(GS-III: Infrastructure- energy)
Recently, NITI Aayog and Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and RMI India have launched the Shoonya Campaign. RMI is an independent nonprofit organization founded in 1982.
About the Campaign:
It is an initiative to promote zero-pollution delivery vehicles by working with consumers and industry.
The campaign will promote the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in the urban deliveries segment and create consumer awareness about the health, environmental and economic benefits of electric vehicles.
As part of the campaign, a corporate branding and certification programme is being launched to recognise and promote the industry’s efforts towards transitioning to EVs for final-mile deliveries.
Government of India Initiatives to give a boost EV Sector in India:
The government aims to see 6 million electric and hybrid vehicles on the roads by 2020 under the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020.
Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles in India (FAME India Scheme) for improving electric mobility in India.
Implementation of smart cities would also boost the growth of electric vehicles.
The Indian electric vehicle (EV) market currently has one of the lowest penetration rates in the world.
Capital costs are high and the payoff is uncertain.
The Indian EV industry has been hit hard due to rupee’s dramatic depreciation in recent months.
Local production of inputs for EVs is at just about 35% of total input production.
The production will be severely affected in terms of production costs.
The Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid) and Electric Vehicles (Fame) framework has been extended repeatedly.
An uncertain policy environment and the lack of supporting infrastructure are major roadblocks.
India does not have any known reserves of lithium and cobalt, which makes it dependent on imports of lithium-ion batteries from Japan and China.
Need of the hour:
For EVs to contribute effectively, we need commensurate efforts in developing an entire ecosystem.
Need to shift the focus from subsidizing vehicles to subsidizing batteries because batteries make up 50% of EV costs.
Increasing focus on incentivizing electric two-wheelers because two-wheelers account for 76% of the vehicles in the country and consume most of the fuel.
A wide network of charging stations is imminent for attracting investment.
Work places in tech parks, Public bus depots, and Multiplexes are the potential places where charging points could be installed. In Bangalore, some malls have charging points in parking lots.
Corporates could invest in charging stations as Corporate Social Responsibility compliances.
Acquiring lithium fields in Bolivia, Australia, and Chile could become as important as buying oil fields as India needs raw material to make batteries for electric vehicles.
(GS-III: Conservation related issues)
Power Finance Corporation Ltd (PFC), the leading NBFC in power sector, has successfully issued its first ever Euro Green Bonds.
It is the first ever Euro denominated Green bond issuance from India.
Moreover, it is the first ever Euro issuance by an Indian NBFC and the first Euro bond issuance from India since 2017.
What Is a Green Bond?
A green bond is a type of fixed-income instrument that is specifically earmarked to raise money for climate and environmental projects.
These bonds are typically asset-linked and backed by the issuing entity’s balance sheet, so they usually carry the same credit rating as their issuers’ other debt obligations.
Green bonds may come with tax incentives to enhance their attractiveness to investors.
The World Bank is a major issuer of green bonds. It has issued 164 such bonds since 2008, worth a combined $14.4 billion. In 2020, the total issuance of green bonds was worth almost $270 billion, according to the Climate Bond Initiative.
How Does a Green Bond Work?
Green bonds work just like any other corporate or government bond.
Borrowers issue these securities in order to secure financing for projects that will have a positive environmental impact, such as ecosystem restoration or reducing pollution.
Investors who purchase these bonds can expect to make as the bond matures.
In addition, there are often tax benefits for investing in green bonds.
Green Bonds Vs Blue Bonds:
Blue bonds are sustainability bonds to finance projects that protect the ocean and related ecosystems.
This can include projects to support sustainable fisheries, protection of coral reefs and other fragile ecosystems, or reducing pollution and acidification.
All blue bonds are green bonds, but not all green bonds are blue bonds.
Green Bonds Vs Climate Bonds:
“Green bonds” and “climate bonds” are sometimes used interchangeably, but some authorities use the latter term specifically for projects focusing on reducing carbon emissions or alleviating the effects of climate change.
Model Tenancy Act
(GS-II: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)
Assam has become the first state to adopt the Model Tenancy Act. With this Assam Urban Areas Rent Control Act, 1972 gets repealed.
New Act will spur growth & development of transparent & accountable rental market & balance the interests of tenants & landlords. It will provide ecosystem for rapid dispute resolution.
The Union Cabinet, in June 2021, approved the Model Tenancy Act (MTA).
States and Union territories can now adopt the Model Tenancy Act by enacting fresh legislation or they can amend their existing rental laws suitably.
Highlights of the Model Law:
Applicable prospectively and will not affect the existing tenancies.
Written agreement is a must for all new tenancies. The agreement will have to be submitted to the concerned district ‘Rent Authority’.
The law also speaks about roles and responsibilities of landlord and tenants.
No landlord or property manager can withhold any essential supply to the premises occupied by the tenant.
If tenancy has not been renewed, the tenancy shall be deemed to be renewed on a month-to-month basis on the same terms and conditions as were in the expired tenancy agreement, for a maximum period of six months.
Compensation in case of non-vacancy: On the expiry of extended period of six months of agreed tenancy period or the termination of tenancy by order or notice, the tenant shall be a tenant in default and liable to pay compensation of double of the monthly rent for two months and four times of the monthly rent thereafter.
A landowner or property manager may enter a premise in accordance with written notice or notice through electronic medium served to the tenant at least twenty-four hours before the time of entry.
It is an important piece of legislation that promises to ease the burden on civil courts, unlock rental properties stuck in legal disputes, and prevent future tangles by balancing the interests of tenants and landlords.
Need for a law in this regard:
Young, educated job seekers migrating to large metropolises often complain of onerous tenancy conditions and obscene sums of money as security deposits that they are asked to fork out to lease accommodation. In some cities, tenants are asked to pay security deposits amounting to 11 months of rent.
Also, some house owners routinely breach tenants’ right to privacy by visiting the premises unannounced for sundry repair works.
Whimsical rent raises are another problem for tenants, many of whom complain of being squeezed as “captive customers“.
Besides, Tenants are often accused of “squatting” on the rented premises, or trying to grab the property.
Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)
(GS-II: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate)
The 21st meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of State was held on 17 September 2021 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan in hybrid format.
The meeting was chaired by H.E. Emomali Rahmon, the President of Tajikistan.
About the SCO:
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a permanent intergovernmental international organization.
The creation of SCO was announced on 15 June 2001 in Shanghai (China).
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Charter was signed during the St.Petersburg SCO Heads of State meeting in June 2002, and entered into force on 19 September 2003.
It was preceded by the Shanghai Five mechanism.
The SCO’s official languages are Russian and Chinese.
Founding members of SCO were-
Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan were members of the Shanghai Five, Prior to the creation of SCO in 2001.
Shanghai Five (1996) emerged from a series of border demarcation and demilitarization talks which the four former Soviet republics held with China to ensure stability along the borders.
Uzbekistan joined the organisation in 2001, following this the Shanghai Five was renamed the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
India and Pakistan became members in 2017.
Now, SCO is comprised of Eight Member countries. Namely-
Objectives of SCO:
Significance for India:
The SCO’s significance for India lies in economics and geopolitics with the Eurasian states.
SCO is a potential platform to advance India’s Connect Central Asia policy. The SCO member states occupy the huge landmass adjacent to India’s extended neighbourhood where India has both economic and security imperatives.
Importance of SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group to stabilise Afghanistan. SCO membership provides India a vital counter to some of the other groupings it is a part of.
The SCO provides the only multilateral platform for India to deal in close proximity with Pakistan and Afghanistan.