December 20, 2022
Good morning. In today’s either/view, we discuss the two sides of the Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, 2022. We also look at the update on the AIIMS cyberattack investigation in Delhi, among other news.
📰 FEATURE STORY
Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, 2022
The Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, 2022 was cleared in the Rajya Sabha by a voice vote early last week. The new bill aims to allow India to achieve its international commitments on climate change. It focuses on energy transition, favouring renewable energy sources and green hydrogen.
While the ambitious bill can significantly reduce emissions, can the country afford such a vast transition?
After being introduced by Union Minister of New and Renewable Energy RK Singh, the bill was passed by the Lok Sabha in August of this year. Singh tabled the Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill in the Rajya Sabha early this month. It was passed on December 12 following talks and deliberations.
As part of its nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Climate Agreement, India pledged to reduce the carbon intensity of its economy by 33–35% by 2030 from its 2005 levels. The country has also pledged to generate more than 40% of its electricity from sources other than fossil fuels by 2030. India has pledged to increase its tree and forest cover in order to provide an additional carbon sink for 2.5–3 billion tonnes of CO2 in an effort to reduce its CO2 emissions to 550 metric tonnes (Mt) by 2030.
In India, the domain is currently governed by the Energy Conservation Act, 2001 (as amended in 2010). The Act gives the Centre the authority to set energy efficiency norms and requirements for household goods, commercial machinery, and structures with a connected load greater than 100 kW or a contractual demand greater than 15 kilovolt-amperes (kVA).
The Bureau of Energy Efficiency was established by the Act. The Director General of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency now has a five-year term, increased from three under the 2010 amendment. This Bureau can outline the qualifications required for energy auditors who monitor and evaluate the electricity usage of various sectors. The Central government-affiliated Bureau appoints its own officers and employees.
VIEW: The Bill is good
According to Singh, big consumers will receive carbon credits if they exceed expectations and achieve more of their energy needs from cleaner sources of energy. If they fall short of their goals or are unable to reach them, they will be penalized or forced to purchase carbon credits to make up for it. According to Singh, this is crucial if India is to meet its goals under the NDCs. According to the 2015 Paris Agreement, countries must take a number of long-term measures known as NDCs in order to reduce their carbon emissions.
In order to enable faster decarbonization of the Indian economy and support the achievement of sustainable development goals in line with the Paris Agreement, it seeks to introduce new concepts such as carbon trading and mandate the use of non-fossil sources. By implementing a carbon credit mechanism, the Bill seeks to limit carbon emissions and consumption by big consumers. Big consumers will be required, under this approach, to meet a specific percentage of their energy needs through renewable energy sources. These sustainable energy sources include biomass, ethanol, and green hydrogen. It fulfils the five suggestions provided by India at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference’s 26th Conference of Parties (CoP 26), which was held in Glasgow in 2021.
The Bill also suggests an “energy conservation and sustainable building code” for large buildings, including commercial and residential ones, that must also employ renewable energy sources since they are connected to at least 100 kilowatts of power. Additionally, the bill suggests adding more members to the Governing Council of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, a legal entity established under the Ministry of Power.
COUNTERVIEW: More work needs to be done
While the majority of members of the parliament backed the legislation, some voiced concerns about a number of issues, including the carbon trading scheme, the reason it fell under the power ministry’s purview rather than the environment ministry, and the lack of a more effective framework for regulating and implementing the carbon credit system.
The Bill has issues, too, according to the opposition. According to DMK MP P Wilson, the Bill had numerous legal flaws that went right to the root of the problem and needed to be reconsidered and reintroduced. He continued by saying that the Bill violated the 2001 Energy Conservation Act. The present Bill deals with protecting the environment and preventing climate change owing to the use of fossil and non-fossil fuels for generating electricity, whereas the Energy Conservation Act of 2001 deals with saving energy. The purpose and object of the current Bill are not included in the original Act’s scope and objective. The Bill deals with the regulation of climate change and carbon emissions, which is a component of environmental laws.
The Bill, according to CPI(M) MP V Sivadasan, is yet another illustration of the Centre’s tendency to consolidate authority by undermining state rights. With only five proposed state delegates, the Bureau of Energy Efficiency would be unable to obtain the opinions of the majority of the states. The rights of the states are being restricted by the central government. So, he added, that should be protected.
- The Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill 2022 and India’s climate targets – The Hindu
- All you need to know about the energy conservation bill – Down to Earth
- What the Newly Passed Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill Is All About – The Wire
- Rajya Sabha passes ‘futuristic’ Energy Conservation Bill – The Hindu
- Parliament passes Energy Conservation (Amendment) bill to promote non-fossil energy sources – Economic Times
- Centre Introduces Energy Conservation Bill In Rajya Sabha – Business World
What is your opinion on this?
(Only subscribers can participate in polls)
a) The Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, 2022 is good legislation.
b) The Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, 2022 needs more work.
🕵️ BEYOND ECHO CHAMBERS
For the Right:
Legislating religious revivalism
For the Left:
How Muslim invaders and British rulers killed over 300 million people in India — still no memorial for Hindu holocaust
🇮🇳 STATE OF THE STATES
AIIMS cyberattack investigation (Delhi) – The Delhi police have reached out to Interpol requesting details about the IP addresses from which the hackers breached the AIIMS servers. Reports have suggested they belong to places in China and Hong Kong. There’s also a possibility of them originating from a VPN using false IPs. The police still haven’t received a forensic report on the mirror images of the servers from a Gujarat lab.
Why it matters: Last month was when AIIMS reported a failure in its servers. Five servers were infiltrated by Chinese hackers, according to the Centre. Delhi police’s cyber cell has filed an FIR of extortion and cyber terrorism. However, police denied reports of a ₹200 crore ransom sought by the hackers.
Government job aspirants (Kerala) – Capital Thiruvananthapuram tops the list among all districts in the state for the number of people who registered with the employment exchange. Data showed 13.25% registered from there, while the most populous district Malappuram, saw only 4.87%. The government has asked officials to recruit through employment exchanges.
Why it matters: The average unemployment rate of Kerala is 8.17%, calculated by estimating the ratio between the total population of the district and those who registered with the employment exchanges. However, it’s unclear if they can be classified as unemployed since they may be working in shops and malls as staff.
Drink from Tap scheme under scrutiny (Odisha) – In Puri, the Sujal-Drink from Tap mission has failed to meet its objective as diarrhoea continues to spread in the residential areas. Hundreds have been affected in Baseli Sahi and Gochhikar Sahi. There are unconfirmed reports of two deaths. District health authorities have denied the deaths were caused by any water-borne disease. Following the outbreak, officials, including doctors, visited the affected areas and opened a medical relief centre.
Why it matters: Last July, Puri became the first city in the country to have a 24×7 drink-from-tap facility. 200 drinking water fountains were installed in one town, with 139 along Badadanda. Most of the residents in the 32 wards already have pipe water connections. Water samples are tested every 24, 48, and 72 hours.
Expanding Lokayukta (Maharashtra) – The state government has a draft bill to bring the Chief Minister and the cabinet under Lokayukta’s jurisdiction. If the bill passes, it’ll allow the Anti-corruption Bureau to file cases against the chief minister and cabinet members for corruption charges. Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the new law would be a matter of interpretation.
Why it matters: The new law was drafted based on recommendations by a committee headed by activist Anna Hazare. The panel was formed when the BJP was in power from 2014-19. The Uddhav Thackeray government didn’t table the law. The Lokayukta will be a retired Chief Justice of the High Court or Supreme Court.
Anti-encroachment drive begins (Assam) – The Assam government began a large-scale anti-encroachment drive at Batadrava in the Nagaon district. The government wants to remove illegal encroachments by Muslim migrants. Almost 400 acres of land are expected to be cleared with thousands of CRPF and police personnel involved. A survey was conducted in the area to identify any illegal encroachments.
Why it matters: In September, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told the assembly that more than 4,400 families were evicted across the state for alleged illegal encroachment. He said the government made no determination on the nationalities of those evicted.
🔢 KEY NUMBER
₹13.63 lakh crores – The gross direct tax collections increased by 26% to ₹13.63 lakh crores. Net collections from income and corporate taxes are 19.81% higher than the corresponding period of the last financial year.