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Indian Express

26-October-2023

1) Balance of Green Power

Topic: GS3- Environment

Context:

  • The article talks about the problem that India is currently having with its energy transition, which has gained attention recently.
  • Numerous topics are covered, such as the persistence of coal, the expansion of renewable energy (RE), and the effects on specific regions.

What is Energy Transition?

  • The transition to renewable energy sources from fossil fuel-based systems of energy production and consumption is known as the “energy transition” in the global energy sector.

WHAT IS THE NEED FOR ENERGY TRANSITION?

The energy transition has drawn the interest of international leaders, who are working nonstop to transform the current energy sources and procedures into a more sustainable energy system. The following changes have led to the necessity for a transition:

  • Climate Change: Fossil fuel consumption is the primary source of greenhouse gas emissions, which are the primary cause of climate change, and it powers homes, companies, and transportation. In order to mitigate climate change, it is essential.
  • Mitigating the impacts of climate change: Negative effects of climate change include temperature fluctuations and extreme weather occurrences like droughts and floods. In order to mitigate extreme weather events, this is essential.
  • Energy Security: Countries that depend heavily on fossil fuels are more susceptible to fluctuations in prices and unstable geopolitical conditions. By using this method, one can lessen dependence on imported energy sources and boost energy security.
  • Improving Air Quality: When fossil fuels are burned, toxic air pollutants are released into the atmosphere, which can lead to respiratory disorders, early mortality, and environmental destruction. Air quality can be improved via energy transition, especially in cities.
  • Economic Opportunities: This technique has the potential to boost economic growth and provide new jobs in industries like electric vehicle manufacturing, renewable energy development, and energy efficiency. The expansion of these industries brings with it new employment prospects and has a knock-on effect on other economic sectors.

Historical Phases of Power Plant construction:

  • While private promoters spearheaded the second wave (2000-2015), the first phase (mid-1970s to mid-1990s) was driven by the government.
  • Assets related to renewable energy are anticipated to dominate the third phase.

The Upcoming Wave: Renewable Energy Expansion

  • Over the course of the next few decades, the widespread installation of renewable energy assets is anticipated to characterize the future wave in India’s power sector.
  • In 2030, solar and wind power will account for a sizable share of the generation capacity, according to a forecast by the Central Electricity Authority. This might have a substantial financial impact on the states.

Regional Impact of Renewable Energy Build-Out:

  • Regional Imbalance: Thanks to advantageous factors including higher insolation and wind density, as well as favorable state finances and investment environments, the rise of renewable energy has predominantly benefited western and southern states.
  • Fiscal Impact on Coal-Dependent States: States with abundant coal resources but deficient in renewable energy sources may have two distinct financial difficulties. When coal growth slows, the amount of money the state receives in royalties will decline, and when more contracts for renewable energy are signed, the cost of obtaining electricity will rise.
  • Challenges with Grid-Scale Energy Storage: Grid-scale energy storage technologies are expensive and in the experimental stage of development, therefore it is unlikely that they will be widely deployed before the end of the decade.
  • Increased Inter-State Power Procurement: Rich in coal but lacking in renewable energy will force coal-rich states to import more electricity from other states, resulting in large-scale financial transfers for the purchase of electricity.

Addressing Challenges and Ensuring a Balanced Transition

  • Balanced Regional Development: It is imperative to bring back the idea of balanced regional development in order to guarantee a seamless energy transition. This could be accomplished by policies such as preferred financing for renewable projects in areas with low renewable resource availability, increased state participation in federal power agreements, and direct financial transfers to these states via the Finance Commission and other methods.
  • Just Transition Mechanisms: To prevent resource flow from less developed to more developed regions, collaborative industrial strategies should support green industrial development in historically underdeveloped states.

Way Forward:

  • India must make sure that states that might be left behind do not suffer economically as a result of the energy transition.
  • In order to avoid inequalities and disputes and move towards greener energy sources, a more inclusive strategy is required.

2) To Open the Campus

Context:

  • Internationalization has been identified as a critical component of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020’s reform of India’s higher education system.
  • By implementing improvements such as rewriting the syllabus, drawing in international staff and students, encouraging research partnerships, and providing joint/dual degrees with foreign universities, the goal is to raise the caliber of education provided by Indian universities.

Current State of Indian Higher Education

  • Diverse Educational Landscape: 5 million college-level students in India are served by 54,000 colleges and other educational establishments. Still, there is room for development as there are disparities in the level of education.
  • Private universities: Private universities have emerged in response to the commercial need for high-quality education; some of these institutions have been successful in luring in faculty from abroad. Attracting international students is still difficult, though.

Foreign Students and Work Opportunities

  • Lack of Work Opportunities: Even though India’s corporate and startup sectors are thriving, there are currently no opportunities for international students to obtain work experience in the nation after receiving their degrees.
  • Growing demand for talent: Foreign workers working for Indian companies must be familiar with Indian markets, laws, and culture. This is especially true for tech and services organizations with global ambitions. This could build a link between other nations and India.

Challenges and Opportunities of Internationalization

  • Population Dynamics: Similar to China, India is seeing a slowdown in population growth, which is leading to an aging population. Economic growth may be impacted by an aging labor force.
  • Expanded Student Work Visas: Improving the conditions for student work visas in India, especially through partnerships and fellowships with developing countries, can provide international students with invaluable field experience.
  • Learning from other nations: India might take a cue from nations like the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada in addressing this issue. These nations provide post-study student work visas, which spur economic growth and help offset an aging population.

What steps should be taken?

  • A notification permitting paid employment under the “S” category visa must be issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • The Ministry of Finance needs to think about how foreign students’ income may be taxed.
  • Guidelines for the hiring of foreign students on campus and the responsibilities of departments serving international students should be established by the Ministry of Education in collaboration with regulatory agencies such as the UGC and AICTE.
  • Through business chambers and direct advocacy, Indian multinational corporations could push for modifications to the student visa program.

Way Forward:

  • India must restructure its student visa policy to make it possible for international students to work and collaborate there in light of the geopolitical unrest around the world and the evolving nature of Western education.
  • This reform guarantees the growth and success of Indian education on the international arena by aligning with the champion export industries that are promoted abroad.

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