Friday, April 27, 2012 - , 0 comments

'Solar' India



   

FEATURE

Energy


M.V.S. Prasad* 


World's production and use of energy over the past two decades have shown striking changes.  Use of electricity has risen phenomenally resulting in a remarkable difference in the pattern of energy consumption. The initial options that we had for switching fuel resource presented larger challenges in terms of global warming coupled with almost dwindling fossil fuel resources.
When we look at the world's energy resources, oil, natural gas and coal seem to be still riding the crest and the contribution of renewable seems marginal at this juncture.
         Solar energy seems to enjoy a better edge over the others at this juncture due to vigorous pursuit to transform it into an attractive and economic option. Power consumption in India has been increasing fast due to population growth and economic development. India has tremendous energy needs and faces an uphill task in meeting these requirements through traditional means of power generation.
The Indian economy faces increasing challenges because energy supply is struggling to keep pace with demand, and there are energy shortages of 10-13% daily almost everywhere in the country. Because India has so many black-outs, many factories and households use emergency generators and inverters as back-ups. This back-up power could be supplied by solar energy.
Solar has the potential to transform the Indian economy in the same way as the Information Technology (IT).India is in a unique position to introduce clean energy solutions on an enormous scale to provide affordable energy for everyone – especially the poor. From an energy security perspective, solar is the most secure of all sources, since it is abundantly available. Theoretically, a small fraction of the total incident solar energy (if captured effectively) can meet the entire country’s power requirements. It is also clear that given the large proportion of poor and energy un-served population in the country, every effort needs to be made to exploit the relatively abundant sources of energy available to the country. The National Solar Mission has targeted to deploy 20 million solar lighting systems for rural areas by 2022.
India is blessed with about an estimated 5000 TWh of solar radiation. This vast resource can be tapped to meet the growing energy demand. Even if a tenth of this potential is utilised, it could solve the country’s power problems. India could lead the world by embracing solar power, if favourable policies and business models are evolved and implemented nationwide.
India should take full advantage of this golden opportunity because solar energy has particular relevance in remote and rural areas, where around 289 million people live without access to electricity. Solar energy is the most cost-effective option for India to reduce energy poverty without having to extend national grid services to provide power for individual homes and buildings. Solar energy to power computers to assist learning in schools and hostels, Management Information System (MIS) to assist better management of forests, powering milk chilling plants, empowering women Self Help Groups (SHGs) involved in tussar silk  reeling, cold chain management for Primary Health Centres (PHCs) are some examples of new areas, being tried successfully in the country.
A State/UT wise list of grid solar power projects commissioned so far is as follows:
S.No.
State / UT
Capacity (kWp)
1
Andhra Pradesh
100
2
Arunanchal Pradesh
25
3
Gujarat
5000
4
Karnataka
6000
5
Kerala
25
6
Madhya Pradesh
100
7
Maharashtra
1000
8
Punjab
2325
9
Rajasthan
4950
10 
Tamil Nadu
5050
11 
Uttar Pradesh
375
12 
Uttarakhand
50
13 
West Bengal
1150
14 
Andaman & Nicobar
100
15 
Delhi
2142
16 
Lakshadweep
750
17 
Puducherry
25
18 
Others
790

Total
29957

Launching the National Action Plan on Climate Change on June 30, 2008, the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh said “our vision is to make India’s economic development energy-efficient. Over a period of time, we must pioneer a graduated shift from economic activity based on fossil fuels to one based on non-fossil fuels and from reliance on non-renewable and depleting sources of energy to renewable sources of energy. In this strategy, the sun occupies centre-stage, as it should, being literally the original source of all energy. We will pool our scientific, technical and managerial talents, with sufficient financial resources, to develop solar energy as a source of abundant energy to power our economy and to transform the lives of our people. Our success in this endeavour will change the face of India. It would also enable India to help change the destinies of people around the world.”

Support

The National Solar Mission is a major initiative of the Government of India and State Governments to promote ecologically sustainable growth while addressing India’s energy security challenge.  It will also constitute a major contribution by India to the global effort to meet the challenges of climate change. The National Action Plan on Climate Change also points out:  “India is a tropical country, where sunshine is available for longer hours per day and in great intensity.  Solar energy, therefore, has great potential as future energy source.  It also has the advantage of permitting the decentralized distribution of energy, thereby empowering people at the grassroots level”. 

Solar is currently high on absolute costs compared to other sources of power such as coal.  The objective of the Solar Mission is to create conditions, through rapid scale-up of capacity and technological innovation to drive down costs towards grid parity. The Mission has set an ambitious target to create an enabling policy framework for the deployment of  20,000 MW of solar power by 2022 and to ramp up capacity of grid-connected solar power generation to 1000 MW. The Solar Mission has set a target of 1000 MW by 2017, which may appear small, but its reach will add up to bringing changes in millions of households .For the first phase,a target has been fixed to set up 1,100 MW of grid connected solar power plants by March, 2013.

         Asia’s first and largest Solar Park has been set up at Charanka in Gujarat. The 3000 acre state of the art park has generation capacity of 500 MW with training facilities as well. Incidentally, Gujarat has taken the lead in solar power generation and has  been contributing 2/3rds of total 900 MW solar power  generated in the country.The state government is also working on a solar energy policy, which is likely to be launched soon.

India is endowed with vast solar energy potential. About 5,000 trillion kWh per year energy is incident overIndia’s land area with most parts receiving 4-7 kWh per sq. m per day. Hence both technology routes for conversion of solar radiation into heat and electricity, namely, solar thermal and solar photovoltaic, can effectively be harnessed providing huge scalability for solar in India.
Solar photovoltaic (PV) industry has demonstrated unprecedented growth over the recent past, with increased demand for solar power attracting more and more players into the market. The price of solar panels has come down considerably. This has made solar technology more competitive. The Government may consider favourable tax structures as well as provide financial resources for community solar farms as part of the energy development programmes.
Solar irradiance, economic installation costs, Government support and financing conditions in all probability, are likely to drive the growth of the solar photo-voltaic technology. The falling generation cost is another encouraging factor for the technology to emerge as the largest and most stable demand segment. Power cannot be produced at night or cloudy days is history as concentrated solar power plants and Nano-antennas are being developed to capture residual heat to overcome this limitation. Remote communities could eventually make their own solar cells using waste vegetation, thanks to a design developed by researchers in Switzerland and the United States. The technology is inspired by photosynthesis
Most of the solar installations are supported by incentives. However, until the efficiency of solar cell improves and the cost of generation competes with that of conventional energy, solar energy can only have a limited role.
Solar energy is a win-win for India and the environment, and India should make it a mainstream component of its energy diversification. There is really no better economical choice for the country. Renewable energy is also an attractive investment opportunity because it will provide long-term economic growth for the country. A favourable renewable energy policy could create millions of jobs.
As American economist and author Jeremy Rifkin  rightly said, India can usher in a third industrial revolution by properly utilising its renewable energy resources. In fact, progress on renewable energy front could determine the future road map for human sustainability.

Solar Energy has the potential to re-energise India’s economy by creating millions of new jobs, achieve energy independence, reduce the trade deficit and propel the nation forward as a ‘green nation’. In short, solar power offers too many benefits for India to ignore or delay its development. (PIB Feature.)
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E-Governance in Panchayats



  The Government has formulated a project namely e-Panchayat Mission Mode Project (MMP) for e-enablement of all the Panchayats which will make their functioning more efficient and transparent. The Project received in principle approval from the Planning Commission in August 2007. Out of  130.39 crores only that have been allocated for the Project so far, 23 crores and 24 crores were allocated during 2009-10 and 2010-11 respectively without any disbursement to States. However, during 2011-12, 40 crores was allocated of which the releases to States/Union Territories as under:
i            1.5 crores for incentivizing the adoption of PRIASoft; and
ii)            38.5 crores for setting up of Programme Management Units at State and District levels for rollout of e-Panchayat MMP.
iii)           The budgetary allocation during 2012-13 is  40 Crores.

e-Governance in Panchayats is sought to be achieved through the e-Panchayat MMP under the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP). Under the e-Panchayat MMP, 11 Core Common Software applications are planned. Four of these applications namely PRIASoftPlanPlus, National Panchayat Portal and Local Governance Directory have been rolled out. Six more applications except Geographic Information System (GIS) namely Area Profiler, ServicePlus, Asset Directory, ActionSoft, Social Audit and Trainings Management have also been launched on 24th April, 2012 on the occasion of National Panchayat Day. For effective implementation of the project, workshops are held to demonstrate the applications to the State Govt. functionaries. The present status of the 4 applications that have been rolled out is as under:

a)            PRIASoft – an online cash-based double entry accounting software that implements the Model Accounting System for PRIs, has been a major success with 1.2 lakh Panchayats on board and about 65,000Panchayats are making online voucher entries during 2011-2012. Over 60 lakhs vouchers have been entered till March, 2012 for the year 2011-12 and reports can be accessed at http://Accountingonline.gov.in.

b)            Over 75,000 Annual Draft Plans & Action Plans of different plan units (ULBs/ RLBs/ Line Deptts.) are available online on PlanPlus. The software facilitates planning by Panchayats, ULBs/RLBs and line departments. Over 43,000 Plan Units have uploaded their Annual Action Plans online in 2011-12. This includes 82 ZillaPanchayts, 1300 Block Panchayats & 41500 Gram Panchayats who have adopted PlanPlus during 2011-12. These can be accessed at http://planningonline.gov.in


c)            The National Panchayat Portal: Over 2,36,500 dynamic websites have been created for Panchayats(95% adoption) and 30,000 of these websites are seeing an active content upload. It can be accessed athttp://panchayat.gov.in

d)            Local Governance Directory captures details of local governments and assigns unique code to allPanchayats to ensure interoperability amongst all applications of Panchayat Enterprise Suite (PES). It also mapsPanchayats with Assembly and Parliamentary Constituencies. It can be accessed athttp://panchayatdirectory.gov.in


Since the Project so far has not provided any funds for hardware including computers, the States have been advised to utilize available funds from other sources such as 13th Central Finance Commission grants, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF),Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Yojana (RGSY) etc. for computerization of Panchayats.

Training of the Trainers (ToT) model has been adopted for training the PRI functionaries down to the grass-root level. The Ministry of Panchayati Raj is also providing trained faculty to provide training on PanchayatEnterprise Suite (PES) applications and has advised States to create a cadre of Master Trainers. So far, approximately 20,000 officials have been trained. Trainings are also being conducted to impart basic ICT literacy trainings to PRI functionaries and elected representatives. So far, 4500 functionaries and elected members have been trained in fourteen States.

The project is being regularly reviewed by NeGP Apex Committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary, Government of India. Review Meetings chaired by the Secretary, Panchayati Raj are also held regularly to monitor the progress of the Project.

This information was given by the Minister of Panchayati Affairs, Shri V. Kishore Chandra Deo in a written reply in the Lok Sabha today.
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Steps to eradicate Educational Backwardness of Muslims



Educational backwardness being one of the reasons for the backwardness among Muslim community, the Government has taken following steps to eradicate the same:

In order to improve literacy rate amongst Muslims, which is 59% as per 2001 Census, the Ministry of Minority Affairs is awarding Pre-matric Scholarship, Post-matric Scholarship, Merit-cum-means Based Scholarship and Maulana Azad National Fellowship exclusively to Minority students. The Ministry of Human Resource Development has undertaken schemes for Providing Quality Education in Madarsas (SPQEM), Infrastructure Development of Minority Institutions (IDMI), Establishment of Residential Coaching Academies for Minorities/ SC/ ST and Women, Establishment of Urdu Academy/ Centre for Professional Development of Urdu Teachers, Establishment of a satellite campus of Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), Hyderabad, Establishment of Model Degree Colleges and Establishment of Women Hostels in Minority Concentrated Districts.

Giving this information in written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, Shri Vincent H. Pala, Minister of State for Minority Affairs, said that there are bodies to monitor various schemes and programmes of the Government for the upliftment of minorities: schemes related to Ministry of Minority Affairs are being monitored through National Productivity Council (NPC) which deploys National Level Monitors (NLMs) for the purpose. The Ministry of Human Resource Development also has an executive body viz. National Monitoring Committee for Minorities Education (NMCME) which monitors various issues related to the schemes of Ministry of Human Resource Development targeted at educational development of Minorities.
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Inflation Rate




The general and sector-wise inflation interims of Wholesale Price Index (WPI) since October 2011 is given below:

Wholesale Price Inflation (Year-on-Year in per cent)


All Commodities
Primary Articles
Fuel and Power
Manufactured Products
October- 2011
9.87
10.96
14.79
8.05
November – 2011
9.46
8.90
15.48
8.17
December- 2011
7.74
3.59
14.98
7.64
January – 2012
6.89
2.76
14.61
6.71
February-2012 (P)
6.95
6.28
12.83
5.75
March – 2012 (P)
6.89
9.62
10.41
4.87

      P-Provisional

Overall inflation in March, 2012 for all major groups was lower compared to the rate of inflation in October, 2011.  In case of primary articles, however, inflation after declining to 2.76 per cent in January, 2012 increased to 9.62 per cent in March, 2012.  Apart from the base effect, increase in the inflation of primary articles was largely on account of persistently high inflation for protein rich items like milk and “egg, meat and fish”.

Inflation for 31 essential commodities has declined from 18.5 per cent in March, 2010 to around 5 per cent in January 2012 before inching upward to 8.9 per cent in March 2012 mainly due to high inflation in protein rich items on account of structural demand supply imbalances.

The Reserve Bank took necessary monetary measure to contain inflation.  The repo rate under the Liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) was cumulatively increased by 375 basis points between March 2010 and October 2011 to 8.5 per cent.  With moderation of inflation beginning December, 2011 and in view of decelerating growth, the policy rates were reduced by 50 basis points.  The policy action is intended to : (i) Adjust policy rates to levels consistent with the current growth moderation, (ii) guard against re-emergence of the risks of demand-led inflationary pressures re-emerging and (iii) provide a greater liquidity cushion to the financial system.

The Union budget for 2012-13 has proposed certain specific supply side measures which could improve the inflation situation, particularly in case of protein rich items.

  • National Mission for Protein Supplement:  To increase the supply of the protein supplements, government had launched a National Mission for Protein supplements in 2011-12 with allocation of Rs.300 crore. The Mission has taken up activities to promote animal based protein production through livestock development, dairy farming and fisheries in selected blocks.  Union budget 2012-13 has attempted to further strengthen the mission.
  • National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm aims to increase production and productivity of oil seeds and oil palm.
  • 5 million tones storage capacity for food grains is proposed to be added during 2012-13.
  • The allocations for the scheme Bringing Green Revolution to Eastern India (BGREI) has also been increased from  Rs.400 crore in 2011-12 to Rs.1000 crore in 2012-13 in view of its potential for increasing availability of agricultural produce.



This information was given by the Minister of State for Finance, Shri Namo Narain Meena in written reply to a question in Lok  Sabha today.
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Maiden Flight of Light Combat Aircraft-Navy (NP1)



The indigenously built Light Combat Aircraft Tejas LCA Navy NP1 today made its maiden flight in Bangalore when Commodore JA Maolankar, Test Pilot and Wg Cdr Prabhu, Flight Test Engineer completed a 22 minutes flight. During the flight the aircraft was put through various manoeuvers including low speed handling and even undertook a close formation flying at slow speed with another aircraft.

Earlier the LCA Navy NP1 had completed various intensive Ground testing regimen including Low Speed Taxi Trials (LSD), High Speed Taxi Trials (HSD), Ground Vibration Test (GVT), Structural Coupling Test (SCT) and extensive system integration tests with power plant using State-of-the-Art facilities at Bangalore HAL airport.

With this India has crossed a major milestone in Design, Development, Manufacturing and Testing of a “four plus” generation Carrier Borne Fly-by-Wire STOBAR aircraft.

LCA Navy aircraft is the first attempt in the country to provide a complete marine force multiplier that will give unique battle punch to the Naval Aviation Arm of the 21st Century to fulfil national dream of a blue water Navy. LCA Navy is the second STOBAR (Ski Take Off But Arrested Recovery) Carrier Borne aircraft in the world, after the Russian deck based aircraft. However, this will be the only Carrier borne Fighter aircraft in the Light category.

Along with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) who are the Principal Partners with Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) in association with more than 100 agencies ranging from users, DRDO, CEMILAC, DGAQA, CSIR, PSUs, Private Industrial Sector and academia, spread all over India including Indian Navy and Indian Air Force are involved in the Programme. The key responsibility of LCA Navy design, build, integration and testing is with various Divisions of HAL. ADE has played a lead role in Design and Development of the Integrated Flight Control System in unison with NAL, Bangalore for Testing and Integration of Flight Control Laws to ensure safe functionalities for various phases of flight. AMAGB has been designed and manufactured by CVRDE, Chennai up-to the certification level. NSTL, Visakhapatnam and RCI, Hyderabad has rendered critical support for shock testing of LRUs. Significant Private Industry partnership with ASL (DRDO), Hyderabad for high energy Carbon-Carbon brake pads, and CADES for LEVCON and stub wing design, as examples, has helped maturing of Private Sector of the country. This Project will give us self reliance capability in a true sense and also help in taking up more Naval Aircraft Projects in future. Productionisation of indigenously developed Hydraulic system and Fuel system Line Replacement Units (LRUs) have been assigned to GTTC, Bangalore (Government Tool Room and Training Centre) and CTTC (Centre Tool Room and Training Centre), Bhubaneswar respectively. Above all this, constant support, regular participation, keen observation and continuous guidance from CEMILAC and DGAQA have ensured stringent certification and quality requirements are met on the aircraft.

The Design of first indigenous Naval aircraft imposed huge technological challenges to the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) to meet the peculiar requirements of Naval aircraft; starting from saline and humid environment of operation, restricted availability of deck run for launch and recovery and high operating load conditions. Basic design changes required to suit the carrier operations are strengthening of aircraft structure and Landing Gear, Arrester Hook, improved engine, enhanced aerodynamic performance and incorporation of special metal/material. A host of other systems like the Leading Edge Vortex Control (LEVCON) surface fitted at the front end of the aircraft wing operated by a concealed rotary actuator with aerodynamic profiling to ensure low landing speed, good controllability and better vision for the pilot. The feature of launch and recovery onboard Carrier at high sink rate of 7.1 rn/sec, flareless landing with engine to full throttle till arrested by deck cable impose five times of loading on Main Landing Gear as compared to the IAF version. Also such axial load calls for re-certification of all Line Replacement Units (LRUs), components and associated systems of naval version to ensure fail safe operation repeatedly.

ADA has set a world class Telemetry and Monitoring facility at the National Flight Test Centre (NFTC) to enable conduct of flight test activities at Bangalore. Intuitive on-line monitoring and control of the aircraft are carried out by the Test Director and various System designers. To facilitate proving the aircraft for carrier borne applications, a Shore Based Test Facility (SBTF) is being set up at the Naval Air Station, Goa replicating an aircraft carrier with a ski-jump for launch and arresting gear for deck recovery. Take off area is ready, with landing readiness scheduled for end of 2012. This test facility readiness is as per schedule.

The Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Nirmal Verma in a communication to the Scientific Adviser to the Raksha Mantri, said, “… I express my appreciation and congratulations to all members of the ADA, HAL and DRDO teams for the first successful limited test flight of the LCA (Navy) aircraft… We must ensure that today’s accomplishment leads to the timely fructification of the operational requirements for carrier borne operations….”