Rewa Solar Project
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has recently inaugurated 750MW Solar Project set up at Rewa, Madhya Pradesh.
Details about the project –
- This Project comprises of three solar generating units of 250 MW each located on a 500 hectare plot of land situated inside a Solar Park (total area 1500 hectare).
- The Solar Park was developed by the Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Limited (RUMSL), a Joint Venture Company of Madhya Pradesh Urja Vikas Nigam Limited (MPUVN), and Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), a Central Public Sector Undertaking.
- Central Financial Assistance of Rs. 138 crore has been provided to RUMSL for development of the Park.
- After the Park had been developed, Mahindra Renewables Private Ltd., ACME Jaipur Solar Power Private Ltd., and Arinsun Clean Energy Private Ltd were selected by RUMSL through reverse auction for developing three solar generating units of 250 MW each inside the Solar Park.
- The Rewa Solar Project was the first solar project in the country to break the grid parity barrier. Compared to prevailing solar project tariffs of approx. Rs. 4.50/unit in early 2017, the Rewa project achieved historic results: a first year tariff of Rs. 2.97/unit with a tariff escalation of Rs. 0.05/unit over 15 years and a levelised rate of Rs. 3.30/unit over the term of 25 years.
- This project will reduce carbon emission equivalent to approx. 15 lakh ton of CO2 per year.
- The project has also received World Bank Group President’s Award for innovation and excellence and was included in the Prime Minister’s “A Book of Innovation: New Beginnings”.
- The project is also the first renewable energy project to supply to an institutional customer outside the State, i.e. Delhi Metro, which will get 24% of energy from the project with remaining 76% being supplied to the State DISCOMs of Madhya Pradesh.
About Solar Energy Corporation of India –
- Solar Energy Corporation of India ltd” (SECI) is a CPSU under the administrative control of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), set up on 20th Sept, 2011 to facilitate the implementation of JNNSM (Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission) and achievement of targets set therein (revised target of achieving 100 GW solar capacity by 2022).
- It is the only CPSU dedicated to the solar energy sector. It was originally incorporated as a section-25 (not for profit) company under the Companies Act, 1956.
- However, through a Government of India decision, the company has recently been converted into a Section-3 company under the Companies Act, 2013. The mandate of the company has also been broadened to cover the entire renewable energy domain.
The Ministry of Culture has taken up the project of reprinting of 108 volumes of Mongolian Kanjur under the National Mission for Manuscripts (NMM).
The first set of five volumes of Mongolian Kanjur published under the NMM was presented to the President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind on the occasion of Guru Purnima, also known as Dharma Chakra Day, on 4th July 2020.
Details about Mongolian Kanjur –
- Mongolian Kanjur, the Buddhist canonical text in 108 volumes is considered to be the most important religious text in Mongolia.
- In the Mongolian language ‘Kanjur’ means ‘Concise Orders’- the words of Lord Buddha in particular.
- It is held in high esteem by the Mongolian Buddhists and they worship the Kanjur at temples and recite the lines of Kanjur in daily life as a sacred ritual.
- The Kanjur are kept almost in every monastery in Mongolia.
- Mongolian Kanjur has been translated from Tibetan.
- The language of the Kanjur is Classical Mongolian.
- The Mongolian Kanjur is a source of providing a cultural identity to Mongolia.
About National Mission for Manuscripts (NMM) –
- The National Mission for Manuscripts was launched in February 2003 by the Government of India, under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, with the mandate of documenting, conserving and disseminating the knowledge preserved in the manuscripts.
- One of the objectives of the mission is to publish rare and unpublished manuscripts so that the knowledge enshrined in them is spread to researchers, scholars and general public at large.
- Under this scheme, reprinting of 108 volumes of Mongolian Kanjur has been taken up by the Mission. It is expected that all the volumes will be published by March, 2022.
Impact on India-Mongolia relations –
- Historical interaction between India and Mongolia goes back centuries. Buddhism was carried to Mongolia by Indian cultural and religious ambassadors during the early Christian era.
- As a result, today, Buddhists form the single largest religious denomination in Mongolia.
- India established formal diplomatic relations with Mongolia in 1955. Since then, the overwhelming relationship between both the countries has now reached a new height.
- Now, the publication of Mongolian Kanjur by the Government of India for the Government of Mongolia will act as a symbol of cultural symphony between India and Mongolia and will contribute to furtherance of bilateral relations during the coming years.
Contradicting the Opposition’s argument for virtual meetings of standing committees to ensure quorum during deliberations, officials at the Rajya Sabha Secretariat have said that quorum is essential only when the committees take decisions or adopt reports and not during routine deliberations.
What is the issue?
- Out of 281 meetings of the eight department-related Standing Committees that are headed by Rajya Sabha members, 16% were held without quorum.
- The committee on Science and Technology & Environment and Forests held 32 meetings during the past three years, of which 22% were without quorum.
- In respect of the 38 meetings of the committee on Home Affairs, 21% were without quorum.
What is ‘Quorum’?
The minimum number of members required to be present at a sitting of the House or a Committee for valid transaction of its business, which is one-tenth of the total number of members of the House, as provided under Article 100 (3) of the Constitution.
Open Sky Agreement
The UAE is keen to have an open sky agreement with India. There are about 1,068 flights a week between India and the UAE operated by the airlines of the two countries under the bilateral Air Service Agreement.
What is ‘Open Sky Agreement’?
- Open Sky Agreements are bilateral agreements that the two countries negotiate to provide rights for airlines to offer international passenger and cargo services. It expands international passenger and cargo flights.
- India has Air Service Agreements (ASA) with 109 countries including UAE covering aspects relating to the number of flights, seats, landing points and code-share. But does not allow unlimited number of flights between two countries.
- Open skies between India and UAE will allow unlimited number of flights to the selected cities of each other’s countries.
India’s Open Sky Policy –
- The National Civil Aviation Policy (2016) allows the government to enter into an ‘open sky’ air services agreement on a reciprocal basis with South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations as well as countries beyond a 5,000 kilometre radius from New Delhi.
- It implies that nations within 5,000 kilometre of distance need to enter into a bilateral agreement and mutually determine the number of flights that their airlines can operate between the two countries.
- India has open sky agreements with Greece, Jamaica, Guyana, Finland, USA, Japan, etc.
Fifth and Sixth Freedom of Air –
- The Freedom of air was formulated as a result of disagreements over the extent of aviation liberalisation in the Convention on International Civil Aviation of 1944, known as the Chicago Convention.
- The freedoms of the air are a set of commercial aviation rights granting a country’s airlines the privilege to enter and land in another country’s airspace.
- The fifth freedom of air includes the right to fly between two foreign countries on a flight originating or ending in one’s own country.
- The sixth freedom of air includes the right to fly from a foreign country to another while stopping in one’s own country for non-technical reasons.
The idea of setting up a bad bank often comes up for debate, especially when stress in the banking sector is projected to rise in the near term.
What is a bad bank?
- A bad bank buys the bad loans and other illiquid holdings of other banks and financial institutions, which clears their balance sheet.
- The banking sector, led by the Indian Banks Association (IBA), recently submitted a proposal for setting up a bad bank to the finance ministry and the RBI, proposing equity contribution from the government and the banks.
- This was based on an idea proposed by a panel on faster resolution of stressed assets in public sector banks headed by former PNB Chairman Sunil Mehta.
- This panel had proposed an asset management company (AMC), ‘Sashakt India Asset Management’, for resolving large bad loans two years ago. There were talks about creating a bad bank in 2018 too, but it never took shape.
What is the government’s view?
- The government’s view is that bad loan resolution should happen in a market-led way, as there are many asset reconstruction companies already operating in the private space.
- In the last three financial years, the government has infused equity of Rs 2.65 lakh crore into state-owned banks. These steps, along with insolvency resolution under the IBC, are seen as adequate to the tackle the challenge of bad loans.
- Many industry experts and government officials involved in economic policy-making argue that the enactment of IBC has reduced the need for having a bad bank, as a transparent and open process is available for all lenders to attempt insolvency resolution.
A restaurant in Madurai has turned the city’s love for the parotta into a symbol of safety in COVID-19 times. It has come out with a signature dish shaped like a face mask.
What is a parotta?
- A Parotta is a layered flatbread, originating from the Indian subcontinent, made from maida flour, popular in Southern India.
- It is a common street food in southern India, especially in Tamil Nadu and Kerala primarily, and then in Karnataka, Maharashtra and the countries of United Arab Emirates, Sri Lanka etc.
- There are different types of parotta including coin parotta, Malabari parotta, berotta, etc.
- It is prepared by kneading maida flour, egg (in some recipes), oil or ghee and water. The dough is beaten into thin layers and later forming a round spiralled into a ball using these thin layers. The ball is rolled flat and pan fried.