India Current Affairs 2017

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CCEA approves doubling of solar power capacity to 40000 MW

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the enhancement of capacity from 20,000 MW to 40,000 MW of the Scheme for Development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects.

The capacity of the solar park scheme was enhanced after considering the demand for additional solar parks from the States.

Key Facts
  • The enhanced capacity will ensure setting up of at least 50 solar parks each with a capacity of 500 MW and above in various parts of the country. All the States/UTs are eligible for benefits under the scheme.
  • Under this scheme, smaller parks will also be considered in Himalayan and other hilly States where contiguous land may be difficult to acquire in view of the difficult terrain.
  • The Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects will be set up by 2019-20 with Union Government’s financial support of 8100 crore rupees.
  • These plants after becoming operational will generate total 64 billion units of clean electricity per year. It will lead to abatement of around 55 million tonnes of CO2 per year over its life cycle.
  • It will also contribute to long term energy security of the country and promote ecologically sustainable growth by reduction in carbon emissions and carbon footprint.
  • It will also generate large direct and indirect employment opportunities in solar and allied industries like heavy industrial equipment, glass, metals etc.
  • The solar parks will also provide productive use of abundant uncultivable lands which in turn facilitate development of the surrounding areas.
  • Under the scheme, solar parks will be developed in collaboration with States/UTs. The States/UTs are required to select the Solar Power Park Developer (SPPD) for developing and maintaining the solar parks.
  • Solar Energy Corporation India (SECI) will administer the scheme under the direction of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). SECI will release the approved grant.

About SECI

SECI is a not-for-profit company established in 2011 under Section-25 of the Companies Act 1956. It is a facilitation and implementation institution dedicated to Solar Energy sector under the aegis of Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

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CCEA approves $854.4 million investment for 900-MW Arun 3 hydropower project in Nepal

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved investment for the generation component of 900-MW Arun 3 hydropower project for an estimated Rs. 5723.72 crore ($854.4 million).

The project is located on Arun River in Sankhuwasabha district of eastern Nepal. It is expected to be completed within five years from the date of financial closure, which is planned for September 2017.

About Arun 3 hydropower project

  • The project is based on Run-of-River scheme that envisages about 70 metre high concrete gravity dam and 74 Km Head Race Tunnel (HRT).
  • It also has underground Power House containing four generating units of 225 MW each on Left Bank.
  • Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN) Limited had bagged the project through International Competitive Bidding. It had signed MoU with Nepal Government for the project in March 2008.
  • The execution of the project will be on Build Own Operate and Transfer (BOOT) basis for a period of 30 years including five years of construction period.
  • The Project Development Agreement (PDA) was signed in November 2014, which provides 21.9% free power to Nepal for the entire concession period of 25 years.
  • The surplus power from the project will be exported to India from Dhalkebar in Nepal to Muzaffarpur in Bihar. It will strengthen power availability in India and also economic linkages with Nepal.

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Union Cabinet apporves agreement between India and Poland for cooperation in agriculture

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing of an Agreement between India and Poland on cooperation in the field of agriculture and allied sectors.

Decision in this regard was taken by the Union Cabinet meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. 

Key Facts
  • The agreement covers various activities in the field of agriculture and allied sector including exchange of information on the current situation in agriculture.
  • It also includes exchange of information on the phytosanitary conditions of crops, threats posed by harmful organisms and animal infectious diseases.
  • It also covers participation in fairs, exhibitions, seminars and conferences related to agriculture and agri-food processing.
  • It also includes undertaking and developing joint economic initiatives including the support or agrifood trade between the states of the Contracting Parties.
  • The Agreement provides for constitution of a Joint Working Group (JWG) comprising of representatives of both countries.
  • The JWG will prepare plans of cooperation and also provide solutions to the problems arising during the implementation of the Agreement.

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