Report on Power Distribution Sector
⇒ NITI Aayog released a report on 03 August 2021 that presents reform pathways that can transform the country’s power distribution sector, in a step towards improving policymaking in this area.
The report, titled ‘Turning Around the Power Distribution Sector’, is co-authored by NITI Aayog, RMI and RMI India.
The report is divided into chapters focusing on structural reforms, regulatory reforms, operational reforms, managerial reforms, and renewable energy integration.
Key Points of the Report:
» Most power distribution companies (discoms) in India incur losses every year—total losses are estimated to be as high as Rs 90,000 crore in FY 2021.
» The report presents a review of reform efforts in the Indian and global power distribution sector.
» It extracts the learnings and best practices from the wealth of policy experience that exists in the country.
» This report examines many important reforms such as the role of the private sector in distribution, power procurement, regulatory oversight, integration of renewable energy, and upgradation of infrastructure.
Highlighting the need for addressing current challenges, Clay Stranger, Managing Director, RMI said:
A robust and long-lasting solution to the woes of the discoms requires changes in policy as well as organisational, managerial, and technological reforms.
AERA (Amendment) Bill, 2021
⇒ The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2021 got approval of Rajya Sabha on 04 August 2021. Early, on July 29, the Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha.
» The bill allows tariff determination of a ‘group of airports’ by way of amending the definition of ‘major airport.’
» The bill amends the provisions of the law in relation to tariffs for single airports.
» The revenue earned by AAI from these airports will be utilized for the development of airports in Tier-II and Tier-III cities. It would help encourage the development of smaller airports.
BRO constructed High-altitude Motorable Road, in Ladakh
⇒ The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has created a record in high-altitude motorable road construction in the world in Eastern Ladakh.
BRO has constructed and black-topped the highest motorable road in the world at 19,300 ft at Umlingla Pass in Eastern Ladakh, creating a record in high-altitude road construction.
The BRO has constructed a 52-km long tarmac road through Umlingla Pass. The road now connects the important towns in Chumar sector of Eastern Ladakh.
This new road surpasses the previous record of a road in Bolivia connecting to its volcano Uturuncu at 18,953 ft.
Base Camps at different altitudes:
The road has been constructed at an altitude higher than the Mt Everest Base Camps as the South Base Camp in Nepal is at an altitude of 17,598 ft, while North Base Camp in Tibet is at 16,900 ft.
The road has been constructed much above the altitude of Siachen Glacier which is at 17,700 ft. The Khardung La Pass in Leh is at an altitude of 17,582 ft.
Sea Trials of Indigenous Aircraft Carrier ‘Vikrant’
⇒ Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways Shri Sarbananda Sonowal has hailed the launch of sea trials of indigenous aircraft carrier ‘Vikrant’.
Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) ‘Vikrant’ designed by Indian Navy’s Directorate of Naval Design (DND) is being built at Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), a Public Sector Shipyard under Ministry of Shipping (MoS).
About Indigenous Aircraft Carrier:
The Indigenous Aircraft Carrier is 262 m long, 62 m at the widest part and height of 59 m including the superstructure. There are 14 decks in all, including five in the superstructure.
The ship has over 2,300 compartments, designed for a crew of around 1700 people, including specialized cabins to accommodate women officers.
The ship has been designed with a very high degree of automation for machinery operation, ship navigation and survivability, ‘Vikrant’ has a top speed of around 28 knots and cruising speed of 18 knots with an endurance of about 7,500 nautical miles.
Indian Customs Compliance Information Portal
⇒ Recently, the Central Board for Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC) launched the Indian Customs Compliance Information Portal (CIP) (cip.icegate.gov.in/CIP).
The CIP portal has been launched to providing free access to information on all Customs procedures and regulatory compliance for nearly 12,000 Customs Tariff Items.
CIP is a facilitation tool developed by CBIC to empower our business as well as any interested person with up-to-date information on the legal and procedural requirements of Customs and Partner Government Agencies for carrying out imports and exports.
Government Signed Loan Agreement for DRIP Phase II
⇒ Recently, the Government of India, the Central Water Commission, government representatives from 10 participating states and the World Bank signed a $250 million project for long-term dam safety program and improving the safety and performance of existing dams across various states of India.
Second Phase of Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP Phase II):
The Government of India signed a $250 million loan agreement for the Second Phase of Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP Phase II).
The Second Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP-2) will strengthen dam safety by building dam safety guidelines, bring in global experience, and introduce innovative technologies.
The Second Phase of Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP Phase II) aims to make existing dams and communities safe and resilient across India. The Scheme has the participation of 19 States and 3 Central Agencies.
The project will be implemented in approximately 120 dams across the states of Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Odisha, Rajasthan, and Tamil Nadu, and at the national level through the Central Water Commission (CWC).
India’s rank in the number of dams:
India ranks third globally after China and the United States of America, with 5334 large dams in operation. In addition, about 411 dams are under construction at present. There are also several thousand smaller dams.