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3rd July Current Affairs

Green Hydrogen

In News:

Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) is investing Rs 75,000 crore in its new business focused on clean energy, which includes solar and green hydrogen.

Details:

The company will build four giga factories focusing on solar, storage battery, green hydrogen and a fuel cell factory, which can convert hydrogen into mobile and stationary power.

What is green hydrogen?

Hydrogen when produced by electrolysis using renewable energy is known as Green Hydrogen which has no carbon  footprint.

The hydrogen that is in use today is produced using fossil fuels, which is the primary source.

Organic materials such as fossil fuels and biomass are used for releasing hydrogen through chemical processes.

Significance of Green Hydrogen:

Green hydrogen energy is vital for India to meet its Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) Targets and ensure regional and national energy security, access and availability.

Green Hydrogen can act as an energy storage option, which would be essential to meet intermittencies (of renewable energy) in the future.

In terms of mobility, for long distance mobilisations for either urban freight movement within cities and states or for passengers, Green Hydrogen can be used in railways, large ships, buses or trucks, etc.

Applications of green hydrogen:

Green Chemicals like ammonia and methanol  can directly be utilized in existing applications like fertilizers, mobility, power, chemicals, shipping etc.

Green Hydrogen blending up to 10% may be adopted in CGD networks to gain widespread acceptance.

Benefits:

It is a clean-burning molecule, which can decarbonize a range of sectors including iron and steel, chemicals, and transportation.

Renewable energy that cannot be stored or used by the grid can be channelled to produce hydrogen.

What are the steps the Indian government has taken in the production of green hydrogen?

During the budget speech in February 2021, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the launch of the Hydrogen Energy Mission to produce hydrogen from renewable sources.

In the same month, state-owned Indian Oil Corporation signed an agreement with Greenstat Norway for setting up a Centre of Excellence on Hydrogen (CoE-H). It will promote R&D projects for the production of green and blue hydrogen between Norwegian and Indian R&D institutions/universities.

Recently, India and the US have set up a task force under the aegis of the Strategic Clean Energy Partnership (SCEP) to mobilise finance and speed up green energy development.

BharatNet project

In News:

Union Cabinet has accorded approval for the revised implementation strategy of BharatNet through Public-Private Partnership(PPP) mode in 16 States of the country.

The startegy includes:

The government will provide Rs 19,041 crore as viability gap funding for the project.

BharatNet will now extend up to all inhabited villages beyond the gram panchayats (GPs) in the said states.

It includes creation, upgradation, operation, maintenance and utilisation of BharatNet by the concessionaire who will be selected by a competitive international bidding process.

Significance:

The PPP model will leverage private sector efficiency for operation, maintenance, utilisation and revenue generation, and is expected to result in a faster rollout of BharatNet.

Extension of reach of BharatNet to all inhabited villages with reliable, quality, high speed broadband will enable better access of e-services offered by various central and state government agencies.

It will also enable online education, telemedicine, skill development, e-commerce and other applications of broadband.

About BharatNet:

BharatNet Project was originally launched in 2011 as the National Optical Fibre Network(NOFN) and renamed as Bharat-Net in 2015.

It seeks to provide connectivity to 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats (GPs) through optical fibre.

It is a flagship mission implemented by Bharat Broadband Network Ltd. (BBNL).

The objective is to facilitate the delivery of e-governance, e-health, e-education, e-banking, Internet and other services to rural India.

The larger vision of the project is:

  • To establish a highly scalable network infrastructure accessible on a non-discriminatory basis.
  • To provide on demand, affordable broadband connectivity of 2 Mbps to 20 Mbps for all households and on demand capacity to all institutions.
  • To realise the vision of Digital India, in partnership with States and the private sector.

Implementation:

The project is a Centre-State collaborative project, with the States contributing free Rights of Way for establishing the Optical Fibre Network.

The entire project is being funded by Universal service Obligation Fund (USOF), which was set up for improving telecom services in rural and remote areas of the country.

Why DMK wants to use the ‘correct’ term for the government of India

What is the accurate term to refer to the government of India that sits in New Delhi and forms, along with the states and local bodies, the Indian state?

Popularly – and often even in official communication – the institution is called the “Central government”. Or even just the Centre for short.

However, Tamil Nadu’s ruling party insists that the correct term is actually the “Union government”.

How did this controversy start?

Ever since the new DMK government assumed office on May 7, official statements and press releases have carried the Tamil term “Ondriya Arasu” to refer to the Union government. Earlier, the preferred term in state government communication seems to have been “Maththiya Arasu” or Central government.

According to its leaders, the Constitution describes India as a “Union of States” and therefore the ideal reference to the Centre would be the “Union Government”.

What does the Constitution of India say?

The Indian Constitution constantly uses the word “Union” to describe the entire country as well as the government that administers it.

For example, Article 53 reads, “the executive power of the Union shall be vested in the President”.

This follows from Article 1 itself: “India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States”.

Please note, Central government is a term not used in the original Constitution as passed by the Constituent Assembly.

Intent of Constituent Assembly:

Emphasis was on the consolidation and confluence of various provinces and territories to form a strong united country:

This is why on December 13, 1946,  Jawaharlal Nehru introduced the aims and objects of the Assembly by resolving that India shall be a Union of territories willing to join the “Independent Sovereign Republic”.

B.R Ambedkar justified the usage of ‘Union of States’ saying that the Drafting Committee wanted to make it clear that though India was to be a federation, it was not the result of an agreement and that therefore, no State has the right to secede from it.

Union vs Centre- which is better?

‘Centre’ or ‘Central government’ has a tendency of  centralising powers in one unit.

The ‘Union government’ or the ‘Government of India’ has a unifying effect as the message sought to be given is that the government is of all.

According to Subash Kashyap, using the term ‘Centre’ or ‘central government’ would mean state governments are subservient to it.

So why are there two terms at all?

The term is a carryover from colonial times.

The term was directly and indirectly used in the 1773 Regulating Act and the 1919 Government of India Act.

It was only in 1935, when a new Government of India Act proposed the term “Federation of India” was first used.

The modern term “Union” was first officially used in 1946 by the Cabinet Mission Plan, a British scheme to keep India united after transfer of power.

Significance of Tamil Nadu government’s decision:

The Tamil Nadu government’s decision to shun the usage of the term ‘Central government’ in its official communications and replace it with ‘Union government’ is a major step towards regaining the consciousness of our Constitution.