16/10/2019 The Hindu Editorials Notes- Mains Sure Shot

No. 1.


Question – State the present energy scenario in India and why should the government take steps to promote renewable energy?(250 words)

Context – The renewable energy commitments.


The present scenario:

  • India is rapidly expanding its power generation capacity, most of which has been from renewable energy sources.
  • At present India’s installed power generation capacity is 358 MW. It is about four times of what it was in 1997-98. This shows that the capacity has doubled in the past two decades – or 75 MW per day. This in itself is a laudable achievement.
  • In this there are two major drivers of this expanding energy generation capacity – first is the increasing shift towards renewable energy sources (in the past three years, growth in electricity generation from renewable energy sources like wind and solar energy, has been close to 25%) and second is investment from the private sector. The investment done by the private sector accounts for almost half the installed generation capacity.
  • India plans to have a renewable capacity of 175 GW by 2022 and 500 GW by 2030. And solar and wind power will be the main contributors.

But what are the disadvantages that the renewable energy sector has to face compared to thermal sector?

  1. Cost – at present thermal generation (i.e. electricity generated from heat, mainly coal) accounts for about two-thirds of the installed electricity generation capacity in the country. This shows that even though the awareness about the environmental impact of fossil fuels has increased, it has had very little impact on the shift from fossil fuel based energy generation to renewable energy based ones.
  • It is mainly because thermal power plants have a relative advantage over solar and wind power plants.
  • Since the  thermal power plants are large, the energy generation capacity of one thermal power plant is more compared to one plant of any renewable energy. For example, on an average it would take 18 solar or wind projects to generate the same quantity of power as one thermal power plant.
  • So energy generation targets can be met by constructing less thermal power plants compared to renewable energy plants. E.g. if my target is to increase my capacity of electricity generation by 100 MW then I will need to build 10 extra thermal power plants. But in the same place if i want to do it through renewable energy I will need to construct 15 plants. So for me doing it through constructing thermal power plant will be cheaper than constructing  renewable energy plants.
  • Also the administrative overload (cost of administering 10 power plants will be less than 20 renewable energy plants).

2.Project Size – also there is an inverse relationship between size and unit cost. Which means that as the size of a power plant increases, the cost of generating electricity through that power plant decreases i.e. the cost of power per MW reduces. So since the size of thermal power plants is large, the cost of the per unit / cost per MW of electricity generated through thermal power plants is also less, meaning more profit for the producers compared to renewable energy. The average cost per MW for a thermal power plant is about 25% less than a solar plant.

  • This is called economics of scale. As the scale of production/ size increases the profit also increases.
  • In order to surmount this the cost advantage that the ‘large’ thermal power plants enjoy, there is a need to focus on developing larger solar and wind power plants that can also exploit similar economies of scale.

Benefits of renewable energy use:

  • Less global warming
  • Improved public health 
  • Inexhaustible energy
  • Jobs and other economic benefits
  • Stable energy prices
  • Reliability and resilience

What is CO2e?

  • Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most prevalent greenhouse gas, but other air pollutants—such as methane—also cause global warming. Different energy sources produce different amounts of these pollutants. To make comparisons easier, we use a carbon dioxide equivalent, or CO2e—the amount of carbon dioxide required to produce an equivalent amount of warming.

Government  initiatives to promote renewable energy:

  •  Provision of Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) under the National Tariff Policy.
  •  Notification of the long term growth trajectory of RPO for solar and non-solar energy for next 3 years from 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19
  • Development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects
  • Development of power transmission network through Green Energy Corridor project
  • Making rooftop solar as a part of housing loan provided by banks
  • Waiver of Inter-State Transmission Charges and losses
  • Repowering of Wind Power Projects for optimal utilization of wind resources
  • Offshore wind energy policy for development of offshore wind energy in the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone
  • Supporting research and development on various aspects of renewable energy including with industry participation
  • Financial incentives for off-grid and decentralized renewable energy systems and devices for meeting energy needs for cooking, lighting and productive purposes
  • Permitting 100 percent Foreign Direct Investment in the sector through automatic route

Way forward:

  • The government must continue its initiatives to promote renewable energy because it  is directly linked to the health of the citizens and a healthy nation will help in being a wealthy nation as well.


No. 2.


Question – Discuss malnutrition and what are the reasons behind it?( 200 Words)

Context – The increasing instances of malnutrition among children.

What is malnutrition?

  • Malnutrition refers to deficiencies, excesses or imbalances in a person’s intake of energy and/or nutrients.

Facts :

  • according to the 2017 Global Burden of Disease Study by the University of Washington, malnutrition is among the leading causes of death and disability in India .FAO estimates that 194.4 million people in India, about 14.5% of the total population, are undernourished.
  • The Global Hunger Index 2018 ranks India 103 out of 119 countries


  1. Both poor and affluent families are affected by malnutrition due to lack of awareness.
  1. Food consumption patterns have changed substantially in India,disappearance of many nutritious native foods such as millets.
  1. foodgrain production has increased over five times since Independence, it has not sufficiently addressed the issue of malnutrition. 
  1. Food monotony increases the risk of micronutrient deficiency.

Government interventions :

  1. September is to be observed as ‘Rashtriya Poshan Maah’
  2. POSHAN Abhiyaan or National Nutrition Mission

What is poshan abhiyaan ?

  • The Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nutrition or POSHAN Abhiyaan or National Nutrition Mission, is Government of India’s flagship programme to improve nutritional outcomes for children, pregnant women and lactating mothers
  • The Abhiyaan targets to reduce stunting, undernutrition, anemia (among young children, women and adolescent girls) and reduce low birth weight by 2%, 2%, 3% and 2% per annum respectively.The target of the mission is to bring down stunting among children in the age group 0-6 years from 38.4% to 25% by 2022.

Way forward:

  • Concerted efforts by the government have led to a decline in malnutrition by two percentage points per annum agriculture sector focused on increasing  food production, particularly staples, which led to lower production and consumption of indigenous traditional crops/grains, fruits and other vegetables, Agricultural biodiversity ensures a wider food menu to choose from.
  • Small farmers, livestock and seed keepers in India are on the front-line of conserving the unique agrobiodiversity of the country.

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