Daily Mains Newsletter for UPSC 25 Dec 2021

Daily Mains Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

25 Dec 2021 - Saturday

Index

Table of Contents

International Relations: India and Myanmar

  • Myanmar has been in turmoil since February 2021 when the military seized control of the country in a coup and detained Aung San Suu Kyi and other leaders of her National League for Democracy (NLD).
  • Being the world’s largest democracy, India shall feel concerned when democracy in such proximity is threatened. However, India also has vital interests in Myanmar that it would like to protect and enhance.
  • While the West has made democracy the sole prism of its Myanmar policy, India doesn’t have that luxury. Its multiple interests suggest India keep its channels of communication open with all stakeholders.

India and Myanmar

  • Significance of Myanmar for India:
    • Myanmar is geopolitically significant to India as it stands at the center of the India-Southeast Asia
    • Myanmar is the only Southeast Asian country that shares a land border with northeastern India.
    • Myanmar is the only country that sits at the intersection of India’s “Neighborhood First” policyand its“Act East” policy.
    • As part of India’s SAGAR Vision, India developed the Sittwe port in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
      • The port is meant to be India’s answer to the Chinese-fronted Kyaukpyu port, which is intended to cement China’s geostrategic footprint in Rakhine.
    • India’s Response towards Myanmar: India had been categorical from the very beginning that the gains made by Myanmar over the last decades on the path towards democracy should not be undermined.
    • Global Response to the Coup: The Western countries continue to condemn and sanction.
      • The US has continued to use the overused threat of ever more sanctions, though to little avail.
        • Myanmar’s army seems to have ceased bothering about the rhetoric from the West.
      • China is investing and pulling Myanmar into its orbit.
      • Countries like Japan, South Korea, and most ASEAN members have all moved forward with engaging the military junta in Myanmar.

 

Challenges for India

  • China’s Influence on Northeast Insurgency:
  • Ever since the coup, China’s economic grip over Myanmar has become tighter with a special focus on projects critical for the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor.
  • Rohingya Issue:
  • Aung San Suu Kyi’s silence on the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar has only led to the plight of the hapless Rohingya taking a backseat. This is not in India’s national security interest in the northeast.
  • Porous Indo-Myanmar Border:
  • The 1643-km-long Indo-Myanmar border, which facilitates cross-border movement of militants, illegal arms, and drugs, is extremely porous.
    • The border runs along hilly and inhospitable terrain and provides cover to the activities of various Indian Insurgent Groups (IIGs).

Way Forward

  • Acknowledging the Military’s Primacy:
  • The role of Myanmar’s army would be key to the unfolding of any democratic transition there, so India’s active engagement would be needed with the military. Marginalizing the army will only push it into China’s arms.
  • Cultural Diplomacy:
  • India’s cultural diplomacy through the lens of Buddhism like the Buddhist Circuit initiative, can be leveraged for strengthening its ties with Myanmar.
    • This could also build up India’s diplomatic reservoir of goodwill and trust with Buddhist-majority countries such as Myanmar.
  • Resolving Rohingyas Issue:
  • The quicker the Rohingya issue is resolved, the easier it will be for India to manage its relations with Myanmar and Bangladesh, focusing instead more on bilateral and sub-regional economic cooperation.

Conclusion

  • It is imperative that, like the other immediate neighbors of Myanmar, India too reaches out and shapes its own trajectory in Myanmar.
  • The complexity of India’s regional security and neighborhood demands India to adopt a more nuanced position without losing its essential pragmatism in engaging with Myanmar.

Self-reliance in Energy Sector

Introduction

  • India has made tremendous progress in providing energy services to its citizens. About 900 million people have already gained access to electricity in the last two decades.
  • But, the per capita electricity consumption in India is only one-third of the global average, even though the demand for energy has doubled.
  • So, to catch up with the increasing demand for energy, there is a need to make arrangements for a secure and sustainable form of self-reliance in the energy sector.

Why does India require Self-reliance in Energy Sector?

  • India’s energy mix is skewed towards fossil fuels.
  • 75% of India’s energy in 2020 was supplied by Coal (44%), Oil (25%), and Natural Gas (6%). With limited reserves of Oil and Natural Gas, securing a long-term supply of Oil and Natural Gas remains a challenge.
  • At present 75% of India’s Oil and Gas needs are met through imports. This might rise to 90% by 2040 according to IEA’s Energy Outlook 2021.
  • Import dependence has associated Geopolitical risks which exposes the economy to external shocks.
  • Self-reliance through green energy initiatives is the foundation of a green and sustainable economy.
  • India can achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) only when Social, Economic, and Environmental (SEE) dimensions are addressed in a balanced and sustainable manner.
  • Out of 17 SDGs, five SDGs are highly linked, and three SDGs are moderately associated with Renewable Energy. So, by achieving self-reliance in the energy sector, India can achieve many SDGs.

What are the initiatives taken by the government to achieve Self-reliance in Energy Sector?

  • The Government of India along with the State governments is focusing on making India a global leader in the green and clean economy.
  • The government has initiated various schemes that focus on goals based on the five principles i.e., 5Is (‘Intent, Inclusion, Investment, Infrastructure & Innovation’).

Renewable Energy Initiatives

  • Globally, India is one of the leaders in the production of renewable energy and is playing a valuable role in contributing to a global green economy.
  • Recently, the Government of India has set up the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) to promote renewable energy and set a target to attain the capacity of 227 GW by 2022.
  • This includes 114 GW from solar, 67 GW from wind, and the rest from others like bio and hydro energy.
  • Solar:
  • The government is providing subsidies and other incentives to enhance the capacity of ‘Rooftop Solar Energy’.
  • PM-KUSUM’ and ‘Atal Jyoti Yojana (AJAY)’ aim to provide solar pumps and grid-connected solar and Solar LED Lights respectively.
  • Due to these initiatives, India has witnessed a significant rise in the production of electricity from solar energy.
  • Wind:
  • Coastal regions provide ample opportunities to harness wind energy.
  • Due to the intervention of government as well as private players, wind power production capacity has increased from 10.9 GW in 2009 to 30.37 GW in 2020.
  • Bio-energy:
  • The Government is promoting various schemes for biogas production, including the ‘New National Biogas and Organic Manure Programme’ (NNBOMP) and ‘Biogasbased Power Generation and Thermal Energy Application Programme’ (BPGTP).
  • Apart from these, the Government has also proposed to set up 5,000 compressed biogas plants across India by 2023.
  • Hydro energy:
  • It is economically exploitable and has a high potential for additional benefits such as irrigation, acting as a flood barrier and drought saviour, providing recreation and tourism-related activities.
  • It has higher efficiency (over 90%) than other renewable sources.
  • National Hydrogen Mission
  • It was announced in August 2021 to produce carbon-free fuels from renewable resources and to make India a global hub of production as well as export of green hydrogen.
  • The ultimate aim of this mission is to attain self-reliance in energy production and to achieve the set target by 2047 so as to celebrate the 100 years of independence.
  • The National Hydrogen Energy Mission will bring drastic changes in the energy sector and will contribute to a gas-based cleaner economy.
  • The government has decided to produce green hydrogen through renewable electricity and electrolysis which is expected to be achieved by 2050.

What is the potential of the renewable energy sector in achieving Self-reliance in the Energy Sector?

  • It is estimated that 49% of total electricity will be generated by renewable energy by 2040.
  • Considering the scarcity of fossil fuels and resultant carbon emissions, renewable energy is the future energy and will mitigate the energy crisis of India and will provide sustainable and affordable energy to its citizens.

What are the benefits associated with renewable energy-based Self-reliance in Energy Sector?

  • The increasing importance of renewable capacity will shift India’s power system from the dominance of coal to renewables and thereby open up the window for a green and clean gas-based economy.
  • Increasing the use of renewable energies will lead to low dependency on fossil fuels, which will in turn help in decarbonisation.
  • Usage of renewables will help in producing eco-friendly energy which will make India energy secure and energy independent.
  • It will help in export that will increase countries’ foreign exchange earnings and strengthen India’s global positioning.

What are the challenges associated with renewable energy-based Self-reliance in Energy Sector?

The major challenges are
  • Affordability for consumers,
  • Financial stability of DISCOMS (Distribution Companies),
  • Integration issues,
  • Gaps or barriers in regulatory and market frameworks,
  • Uncertain cost-benefit outcomes,
  • Issues in power system flexibility, etc.
  • The share of penetration of renewable energy is highly variable and skewed.

What should be done?

  • India must exploit solar and wind energy, and especially green hydrogen energy, in its electricity system to meet the ever-increasing energy demand.
  • It will be possible primarily by addressing the demand flexibility, plants flexibility, and storage & grid flexibility along with the market and regulatory support.
  • The aspects like investment, infrastructure development, private-public partnership, green financing, policy framework need to be strengthened both at the national level and regional level to cater to inclusiveness in the development process.
  • In addition to job and income generation, it opens up opportunities/avenues for investment and markets for new products and services. So, India should focus on achieving green energy and self-reliance in Energy Sector together.

Ethics | Paper-IV | Terms

Neutral Bureaucracy:

  • Neutrality depicts that public official are not slaves to either the politicians or any other authority other than the moral authority of the Constitution.
  • If bureaucracy won’t be neutral then it cannot lend its whole-hearted support to the existing political system, and to the economic and political system if any radical changes are introduced.
  • Here, bureaucratic officials function strictly according to the principles and ideals laid down in the constitution.

Committed Bureaucracy:

  • Committed means dedicated towards a particular cause or work.
  • In a democratic setup, parliamentarians are elected by the citizens and they are responsible for making laws and policies; while bureaucrats are responsible for the implementation of the same laws and policies.
  • The transformation of society is possible only when programs and schemes launched by the government are effectively and timely implemented at the local level.
  • The effective and timely implementation can be ensured by the committed bureaucrats only.
  • Here, bureaucrats, in addition to following the principles and ideals laid down in the constitution, also follow the policies and programs of the party in power. Ex: in China.

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