Solar Waste in India: A Looming Challenge

Context:

  • A study by CEEW and MNRE projects India’s solar waste to reach 600 kilotonnes by 2030.

Key Findings:

  • Waste generation:
    • Current (FY23): 100 kilotonnes (kt).
    • 2030: 340 kt (3.4 times increase).
    • 2050: 19,000 kt (190 times increase).
  • State contribution:
    • 67% of waste from 5 states: Rajasthan (24%), Gujarat (16%), Karnataka (12%), Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh.

India’s Solar Capacity:

  • 4th globally in renewable energy capacity additions.
  • 5th globally in solar power capacity.
  • Increased from 3.74 GW (2014-15) to 74.31 GW (2023-24).
  • Projected to reach 292 GW by 2030.

Solar Waste:

  • Waste from manufacturing (scrap, failed modules) and project lifetime (transportation damage, operational damage, end-of-life modules).
  • This study focuses on project lifetime waste.

Recommendations:

  • Maintain a comprehensive database of installed solar capacity.
  • MoEFCC to issue guidelines for collection, storage, and processing of solar waste.
  • Solar manufacturers to develop waste collection and storage centers.
  • Incentivize recyclers and promote effective waste management.

Solar Waste Recycling Methods:

  • Conventional recycling: Recovers glass, aluminum, copper (not silver or silicon).
  • High value recycling: Recovers silver and silicon through chemical processes.

India’s Solar Waste Management Policy:

  • E-waste Management Rules 2022 mandate producers to store solar waste until 2034-35.
  • Producers need to file annual returns on e-waste management.
  • Recyclers must follow CPCB guidelines for material recovery.

 

 

Karnataka’s Draft Bill for Gig Workers

Context:

  • Karnataka proposes new legislation for gig worker welfare.
  • Draft Karnataka Gig Workers (Conditions of Service and Welfare) Bill, 2024 shared with stakeholders.

Key Highlights of the Draft Bill:

  • Fair contract terms and income security mechanisms.
  • Dispute redressal mechanisms.
  • State-level welfare board.
  • Central transaction monitoring system.
  • Penalties for aggregator violations.
  • Focus on occupational safety and health.

Background: Gig Economy in India

  • Defined by NITI Aayog: work outside traditional employer-employee relationship.
  • Includes platform workers (Ola, Uber, Swiggy, etc.).
  • Sharp rise in gig workers post-pandemic (7.7 million in 2020-21, projected 23.5 million by 2029-30).

Significance of the Gig Economy

  • Benefits: flexibility for workers, businesses, and consumers.
  • Time flexibility: workers choose their work hours.
  • Income flexibility: opportunity to earn extra income.
  • Sector size:
    • 47% of gig work in medium-skilled jobs.
    • 22% in high-skilled jobs.
    • 31% in low-skilled jobs.
    • Drivers and salespersons – 52% of gig workers (2019-20).
    • Most workers in retail trade & sales (26.6 lakh) and transportation (13 lakh) (FY20).

Challenges Faced by Gig Workers (Janpahal RIGHTS Survey):

  • Long working hours:
    • Over 60% of SC/ST drivers work over 14 hours a day.
    • 83% of delivery persons work over 10 hours.
  • Low pay:
    • 43% of gig workers earn less than ₹15,000 per month.
    • 34% of delivery persons earn less than ₹10,000 per month.
  • Age demographics: 78% of respondents aged 21-40 years.
  • Risky business:
    • Driver fatigue due to long hours and pressure to meet delivery deadlines.
    • 86% of delivery persons find “10-minute delivery” policies unacceptable.
  • Expenses exceeding earnings:
    • 72% of drivers and 76% of delivery persons struggle to make ends meet.
    • 68% of drivers have expenses exceeding earnings.
  • High deductions by companies: 35% report commission deductions exceeding official rates.
  • Customer misbehavior: negatively affects 72% of drivers and 68% of delivery persons.
  • Inability to take leaves: 41% of drivers and 48% of delivery persons cannot take weekly offs.
  • ID deactivation: negatively affects a significant portion of workers.

Suggestions/Recommendations:

  • Social security measures: paid sick leave, health insurance, pension plans, etc.
  • Oversight mechanism: government oversight on algorithms and worker monitoring.
  • Skilling: bridge skill gaps through assessments and partnerships with platforms.
  • Promote rights of women and persons with disabilities: gender sensitization programs.

Way Ahead

  • Growing gig economy necessitates adequate regulations.
  • Need for a collaborative approach by government, private sector, and civil society to address challenges and ensure fair treatment of gig workers.

 

 

Economic Inequality in India: Widening Gap

Major Findings of World Inequality Lab Report

  • Wealth Concentration: Top 1% holds a significant share of wealth:
    • 5% of total wealth in 2022-23.
    • Top 0.1% holds 29 percentage points.
    • Top 0.01% holds 22 percentage points.
    • Top 0.001% holds 16 percentage points.
  • Rise in Inequality: Gap widening over time:
    • 1961: Bottom 50% and top 1% shared wealth equally.
    • 2022-23: Top 1% share is 5 times larger.
  • Data Quality Concerns: Report likely underestimates actual inequality.

Reasons for Inequality

  • Historical Factors:
    • Colonization and feudalism led to wealth concentration in certain groups.
  • Economic Policies:
    • Liberalization and privatization benefited those with capital and resources.
    • Increased inequality as gains went disproportionately to the wealthy.
  • Urban-Rural Divide:
    • Uneven development concentrates wealth in urban areas.
  • Access to Education and Opportunities:
    • Disparities in access perpetuate wealth inequality.
  • Informal Economy:
    • Lack of job security and social protections widens income gaps.
  • Globalization and Market Forces:
    • Uneven distribution of benefits concentrates wealth among a select few.

Suggestions for Reducing Inequality

  • Restructure tax code to consider both income and wealth.
  • Broad-based public investments in health, education, and nutrition.
  • Wealth tax on the richest families to generate revenue for social programs.
  • Comprehensive policy measures:
    • Promote inclusive economic growth.
    • Improve access to education and opportunities.
    • Address social discrimination.
    • Combat corruption.
    • Implement progressive taxation and wealth redistribution.

 

 

IVF (In Vitro Fertilization)

About IVF

  • Type of fertility treatment where egg is fertilized by sperm in a lab.
  • Used by couples/individuals struggling with infertility.
  • Effective form of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART).
    • ART: techniques to handle sperm/egg outside the body for pregnancy (sperm donation, IVF, surrogacy).

Benefits

  • Helps couples/individuals with infertility conceive.
  • Reduces miscarriage risk in females.
  • High pregnancy success rate.
  • Uses donated eggs/sperms (if needed).

Risks

  • Significant physical, emotional, time, and financial strain.
  • Stress and depression in couples dealing with infertility.
  • Side effects (bloating, pain) from fertility medications.
  • Ethical concerns around commercialization of IVF, surrogacy, egg donation.

Recent Debate: Age Limit for IVF

  • Case: Late Punjabi singer’s mother had IVF treatment at age 58.
  • Controversy: Legal age limit in India is 21-50 years (ART Regulation Act, 2021).
  • Debate: Age limit vs. longer lifespans and better medical care.
    • Some experts believe 25-35 years is ideal for conception, with 50 being a reasonable limit due to health concerns and ability to provide parental support.

WHO View on Infertility

  • Defined as disease of reproductive system causing failed pregnancy after 1 year of unprotected sex.
  • Affects millions of people and their families/communities.
  • Estimates suggest 1 in 6 people of reproductive age experience infertility.
  • Right to highest attainable physical/mental health.
  • Right of individuals/couples to decide on number, timing, spacing of children.

Conclusion

  • Infertility can impact human rights to family planning.
  • Addressing infertility is crucial for realizing reproductive rights.
  • Government policies can help:
    • Mitigate financial burden.
    • Address emotional impact.
    • Provide preconception support.
    • Offer flexible work hours for fertility treatment.

 

World Happiness Report 2024

  • Released annually by UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network.
  • Considers 6 factors: GDP per capita, health, social support, freedom, generosity, and corruption.
  • Uses average life evaluation data from Gallup polls (2021-23).

Top Rankings

  1. Finland (7th year in a row)
  2. Denmark
  3. Iceland
  4. Sweden
  5. Israel

Bottom Rankings

  1. Afghanistan
  2. Congo
  3. Sierra Leone
  4. Lesotho
  5. Lebanon

India & Neighbors

  • India: 126th (same as 2023)
  • China: 60th
  • Nepal: 93
  • Pakistan: 108
  • Myanmar: 118
  • Sri Lanka: 128
  • Bangladesh: 129

Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvITs)

  • Similar to mutual funds for infrastructure projects.
  • Individuals and institutions can invest for regular returns.
  • Structured with a sponsor setting up the InvIT and investing in projects.
  • Regulated by SEBI (Infrastructure Investment Trusts) Regulations, 2014.

e-Shram Portal

  • Launched in 2021 for a national database of unorganized workers.
  • Aims to provide social security services for these workers.
  • Uses Aadhaar for portable benefits across workplaces.

Recent News

  • Supreme Court directed states/UTs to provide ration cards to registered e-Shram workers within 2 months.
  • Around 8 crore workers lack ration cards despite court orders.

Negative Interest Rates

  • Interest paid by borrowers to lenders (central bank).
  • Introduced during deflation to encourage spending and avoid holding cash.
  • First implemented by Sweden in 2009.

Japan’s Case

  • Introduced to fight deflation and manage high national debt.
  • May have prevented deeper deflation but hurt bank profitability and weakened the yen.
  • Recently ended by Bank of Japan due to rising interest rates.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *