Essay [for Civil Services mains exam and Bank PO Exam Descriptive Questions]: National Solar Mission

To develop solar energy as an effective alternative source of power, the government of India, on 11 January 2010, launched the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM), under the brand name “Solar India”. The main target of the Mission is to deploy 20,000 MW of grid connected solar power by 2022. Besides, JNNSM is also working on reducing the cost of solar power generation through aggressive R&D, development of critical raw materials indigenously, and formulation of large scale deployment goals.

JNNSM is a major initiative to promote ecologically sustainable growth and, at the same time, address the energy security challenges faced by India.

The infrastructure and technology cost to develop solar energy parks is very high at the moment, as compared to the power sources such as coal, and even oil. For solar energy to become one of the prime sources, it is important that rapid scale-up of capacity and technologies is achieved so that the cost can be driven-down towards parity with current sources of power. It is hoped that JNNSM will achieve parity with coal-based thermal plants by 2030.
The Mission is also encouraging use of number of off-grid solar applications, especially in the rural areas, which are already cost-effective.

Fortunately, India has a vast solar energy potential. Approximately 5,000 trillion kWh per year energy can be produced using solar power. However, the constraint is on availability of space to put the solar panels and development of effective storage. Besides, the monsoon period has its own disadvantage vis-a-vis solar power due to extended cloud cover in the monsoon months. To develop solar power resource the Indian scientists and engineers will need to (i) develop solar panels that can create more energy per sq meter, (ii) batteries that have higher capacity to store energy while occupying lesser space, and (iii) photo-voltaic cells that can produce energy even during the cloud cover. Theoretically, a small fraction of the total incident solar energy (if captured effectively) can meet the entire country’s power requirements.

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Why oil prices went down so far so fast

The reasons oil prices started sliding in June were hiding in plain sight: growth in US production, sputtering demand from Europe and China, Mid-East violence that threatened to disrupt supplies and never did.

After three-and-a-half months of slow decline, the tipping point for a steeper drop came on 1 October, said Ray Carbone, president of broker Paramount Options Inc. That’s when Saudi Arabia cut prices for its biggest customers. The move signalled that the world’s largest exporter would rather defend its market share than prop up prices.

CLICK HERE to read complete story – Livemint.

ALSO READ The Geopolitics of Cheap Oil

Fed ends bond buying, exhibits confidence in U.S. recovery

The Federal Reserve, on 29 October, ended its monthly bond purchase program and signaled confidence the U.S. economic recovery would remain on track despite signs of a slowdown in many parts of the global economy.

“The Committee continues to see sufficient underlying strength in the broader economy to support ongoing progress toward maximum employment in a context of price stability,” the central bank’s policy committee said in a statement following a two-day meeting.

The statement largely dismissed recent financial market volatility, dimming growth in Europe and a weak inflation outlook as headwinds that would do little to undercut progress toward the Fed’s unemployment and inflation goals.

CLICK HERE to read complete story | Reuters.

India’s 2014 gender gap rank worse than 2013

India has performed poorly in removing gender-based disparities, ranking 114 out of 142 countries in World Economic Forum’s 2014 gender gap index, scoring below average on parameters like economic participation, educational attainment and health and survival.

India slipped 13 spots from its last year’s ranking of 101 on the Gender Gap Index by the World Economic Forum. India is part of the 20 worst-performing countries on the labour force participation, estimated earned income, literacy rate and sex ratio at birth indicators.

On the other hand, India is among the top 20 best-performing countries on the political empowerment subindex.

The index was first introduced by the World Economic Forum in 2006 as a framework for capturing the magnitude of gender-based disparities and tracking their progress. The index benchmarks national gender gaps on economic, political, education and health criteria.

via India’s gender gap rank worse than last year – The Hindu.

How black money racket runs in India – Hindustan Times

While there are no official estimates, Global Financial Integrity (GFI), a Washington-based think-tank, has estimated that Indians had parked $462 billion in overseas tax havens between 1948 and 2008.

Hindustan Times presents a lowdown on how deals thrive outside the financial system in a bustling cash economy, hoodwinking authorities by creating a web of transactions to obscure the source of slush funds.

Click Here to read complete story –  How black money racket runs in India – Hindustan Times.