23 April 2019 Daily Current Affairs Analysis


Table of Contents


·    Topic: Economy. 4

v  The FAME-II Scheme. 4


·    Topic: Disaster and disaster management 6

v  The Face Of Disasters 2019 Report. 6


·    Topic: Energy. 9

v  Warming up to the heat from the sun. 9


·    Topic: Environment 13

v  The Indian bullfrogs. 13





  1. The FAME-II Scheme




  • Recently, the inter-Ministerial Steering Committee of the National Mission for Transformative Mobility has decided to incorporate localisation conditions to avail benefits under the FAME-II Scheme.



  • The steering committee has mandated that only companies that meet the 50% localisation threshold will be eligible for the incentives that will be available under the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME-II) scheme to boost electric mobility as well as the ‘Make in India’ initiative.



  • The decision has been taken to ensure that the tax payer’s money is not used to subsidise imports and encourage local manufacturing.


  • Background Of  It:



  • FAME India is a part of the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan. Main thrust of FAME is to encourage electric vehicles by providing subsidies.


  •  FAME focuses on 4 areas i.e. Technology development, Demand Creation, Pilot Projects and Charging Infrastructure.



  • Salient features of  FAME 2 SCHEME:



  • Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles, or FAME 2 scheme aims to boost electric mobility and increase the number of electric vehicles in commercial fleets.



  • Target: The outlay of 10,000 crore has been made for three years till 2022 for FAME 2 scheme.



  • The government will offer the incentives for electric buses, three-wheelers and four-wheelers to be used for commercial purposes.



  • Plug-in hybrid vehicles and those with a sizeable lithium-ion battery and electric motor will also be includedin the scheme and fiscal support offered depending on the size of the battery.


  • How will FAME 2 scheme help improve charging infrastructure?


  • The centre will invest in setting up charging stations, with the active participation of public sector units and private players.
  • It has also been proposed to provide one slow-charging unit for every electric bus and one fast-charging station for 10 electric buses.



  • Projects for charging infrastructure will include those needed to extend electrification for running vehicles such as pantograph charging and flash charging.



  • FAME 2 will also encourage interlinking of renewable energy sources with charging infrastructure.



  • Topic: Disaster and disaster management


  1. The Face Of Disasters 2019 Report



  • Recently, The Face of Disasters 2019 report was published by Sustainable Environment and Ecological Development Society (SEEDS).


  • The report released by SEEDS as part of its 25th anniversary, analyses past trends, looking at disasters from a broader perspective to capture their varied facets.


  • Eight major areas:


  • Following areas will be critical to consider as we look ahead, as per the report.


  1. No disaster is ‘natural’: Risks lurking under the radar slip through the cracks because they don’t meet the idea of a ‘natural disaster’.



  1. Water and the changing nature of disaster risk: A ‘new normal’ of rainfall variability is bringing challenges of too much and too little water, often in parallel.



  1. Land becomes water (and water becomes land): Changes to the coastline are already affecting livelihood sources and will be hotspots for vulnerability in the future.



  1. The silent events: The disasters that go unseen leave those affected at even greater risk.



  1. Planning for what you can’t see: Earthquake risk is looming large under the radar, but are we prepared?



  1. The complexity of disaster impact: Beyond official ‘damages’, the long-term and uncaptured disaster impacts have life-changing consequences for affected communities.



  1. The urban imperative: Risk is rapidly urbanising and will affect everyone.



  1. Transformations in the third pole: Himalayan glaciers are melting, with serious implications for the whole region.


  • About Sustainable Environment and Ecological Development Society (SEEDS):



  • SEEDS, a non profit voluntary organization, is a collective endeavor of young professionals drawn from development related fields.


  • It originated as an informal group of likeminded persons, getting together for the purpose of creative research projects of academic interest.






  • What are the functions: 


  • It is involved in research activities in Community Development, Disaster Management, Environmental Planning, Transport Planning, and Urban and Regional Planning.


  • Activities are carried out on behalf of government, semi government and international development agencies. 



  1. Warming up to the heat from the sun




  • The key is to incentivise industry to use a new less expensive method of heating.



  • Use of solar thermal is yet to catch the imagination of investors and users.


  • At the mention of ‘solar’, what is mostly thought about is arrays of blue, sun-facing panels that generate electricity.
  • That is because ‘solar photovoltaic (PV)’, for historical reasons, grew very fast, in India and elsewhere, and became ubiquitous.



  • But there is another ‘solar’, simpler and traditional, which is known to give a better bang for every penny invested – solar thermal.



  • Solar PV v/s Solar Thermal:



  • ‘Solar PV’ works by photons in sun’s rays knocking off electrons in the semi-conducting material in the panels and channels them through a wire the stream of electrons is electricity.



  • Solar PV, therefore, works best where there is lot of sunlight.



  • Solar thermal systems, in contrast, suck up sun’s heat and conduct it to where it is needed such as for drying of spices or fish or wet paint.



  • Just as we call the sun-facing photovoltaic sheets ‘panels’ or ‘modules’, in solar thermal the stuff that lies open to sun are called ‘collectors’ and are measured in terms of square metres.



  • They come in different forms, but primarily, as tubes, flat plates or reflectors that focus sunlight on to a heat-picking ‘thermic fluid’.
  •  The interesting aspect of these solar collectors is their juicy economics.



  • In Solar Thermal, 100 sq m of collector area can generate heat energy of 40 kW, and costs about 7.5 lakh. Comparatively, to generate 40 kW of electric energy it would cost some 20 lakh.



  • In solar PV, there is some loss in conversion of light energy into electric energy, whereas in solar thermal, there is no conversion it is just heat all through.



  • Estimates state that India’s solar thermal industry grew 18 per cent in 2018, slower than in 2017, when it jumped 26%.



  • Why is Solar Thermal not as popular?



  • Experts reason that the earlier systems were expensive and the bang they gave vis-a-vis the incumbent, fossil-fuel based systems was not that high.



  • But just as it began to become cheaper, ‘solar PV’ took off in a major way, due to precipitous fall in module prices (due, in turn, to over supply from China).



  • Users and financiers learned solar PV fast and became comfortable with it; solar thermal just fell behind, lost mindshare.



  • Way Ahead:


  • The government should pay solar thermal as much attention as solar PV.



  • There is a 30% subsidy for solar thermal equipment, but ironically, as say it only hinders rather than help.



  • Customers see the subsidy on paper and want to avail themselves of it, while the administration of the subsidy is so complex that it tires them out. The industry would rather not have it at all.



  • The subsidy scheme must be retooled so that it is given to Indian manufacturers, in order to encourage local production rather than in China.



  • A move to convince the industry to give solar thermal a shot has emerged in the form of a ‘solar payback project’, funded by the German ‘International Climate Initiative’.


  • The project aims to promote SHIP ‘solar heating for industrial processes’ in India, South Africa, Mexico and Brazil, and the report on where India should first focus is due soon.


  1. The Indian bullfrogs



  • Recently, one study shows the Indian bullfrogs introduced in the Andaman islands are invasive, and eat native wildlife including fish and lizards.



  • Indian Bullfrog:


  • Its tadpoles are carnivorous and eat other tadpoles, including their own species.


  • They prefer freshwater wetlands and aquatic habitats. Generally they avoid coastal and forest areas.


  • The Indian bullfrog (Hoplobatrachus tigerinus) is native to the Indian subcontinent.



  • It is a large species of frog found in mainland Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nepal.


  • The bullfrogs are prolific breeders: they have short breeding seasons, and each egg clutch can contain up to 5,750 eggs.



  • Other names: Asia bullfrog, Indus Valley bullfrog.