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 amongst top suicide nations: WHO

According to a new database released by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the relatively prosperous and developed States in India have seen the highest number of suicide cases and the poorer States have registered the lowest number of suicide cases.

According to WHO report, India is ahead of USA when it comes to suicides. In India, suicide rate is 20.9 for one lakh population; in the USA it is 13.7 for one lakh population. In United Kingdom, it is 6.9 for one lakh population.

However, India’s National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) puts the average national suicide rate at 10.7 per one lakh population.

Civil Services Mains Exam topic: Negotiating with terrorists

In the Descriptive Questions section, under sub-head Civil Services Mains Exam-3 we have posted a new question – Negotiations with terrorists encourages more terrorism.

If we look at the assumption from a purely strategic point of view, we find that it is suicidal to publicly negotiate with terrorists. However, according to Zaki Djemal, a social study concentrator, “negotiating with terrorists is not a matter of principal but rather a matter of strategy ….. governments would be wise to acknowledge the fact that in these complex situations one size simply does not fit all.”

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Essay: Panchayati Raj in India

In the original Constitution of India, under Article 40, there was just a directive to take steps to organize village Panchayats and delegate them with appropriate powers to allow them to work as units of self-government. However, the said Directive was not taken very seriously by the political powers and Panchayti Raj in India could not be institutionalized.

In 1993, the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act was passed that gave a Constitutional status to the Panchayati Raj institutions. The Act also withdrew the discretion that the State governments had in matters of several important matters related to functioning of PRIs.

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Useful for Civil Services Mains exam, Descriptive Questions asked in RBI and Bank exams