Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2022
Current Affair 1:
Government Data Roundup
Report1: Report on Municipal Finances
Till date, RBI has been publishing regular financial statistics about both the Union and State Governments. However, data regarding the third tier of governance was absent due to lack of availability of consolidated data. The RBI has published the maiden report of municipal finances this year, which shall be published annually to make it a regular publication, and to address such gaps in data.
The provision of local government statistics would also aid India’s Flow of Funds (FoF) accounts in broadening their sectoral coverage. In the future, municipal finances, which account for around 70% of the finances of urban local bodies in India, would be included in general government data issued by the RBI, and ongoing efforts will be made to broaden this coverage.
- The performance of the urban local bodies, particularly Municipal corporations/councils (MCs), reflects the fact that the rapid rise of urbanization in India has not been followed by a matching increase in urban infrastructure.
- Although municipal budgets in India are far less than those in comparable nations, property tax collections and the devolution of taxes and subsidies from higher levels of government account for most revenues, which results in a lack of financial autonomy.
- The amount of committed spending by MCs on establishment costs, administrative expenses, and interest and financing charges is increasing, but capital spending is comparatively low.
- In the absence of a significant market for municipal bonds, MCs must primarily fund their resource gaps through borrowing from banks and other financial institutions as well as loans from the federal or state governments.
- It is also recommended that the MCs shall adopt better auditing & transparent accounting mechanisms with adequate oversight. They must be rational in using their fiscal resources.
Report 2: Inter-Ministerial Committee report on just Transition from Coal
It was decided to strengthen cooperation in the areas of Energy Data Management, Low Carbon Technologies, Carbon Market, and Just Transition in Coal Sector and form four committees involving Indian and US counterparts in the relevant fields at a Sustainable Growth Pillar meeting held on 12 July 2021, as part of the India-US Strategic Partnership.
In response, a committee on just transition in the coal sector was established, consisting of eighteen members from India and the US. The current report on ‘Just Transition in Coal Sector’ has been created based on talks held and feedback from various committee members.
- The Committee identified five key issues that are to be addressed- Livelihoods, Community Health, Physical and Social Infrastructure, Repurposing of resources, and Public Finance
- A clear policy framework will be needed because of the transition’s complexity and length. This will give the suggested activities the required administrative and legal support. It is therefore advised that the Union Government formulate a “Just Transition Policy for Coal.”
- Based on interactions with the local communities, coal-bearing states should establish a broad framework and plan for a future after closure in these areas. A detailed geospatial survey of areas with coal deposits could be conducted to create a plan for coal mine closure.
- The Union Government should promote the just transition process in coal mines by providing adequate financial assistance. To do this, a special non-lapsable “Green Energy Transition India Fund”, could be established to aid the coal-bearing regions and states to undertake alternative development strategies.
- The revenues for such a fund could be raised through green bonds, special cess or fines, clean energy cess, and district mineral funds. A well-defined accountability mechanism should also be put in place for effective utilization of the funds.
Report of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Low Carbon Technologies
The Strategic Clean Energy Partnership (SCEP) is a part of the U.S.-India Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership. With a renewed focus on electrification and decarbonization of processes and end uses, scaling up innovative clean energy technology, and finding solutions for challenging-to-decarbonize sectors, the SCEP will continue to improve energy security and innovation.
This is the second committee established to strengthen cooperation in the areas of Energy Data Management, Low Carbon Technologies, Carbon Market, and Just Transition in Coal Sector.
- One-fourth of India’s GHG emissions come from industries, and more than half of the share in industries contribution is led by iron and steel and cement sector – either through energy use or industry process emissions. It is therefore important to decarbonize these industries.
- Some challenges faced in decarbonization of industries are:
- Steel and cement industries require elevated temperatures during production process. Replacing the existing fossil fuel run furnaces to clean energy resources require significant changes in production process.
- Cost is one of the key decisive factors for products made of steel and cement. Hence, any decarbonization model that increases the cost of production might not be viable.
- Companies or nations that embrace low-carbon methods and technology but raise their production costs will be at a cost disadvantage compared to industrial manufacturers that do not.
- For decarbonization of cement and steel industry, measures such as transitioning to sustainable biomass in place of fossil fuel, 100% renewable energy, promoting circular economy models for greater utilization of wastes, facilitating carbon markets, green procurement and green labelling policies, and adequate funding are suggested to be explored.
Report 4: Report of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Energy Data Management
Energy data in India is quite decentralized, and highly unstandardized. It is challenging to automate the process of data exchange and publication on dashboards due to the lack of defined formats.
To ensure uniform reporting of data, it is necessary to standardize the definitions, terminologies, and calculation processes for all the important parameters in the energy sector. This committee was formed to identify parameters that are to be standardized across various energy statistics products in India. This is the third committee established to strengthen cooperation in the areas of Energy Data Management, Low Carbon Technologies, Carbon Market, and Just Transition in Coal Sector, under the Strategic Clean Energy Partnership between India and US.
- Standardization of measurement units should be followed, along with having a proper list of classifications for energy sources, economic/statistical units, energy products, energy resources, and geographical area.
- It is recommended that adequate metadata must be provided for national energy statistics that defines and describes data, so that its usage can be made effective.
- All the stakeholders shall enquire with the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation to provide requisite information on energy specific parameters that can be included in the periodic surveys that MoSPI conducts.
- Strengthen the existing Energy Statistics Division (ESD) of MoSPI to enable better compilation of the key information on energy statistics. Additionally, ESD could be asked to create a compendium of concepts and definitions used by different source agencies and based on which energy statistics are compiled.
- A clear hierarchy and outline of rights and responsibilities of the agencies involved is key to success of energy data management system.