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21-December -2023

1. Government has initiated steps to increase the nuclear power capacity from 7480 MW to 22480 MW by 2031-32, says Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh.

Topic: GS3 – Indian Economy – Infrastructure – Energy
Crucial for UPSC: Highlights India’s strategic advancements in space, nuclear energy, and economic growth, vital aspects of national development.
  • India sees a surge in space startup investment, reaching $124.7 million in 2023.
  • Dr. Jitendra Singh announces plans to boost nuclear power capacity to 22,480 MW by 2031-32, highlighting safety achievements and emphasizing nuclear power’s role in a sustainable energy transition.
Investment in Indian Space Start-Ups:
  • Investment increased to $124.7 million in 2023.
  • Jitendra Singh highlighted the growth and potential of the Indian space sector.
Indian Space Economy Projection:
  • Indian space economy expected to grow from $8.4 billion to $44 billion by 2033.
Nuclear Power Capacity Expansion:
  • Government aims to increase nuclear power capacity from 7480 MW to 22480 MW by 2031-32.
  • Annual electricity generation from nuclear power plants increased from 35334 Million Units in 2013-14 to 46982 Million Units in 2022-23.
Current Nuclear Power Status:
  • Electricity generation in 2023-24 (up to November 2023) is 32017 Million Units against the aspirational target of 52340 Million Units.
  • 23 nuclear power reactors are currently installed.
  • Total electricity generated in the last ten years (2013-14 to 2022-23) was about 411 Billion Units.
Upcoming Nuclear Projects:
  • Construction and commissioning of ten reactors totaling 8000 MW underway in various states.
  • Pre-project activities for ten reactors have been initiated, scheduled for completion by 2031-32.
  • In-principle approval for a 6 x 1208 MW nuclear power plant in collaboration with the USA at Kovvada in Andhra Pradesh.
Environmental Impact and Safety:
  • Nuclear power generation in the last ten years demonstrated excellent safety.
  • NPCIL takes steps to ensure scheduled plant shutdowns, early start of new units, and avoids unplanned shutdowns.
Energy Security and Transition:
  • Nuclear power highlighted as a clean, environmentally friendly base load source of electricity available 24X7.
  • Expansion of nuclear power capacity viewed as essential for the country’s energy transition toward a net-zero economy by 2070.
Future Plans and Coordination:
  • India’s proactive measures to enhance nuclear power capacity signal a commitment to sustainable energy, safety, and long-term energy security.
  • These efforts contribute significantly to the nation’s energy transition and environmental responsibility.
Shifting to Nuclear Energy: Prospects and Challenges
  • Carbon-free energy source: Nuclear power plants generate electricity without emitting greenhouse gases, making them a key player in combating climate change.
  • High energy density: Nuclear fuel packs a massive punch, producing a significant amount of electricity from a small amount of fuel. This reduces reliance on bulky fossil fuel sources.
  • Reliable baseload power: Nuclear plants can operate continuously, providing a steady and dependable source of electricity, unlike intermittent renewable sources like solar and wind.
  • Technological advancements: New reactor designs like small modular reactors (SMRs) offer increased safety, scalability, and affordability, potentially revitalizing the nuclear industry.
  • Challenges:
  • Public perception: The legacy of past accidents and concerns about radioactive waste disposal continue to fuel public apprehension towards nuclear energy.
  • High upfront costs: Building nuclear power plants requires substantial upfront investment, making them less attractive compared to cheaper renewable options in the short term.
  • Nuclear waste disposal: Finding safe and permanent repositories for spent nuclear fuel remains a complex and unresolved challenge.
  • Proliferation risks: The potential for misuse of nuclear materials for weapons programs necessitates robust safeguards and international cooperation.
  • Safety and security concerns: Ensuring the safety and security of nuclear facilities against accidents, natural disasters, and terrorist attacks is paramount.
PYQ: Nuclear energy is often advocated as a low-carbon solution to meet energy demands. Critically analyze the environmental concerns associated with nuclear power generation and waste disposal. (UPSC CSE (M) GS-3 2019) (250 words/15 m)
Practice Question: Weigh the merits and demerits of India expanding its nuclear energy program in the context of its energy security and climate goals. (150 words/10 m)

2. PM GatiShakti National Master Plan to provide multimodal connectivity infrastructure to various economic zones.

Topic: GS3 – Indian Economy – Infrastructure.
PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan highlights integrated infrastructure planning, governance, and economic growth, crucial for aspirants’ understanding of national development.
  • Hon’ble Prime Minister have launched PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan (NMP) for multimodal connectivity infrastructure, integrating data from Central and State/UT Ministries.
  • This GIS-enabled platform maps economic zones for cost-competitive business, attracting investments.
  • Combined with the National Logistics Policy, it forms a data-driven mechanism for efficient logistics, adopted by States for seamless connectivity.
Additional information on the news::
  • PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan (NMP) launched by Hon’ble Prime Minister on October 13, 2021.
  • Aims to provide multimodal connectivity infrastructure to various economic zones for integrated planning and monitoring.
  • Comprehensive database includes trunk and utility infrastructure, ongoing and future projects of Central and State/UT Ministries/Departments.
  • GIS-enabled PM Gati Shakti platform facilitates planning, designing, and monitoring of Next Generation infrastructure projects on a single portal.
  • Economic Zones like textile clusters, pharmaceutical clusters, , mapped for integrated infrastructure planning to enhance cost-competitiveness.
  • Boosts economic growth, attracts foreign investments, and de-risks investments by visualizing connectivity.
  • National Logistics Policy, 2022 complements PM Gati Shakti by addressing efficiency in services and human resources through Comprehensive Logistics Action Plan (CLAP).
  • Together, PM Gati Shakti NMP and National Logistics Policy create a data-driven decision support mechanism for an efficient logistics ecosystem.
  • Whole-of-Government approach for integrated planning of multimodal infrastructure through collaboration among concerned Ministries.
PYQ: Discuss the impact of the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) on India’s economic growth and development. (UPSC CSE (M) GS-3 2019) (150 words/10 m)
Practice Question: Critically analyze the role of technology, innovation, and public-private partnerships in achieving this goal, with particular emphasis on their applications in the infrastructure sector. (250 words/15 m)

3. PM-AJAY For Upliftment of SC Community.

Topic: GS2 – Social Justice – Welfare schemes for vulnerable section
UPSC Significance: PM-AJAY highlights government initiatives for SC community development, poverty reduction, and skill enhancement, crucial for social and economic aspects in national governance.
  • Pradhan Mantri Anusuchit Jaati Abhyuday Yojana (PM-AJAY) is a 100% Centrally Sponsored Scheme focusing on SC community upliftment through skill development, infrastructure projects, and hostel construction in higher education.
  • The FY 2023-24 budget is Rs. 2050 crore, aiming to reduce poverty and enhance employment opportunities.
 Pradhan Mantri Anusuchit Jaati Abhyuday Yojana (PM-AJAY):
  • Implementation: 100% Centrally Sponsored Scheme since 2021-22.
    • Components:
  1.  Development of SC-dominated villages into an ‘Adarsh Gram.’
  2. Grants-in-aid for District/State-level Projects for socio-economic betterment of SCs.
  3. Construction of Hostels in Higher Educational Institutions.
  • Budget for FY 2023-24: Total budget outlay: Rs. 2050 crore.
  • Objectives:
    • Aims to reduce poverty among SC communities.
    • Focus on generating additional employment through skill development, income generation, and infrastructure development.
  • Grant-in-Aid Component:
    • State/UT Governments submit plans for comprehensive livelihood projects.
    • Includes skill development, asset creation, and infrastructure development.
    • Aims to provide self-employment opportunities for SC beneficiaries.

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