The Hindu Editorial Analysis
28 September 2021

  1.  

1. Women in Legislatures

  • Source: The Hindu - Page 7/OPED: Data Point - Where women stand in Legislatures

  • GS 1: Women

 

Context: On Sunday, Iceland seemed set to have its first elected women-majority Parliament, with 33 out of the 63 seats in the country being won by  women. When compared to the Indian parliament this is less than 14%

 

India's comparison with the world:

    • India ranks lower than most of the countries of the world. India has only 78 women in Lok Sabha out of 543.

    • Rawanda tops the list with 61% women candidates. Whereas, even many developed countries are not equal in many cases as is in the case of Japan.

    • According to Global Gender Gap Report 2021India has declined on the political empowerment index by 13.5 percentage points, and a decline in the number of women ministers, from 23.1% in 2019 to 9.1% in 2021.

State-wise distribution in India: In 24 out of 31 state legislatures the proportion of women in the house is less than 10% as shown belew.

 

The Strength of women has organically Increased over the years:  Thus, other soft methods such as imparting education and providing economic activities must be stressed upon. The strength of women can organically increase.

 

Conclusion: The major issue here is the empowerment of women in educational and economic terms. This prevents women from joining the workforce and gaining experience. No amount of reservation can help if the attitude of the society does not change, the society would always find ways such as Pradhan Pati to circumvent such provisions.

 Expected Question: Discuss the status of women's participation in the political sphere in India. What can be done to improve this status? (250 Words)

 

  1.  

2. Revitalising PM-KUSUM| We can unlock the scheme’s promises in many ways

  • Page 7/OPED

  • GS 3: Energy

Context: The Union Minister of Power, New and Renewable Energy launced PM-KUSUM scheme to accelerating solar pump adoption in 2019. It aims to help farmers access reliable day-time solar power for irrigation, reduce power subsidies, and decarbonise agriculture. 

 

About PM-KUSUM scheme or Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthan Mahabhiyan scheme:

    • It views that “Annadata” can be “urjadata”: It aims to remove farmers’ dependence on diesel & kerosene and linked pump sets to solar energy.

    • It uses three deployment models:

      • Off-grid solar pumps: 20 lakh farmers for setting up stand-alone solar pumps; These have been the most popular.

      • Grid-connected pumps: 15 lakh farmers solarise their grid-connected pump sets.

      • Solarised agricultural feeders: In addition, a scheme to enable farmers to set up solar power generation capacity on their fallow/barren lands and to sell it to the grid would be operationalized.

 

Challenges - Barriers to uptake

    • Disruptions: But pandemic-induced disruptions, limited buy-in from States, and implementation challenges have all affected the scheme’s roll-out.

    • Couldn’t meet the target: For example for Off-grid Solar pumps, nearly 2,80,000 systems deployed fall far short of the scheme’s target of two million by 2022. Progress on the other two models has been rather poor due to regulatory, financial, operational and technical challenges. Only a handful of States have initiated tenders or commissioned projects for solar feeders or grid-connected pumps, according to our study.

    • Limited awareness: about solar pumps and farmers’ inability to pay their upfront contribution.

    • Lack of trust on the DISCOMs: The grid-connected model requires pumps to be metered and billed for accounting purposes but suffers from a lack of trust between farmers and discoms.

 

Ways to Improve:

    • Extend the scheme’s timelines. Most Indian discoms have a surplus of contracted generation capacity and are wary of procuring more power in the short term. Extending PM-KUSUM’s timelines beyond 2022 would allow discoms to align the scheme with their power purchase planning.

    • Create a level playing field for distributed solar plants: Selling surplus power to discoms is one of the main attractions of grid-connected models. Yet, discoms often find utility-scale solar cheaper than distributed solar (under the scheme) due to the latter’s higher costs and the loss of locational advantage due to waived inter-State transmission system (ISTS) charges. To tackle the bias against distributed solar, we need to address counter-party risks and grid-unavailability risks at distribution substations, standardise tariff determination to reflect the higher costs of distributed power plants, and do away with the waiver of ISTS charges for solar plants.

    1. Streamline land regulations through inter-departmental coordination: Doing so will help reduce delays in leasing or converting agricultural lands for non-agricultural purposes such as solar power generation.

    2. Support innovative solutions for financing farmers’ contributions: Many farmers struggle to pay 30-40% of upfront costs in compliance with scheme requirements. Further, they cannot access bank loans without collateral. We need out-of-the-box solutions like Karnataka’s pilot of a farmer-developer special-purpose vehicle to help farmers install solar power plants on their farms.

    3. Extensively pilot grid-connected solar pumps: Current obstacles to their adoption include concerns about their economic viability in the presence of high farm subsidies and farmers’ potential unwillingness to feed in surplus power when selling water or irrigating extra land are more attractive prospects.

    4. Adopting smart solutions: like smart meters and smart transformers and engaging with farmers can build trust. But piloting the model under different agro-economic contexts will be critical to developing a strategy to scale it up.

 

Conclusion: The scheme can be a boon to Indian agriculture which faces electricity shortages in India. If implemented successfully, can generate thousands of jobs, reduce the carbon footprint of agriculture, and result in oil import savings.

 

Expected Question: Critically analyse the successes of the PM-KUSUM in 'Annadata' an 'urjadata' as stated aim of the scheme. (150 Words)a