Distributed Renewable Energy (DRE) Transforming Rural Women’s Life
GS Paper III
Context: To boost their companies, rural Indian women are embracing clean energy-based livelihood innovations. Distributed renewable energy (DRE), from solar refrigerators to silk-reeling equipment and biomass-based cold storage to bulk milk chillers, is revolutionising women’s livelihoods at the local level.
What is Distributed Renewable Energy (DRE)?
DRE is the term used to describe the production and distribution of electricity using small-scale, decentralised systems and renewable energy sources including sun, wind, hydro, geothermal, and biomass.
These systems are frequently put in place in isolated or rural places where connecting to a centralised power grid is difficult or expensive.
Individual rooftop solar panels, small-scale wind turbines, mini-hydro systems, and biomass generators are all examples of DRE systems.
Instead of a major metropolitan or industrial hub, they are often made to service a single family or small town.
DRE systems, often referred to as off-grid or mini-grid systems, can operate independently or in conjunction with a larger power grid.
a majority of them are women: According to a recent survey by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), more than 80% of the 13,000 early adopters of clean technology work appliances are women.
Future forecast: In India, 30 million women-owned micro, small, and medium-sized businesses (MSMEs) are projected to employ 150 million people by 2030. Sustainable livelihood technologies have the potential to alter rural lives, with women at the centre of this shift. There is a $50 billion market opportunity in India alone.
Advantages of DRE systems:
There are several benefits, including increased energy availability in remote places and increased resilience to grid failures and natural catastrophes. They can also lower energy expenditures for homes and communities.
Decrease carbon emissions: DRE systems can also assist to lessen carbon emissions and the effects of climate change.
DRE benefits for women include: By expanding earning options via automation, DRE-powered technologies provide women farmers and microentrepreneurs a distinct advantage. They also release women from a number of difficult manual tasks that are exclusive to their gender.
Steps to scale up this impact:
Use the expertise of early female adopters: Technology suppliers must make use of early adopters to share their experiences with prospective clients, helping them sell these technologies by serving as demo champions and local experts.
For instance: NeetuTandan is a microentrepreneur from Agra who uses a food processor to make jams and fruit squashes. KissanDharmbir, a maker of energy-efficient food processors, hired Neetu as a demo champion. Sales leads are being generated by her demos.
Plan hyperlocal gatherings and demos. These occasions provide women a chance to network, learn about the product, and make connections with those who may assist them in obtaining, financing, and using these devices.
For instance, during a gathering in Hamirpur, Uttar Pradesh, more than 200 women immediately reserved seven gadgets, including multipurpose food processors and solar sewing machines.
Facilitate simple financing for goods purchases: The lack of funding options for these clean technology items continues to be a roadblock. Financial institutions assisting female farmers and microbusiness owners should treat the technology as collateral while streamlining the loan application procedure.
As an illustration, Samunnati Finance, a lender in the agri-value chain, provided six women-led FPOs in Andhra Pradesh with a first-loan default guarantee of 80% in order to assist their acquisition of 100-kg solar dryers.
Promote cross-market linkages: In certain circumstances, providing technology alone is insufficient. There is a higher market potential for many rural items. In order to increase revenues, it is crucial to locate and link urban consumption hotspots with producers.
Make sure there are enough buy-backs and after-sales services: Technology makers and promoters should also make sure there are enough buy-backs and after-sales services. Evidence on the economic feasibility of these technologies should be provided, and promoters must provide partial default assurances, in order to win over funders.
Facilitate policy convergence: By utilising government institutions’ scale and reach, which no private sector organisation can match, we can exponentially grow. From State Rural Livelihood Missions, Horticulture and Agriculture Departments, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Businesses, to the Ministry of Textiles, several Ministries are trying to promote livelihoods for women. In order to further their individual programmes and objectives, they should adopt renewable energy alternatives.
What are the challenges that women face?
High initial prices and newness of DRE products might give the impression that they are high risk, especially to female consumers who may be less willing to take risks because of socioeconomic considerations.
Low belief: People tend to prefer to physically touch and examine high-tech, expensive DRE goods before believing in their capacity and claimed advantages due to past constraints on women’s access to new knowledge.
Restricted network: Due to their restricted mobility and lack of networks outside of their areas, women frequently struggle with established market links.
Similar to how it takes a village to raise a child, a village of politicians, investors, financiers, technology promoters, and other ecosystem facilitators is required to scale the impact of sustainable energy solutions on women’s livelihoods. Then and only then will we be able to fully realise the promise of rural women and clean technology.
Source: The Hindu
Capital Expenditure (CAPEX): Crucial Role Of The States
GS Paper III
Context: The 33% increase in its allocation shows the budget’s definite preference for capital purchases. This allocation’s main objectives are to increase the economy’s long-term productive capacity and short-term aggregate demand. Given the critical role that infrastructure plays in the expansion and development of any economy, this technique is often considered as advantageous.
Capital Expenditure of the states:
Capex of the states is higher than that of the federal government: Indian states currently spend more on capital projects than the federal government combined.
For instance: Budget projections indicate that this total for states and Union territories in 2021–22 will be $10.5 trillion. In that year, the Center spent 8.4 trillion dollars on effective capital expenditures, of which 2.5 trillion were grants for the construction of assets.
What is Capital Expenditure (CAPEX)?
Capital expenditures are investments made by the government or by private companies to upgrade current or construct new physical assets.
Capex has a multiplier effect on the economy as enterprises grow, generating demand and igniting the animal spirits.
Main types of Capex:
- Building and enhancing public infrastructure, such as roads, highways, trains, ports, airports, power plants, and water supply systems, falls under the category of infrastructure development.
- Defense and security: This includes the purchase and upkeep of weapons systems, defence equipment, and other security-related spending.
- Spending in the social sector comprises funding for initiatives aimed at enhancing residents’ quality of life, such as those in education, healthcare, and social welfare.
- Rural development comprises investments in rural homes, irrigation systems, and other agricultural and rural infrastructure.
- Investments in public sector companies: To increase the productivity and profitability of public sector companies, the government may also make capital investments in them.
Key reasons why the Indian government emphasizes Capex?
Capital expenditures are essential for encouraging economic growth because they increase job possibilities, demand for products and services, and private sector investment. The government can provide companies the environment they need to expand and succeed by making infrastructural investments.
Enhancing public services: Public facilities like hospitals, schools, and water supply systems must be built or upgraded, as well as the appropriate tools and materials must be provided. The improvement of residents’ quality of life and the encouragement of social and economic growth depend heavily on this investment in public services.
Infrastructure development is essential for boosting trade, business, and investment, as well as the competitiveness of the nation as a whole. The government may expand current sectors, bring in foreign investment, and create new economic possibilities by investing in infrastructure.
The building of infrastructure projects, as well as other capital expenditures that promote economic growth and encourage private sector investment, offer job possibilities in the immediate and long terms, respectively.
Investment from the private sector: By providing the required infrastructure and a supportive business climate, the government’s emphasis on Capex may also aid in attracting investment from the private sector.
What are the concern over State capex?
Addressing this unequal capability or desire for capital spending, which raises uncertainty about the effects of an expansionary fiscal policy driven by capexand reduces the potential advantages of such policy, is one broad macroeconomic concern.
Another crucial factor is the type of governmental capital expenditures that are drawn in. In order to maximise long-term improvements in economic capacity, the kind of state capital expenditure that is attracted by central capital expenditure should be such that it integrates with the latter.
The Union budget for 2023–24 pushes states to make changes to urban local governments so they may be considered creditworthy for the issue of municipal bonds. State capital spending is typically delayed until revenue streams are more stable, though.
In order to guarantee spending quality and speed, states must increase their execution capability and provide an enabling regulatory framework.
To make the most of the available funds, state planning and budgeting cycles should also be coordinated with cash releases.
States must not only increase their budgets, but also spend completely and consistently throughout the year since they play a significant role in capital expenditure.
States must put a priority on timely and effective capital expenditure execution as well as evenly and completely utilising allocated capital resources throughout the year. The RBI research emphasises that states would do well to mainstream capital planning rather than regarding it as residuals and the first place to make cuts in order to reach budgetary objectives, despite the fact that Indian states increased their capital outlays in 2022–2023.
Source: The Hindu
Women’s Role in Constitution Building
GS Paper I & II
Context: It was a marvellous and exciting process to establish our constitution during Partition and after a protracted era of colonialism. Women’s voices and contributions have been ignored despite their participation in the Assembly. The compelling book “The Founding Mothers of the Republic” by AchyutChetan, which Cambridge University Press released in 2022, serves as a way to address this historical omission and give proper recognition to the women who were instrumental in forming India’s democracy.
Women In constitutional Assembly:
Eleven women who were members of the Constituent Assembly signed the Constitution after it was finished.
Notable drafters included Annie Mascarene, G Durgabai, AmmuSwaminathan, AmritKaur, DakshayaniVelayudhan, Renuka Ray, SuchetaKripalani, Purnima Banerjee, Begum QudsiyaAizazRasul, and Hansa Mehta.
Before all of its members ratified the constitution on January 24, 1950, the Constituent Assembly held 169 sessions starting on December 11, 1946.
How do we know what happened in the Constituent Assembly?
The only source is the Constituent Assembly Debates (CAD): The 12 volumes of the Constituent Assembly Debates (CAD), which include member speeches and revisions to the draught articles, are a rich but by no means the sole source.
Many reports and remarks from several committes are missed by CAD: The findings and notes of the various committees of the CA, however, are not available in the CAD.
For illustration: Vallabhbhai Patel served as the chair of the Advisory Committee, which had two subcommittees: the Basic Rights Sub Committee and the Minorities Sub-Committee.
Role of Women in the constituent assembly:
AmritKaur and Hansa Mehta both served on the advisory committee; Kaur also served on the subcommittee for minorities. Both of them were members of the fundamental rights subcommittee.
- Durgabai held influential positions on the Rules Committee and the Steering Committee, two significant bodies for procedural matters.
Almost all key committees and subcommittees included female members who were both present and quite engaged.
Renuka Ray, for instance, disagreed with the Right to Property clause that subjected the compensation provided to judicial oversight. Even the men of eminence continuously interrupted and heckled her throughout the arguments on the Assembly’s floor as she attempted to mock their amendments.
At each stage when the committees made their official recommendations to the higher bodies of the Assembly, AmritKaur and Hansa Mehta wrote notes of disapproval against decisions that reduced the uniform civil code to a non-justiciable right and permitted the state to impose conscription for mandatory military service.
The present status of Women representation in politics worldwide:
30 women were elected leaders of state or governments in 28 countries as of September 2022, according to UN Women (out of a total of 193 UN member states).
The fast surge in female engagement in elections and other political activities contrasts sharply with the gradual increase in female representation in Parliament.
The average percentage of females in national parliaments throughout the world as of May 2022 was 26.2%.
Women are overrepresented compared to the norm throughout the world in the Americas, Europe, and Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) area, Asia, and the Pacific are all below average.
Varied representation within Asian countries:
South Asian nations performed worse than the others.
According to IPU statistics from May 2022, women made up 34% of the population in Nepal, 21% in Bangladesh, 20% in Pakistan, 20% in Bhutan, and 5% in Sri Lanka.
In India, women still make up little less than 15% of the LokSabha (the Lower House).
Afghanistan is not included in the research, although according to World Bank statistics from 2021, there were 27% women in Afghanistan’s most recent parliament.
It is time for academics, instructors, students, attorneys, judges, and everyone else involved in the constitution-making process to turn to sources that provide a more thorough account of our drafters as we approach the 75th anniversary of our constitution. It is important to remember both the quiet ladies and the more outspoken males for their roles and achievements. That would be a true account of the creation of our foundational constitution.
Source: The Hindu
Indian Tea Industry
GS Paper III
Context: India has implemented a number of measures to increase production, develop a specialised brand for Indian tea, and guarantee the wellbeing of the families involved in the tea sector.
Indian Tea Industry:
India is the world’s fourth-largest exporter of tea and the world’s second-largest producer of black tea after China.
Moreover, India consumes the most black tea, making up 18% of global tea consumption.
1.16 million people are employed directly and an equivalent number are involved indirectly in the Indian tea industry.
The Tea Board of India oversees tea production in India.
One of the businesses brought under the authority of the Union Government by a Parliamentary Act is the tea industry.
The Northeast (including Assam) and north Bengal are the primary tea-growing regions (Darjeeling district and the Dooars region).
Tea is also grown on a large scale in the Nilgiris in south India.
Ideal climate condition for tea cultivation:
originate in regions that are tropical or subtropical. Asia, Africa, and South America are primarily where the majority of the world’s tea is grown.
Cool to mild temperatures and at least five hours of sunshine every day are needed for tea. The ideal temperature range for tea plants to thrive is between 15 and 23 °C every year. Between 150 and 200 cm of rain are required.
Similar to tea plantations, which need 150–200 cm of rainfall annually, coffee crops require a little higher rainfall of 25–30 cm. There is just one distinction: coffee is grown in shade because it has to be protected from direct sunshine.
Challenges of Tea industry in India:
The owners are in a panic due to rising manufacturing costs and other problems.
Because of reduced input costs, notably labour, and fewer quality inspections, Nepal, a country with similar meteorological characteristics and topography, is able to produce tea at a cheaper cost.
Imported tea from Nepal of lower quality is thereafter marketed and exported again under the name of premium Darjeeling Tea.
There is no more area available for the growth of tea gardens in Darjeeling because of its high topography.
The issue has been exacerbated by several global circumstances, such as the drop in demand from European markets following the Russia-Ukraine war.
Tea Board of India:
The Indian Tea Cess Bill, which was approved in 1903, is when the Tea Board of India first came into existence.
Under Section 4 of the Tea Act of 1953, the current Tea Board was established.
Under the direction of the Ministry of Trade, it serves as a statutory body of the Central Government.
The Board is made up of 31 members, including the chairman, who are chosen from among members of parliament, tea growers, dealers, and consumers as well as government officials from the major tea-producing states and trade unions.
Every three years, the Board is reformed. The Tea Board previously had offices in Kuwait and Egypt. These two offices, however, were moved to Dubai.
To guarantee a higher price premium, Small Tea Growers (STGs) should also be acknowledged as GI-registered producers on par with the 87 tea estates that make Darjeeling Tea.
In order to include strict standards for certificate of origin on tea imports from Nepal, the government should examine and renegotiate the Indo-Nepal Treaty.
Source: Indian Express
World Bank’s loan to support India’s Health sector
GS Paper II
Context: The World Bank and the Government of India have agreed on two complementary loans totaling $1 billion to assist and improve India’s healthcare system.
About World Bank’s loan:
The World Bank is providing two complimentary loans totaling $500 million to assist India upgrade its health infrastructure and get ready for next pandemics.
The Public Health Systems for Pandemic Preparedness Initiative, which will invest $500 million, will help with the endeavour to set up India’s monitoring system to find and report diseases of concern.
Both of these loans employ the Program-for-Results funding instrument, which focuses on achieving outcomes rather than inputs, to assist the government’s attempts to increase service delivery through a reformed primary healthcare paradigm.
By these loans, the bank would assist the delivery of health services in the seven States of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Meghalaya, Odisha, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh as well as India’s premier PradhanMantri-Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Project (PM-ABHIM).
India’s Health Sector:
The health care system in India is made up of both public and private elements:
Although keeping a modest number of secondary and tertiary care facilities in large cities, the government healthcare system focuses on building primary healthcare centres (PHCs) in rural regions.
With an emphasis on metropolises and tier-I and tier-II cities, the private sector manages the majority of secondary, tertiary, and quaternary care institutions.
India’s public healthcare spending was 2.1% of GDP in 2021–2022, up from 1.8% in 2020–2021 and 1.3% in 2019–20, according to the Economic Survey of 2022.
Unfair distribution: The bulk of India’s population resides in rural areas, although the country’s health care system is largely centred in metropolitan areas.
Low Budget Spending: In 2021–22, India’s government will spend only 2.1% of its GDP on healthcare, compared to 10% for Japan, Canada, and France.
Absence of medical research: R&D and modern technology-driven new ventures get less attention in India.
Low doctor-patient ratio: India has a doctor-to-patient ratio of roughly 1:1500, which is significantly greater than the WHO standard of one doctor to every 1,000 patients.
The PradhanMantri-Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission (PM-ABHIM) intends to improve basic, secondary, and tertiary care services throughout India and develop the nation’s health infrastructure.
In order to bring health care closer to households, Ayushman Bharat uses a two-pronged strategy that includes the establishment of health and wellness centres.
A PradhanMantri Jan ArogyaYojana (PMJAY) was created to shield poor and vulnerable families from financial risk related to medical emergencies.
The Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission seeks to link hospitals all throughout the nation’s digital health solutions. Every person will now have access to a digital health ID, and their medical records will be safeguarded online.
The National Ayush Mission is a federally funded programme for the advancement of folk remedies.
PradhanMantriSwasthyaSurakshaYojana (PMSSY): aims to correct regional imbalances in the availability of affordable/reliable tertiary healthcare services and also to augment facilities for quality medical education in the country.
India should focus on technology upgradation and preventive care to further its march towards healthy india.
Source: Indian Express
Facts for Prelims
Hidden corridor discovered in Pyramid of Giza using Cosmic-Ray Muon Radiography:
Scientists have discovered a secret passageway inside the Great Pyramid of Giza using the non-invasive method known as cosmic-ray muon radiography.
CMR is a method used to examine the composition and density of materials that are concealed within massive, dense structures, such as geological formations, historical sites, and commercial buildings.
The method includes creating photographs of the inside of such things using muons, a kind of cosmic-ray particle.
As protons and atomic nuclei from cosmic rays hit with atoms in the upper atmosphere of the Earth, muon particles are produced.
These muons pass through things as they go through the atmosphere and delve deeply into the earth.
Muons are very invasive particles that can through many metres of rock or other materials, which makes them perfect for picturing an object’s interior structure.
CMR works on the basis of measuring the flux of muons going through an item and comparing it to the flux that would be predicted from the geometry and composition of the object.
The interior structure of an item can be inferred from changes in the object’s composition or density as shown by differences between the observed and predicted flux.
The Great Pyramid, originally rising around 147 m above the Giza plateau, is the biggest of the three pyramids at Giza.
Khufu, who is frequently regarded as the greatest pharaoh of ancient Egypt, began construction in 2550 BC.
It is estimated that the pyramid was built using 2.5 million stone blocks, each weighing between 2.5 and 15 tonnes.
Around the coasts of the world, massive phytoplankton blooms huge blooms of tiny algae floating on the ocean’s surface have grown bigger and more frequent.
Phytoplankton is a food source for marine creatures like fish and whales.
Moreover, it has the potential to be hazardous in high concentrations, depriving the ocean of oxygen and causing “dead zones” that destabilise the food chain and fisheries.
seasurface temperatures that are warmer.
Climate changes may also interfere with ocean circulation, influencing how nutrients travel across the ocean and how the strata of the ocean mix.
Also, human growth is important. Agricultural fertiliser runoff can increase the amount of nutrients in the ocean, which can cause blooms.
Samarth (Scheme for Capacity Building in Textiles Sector):
To broaden the basis of the panel of implementing partners for Samarth, the Ministry of Textiles has requested ideas for empanelment from the textile sector and industry groups.
The Ministry of Textiles’ umbrella skilling programme, Samarth, is demand-driven and placement-focused.
Goal: To encourage and support industry initiatives to develop jobs in organised textile and associated industries along the whole textile value chain, except spinning and weaving.
Coverage: The programme serves all societal segments, including SC, ST, and other underprivileged groups, and has spread to 28 States and 6 Union territories of the nation.
In order to carry out training programmes under Samarth, the Ministry has collaborated with 116 textile industries/industry associations, 12 central/state government agencies, and 3 sectoralorganisations.
Implementation: The programme will be in effect until March 2024. Employment connection is required in courses offered by the organised textile sector, with placement requirements of 70% for entry-level positions and 90% for upskillingprogrammes.
accomplishments till date: 1.5 lakh of the 3.47 lakh recipients who were intended to get training have already received it.
More than 85% of the program’s recipients who have received training thus far are women.
More than 70% of the beneficiaries who took courses in the organised sector were placed.