India must avoid building more thermal power capacity in order to meet its pledge to achieve carbon neutrality by 2070.
How critical is thermal energy to India?
Now, thermal power accounts for over 60% of India’s total installed capacity.
It is generated by the combustion of fossil fuels such as coal, gas, and others, and coal alone accounts for more than half of India’s installed power production capacity.
For numerous decades, it has been the focal point of India’s energy ecosystem since it is the cheapest natural resource and is plentiful in India.
It is critical in calculating transportation costs, which in turn affects the final product’s price.
India’s coal reserves are estimated to last 100 years, compared to around 50 years for natural gas and approximately 16 years for oil.
According to NITI Aayog’s expert panel, India’s coal-fired power generating capacity would reach 250 GW by 2030, up from roughly 202 GW today.
Why is the world’s opposition to coal-fired power facilities growing?
The IPCC’s 2018 report cautioned against climate change and emphasised the need to phase out coal-fired power facilities by 2050 in order to slow global warming.
Coal-fired power stations contribute significantly to pollution levels of particulate matter (PM), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and sulphur dioxide (SO2).
India’s plan- Numerous committees and expert groups established by Ministries and Departments have recommended against the addition of more coal-fired power facilities.
It is critical for India to achieve carbon neutrality by 2070 and to have around 500 GW of renewable energy capacity by that date.
With the expansion of renewable energy power production, coal-fired thermal power’s proportion of overall power generation would fall from 72 per cent to between 50 and 55 per cent by 2030.
Generally, coal-fired power stations are decommissioned after reaching the end of their useful life, which in India ranges between 30 and 45 years.
The Council on Energy, Environment, and Water recommended contemplating expedited decommissioning of 30 GW of India’s coal-fired capacity because it would result in a one-time savings of Rs. 10,000 crores by skipping pollution control retrofits.
The planned facilities are in direct competition with those designated for retirement in the 2018 National Electricity Plan.
What obstacles will India confront in its efforts to decarbonize its energy sector?
India confronts a dual problem in decarbonizing its energy industry.
Replacing thermal energy with renewable energy sources in stages
Simultaneously, fulfilling the growing demand for electricity
Electricity consumption in India is predicted to rise at a CAGR of 5% between 2018 and 2040, making it critical for the country to rapidly embrace cleaner technologies and encourage sustainable energy production.
Renewable energy cannot generate electricity at all hours of the day.
Additionally, the transmission system’s low-capacity utilisation is impeding its expansion.
Another operational difficulty is grid operations and achieving the optimal balance of diverse energy sources such as renewables, coal, and nuclear.
Optimal utilisation of transmission resources requires a detailed view of the country’s power requirements and how an optimal combination of renewable and thermal energy may be created to satisfy demand.
Increasing the Legal Age of Marriage.
The Union Cabinet’s proposal to equalise men and women’s marriageable ages is undoubtedly a progressive move toward achieving Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals, which requires nation-states to establish laws to promote gender equality.
However, excellent intentions may not always translate into favourable consequences. Without widespread community support, coercive laws often fail to deliver, even when their stated objectives and justifications are for the greater public benefit.
For Hindus, the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, establishes a minimum age of marriage of 18 years for the bride and 21 years for the husband.
Marriage of a minor who has reached puberty is considered legitimate in Islam.
Additionally, the Special Marriage Act of 1954 and the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act of 2006 provide a minimum age of consent for marriage of 18 and 21 years for women and males, respectively.
India’s Efforts to Close the Gender Divide:
The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women was ratified by India in 1993.
Article 16 of this Convention expressly prohibits child marriage and requires States to establish and implement a woman’s minimum marriage age.
Since 1998, India’s national law has been devoted entirely to human rights safeguards, in accordance with international documents such as the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Justifications for the Minimum Age:
The legislation establishes a minimum age for marriage in order to effectively prohibit child weddings and prevent child abuse.
Early pregnancy, hunger, and abuse are among risks associated with child marriages (mental, emotional, and physical).
Early pregnancy is related to an increased risk of child mortality and has a negative effect on the mother’s health.
Justifications for Raising the Legal Marriageable Age
Prohibiting early and child marriage protects women’s fundamental rights, and this historic move will result in revisions to relevant legal frameworks, creating a complete rights-based framework.
According to Section 2(a) of the Special Marriage Act, women are legally married at the age of 18, while males are legally married at the age of 21, a distinction that seems to defy logic.
If the voting age can be equal for men and women, and the age at which men and women may consensually, willfully, and legitimately enter a contract can be equal, why not establish equality in the age requirements for marriage?
In progressive civilizations, a change in the law is also more likely to result in a shift in societal views.
There are several markers of female progress, particularly in terms of female enrollment in higher education.
Additionally, programmes like UJJAWALA, Mudra Yojana, and Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana have shown that women constitute the biggest segment of government plan beneficiaries.
Women’s empowerment will be bolstered further by marriage equality.
Arguments Against Raising the Legal Marrying Age
While raising the marriage age may appear to be a good idea on paper, raising it without increasing social awareness and expanding access to health care is unlikely to benefit the community it is intended to serve.
Young women who are not financially independent and are unable to exercise their rights and freedoms while still subject to familial and societal pressures.
Although the rule barring marriage before the age of 18 has been in existence in some form since the early 1900s, child marriage remained largely unabated until 2005, when over half of all women aged 20-24 married before reaching the legal minimum age.
Even though more than one in five weddings occurred before the age of 18, the Act is seldom violated in the country’s criminal records.
The number of women of marriageable age who will be impacted is enormous, with over 60% marrying before the age of 21. The inability to abolish weddings between women under the age of 18 does not imply that it would be removed by raising the limit to 21.
Women’s rights groups note that parents often utilise this Act to penalise girls who marry against their parent’s wishes or elope in order to avoid forced marriages, domestic violence, and a lack of educational opportunities.
The Way Ahead:
Any rationale — biological, sociological, or data and research-based — cannot explain men and women marrying at different ages.
In 1954, India passed the Special Marriage Act, which stipulated that age must be one of the fundamental requirements for a legitimate marriage. The sole shortcoming was a lack of equity in this area, which is currently being addressed by amendments to the 2006 Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA).
To empower disadvantaged women, it is necessary to protect their reproductive rights and to increase investment in rectifying the basic structural disadvantages experienced by women who marry early.
The government must spend much more on equality measures – measures that allow underprivileged students to finish their education, give career counselling, and promote skill development and job placement.
Additionally, safety concerns must be addressed in public spaces, especially public transit.
Parents’ behaviour must also improve since they ultimately make marriage-related choices for most women.
An excellent, though the not straightforward, approach to accomplish the stated purpose is to educate girls about early pregnancies and connect them to resources to enhance their health.
The emphasis must be on raising public knowledge about women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights, as well as on preventing girls from dropping out of school or college.
Ethics | Paper – IV
Obedience refers to “social influence in which a person submits to explicit instructions or directions from an authoritative figure” when it comes to human conduct.
As a general rule, obedience is contrasted from compliance, which is affected by peers, and from conformity, which is aimed at imitating the majority’s conduct.
Obedience may be seen as moral, immoral, or amoral, depending on the circumstances in which it is practised.