pakistan on behalf of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation.
  • India’s abstention is believed to be consistent with its past votes on resolutions lacking condemnation for Hamas.
  • It voted in favour of three other resolutions criticising Israel’s actions against Palestinians and supporting Palestinian rights.
  • The Ministry of External Affairs did not provide a specific explanation for India’s abstention.
  • The US, Germany, and four other countries voted against the resolution, while India was among 13 countries that abstained.
  • Bangladesh, China, Maldives, UAE, Indonesia, and others voted in favour of the resolution.
  • India supported resolutions on Palestinian self-determination, human rights in the Syrian Golan, and Israeli settlements.
 More about The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC):

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is a body within the United Nations system responsible for promoting and protecting human rights worldwide.

It was established in 2006 to replace the UN Commission on Human Rights, aiming to address its shortcomings and enhance effectiveness.

● The UNHRC consists of 47 member states elected by the UN General Assembly for three-year terms.It meets regularly in Geneva to discuss human rights issues, review country-specific situations, and adopt resolutions.

● The Council’s work includes conducting investigations, monitoring human rights violations, and providing technical assistance to countries.

UNHRC resolutions are non-binding but carry significant moral and political weight, influencing international discourse and actions.

The Council addresses a wide range of human rights issues, including civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights.

●  It has established special procedures, such as rapporteurs and working groups, to address specific human rights concerns in different countries.

●Despite criticisms and challenges, the UNHRC remains a key mechanism for promoting human rights and holding states accountable for their obligations under international law.

PYQ: With reference to the “United Nations Credentials Committee”, consider the following statements:

1.     It is a committee set up by the UN Security Council and works under its supervision.

2.     It traditionally meets in March, June and September every year.

3.     It assesses the credentials of all UN members before submitting a report to the General Assembly for approval.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a) 3 only

b) 1 and 3

c) 2 and 3

d) 1 and 2

Answer: Option A

Practice Question:  Discuss India’s abstention on the UNHRC resolution regarding the Gaza ceasefire, emphasizing its foreign policy considerations. (150 Words /10 marks)

2. RBI keeps repo rate on hold as food prices remain high

Topic: GS2 – Indian Economy

This topic is crucial for UPSC as it pertains to India’s monetary policy, inflation management, and economic stability.

Context
●  This news highlights the Reserve Bank of India’s concern over food price spikes despite moderated overall inflation, leading to the decision to maintain the policy repo rate.

 Additional information on this news:

  • Despite moderated overall inflation, food prices remain a concern for the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
  • The RBI’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) kept the policy repo rate unchanged at 6.50% for the seventh consecutive time.
  • RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das emphasized the MPC’s focus on aligning inflation with the target on a durable basis.
  • The MPC aims to withdraw accommodation gradually while supporting growth.
  • Das mentioned uncertainties in food prices affecting the inflation trajectory, but highlighted record rabi wheat production as a mitigating factor.
  • He also mentioned the positive outlook due to early indications of a normal monsoon for the kharif season.
  • Growth-inflation dynamics have played out favourably since the last policy, contributing to the MPC’s decision to maintain the status quo.
 More about Monetary Policy Committee and Repo Rate:

Monetary Policy Committee (MPC):

● The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is a statutory body mandated to set the policy interest rate, also known as the repo rate, in India.

● It was established in 2016 under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, to bring transparency and accountability to monetary policy decisions.

●The MPC consists of six members, with three members appointed by the Government of India and three by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

The RBI Governor serves as the ex-officio Chairperson of the MPC, and the Deputy Governor of RBI is a member.

●The MPC is responsible for maintaining price stability and ensuring economic growth through its monetary policy decisions.

What is Repo Rate?

● The repo rate is the rate at which the RBI lends money to commercial banks for a short term, typically up to 14 days.

●  Changes in the repo rate influence interest rates in the economy, impacting borrowing and lending activities.

● A higher repo rate discourages borrowing and spending, curbing inflation but potentially slowing economic growth.

● Conversely, a lower repo rate encourages borrowing and spending, stimulating economic activity but risking inflationary pressures.

●The MPC conducts periodic meetings to review economic indicators and decide on changes to the repo rate based on inflationary trends, economic growth forecasts, and other macroeconomic factors.

● The MPC’s decisions on the repo rate play a crucial role in shaping India’s monetary policy framework and influencing overall economic conditions.

PYQ:

1. With reference to Indian economy, consider the following: (2015)

1.     Bank rate

2.     Open market operations

3.     Public debt

4.     Public revenue

Which of the above is/are component/ components of Monetary Policy?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2, 3 and 4
(c) 1 and 2
(d) 1, 3 and 4

Ans: Option C

2. Which of the following statements is/are correct regarding the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC)? (2017)

1.     It decides the RBI’s benchmark interest rates.

2.     It is a 12-member body including the Governor of RBI and is reconstituted every year.

3.     It functions under the chairmanship of the Union Finance Minister.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 only
(b) 1 and 2 only
(c) 3 only
(d) 2 and 3 only

Ans: Option A

 

3. If the RBI decides to adopt an expansionist monetary policy, which of the following would it not do? (2020)

1.     Cut and optimise the Statutory Liquidity Ratio

2.     Increase the Marginal Standing Facility Rate

3.     Cut the Bank Rate and Repo Rate

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans: Option B

Practice Question:  Discuss the Reserve Bank of India’s approach to managing inflation amidst food price spikes, emphasising its monetary policy decisions. (250 Words /15 marks)

3. Fighting forest fires with a plan and community cooperation

Topic: GS3 – Environment – Environmental pollution and degradation

Understanding Kerala’s forest fire management aids in assessing disaster preparedness and community involvement, crucial for environmental governance.

Context
●       This news highlights Kerala’s forest fire preparedness, volunteer efforts, and eco-restoration initiatives amid declining fire incidents and increased community involvement.

 

Forest Fire Preparedness in Kerala:

  • A volunteer group responded to a wildfire call in the Vellikulangara Forest Range, reflecting the state’s preparedness for forest fire emergencies.
  • Kerala, compared to other states, faces fewer forest fires but remains vulnerable due to rising temperatures, reaching 40-41 degrees Celsius.
  • Since January, Kerala reported 163 wildfire incidents, burning 230 hectares of forest, showing a decrease from previous years.
  • Global Forest Watch data indicates 97 VIIRS fire alerts in Kerala between March 15 and 22, with only 5.2% being high-confidence alerts, emphasising the need for continuous vigilance.
  • Preparedness measures, including biomass removal, creation of fire-lines, and engagement of fire watchers, are essential despite limited funds allocated.

Firefighting Strategies:

  • Forest staff employs various strategies such as controlled burning, creation of fire-lines, and counter-fires to combat wildfires effectively.
  • Utilization of drone surveillance and satellite-based fire alert systems aids in early detection and monitoring of forest fires, enhancing response efficiency.
  • Groundfires, common in Kerala, primarily burn grass, dry leaves, and undergrowth, posing a risk to reptiles like snakes while larger animals can escape.
  • Notable incidents, such as the 2017 fire at Parambikulam Tiger Reserve, highlight the challenges posed by bamboo clumps’ gregarious flowering, leading to crown fires.
  • Awareness campaigns among farmers have helped reduce incidents caused by burning grasslands for cattle grazing and agricultural purposes.

Community Involvement and Recognition:

  • Volunteer groups receive recognition for their conservation efforts and active participation in firefighting and eco-restoration drives, showcasing the importance of community engagement.
  • Groups consist of individuals trained in disaster management and basic life support, focusing on prevention and mitigation of forest fires.
  • Collaboration between forest authorities and local communities enhances awareness and ensures timely interventions during festivals and dry seasons.
  • Eco-restoration efforts, including dispersing seed balls of various tree species, contribute to forest regeneration and biodiversity conservation.

Challenges and Solutions:

  • Challenges include tough terrains, limited resources, and increased fire incidents during peak seasons, necessitating proactive measures and continuous monitoring.
  • Solutions involve vigilant monitoring, proactive measures, and community engagement to mitigate fire risks and promote sustainable forest management.
  • Continuous efforts are essential to safeguard Kerala’s forests and biodiversity against the threat of wildfires and ensure long-term ecological resilience.
 Mitigation of forest fires:

● Forest fires are a significant environmental concern globally, causing loss of biodiversity, habitat destruction, and air pollution.

● Mitigation strategies involve prevention, early detection, and suppression techniques.

● Prevention methods include controlled burns, firebreaks, and reducing human activities like smoking and campfires.

● Early detection relies on advanced monitoring systems such as satellites, drones, and ground-based sensors.

● Rapid response teams equipped with firefighting equipment are crucial for suppressing fires once detected.

Community involvement through education, training, and awareness campaigns enhances prevention and response efforts.

Sustainable forest management practices, including prescribed burning and forest thinning, can reduce fuel loads and minimize fire intensity.

● International cooperation and sharing of resources are vital for combating large-scale forest fires that transcend national borders.

Research and innovation in fire-resistant materials, firefighting technologies, and predictive modeling contribute to effective fire management.

● Climate change exacerbates fire risk, emphasizing the need for adaptive strategies and resilient ecosystems to mitigate the impacts of forest fires.

PYQ: Examine the status of forest resources of India and its resultant impact on climate change. (250 words/15m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-1 2020)
Practice Question:  Discuss the significance of community-based initiatives in mitigating forest fires and promoting ecological resilience in Kerala. (250 Words /15 marks)

4. Maharashtra State Commission Report Reveals Alarming Rise in Girl Child Marriage Rate and Declining Representation of Marathas in Government Services

Topic: GS2 – Social Justice –

This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains as the report sheds light on various social issues prevalent in the Maratha community, such as girl child marriage, manual labor involvement, poverty, and caste-related discrimination.

 

Context:
  • The Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission (MSBCC), under Justice Sunil B Shukre, has highlighted the inadequacies faced by the Maratha community, particularly concerning girl child marriage rates and women’s involvement in manual labor.
  • The report reveals a stark increase in the girl child marriage rate within the Maratha community, soaring from 0.32 percent to a concerning 13.7 percent over the last six years.
  • Additionally, it underscores that 43.76 percent of Maratha women are engaged in manual labor for their livelihood, indicating a significant portion of the community grappling with economic challenges.
More about the news:

Declining Representation in Government Services:

  • The MSBCC report, forming part of an affidavit filed in response to challenges against the 10 percent reservation granted to Marathas under the Socially and Educationally Backward Class (SEBC) category, sheds light on the diminishing representation of Marathas in government services.
  • The representation has dwindled from 14.63 percent in 2018 to a mere 9 percent in 2024, signifying a concerning trend of decreasing opportunities for the community in public service sectors.

Challenges to SEBC Act and Commission Findings:

  • The SEBC Act, 2024, based on the recommendations of the Shukre Commission, faces legal challenges, with the Bombay High Court likely to hear the case on April 10.
  • The commission’s findings reveal a significant disparity in various aspects affecting the Maratha community, ranging from educational opportunities to socio-economic conditions.

Worsening Socio-Economic Conditions and Superstitious Practices:

  • The Shukre Commission report outlines worsening socio-economic conditions among the Marathas, with a rise in poverty levels, landlessness, and inferiority perceptions related to caste.
  • There is a concerning trend of increasing superstitious beliefs, with a substantial portion of Maratha households practicing such beliefs.
  • The report also highlights the persistence of occupational stigma and caste-related inferiority among the community.

Conclusion:

  • The MSBCC report underscores the myriad challenges faced by the Maratha community, from socio-economic disparities to educational shortcomings and discriminatory practices.
  • It calls for comprehensive measures to address these issues and ensure equitable opportunities and rights for the Marathas, emphasizing the urgency of addressing the root causes of their marginalization and socio-economic vulnerabilities.
What Are the Key Facts About the Maratha Community in India?

 

  • Legacy of Warriors and Rulers: The Marathas are a prominent community in India, primarily found in the state of Maharashtra. Historically, they were warriors and rulers in the region, known for their military prowess and leadership under the Maratha Empire, which was established in the 17th century by Shivaji Maharaj.
  • Social Structure: Over time, the Marathas diversified into various professions, including agriculture, trade, and politics. While the top layer of the Marathas—with surnames like Deshmukh, Bhonsle, More, Shirke, Jadhav—are the Kshatriyas (warriors), the rest belong to a predominantly agrarian sub-caste called Kunbi.
  • Influence Beyond Maharashtra: The Gaekwad dynasty which ruled the Baroda princely state, and the Scindias, and Bhonsles of Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu, are examples of powerful Maratha dynasties that have settled outside Maharashtra.

 

 

Practice Question:  Discuss the socio-economic challenges faced by the Maratha community in Maharashtra as highlighted in the findings of the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission. Critically evaluate the implications of these findings on affirmative action policies and the need for inclusive development in India. (250 words/15 m)

5. Supreme Court Stays Allahabad High Court's Ruling on Madrasa Education Act

Topic: GS2 – Governance – Government policies – Interventions for development in various sectors

This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains as the article delves into constitutional principles, legal interpretations, and the interplay between state regulations and religious freedoms.

 

Context:

  • The Supreme Court’s recent stay on the Allahabad High Court’s order, which declared the Uttar Pradesh Board of Madarsa Education Act, 2004, unconstitutional, has sparked a significant legal debate.
  • This move underscores the complexity of balancing constitutional principles, such as secularism and fundamental rights, with the regulatory framework governing religious educational institutions.
  • The implications of this decision resonate not only in the realm of legal interpretation but also in the broader context of educational governance and social justice.
More about the news:

Challenges to the High Court’s Decision:

  • The Supreme Court’s stay on the High Court order reflects its recognition of the potential repercussions on the educational landscape of Uttar Pradesh.
  • By emphasizing the need for a thorough examination of the issues raised in the petitions, the apex court underscores the importance of preserving the continuity of education for approximately 17 lakh students enrolled in madrasas across the state.

Interpretation of Constitutional Provisions:

  • The bench’s analysis of the provisions of the Act highlights a nuanced understanding of constitutional principles.
  • It refutes the High Court’s assertion that the establishment of the Board violates secularism, asserting that the regulatory framework does not inherently promote religious instruction using state funds.
  • By invoking Article 28(1) of the Constitution, the bench elucidates the distinction between religious instruction and the provision of quality education in state-funded institutions.

Policy Implications and Governance Challenges:

  • The Supreme Court’s intervention raises pertinent questions about the state’s role in ensuring the quality and inclusivity of education across diverse educational institutions.
  • While acknowledging the state’s legitimate interest in regulating educational standards, the bench underscores the need for nuanced policymaking that safeguards both secular principles and students’ right to quality education.

Balancing Religious Freedoms and State Interests:

  • The legal discourse surrounding the case delves into the delicate balance between religious freedoms and state intervention in educational matters.
  • The Attorney General’s assertion that state aid should not lead to the entanglement of religion underscores the nuanced approach required in delineating the boundaries of state intervention in religious educational institutions.

Conclusion:

  • The Supreme Court’s stay on the Allahabad High Court’s order navigates complex legal terrain, reflecting the need for a balanced approach to educational governance.
  • As the case progresses, it presents an opportunity to address broader issues of social justice, educational equity, and constitutional interpretation.
  • Ultimately, the outcome of this legal battle will shape the contours of educational policy and governance in India, underscoring the imperative of upholding constitutional principles while fostering inclusive and quality education for all.

What is the Uttar Pradesh Board of Madarsa Education Act, 2004?

 

  • Overview of the Act:
  • The Act aimed to regulate and govern the functioning of madrasas (Islamic educational institutions) in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
  • It provided a framework for the establishment, recognition, curriculum, and administration of madrasas across Uttar Pradesh.
  • Under this Act, the Uttar Pradesh Board of Madarsa Education was established to oversee and supervise the activities of madrasas in the state.
  • Concerns Regarding the Act:
  • Constitutional Violation:
  • The act has been deemed unconstitutional by the Allahabad HC, as it promotes education segregated along religious lines, contradicting the principle of secularism enshrined in the Indian Constitution and fundamental rights.
  • The Act’s provisions were criticised for failing to ensure quality compulsory education up to the age of 14 years, as mandated by Article 21 A of the Constitution.
  • Concerns were raised regarding the exclusion of madrasas from the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009 potentially depriving students of universal and quality school education.
  • Limited Curriculum:
  • Upon examination of madrasa syllabi, the court noted a curriculum heavily focused on Islamic studies, with limited emphasis on modern subjects.
  • Students were required to study Islam and its doctrines to progress, with modern subjects often included as optional or offered minimally.
  • Conflict with Higher Education Standards:
  • The Act was deemed to conflict with Section 22 of the University Grants Commission (UGC) Act, 1956, raising questions about its compatibility with higher education standards.
  • High Court Ruling:
  • The Allahabad HC declared the Uttar Pradesh Board of Madarsa Education Act, 2004 unconstitutional due to violations of secular principles and fundamental rights.
  • It directed the state government to accommodate madrasa students in recognised regular schools and raised concerns about the limited curriculum focused on Islamic studies.
  • The ruling highlighted potential adverse effects on students’ access to quality education and prompted legal arguments regarding constitutional violations.

 

 

PYQ: Which of the following provisions of the Constitution does India have a bearing on Education? (2012)

1) Directive Principles of State Policy

2) Rural and Urban Local Bodies

3) Fifth Schedule

4) Sixth Schedule

5) Seventh Schedule

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 3, 4 and 5 only

(c) 1, 2 and 5 only

(d) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Ans- (d)

Practice Question:  Discuss the recent Supreme Court decision to stay the Allahabad High Court order declaring the Uttar Pradesh Board of Madarsa Education Act, 2004, unconstitutional. Examine the key arguments presented by the Supreme Court in favor of staying the High Court’s ruling and analyze the implications of this decision on the education sector and religious institutions in India. (250 words/15 m)

6. India Expands Antarctic Postal Network: Historic Maitri Post Office Welcomes Bharati Branch

Topic: Important Topic for Prelims

 

Context:
  • India established its first post office in Antarctica at Dakshi Gangotri in 1984, shortly after its initial expedition to the continent.
  • This post office served as a significant milestone, attracting considerable attention as it facilitated the mailing and cancellation of thousands of letters within its first year of operation.
  • However, Dakshi Gangotri was eventually submerged in ice in 1988-89, leading to the establishment of a new post office at India’s Maitri research station on Antarctica on January 26, 1990.
More about the news:

Continuation of a Unique Experiment:

  • For over 35 years, the Maitri post office has been receiving letters and postcards, predominantly from philatelists, collectors, and hobbyists.
  • These individuals send blank envelopes to Maitri for cancellation, with the impression “Maitri North Goa” becoming a coveted collector’s item over time.

Expansion to Bharati Research Station:

  • In a significant development, India has now opened a second branch of the post office at the Bharati research station in Antarctica.
  • This expansion necessitates the introduction of a new PIN code, MH1718, although it is currently labeled as “experimental,” a standard practice for new branches.

Operational Procedure and Significance:

  • Letters intended for Antarctica are sent to the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) in Goa, the nodal agency for India’s polar expeditions.
  • These letters are then carried by researchers to the respective research bases, where they are cancelled, returned via post, and collected by enthusiasts.
  • The existence of an Indian post office in Antarctica holds strategic importance, symbolizing India’s presence in a territory governed by international treaties and dedicated to scientific exploration.

Philatelic Enthusiasm and Demand:

  • The majority of mail sent to India’s post office branches in Antarctica is driven by philately enthusiasts and collectors seeking the unique impression of stamps from remote locations.
  • This demand underscores the enduring appeal of traditional postage stamps and cancellations, particularly among the philatelic community.

Conclusion:

  • India’s post office branches in Antarctica serve as more than mere communication hubs; they symbolize the nation’s commitment to scientific exploration and cultural exchange in one of the most remote and pristine regions of the world.
  • Through the continuation of this unique experiment, India reaffirms its presence and engagement with the global scientific community while preserving the charm of traditional postal services amidst advancing technology.
India’s Research Stations in Antarctica

 

  • The first permanent research station was “Dakshin Gangotri” in 1983 (now abandoned).
  • Maitri: India’s second permanent research station operational since 1988. Lake Priyadarshini, a freshwater lake, was built by India around Maitri.
  • Bharati: Operational since 2012, it is India’s first committed research facility located 3000 km east of Maitri.
  • India Antarctica Programme
  • It is a scientific research and exploration program under the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), Goa.
  • It started in 1981 when the 1st Indian expedition to Antarctica was made.
  • India Antarctica Act 2022
  • The Act seeks to give effect to:
  • Antarctica Treaty.
  • Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctica Treaty.
  • Convention on the Conservation of Antarctica Marine Living Resources.
  • Applicability:
  • To any person, vessel, or aircraft that is a part of an Indian expedition to Antarctica under a permit issued under the Act.
  • The Act provides for a Central Committee on Antarctica Governance and Environmental Protection.
  • The Central Government would establish it under the administrative control of the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES).
  • It would ensure compliance with international laws to protect the Antarctica environment.
  • The Act provides for penalties for contravention of the Act’s provisions. E.g., 20-year imprisonment for conducting a nuclear explosion in Antarctica.
  • It provides for the Antarctica Fund for the welfare of research work and protection of Antarctica.
  • It also provides for designated courts and inspection teams to carry out inspections in Antarctica, etc.

 

 

4. India Launches Rs 496-Crore Scheme to Propel Green Hydrogen as Vehicular Fuel: A Paradigm Shift in Transportation Secto

Topic: GS2 – Governance – Government policies – Interventions for development in various sectors

GS3 – Environment

This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of understanding the potential of green hydrogen as a sustainable energy source and its implications for environmental conservation.

 

Context:
  • The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has initiated a significant scheme aimed at exploring the viability of green hydrogen as a vehicle fuel through pilot projects and developing supporting infrastructure such as refuelling stations.
  • This move aligns with the growing interest in hydrogen-powered vehicles among major Indian commercial vehicle manufacturers and energy companies, highlighting the potential for hydrogen to play a key role in India’s transportation sector.
More about the news:

Importance of Green Hydrogen:

  • Green hydrogen, produced through the electrolysis of water using renewable energy sources, offers a virtually emission-free pathway for hydrogen production, contrasting with the carbon-intensive processes used to produce grey hydrogen from natural gas.
  • The adoption of green hydrogen as a vehicular fuel promises significant reductions in emissions, aligning with India’s climate goals and providing opportunities to curb pollution and reduce fossil fuel imports.

Objectives of the MNRE Scheme:

  • The MNRE scheme focuses on validating the technical feasibility and economic viability of green hydrogen as a transportation fuel, evaluating the performance of green hydrogen-powered vehicles, and demonstrating the safe operation of hydrogen-powered vehicles and refuelling stations.
  • Viability gap funding (VGF) will be provided to selected pilot projects after thorough evaluation by a Project Appraisal Committee.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles:

  • Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCEVs) utilize hydrogen electrochemically to generate electricity, emitting only water as a byproduct.
  • Compared to battery electric vehicles (BEVs), FCEVs offer advantages in terms of weight, payload capacity, and refuelling time, making them suitable for heavy-duty trucks.
  • However, challenges such as high production costs, storage, and infrastructure development need to be addressed for widespread adoption.

Challenges and Future Prospects:

  • The adoption of green hydrogen in the transportation sector faces significant challenges, including high production costs, storage limitations, and infrastructure requirements.
  • Addressing these challenges will require innovations in technology, scaling up production, and developing robust safety standards.
  • Additionally, advancements in battery technologies in BEVs may pose competition to the long-term viability of hydrogen-powered vehicles.

Conclusion:

  • While green hydrogen holds promise as a clean and sustainable alternative fuel for the transportation sector, overcoming the existing challenges and fostering innovation will be essential to realizing its full potential.
  • The MNRE scheme and initiatives by stakeholders indicate a growing momentum towards exploring green hydrogen as a viable solution for India’s energy and transportation needs, emphasizing the importance of continued investment and collaboration in this domain.
India in Green Hydrogen Race:

 

  • The government launched the National Green Hydrogen Mission (Jan, 2023) with an aim to produce 5 million metric tonne (MMT) green hydrogen per annum with an associated renewable energy capacity of about 125 giga watt (GW) by 2030.
  • The mission has an outlay of Rs 19,744 crore up to 2029-30.
  • The Strategic Interventions for Green Hydrogen Transition (SIGHT) programme is a major financial measure under the mission with an outlay of Rs 17,490 crore.
  • The programme proposes two distinct financial incentive mechanisms to support domestic production of electrolysers and production of green hydrogen.
  • These incentives are aimed at enabling rapid scale-up, technology development and cost reduction.
  • The definition of green hydrogen brings a lot of clarity to the mission of making India a global green hydrogen hub.

 

PYQ: Consider the following heavy industries: (2023)

1) Fertilizer plants

2) Oil refineries

3) Steel plants

Green hydrogen is expected to play a significant role in decarbonizing how many of the above industries?

(a) Only one

(b) Only two

(c) All three

(d) None

Ans: C

Q. With reference to green hydrogen, consider the following statements: (2023)

1) It can be used directly as a fuel for internal combustion.

2) It can be blended with natural gas and used as fuel for heat or power generation.

3) It can be used in the hydrogen fuel cell to run vehicles.

How many of the above statements are correct?

(a) Only one

(b) Only two

(c) All three

(d) None

Ans: (c)

Practice Question:  Discuss the significance of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy’s scheme to promote green hydrogen in India, especially in the context of the transportation sector. Analyze the potential challenges and opportunities associated with the adoption of green hydrogen as a vehicular fuel, and suggest measures to overcome them. (250 words/15 m)

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