Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Preparation: 21 & 22 November 2017

Word Class Center of Excellence in Maritime and Ship Building to come up in Mumbai and Vishakhapatnam

A world class Center of Excellence in Maritime and Ship Building (CEMS) is being set up by Ministry of Shipping in collaboration with Siemens and Indian Register of Shipping (IRS) under the Ministry’s flagship Sagarmala Programme. CEMS will have campuses at Vishakhapatnam and Mumbai, and will provide industry-relevant skill development, equip students with employable engineering and technical skills in the port and maritime sector and contribute to the Government of India’s ambitious Sagarmala programme. Shri Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Shipping, Road Transport & Highways, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation had announced this at an event in Cochin last week.

CEMS is being set up to meet the domestic skill requirement in ship design, manufacturing, operating and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO),  and  aims to become an international nodal centre in South Asia, attracting students from neighboring countries like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia for skill development in the Port and Maritime sector.

This initiative also adds to the Make in India and Skill India efforts in the maritime sector. CEMS will provide skilled manpower to make vessels for inland waterways, ships, fishing boats and other ancillary manufacturing sectors. Siemens-a private sector entity is contributing technology, expertise and 87% funding for the center which is being made at a cost of Rs 766 crore.

The land and building for Vishakhapatnam campus has been provided by Indian Maritime University (IMU) and that for Mumbai campus by IRS. CEMS will be run by Siemens for two years and thereafter by a Special Purpose Vehicle (a Section 8 nonprofit Company) promoted by IRS.

It is expected that CEMS will become a global hub for quality skill development in the port and maritime sector and provide skilled manpower for India’s ship building and repair industry.

 

India Signs Loan Agreement with World Bank for USD 100 Million for “Shared Infrastructure for Solar Parks Project”

A Guarantee Agreement for IBRD/CTF loan of USD 98 million and Grant Agreement for USD 2 million for the “Shared Infrastructure for Solar Parks Project” was signed with the World Bank by Mr Sameer Kumar Khare, Joint Secretary (MI), Department of Economic Affairs on behalf of Government of India, and Mr Hisham A. Abdo, Acting Country Director, World Bank India, on behalf of the World Bank. A Loan Agreement was also signed by Mr K S Popli, Chairman and Managing Director, India Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd. (IREDA) and Mr Hisham A. Abdo, Acting Country Director, World Bank India, on behalf of the World Bank.

The project consists of two components viz. (i) Shared Infrastructure for Solar Parks (estimated total project cost of USD 100 million, including USD 75 million in IBRD loan and USD 23 million in CTF Loan) and (ii) Technical Assistance (USD 2 million in CTF Grant).

The objective of the project is to increase solar generation capacity through establishment of large-scale parks in the country. The project will help establish large-scale solar parks and support the government’s plan to install 100 Gigawatts (GW) of solar power out of a total renewable-energy target of 175 GW by 2022.

 

Nagaland, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Dadra & Nagar Haveli & Daman & Diu sign MoU with Government of India under UDAY Scheme

On the 2nd Anniversary of Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY), the Government of India signed four Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) under the Scheme with the State of Nagaland and with Union Territories (UTs) of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Dadra & Nagar Haveli & Daman & Diu for operational improvements. These State/UTs have joined only for operational improvement and shall not undergo financial restructuring/issue of bonds under the scheme. With the above, UDAY club has now grown to 27 states and 4 UTs.

An overall net benefit of approximately Rs. 551 crores, Rs. 18 crores, Rs. 13 crores and Rs. 10 crores respectively would accrue to the State of Nagaland & UTs of Andaman & Nicobar, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu by opting to participate in UDAY, by way of cheaper funds for capex, reduction in AT&C and Transmission losses, interventions in energy efficiency, etc. during the period of turnaround.

The MoU paves way for improving operational efficiency of the Electricity Departments/DISCOM of the State/Union Territory. Through compulsory distribution transformer metering, consumer indexing & GIS mapping of losses, upgrade/change transformers, meters etc., smart metering of high-end consumers, feeder audit etc. AT&C losses and transmission losses would be brought down, besides eliminating the gap between cost of supply of power and realisation.

The ultimate benefit of signing the MOU would go to the people of these state/UTs. Reduced levels of AT&C losses would mean lesser cost per unit of electricity to consumers. Further, an operationally healthy DISCOM/Electricity Department would be in a position to supply more power. The scheme would also allow speedy availability of cheaper power to households in the State/UTs that are still without electricity. Availability of 24*7 cheaper, round the clock power would boost the economy, promote industries/tourism, thereby improving employment opportunities for the people of these State/UTs.

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