Sun has been the primary source of energy for our entire solar system until humanity discovered and controlled the use of fire. Fire can alter the chemical composition of matter and convert it to energy, which from a holistic perspective is both a boon and a bane in different scenarios. This change in the composition of matter is irreversible and has deeply affected our ecosystem – culminating into the dreadful climate crisis we are battling. Controlled use of fire has traces dating back to the early stone age. Still, even in the modern era, we are highly dependent on fire for meeting our daily energy needs as most of the electricity we use is indirectly a product of combustion of some fuel.
Keeping in mind the environmental degradation and climate crisis, scientists and researchers are proactively looking for alternate sources of energy, which score relatively positive on long-term ecological impact assessments. A significant competitor to conventional energy sources is solar energy. Solar PV technology is deployed worldwide to harness this original source of energy. Solar Photovoltaic, or Solar PV converts sunlight to electricity directly by using semiconductor materials. A significant perk that accompanies solar power is that it has already achieved grid parity and now it can produce cheaper electricity than thermal power plants. In Indian context, the recent solar bid was quoted at ₹2/kWh by Al Jomaiah Energy and Water Company and Green Infra Wind Energy Limited for solar projects in Rajasthan. Governmental institutions around the world promote Solar PV as a source of clean energy. However, it is subjected to several constraints that prevent it from replacing the conventional power plants, for instance:
Intermittent source of energy- Electricity production is affected by the presence of clouds and pollution. Moreover, it cannot produce any electricity during the night, which signifies that we can’t rely on it entirely.
Less space-efficient- Solar energy is not a concentrated source of energy; furthermore, most PV panels have conversion efficiency between 15-20%, which means they require a much larger area for establishment compared to conventional power plants of the same capacity. As a consequence, small countries with less geographical location prefer to go with traditional power plants.
Location constraint- Solar PV is successful only in the areas with suitable availability of solar irradiance. Only the countries located between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, often referred to as sunshine countries, are well suited for solar energy production.
Addressing the above problems, the idea of One Sun, One World, One Grid (OSOWOG) was proposed by PM Narendra Modi during the first assembly of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), circa 2018, to its 67 member countries.
OSOWOG is an ambitious initiative that envisions a trans-national electricity grid that steadfastly supplies solar power across the globe. The underlying philosophy behind the OSOWOG framework is the idea that “The sun never sets”; it is continuously available at some geographical location on earth at any given point in time. The OSOWOG initiative aims to bridge the gap in the existing power ecosystem and address the issues hindering the solar industry’s growth. The plan aims to produce and garner solar power from regions with dense sunlight and then transmit it to places where it is comparatively scarce in availability via an ‘OneWorld Grid’.
Recent developments regarding the project:
MNRE (Ministry of New and Renewable Energy) has requested hiring consultants to transform this idea into policy. MNRE has prepared a draft plan that connects 140 countries through a standard grid to transfer solar power. Keeping India at the centre, the globe is divided into two broad zones namely; the Far East which includes countries like Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, and the Far West which covers the Middle Eastern and the African Region.
The execution of OSOWOG rolls out in three phases.
Phase 1: Interconnecting Indian grid with middle eastern, south Asian and southeast Asian grids for solar and other renewable power exchange.
Phase 2: Connecting the middle eastern link of the grid with Africa for solar and other renewable power exchange.
Phase 3: Establishing a global power interconnection and achieving One Sun, One World, One grid vision.
Currently 37 companies have submitted the Letter of Interest to MNRE regarding OSOWOG showing their willingness to work on the project.
Solar energy will be supplied to the “non-sunshine countries” or countries with a small geographical footprint by the solar surplus countries. This idea eliminates the need to store power using batteries and reduces our dependence on thermal power plants to meet the peak demands.
Several experts have quoted OSOWOG as a part of India’s counter to China’s One-belt-One-road initiative. Africa and South-East Asia being power deficient regions possess massive potential for the Indian electricity market in the future.
Being an ambitious project, it has few aforementioned exigent setbacks. Interconnecting the national grids will make the electrical grid more susceptible to cyber-attacks as the number of entry points will be increased to many folds.
Huge capital upfront- The whole project will require trillions of dollars of investment. Operation and maintenance of submarine sea links amidst increasing risk of storms and Cyclones pose a significant threat to the infrastructure. High AT&C losses in third world countries were averaging to nearly 30% of transmitted power. With time battery technology may progress, and storing the electricity might become cheaper than sending it to large distances making the World Grid pointless.
We never know what the future holds; the technology progress in the field of transmission can’t be ruled out; the AT&C losses may reduce significantly over time. Regardless of the challenges, India has always proved its mettle. Indian engineers and scientists have a history of figuring out efficient and cost-effective solutions. It’s a ripe time for India to emerge as a world leader in the renewable energy sector and set an example for sustainable development discourse.
All You Need To Know About National Institute Of Food Technology Entrepreneurship And Management Bill 2021
On July 26, 2021, Lok Sabha passed a bill under the ministry of Food Processing Industry. The bill is titled as National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management Bill, 2021. The main motive of this bill is to address issues with the Food Processing Industry, Entrepreneurship and one Institution for National Importance. With the passing of this bill, the Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology (IIFPT) and National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM) is now merged as Institutions of National Importance, and it aims at providing various research and advancement in learning about the Food Industry and its associated branches. The bill was first introduced in the house in February 2019 but was pending due to protest by the opposition.
Significance of Institutions of National Importance (INI)
With the passing of this bill, the institutions enjoy greater autonomy through which they can carry out various courses, research attracting skilled faculties and students from all over the country and overseas. Good standards in education will be adopted to improve the present and future of education in this branch and sector, overcoming the technological gap in the country. This law aims to improve and introduce new changes in food, bio-nanotechnology, cold chain technology etc. The desired efforts will be taken in terms of human resources and infrastructure developments, labs for research etc. Liberty to open centres anywhere in India is also granted to INI and include courses regarding food technology certification and improving the workforce of the country.
Some other important features of this act are the Institution has been authorized with the Board of Government, Senate and other acting Authorities. The Council of Board will include 16 members from different branches from the same field. The Head will be Chairperson, who will be a skilled person from the Food Industry, the Director, Dean and Registrar. Members appointed from Centre and State Governments, Members from FSSAI and Council of Agriculture Research, as mentioned in the bill. The 16 members of the board will carry out work of taking administrative decisions, creating annual budgets and paths for institution progress as an organization, establishing departments, their appointment terms of services, faculties etc. The Board of Council also holds power to grant Honorary Degrees and Diplomas. The Senate shall be the principal academic body of the Institute, consisting of the people such as Director as the Chairperson; Registrar; Full-time skilled level Professor; and Three academically skilled Individuals nominated by the board from the field.
The Union Minister of Food Processing Industry, Mr Pashupati Kumar Paras, expressed his gratitude to PM Modi for this landmark step in this industry from his Twitter handle, indicating new opportunities in Food Technology Industries. Therefore, this Act looks promising on paper with new opportunities and in Educational Development. Amidst the Pegasus Spyware and repeal of the farm laws, this looks positive from the Modi Government.
लोकसभा में आज, राष्ट्रीय खाद्य प्रौद्योगिकी, उद्यमिता और प्रबंध संस्थान विधेयक, 2021 (निफ्टेम विधेयक, 2021) को पारित किया गया।
इस विधेयक के पारित होने पर इससे जुड़े हर व्यक्ति को बधाई देता हूँ और साथ ही खाद्य प्रसंस्करण से जुड़े छात्रों को भी बधाई देता हूँ। @MOFPI_GOI
— Pashupati Kumar Paras (@PashupatiParas) July 26, 2021
Fake News: Accountability Of News Organisations
Fake news is false news stories or hoaxes, which are deliberately released to misinform and to create chaos in society or among readers. Fake news is one of the main reasons behind the disruption of peace in society and it becomes more dangerous in volatile places. Fake news is generally shared with propaganda to mislead the audience by hiding or twisting the truth. However fake news isn’t new to the web, it recently became an enormous problem in today’s digital world. Fake news mostly comes from sites that are bogus or have sensationalized stories.
Most of the users do not check the facts before sharing the information on their social media, which can be a reason for widespread fake news. So, it is important to differentiate between fake news and authentic news to maintain harmony in society and to avoid false news and its repercussions.
Fake News Stories
- On 2nd April, a team of doctors, health workers, and revenue officials were attacked by the family members of a 65-year-old man who died of COVID-19 in Indore, Madhya Pradesh because of the fake video which claimed that healthy Muslims were being injected with the virus, reiterating the risks and physical manifestations of misinformation.
- On March 22, 2020, Mr. Modi’s new term ‘Janta curfew’ has sparked a buzz on the Internet. Social media users started interpreting PM Modi’s concept of ‘Janta curfew’ in their own ways. Social media was flooded with a certain ‘scientific explanation’ behind the curfew as to how it will break the chain of transmissions of the deadly coronavirus infection. The claim was found out to be misleading. PM Modi, while announcing the curfew, didn’t mention this particular ‘scientific’ logic behind it.
- Rumours were circulated on WhatsApp groups about a kidnapping gang operating in India’s western state of Maharashtra in 2018. The rumors eventually cause a mob lynching, that killed five migrant workers because they were suspected of being kidnappers.
- On November 13, 2016, when the government of India has demonetized Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes and planned to replace them with new Rs 500 and Rs 2000 notes, rumors were spreading about Rs 2000 notes. Rumors claimed the new higher denomination currency comes with a Nano-GPS chip which acts as a reflector, giving precise location coordinates of the currency to permit every note to be tracked. However, the RBI officials had dismissed these as false and said the new Rs 2000 note does not have a Nano-GPS chip as is being claimed on social media, WhatsApp.
- In the pandemic situation, where vaccination has become crucial, in a series of viral videos it was seen that people are claiming that magnet was attracted to the arms of alleged COVID-19 vaccinated recipients. This kind of fake news can create misconceptions about vaccines and people may not take their jab of vaccines. The Centre has declined the claims that Covid-19 vaccines can make people ‘magnetic’. It has also dismissed theories about microchips in coronavirus vaccines.
Need of Accountability
False information on social media can cause huge problems. It is often done to influence political processes. Need for Accountability increases in such situations because the false information provided by certain news organizations can create a ruckus in society. Before publishing the news, it is necessary to check the facts.
If the news organizations, shared misinformation unintentionally they must remove the content right away and they should apologize to the readers. If fake news is spread with propaganda to create chaos in society, then the news organization should be punished under the law. The information must be checked before sharing it with other people.
Curious Case Of Pegasus: Explained
Pegasus is a spyware that can hack the victims’ mobile phones and read their SMS messages and emails. The Pegasus spyware is owned by an Israeli software company named NSO Group. According to the various reports, this company has targeted more than 50,000 phone numbers at the Global level, of which 300 are in India for surveillance.
The news broke out after the 17 media partners investigated. This investigation brought into the picture information about a leaked database of mobile telephone numbers of Indian Ministers, Opposition leaders, journalists, the legal community, business people, government officials, scientists, activists and many influential personalities of the nation.
Pegasus Spyware and India
According to the report by the agency, the Israeli company which sells Pegasus around the world says that its clients are confined to ‘vetted governments”, believed to number 36. The NSO Group also says that ‘the target list in India is not ours, never was.’ Their refusal of the leaked database has created a loophole in understanding this case.
This whole case has violated the integrity of democratic institutions. According to the report by the agencies, after the mobile phones of the opposition leader Rahul Gandhi and various other leaders were hacked under the Pegasus spyware surveillance. Multiple tweets were made against the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) government in India. This whole case has become one of the major threats in the political arena and the Indian Democracy.
Though at the start, it was used for national security purposes. The explosive expansion of surveillance technology vendors has become a vast human rights and a global security issue. If such surveillance technologies increase, it might cause a lot of problems to countries around the globe. Hence, as a precaution, all these countries need to work on regulating this technology.
According to the reports by the agency, one of the targeted phones by the Pegasus spyware was of the former election commissioner of India, Ashok Lavasa. Various such people and such opposition leaders were somehow against the BJP government having their phones hacked with the NSO-owned spyware. All these instances and the names in the leaked list have pointed figures towards the Modi Government.
The Modi government’s stand on this case was put forward in Lok Sabha by two serving ministers, Ashwini Vaishnaw and Prahlad Singh Patel. These two leaders were also featured in the leaked database. The recent Information Technology Minister, Ashwini Vaishnaw defended the BJP government in the parliament by saying, “the expose was an attempt to malign Indian democracy and its well-established institutions.” She even said, ‘any form of illegal surveillance is not possible with the checks and balances in our laws and robust institutions.’
This case has adjourned the parliament proceedings due to the protests inside and outside the house of parliament by the opposition party.
Pegasus Spyware and World.
In the statement given to the agency, Access Now, an organisation defending the digital rights of global users, said it was outraged that products sold by NSO were allegedly “used to hack and invade the private communications” of thousands of people across the globe.
At a global level, France’s Emmanuel Macron was targeted in the Pegasus spyware case. As the phone of French President Emmanuel Macron was hacked, the investigation was carried out and later on was published which was directed by the Paris-based non-profit journalism group Forbidden. After this case came in front of the whole world, the Pegasus spyware surveillance came into the picture.
If this continues for some more time, it will ruin India’s Democratic values at a global level. As well as this might become a huge technological threat between the different nations around the globe.
Project Zaraat by Enactus DCAC
Retake 2022 is on its way!
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