National Solar Mission Current Affairs
The dispute settlement body (DSB) of World Trade Organization (WTO) has decided to set up panel to examine whether India has complied with its 2016 ruling in case against US regarding domestic content requirements (DCR) rules for solar cells and modules.
In 2016, the multilateral body had ruled against India for favouring local manufacturers in its solar power programme, on petition filed by US. But after ruling, US had alleged that India continues to apply WTO-inconsistent measures and had approached WTO demanding action against India for non-compliance of WTO ruling in December 2017. India, however, has maintained that it has complied with WTO’s ruling and had requested WTO to set up a panel to determine its compliance with rulings of dispute.
What is the issue?
In 2013, US had filed complaint before WTO, arguing that domestic content requirement imposed under India’s ambitious Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (NSM) violates global trading rules by unfavourably discriminating against imported solar cells and modules. In February 2016, WTO panel had ruled that India had violated its national treatment obligation, by imposing the domestic content requirement. US had claimed that its solar exports to India have fallen by more than 90% since India had brought in the DCR rules.
Dispute Settlement Body (DSB)
WTO is an intergovernmental organization that regulates international trade. General Council of WTO convenes as DSB to deal with disputes between WTO members. Such disputes may arise with respect to any agreement contained in Final Act of Uruguay Round that is subject to Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes (DSU).
The DSB has authority to establish dispute settlement panels, refer matters to arbitration, adopt panel, Appellate Body and arbitration reports, and maintain surveillance over implementation of recommendations and rulings. It can also authorize suspension of concessions in event of non-compliance with those recommendations and rulings.
Scientists from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru have indigenously developed country’s first super critical carbon dioxide (S-CO2) Brayton Test Loop facility. The facility was inaugurated at the IISc campus. It is first test loop technology coupled with solar heat source in world that will generate clean energy from power plants, including solar thermal.
The facility is part of Indo-US consortium- Solar Energy Research Institute for India and United States (SERIIUS). It was developed by research group at inter-disciplinary centre for energy research of IISc as part of consortium. Funding was provided by Department of Science and Technology (DS&T) under Indo-US Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Centre programme.
This facility uses supercritical CO2 (SCO2) instead of steam to generate more power. Supercritical refers to state of CO2 above its critical temperature of 31 C and critical pressure of 73 atmospheres, which makes it twice as dense as steam. S-CO2 operated in closed loop Brayton cycle increases efficiency of energy conversion by as much as 50% or more.
This next generation, efficient, compact, waterless super critical CO2 Brayton cycle test loop for power generation will be useful for meeting energy needs of the country. It has potential to replace steam based nuclear and thermal power plants, thus reducing the carbon foot print significantly. Besides, increasing power generation and making process more efficient, the new technology will make power plants cheaper with lower operating costs.
It will be indigenous initiative for setting up next generation of solar thermal power plants. This gives India opportunity to become world leader in this technology, and fulfil major objective of National Solar Mission which emphasizes indigenous manufacturing.