World Bank Current Affairs

India can construct Kishanganga, Ratle Hydro Power Plants: World Bank

World Bank has allowed India to construct Kishanganga, Ratle hydroelectric power facilities on tributaries of the Jhelum and Chenab rivers with certain restrictions under the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty (IWT).

The World Bank’s comments came as officials from India and Pakistan concluded the secretary-level talks on the technical issues of the IWT in Washington, US.

Key Facts

Pakistan had opposed the construction of the Kishanganga (Jhelum River) and Ratle (Chenab River) hydroelectric power plants built by India in Jammu and Kashmir. Both countries had disagreed over the technical design features of the two hydroelectric plants, as these two rivers are part of “Western Rivers” along with Indus River under. IWT has given Pakistan full control over these three western rivers for unrestricted use. Besides, it also allows India to construct hydroelectric power facilities on these rivers along with other uses, subject to constraints specified in annexures to the treaty.

Background

Due differences over these projects, Pakistan had asked World Bank to facilitate the setting up of a Court of Arbitration to look into its concerns. On the other hand, India had asked for the appointment of a neutral expert to look into the issues, citing that concerns raised by Pakistan were “technical” ones. After that, representatives of the World Bank had held talks with India and Pakistan to find a way out separately.

About Indus Waters Treaty (IWT)

IWT is a water-distribution treaty between India and Pakistan which was brokered by the World Bank (then the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development). It deals with sharing of water of Indus water system having six rivers — Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum between the two countries.

It was signed by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and President of Pakistan Ayub Khan in Karachi on September 19, 1960. It is most successful water treaty in world. Even, it has survived India-Pakistan wars of 1965, 1971 and the 1999 Kargil standoff besides Kashmir insurgency since 1990.

As per treaty, control over three eastern rivers Ravi, Beas and Sutlej was given to India. While control over three western rivers Indus, Jhelum and Chenab was given to Pakistan. It allows India to use only 20% of the water of Indus river, which flows through it first, for irrigation, power generation and transport.

Most disagreements and disputes have been settled via legal procedures, provided for within the framework of the treaty. Under it, Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) was set up as a bilateral commission to implement and manage the Treaty. The Commission solves disputes arising over water sharing. Besides, treaty also provides arbitration mechanism to solve disputes amicably. The World Bank’s role in relation to “disputes” and “differences” with respect of IWT is limited to the designation of people to fulfil certain roles when requested by either or both of the parties.

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World Bank: India emerging as front-runner in fight against Climate Change

The World Bank has observed that India is emerging as a frontrunner in the fight against climate change. It has noted that India is gradually replacing coal energy with solar power as a source of energy.

Salient Facts

The World Bank has observed that India has made a sweeping commitment to solar power, innovative solutions and energy efficiency initiatives to provide round the clock electricity to its people by 2030. With these initiatives and a firm decision to use more clean energy, India has emerged as the front-runner in the global fight against climate change.

The report of the World Bank had also praised India for walking away from plans to install nearly 14 GW of coal-fired power plants in order to use solar power to generate electricity as it is affordable for the country now to use solar power instead of fossil fuels. The expense involved in generating electricity from solar photovoltaic (PV) is at present a quarter of what it was in 2009 and is also predicted to fall another 66% by 2040. India gets 300 days of sunshine every year and has one of the best conditions in the world to capture and use solar energy.

India has set an ambitious target for generating 160 gigawatts (GW) of the wind and solar power by 2022. It would help India to help its population to light their homes, study at night, provide families with refrigerators to preserve food items. In addition, it would also act as an incentive for international firms to invest in India’s solar market.

Background

India has begun promoting the use of solar power on a large scale in place of fossil fuels in order to honour its climate change commitments. On the first day of the COP-21 summit, the International Solar Alliance was launched by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande as a union of countries with abundant sunlight. Under this alliance, 121 countries that fall within the tropics {i.e. between Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn} have been invited to make collaborative efforts to harness solar energy to generate the electricity. Most of these countries fall within Asia, Africa and South America. There are three objectives behind the International Solar Alliance. First is to force down prices by driving demand; second is to bring standardisation in solar technologies and third is to foster research and development.

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