GS PAPER II
‘2+2 ministerial dialogue
Why in News
In a bid to boost overall strategic ties, India and Australia held the inaugural ‘2+2 ministerial dialogue’ in the backdrop of an unsettling phase of geopolitical flux in the region.
- External Affairs Minister and Defence Minister held the ‘two-plus-two’ talks in the national capital with their Australian counterparts Marise Payne and Peter Dutton.
- The 2+2 talks between the two countries come at a time the global focus is on the situation in Afghanistan after its takeover by the Taliban last month, and it is understood that the issue figured in these deliberations.
Key highlights of ‘2+2 ministerial dialogue’
- Indo-Pacific region: During the meeting, the two countries stressed for free, open, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.
- “India and Australia share an important partnership that is entirely based on the shared vision of a free, open, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific region,” said Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
- “As two democracies, our common interest lies in the peace and prosperity of the entire region.”
- Counter-terrorism: India and Australia also shared mutual understanding in combating terrorism as the 2+2 meeting coincided with the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attack.
- While acknowledging the 9/11 anniversary, Australia Defence Minister said it is a reminder of barbaric acts of terrorism. “India is a rising Indo pacific great power. We both depend on free and open excess to sea lines in the Indo Pacific, for trade and economic well-being,” Dutton said.
- Quad grouping: The foreign and defence ministerial talks took place amid renewed efforts by the Quad member countries to expand cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. Besides India and Australia, the Quad comprises the US and Japan.
- Afghanistan issue: During the 2+2 talks, the two sides also discussed the situation in Afghanistan at length.
- “Both of our countries have been victims of appalling terrorist attacks and this day September 11 will be forever remembered for those terrible events 20 years ago when terrorists struck at the heart of our friend – the US – and also by extension at a modern, pluralist and democratic world,” she added.
GS PAPER II
‘Medicine from the sky’ plan
Why in News
- The Union Civil Aviation Minister has launched ‘The Sky from the Sky’, which attempts to send medicines to primary health centers using drones.
‘Medicine from the Sky’ is an initiative of Telangana Government led by emerging technologies of IT Department of Telangana in collaboration with World Economic Forum, NITI Aayog and Healthnet Global (Apollo Hospitals).
- The pilot will test the delivery of drugs using the drone beyond the line of sight (BVLOS) at 500 meters.
- This is the first project of its kind in the country to use drones for BVLOS flights.
- The first drone delivered a five kg box of vaccines to a community health centre.
- For this 16 green zones have been selected.
- This is a first of its kind project aimed at door-to-door delivery of vaccines and essential medicines to remote areas using drones.
GS PAPER II
Application Programming Interface (API)
Why in News
- Co-Win has developed a new Application Programming Interface (API) named ‘Vaccination Status of Your Customer or Customer – KYC-VS’.
- This new API will enable institutions across the country to check the vaccination status of any individual through the CoWIN portal.
- The Co-WIN portal, which is used to book vaccination slots, has created a new API called ‘Know Your Customer’s Vaccination Status’ to check the COVID-19 vaccination status of an individual Is.
- According to the Union Health Ministry, since the launch of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign on January 16, 2021, more than 72 crore vaccine doses have been administered to the people of India.
- This Co-WIN portal has been issuing digitally verifiable certificates for each individual providing proof of vaccination. Vaccination certificate can be saved on any digital device and can be shared digitally as and when required as proof of vaccination.
GS PAPER III
Center of Excellence on Offshore Wind’
Why in News
- The Union Ministry of Energy and New and Renewable Energy agreed to join Denmark in renewable energy, especially offshore wind and green hydrogen.
- The two Ministers also jointly launched the ‘Center of Excellence on Offshore Wind’ as a part of the Green Strategic Partnership.
- The transition to green energy is an important part of India’s policy.
- Prime Minister Modi in his Independence Day speech has set a target of 450 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2030.
- At present, India’s renewable energy portfolio is 146 GW.
- India is also the only G20 country whose actions are in line with the Paris Climate Agreement on global warming.
India is looking at making islands like Ladakh, Lakshadweep, Andaman and Nicobar green energy oriented in terms of energy including transportation.
- This Center of Excellence on Offshore Wind was jointly launched by the Ministers of India and Denmark as a part of the ‘Green Strategic Partnership’.
- Initially this latest center will be centered around four working groups including financial infrastructure status, spatial planning, supply chain infrastructure, standards and testing.
- The Center of Excellence (CoE), in the initial stages, will focus on the offshore wind sector.
- Offshore wind project status in India
- Offshore wind is seen as a response to India’s growing power demand, competition over land availability, and a system balancing technology.
- In 2015, the Indian government introduced the National Offshore Wind Energy Policy and the EU-funded First Offshore Wind Project of India or FOWPI 2016-2019, according to the Global Wind Energy Council.
- The draft Offshore Wind Energy Lease Rules were made available for comment in 2019.
- Gujarat invited an expression of interest (EOI) for India’s first offshore wind project of 1 GW in 2018, which attracted nearly 35 major companies. The EOI has not moved forward due to the high CAPEX and lack of government support.
- In 2019, India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) applied for €800 million in viability gap funding to help support the construction of India’s first 1 GW offshore wind project in Gujarat. To date, India has not begun any offshore wind projects.
Accelerate offshore wind project development
- Facilitating Offshore Wind in India (FOWIND) studies identified 16 potential zones in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, with a concept design for demonstration projects ranging from 150 to 504 megawatt (MW).
- Based on 4-10 MW turbine ratings, they found net capacity factors ranging from 26.9-32 per cent in Gujarat and 30-38.1 per cent in Tamil Nadu.
- Even as the final tender for the one GW project at Pipavav in the Gulf of Khambhat, Gujarat, is in the pipeline, industry interest has shifted to the stronger wind resource and geotechnical conditions in Tamil Nadu.
- To facilitate offshore wind siting, the MNRE intends to conduct an offshore wind measurement campaign for a minimum of 10 GW of accurate on-site measurements.
- NIWE plans to install five LiDARs (Light Detection and Ranging) by 2021 to gather precise bankable data that will be critical to developing offshore wind projects of up to 7.4 GW indicative installable capacities.
- A tender has already been floated for the design, fabrication, delivery, and installation of support structures for four offshore LiDARs. Interventions such as these are likely to enhance the robustness of estimates of commercially viable offshore wind in India.
- As India already has cheaper onshore wind and solar power, the MNRE is seeking feasible cost interventions from stakeholders for offshore wind. Offshore wind Power Purchase Agreement and auction designs are being examined by government authorities.
- The MNRE, NIWE and the Danish Energy Agency have entered into a partnership for financial modelling of offshore wind farms in India or FIMOI 2019-2021.