Polity & Governance
- 24th Meeting of Western Zonal Council held at Panaji
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- Power Minister approves proposal to declare ocean energy as Renewable Energy
Key Facts for Prelims
- ‘San-Sadhan’ hackathon- for Divyangjan accessible toilets
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Polity & Governance
24th Meeting of Western Zonal Council held at Panaji
Union Minister for Home Affairs chaired the 24th meeting of the Western Zonal Council at Panaji (Goa).
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MEETING:
- Action on the Master Plan submitted by Maharashtra Government for utilization of surplus Salt Pan Land for rehabilitation of slum dwellerswas discussed.
- Coverage of all villageswhich have remained without any banking facilities within 5 km radial distance by a Bank/India Post Payments Service.
- Enhancement of direct benefit transfer (DBT) Portalto include scheme/village-wise details by collecting real time information from respective portals of beneficiary-oriented schemes
- Innovative solution of encrypted QR Code on Aadhaar cardfor verifying antecedents of marine fishermen.
- Detailed monitoring mechanism to ensure that investigation and trial of sexual offences/rapeagainst girls below 12 years of age are completed within two months (POCSO Act and Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2018] each.
ABOUT WESTERN ZONAL COUNCIL
- The Western Zonal Council, comprising the States of Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra and the Union Territories of Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli.
- West Zonal Council has been instrumental in giving impetus to the Indian economy as the States of the Zone are contributing around 24% to the GDP and 45% to the total exports of the country.
ABOUT THE ZONAL COUNCILS:
- Zonal Councils are advisory councils and are made up of the states of India have been grouped into six zones to foster cooperation among them. They are:
- Northern Zonal Council
- North-Central Zonal Council
- North-Eastern Zonal Council
- Eastern Zonal Council
- Western Zonal Council
- Southern Zonal Council
- Five Zonal Councils were set up vide Part-III of the States Reorganisation Act, 1956.
- The North Eastern States’ special problems are addressed by another statutory body – The North Eastern Council, created by the North Eastern Council Act, 1971.
- Northern Zonal Council consists of the States of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan, National Capital Territory of Delhi and Union Territory of Chandigarh.
FUNCTIONS OF THE COUNCILS
- Each Zonal Council is an advisory body and may discuss any matter in which some or all of the States represented in that Council have a common interest and advise the Central Government and the Government of each State concerned as to the action to be taken on any such matter.
In particular, a Zonal Council may discuss, and make recommendations with regard to:
- Any matter of common interest in the field of economic and social planning;
- Any matter concerning border disputes, linguistic minorities or inter-State transport;
- Any matter connected with or arising out of, the re-organization of the States under the States Reorganisation Act.
ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE OF ZONAL COUNCILS
- Chairman – The Union Home Minister is the Chairman of each of these Councils.
- Vice Chairman – The Chief Ministers of the States included in each zone act as Vice-Chairman of the Zonal Council for that zone by rotation, each holding office for a period of one year at a time.
- Members– Chief Minister and two other Ministers as nominated by the Governor from each of the States and two members from Union Territories included in the zone.
- Advisers– One person nominated by the Planning Commission for each of the Zonal Councils, Chief Secretaries and another officer/Development Commissioner nominated by each of the States included in the Zone
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
Power Minister approves proposal to declare ocean energy as Renewable Energy
In a decision that would give further boost to the ocean energy in India, Union Minister of State for Power and New & Renewable Energy (IC) and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship approved a proposal to declare ocean energy as Renewable Energy.
ABOUT THE PROPOSAL
- The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy declared that energy produced using various forms of ocean energy such as tidal, wave, ocean thermal energy conversion etc. will be considered as Renewable Energy and shall be eligible for meeting the non-solar Renewable Purchase Obligations (RPO).
WHAT ARE RENEWABLE PURCHASE OBLIGATIONS (RPO)?
- It is a mechanism by which the State Electricity Regulatory Commissions are obliged to purchase a certain percentage of power from renewable energy sources.
- RPO is being implemented throughout the country to create demand for renewable energy.
- RPO is of two categories – (a) Non Solar & (b) Solar.
- Under the solar obligation, every State in the country has announced a solar specific percentage as part of overall RPO.
- RPOs are enforced on three categories of consumers – (a) Distribution Licensees (power purchase agreement (PPA) with local distribution companies), (b) Open Access Consumers & (c) Captive Consumers (self-use).
RENEWABLE ENERGY CERTIFICATION (REC)
- RECs are aimed at addressing the mismatch of renewable energy resources in the States and their RPO requirements.
- Obliged entities can fulfill their RPOs by purchasing RECs.
- RECs are traded on the Indian Energy Exchange (IEX) and the Power Exchange of India Ltd (PXIL).
POTENTIAL OF TIDAL ENERGY IN INDIA
- Total identified potential of Tidal Energy is about 12455 MW, with potential locations identified at Khambat & Kutch regions, and large backwaters, where barrage technology could be used.
- The total theoretical potential of wave energy in India along the country’s coast is estimated to be about 40,000 MW. This energy is however less intensive than what is available in more northern and southern latitudes.
- Ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) has a theoretical potential of 180,000 MWin India subject to suitable technological evolution.
OCEAN ENERGY TECHNOLOGY
The ocean can produce two types of energy: thermal energy from the sun’s heat, and mechanical energy from the tides and waves.
HOW OCEAN PRODUCES THERMAL ENERGY?
- Ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) is a process for producing energy by harnessing the temperature differences between ocean surface waters and deep ocean waters.
- Energy from the sun heats the surface water of the ocean. Hence, surface water can be much warmer than deep water. This temperature difference can be used to produce electricity.
- In OTEC, Warm surface water is pumped through an evaporator containing a working fluid. The vaporized fluid drives a turbine/generator.
- The vaporized fluid is turned back to a liquid in a condenser cooled with cold ocean water pumped from deeper in the ocean.
ELECTRICITY CONVERSATION SYSTEM
OTEC can be of three types : closed-cycle, open-cycle, and hybrid.
- Closed-cycle systems: It use the ocean’s warm surface water to vaporize a working fluid, which has a low-boiling point, such as ammonia. The vapor expands and turns a turbine. The turbine then activates a generator to produce electricity.
- Open-cycle systems: It actually boil the seawater by operating at low pressures. This produces steam that passes through a turbine/generator.
- Hybrid systems: It combine both closed-cycle and open-cycle systems.
HOW OCEAN PRODUCES MECHANICAL ENERGY?
- Even though the sun affects all ocean activity, tides are driven primarily by the gravitational pull of the moon, and waves are driven primarily by the winds.
- As a result, tides and waves are intermittent sources of energy, while ocean thermal energy is fairly constant.
- The tidal cycle occurs every 12 hours due to the gravitational force of the moon. The difference in water height from low tide and high tide is potential energy.
- Similar to traditional hydropower generated from dams, tidal water can be captured in a barrage across an estuary during high tide and forced through a hydro-turbine during low tide.
- The capital cost for tidal energy power plants is very high due to high civil construction and high power purchase tariff.
- To capture sufficient power from the tidal energy potential, the height of high tide must be at least five meters (16 feet) greater than low tide.
- The Gulf of Cambay and the Gulf of Kutch in Gujarat on the west coast have the locations in the country where potential exists.
- For wave energy conversion, there are three basic systems:
Channel systems that funnel the waves into reservoirs.
Float systems that drive hydraulic pumps through the movement of Hydraulic Ram joints.
Oscillating water column systems (or Overtopping Wave Power Device) that use the waves to compress air within a container (chamber).
- The mechanical power created from these systems either directly activates a generator or transfers to a working fluid, water, or air, which then drives a turbine/generator.
- Marine current is ocean water moving in one direction. This ocean current is known as the Gulf Stream. Tides also create currents that flow in two directions.
- Kinetic energy can be captured from the Gulf Stream and other tidal currents with submerged turbines that are very similar in appearance to miniature wind turbines.
- Similar to wind turbines, the movement of the marine current moves the rotor blades to generate electric power.
Key Facts for Prelims
‘San-Sadhan’ hackathon- for Divyangjan accessible toilets
The government calls for applications for its latest initiative called the ‘San-Sadhan’ Hackathon.
ABOUT THE SAN-SADHAN’ HACKATHON
- This initiative is being organized jointly by the Ministry of Jal Shakti and the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, in collaboration with Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and 91springboard.
- It’s objective is to ease lives of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) by making toilets smarter, more accessible, and easier to use.
- It is an initiative under Swachh Bharat Mission.
- India’s rural sanitation coverage has increased from 39% in 2014 to over 99% as of August 2019.