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Union Government notifies stricter standards for Coal Based Thermal Power Plants

The Union Government has notified the revised standards for coal-based Thermal Power Plants in the country with the primary aim of minimising pollution

In this regard, Union Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEFCC) has issued notification and proposed theses standard to be implemented in a phased manner.

Key facts

  • These new standards are based on the recommendation of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) after consultations with different stakeholders.
  • For implementation of revised standards Thermal power plants are categorised into 3 categories (i) Installed before 31st December, 2003 (ii) Installed after 2003 and up to 31st December, 2016 and (iii) Installed after 31st December, 2016.
  • The new standards are aimed at reducing emission of sulphur dioxide (7.3 Kg/MWh), PM10 (0.98 kg/MWh) and Oxide of nitrogen (4.8 kg/MWh).
  • It would in turn help in bringing about an improvement in the Nation Ambient Air Quality (AAQ) index around and in thermal power plants.
  • The technology employed for controlling of proposed emission limit of Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) and Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) will also help in reducing mercury emission at about 70-90%.
  • Limiting the use of water in thermal power plant for water conservation as thermal power plant is a water-intensive industry. In turn it would also lead to a reduction in energy requirement for drawl of water.

The standards have been made stringent for recently installed plants, compared to earlier ones and most stringent standards will be for those plants to be set up in future.

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Lok Sabha passes Atomic Energy (Amendment) Bill, 2015

The Lok Sabha has unanimously passed the Atomic Energy (Amendment) Bill,2015 by voice vote.

The bill seeks to amend the Atomic Energy Act, 1962 to facilitate and fast track setting up of new nuclear projects in the country.

Key provisions of the Bill

  • Redefines paid-up share capital: Expands the definition of paid-up share capital in parent Act to include joint ventures (JV) of public sector undertakings (PSUs).
  • Paid-up share capital is the capital received by a company from the issue of shares.
  • Government company is one in which at least 51% of the paid-up share capital is held by the central government.
  • The whole of the paid up share capital would be held by one or more PSUs and empowers the Union government to constitute its Board of Directors for such JV.
  • Licenses: Henceforth it will only be granted to entities such as a government company or a department of Union Government.
  • Under the parent Act, license is required for acquisition, production, use, export and import of any plant designed for the production and development of atomic energy or research.
  • License granted will be cancelled if it ceases to be a government company for (i) acquiring and using substances or minerals from which atomic energy can be obtained (ii) producing atomic energy etc.

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Union Cabinet gives nod to UDAY Scheme for financial restructuring package for power DISCOMs

Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its nod Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojna (UDAY) for financial restructuring of debt of power distribution companies.

The Scheme aims for financial turnaround and revival of Power Distribution companies (DISCOMs) and also ensures a sustainable permanent solution to the problem.

About UDAY scheme

  • Allows power DISCOMs in selected states to convert their debt into state bonds as well as roll out number of measures to improve efficiency at power plants.
  • Seeks to ensure that struggling DISCOMs can shake off years of losses and start on a path to profitability.
  • Assures the rise of vibrant and efficient DISCOMs: through four initiatives (i) Improve operational efficiencies of DISCOMs (ii) Reduce of cost of power (iii) Reduce interest cost of DISCOMs (iv) Enforce financial discipline on DISCOMs through alignment with State finances.
  • Debt Burden: Shifts 75 per cent of power DISCOMs debt burden to states’ balance sheets. This step would result in interest cost savings to the tune of 3-5 per cent.
  • State Power Bonds or loans: Selected states would be able to sell the balance 25 per cent as state-backed power bonds or loans which will carry interest rates of g-sec plus 50 basis points.
  • Improve operational efficiency: by implementing steps like (i) swapping of coal linkages (ii) monitoring aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses (iii) Focus on smart metering and feeder separation in states.

Thus with nod to UDAY Scheme, Union Government seeks to accelerate the process of reform across the entire power sector in order to ensure affordable and accessible 24×7 Power for All.

The scheme has been framed by Union Power Ministry as power DISCOMs in several states have been severely mismanaged, resulting in a debt burden upward of 4 lakh crore rupees. This has taken a toll on the power as well as bank sectors.

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