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Political, fiscal steps must for solar alliance to shine


New Delhi: The Conference of Parties under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, now holding its 21st summit meeting in Paris, is the world’s most influential platform that has the power to change the face of the planet.

And the word “power” reminds you of its importance at this stage, being among of the prime factors that play a pivotal role in the climate change.

With the advancement of technology, the demand and dependence on energy have increased. Every growing city is energy-hungry and adding to the climate issues. But, we cannot ignore the fact that we need the energy to sustain. In such a scenario, we certainly require a change.

We cannot have Smart Cities unless we have smart strategies to govern our resources.

Renewables are the biggest weapon for us, which needs to be tapped at the optimum level. And India has vast resources of solar and wind energy which is yet majorly untouched.

In fact, India aims to expand its renewable sector by adding 175 Gigawatts though these mediums by 2022.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself outlined this during the launch of the grand Solar Alliance of over 120 countries on the opening day of the Paris conference on November 30.

This gives an optimistic impression of the prime minister’s aspiration for creating clean fuel while also making it available for use.

We need a paradigm shift now: From fossils to solar, shifting the dependence, in order to generate power that doesn’t poison the environment. Barely from 20 MW in 2011, India’s installed solar capacity has increased to 3.74 GW as of March 2015.

With some 300 sunny days in a year, India projects 5 EWh/yr (5,000 trillion kilowatt-hours per year) of solar incidence on its land area alone.

India’s geographical features are quite supportive of making the most of the wealth shining from the heaven.

An initial investment of $30 million in setting up a solar secretariat in India is like the foundation brick of this vision, which can eventually raise $400 million from the memberships, and international agencies as innovation funds.

By creating the larger solar market, we lower the costs, increase demand and stir the change. This will enable villages deprived of electricity to also avail it. Additionally, the employment opportunities across the country and globe will also magnify.

But this mission isn’t here without hurdles. We need to re-look at the following aspects to make this grand plan happen as envisioned. No pain, no gain:

– One of the major issues: Service tax levied on the sale of solar power generated through the rooftop solar panel, by small entrepreneurs to its tenants, is not specifically mentioned in the negative list of the service tax.

– Only renewable energy service companies and distributors are exempted from service tax.

– Consequently, tenants refuse to buy solar-fed electricity from the small entrepreneurs with additional 14.5 percent service tax on it. This is discouraging.

– Affordability, especially for the households, is in question.

– Despite the fact that the prices of photovoltaic, or solar, modules have crashed 50 percent since 2011, costs involved in installing these panels on rooftops is high on the upfront.

– Photovoltaic module constitutes approximately 50 percent of the rooftop cost and installation of 1 KW potent panel costs Rs.65,000 without battery back-up and subsidy.

– Assembling the parts for power storage is expensive. Additionally, technical specifications — like voltage, flicker, sync of the net-metering system — and support is lacking.

– We also lack financial support for solar projects due to limited track records and less awareness among consumers.

All the issues listed above need to be resolved for making the alliance successful. Solar energy is likely a heavenly gift for us. Prime Minister Modi has been a clean energy propagator, and his efforts towards at rolling out over 900 MW of solar energy in Gujarat is commendable.

Certainly, his alliance proposal indicates a “sunrise of new hope” for India. What can act like a cherry on the top is, banning production and sale of the conventional incandescent bulbs and compact fluorescent lamp, while accepting systems based on light-emitting diodes wholeheartedly.

India will, then, have less craving for energy. And the proposed self-commitment by the country to the Paris meet — 35 percent reduction in its energy intensity and 40 percent share of installed capacity from renewables — would them be a viable goal.

(Kamal Meattle, IANS)

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India, Canada Pledge To Fight Terrorism In All Forms

Modi and Trudeau also welcomed the agreement on a bilateral Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism that was signed between the two countries

India Canada pledges to fight terrorism of all kinds together. Facebook
India Canada pledges to fight terrorism of all kinds together. Facebook
  • India and Canada pledged to fight terrorism in all its forms
  • Modi and Trudeau also agreed on the Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism
  • Both the countries are looking forward to a cooperative future

India and Canada on Friday pledged to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations while declaring that no country should allow its territory to be used for terrorist and violent extremist activities.

The assertion by the two countries came in a joint statement issued after talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau and assumes significance in the context of perceived softness on the part of Canada towards Khalistani separatists operating on its soil.

India and Canada pledged to fight terrorism together.
India and Canada pledged to fight terrorism together.

“Recognising that terrorism, violent extremism and radicalisation to violence present acute challenges to global peace, stability and prosperity, the leaders resolved to combat terrorism and violent extremism in all their forms and manifestations,” the joint statement said.

“They called for bringing terrorists to justice and holding accountable state sponsors of terrorism, including cross-border terrorism. They further emphasised that no country should allow its territory to be used for terrorist and violent extremist activities.”

Modi and Trudeau also welcomed the agreement on a bilateral Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism that was signed between the two countries.

The Framework recognised the urgent imperative to disrupt recruitment, terrorist movements and the flow of foreign terrorist fighters, address the threat posed by cross-border and state-sponsored terrorism, stop sources of terrorist financing, dismantle terrorist infrastructure and prevent the supply of arms to terrorists and counter violent extremism and radicalisation to violence.

The two sides emphasised the need to deny operating space to terrorist and violent extremist groups.

Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism was signed between the two countries. Wikimedia Commons
Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism was signed between the two countries. Wikimedia Commons

Under the Framework, both sides committed to further develop exchanges and facilitate effective cooperation in the fields of security, finance, justice, and law enforcement, including, where appropriate, at the operational level.

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It consists of institutionalised cooperation between the National Security Council Secretariat of India and the office of Canada’s National Security and Intelligence Advisor, and regular exchanges and coordination between India and Canada, which will be guided by the joint National Security Advisors’ Dialogue.

The joint statement further said that to reaffirm the importance of lawful commerce and the freedom of navigation and over-flight throughout the Indo-Pacific region, in accordance with international law, including the rights and jurisdiction of states under UN Convention for Law of the Sea (Unclos), the two leaders supported bolstering regional connectivity through transparent development of infrastructure and use of responsible debt financing practices, while ensuring respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, the rule of law and environment.

Modi and Trudeau also expressed “strong concern” over the prevailing security situation in Afghanistan and the recent political developments in the Maldives and their implications for free society.

The Two Countries will work together towards peace.
The Two Countries will work together towards peace.

On the economic side, both leaders agreed to realise the full potential of bilateral trade and investment and both sides will renew efforts to expand and diversify bilateral economic and commercial relations.

“They will also intensify negotiations to finalise a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement and a Bilateral Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement,” the statement said. Modi and Trudeau also agreed to strengthen bilateral and international cooperation to address climate change and secure a clean energy future and committed to promoting the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

“The leaders welcomed the initiative to establish the (India-initiated) International Solar Alliance to promote renewable energy for sustainable development,” the statement said. “They urged research institutions and industry in both countries to collaborate to promote greater use of solar technology.”

Also Read: India and Canada to Jointly Issue Two Sets of Diwali Themed Postal Stamps

It stated that the two leaders “underscored the importance of accelerating the global transition to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy sources and acknowledged that renewable energy is a pathway to a low-carbon and more sustainable energy system”.

“Recognising the dynamic role of people-to-people ties in the India-Canada partnership, the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to address consular issues of mutual concern through discussion between the concerned officials,” the statement said. “They welcomed the expansion of direct air connectivity between Indian and Canadian cities.” IANS