National Current Affairs – UPSC/KAS Exams – 1st October 2018
LNG terminal and pipeline projects at Anjar
Topic: GS -3 Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
IN NEWS: The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated the Mundra LNG terminal, the Anjar-Mundra Pipeline Project and the Palanpur-Pali-Barmer pipeline project, at Anjar. LNG terminals are purpose-built ports used exclusively to export or import LNG.
What is LNG
- Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is natural gas (predominantly methane, CH4, with some mixture of ethane C2H6) that has been cooled down to liquid form for ease and safety of non-pressurized storage or transport.
- Natural gas (chiefly marsh gas with some other gaseous hydrocarbons) usually accompanies the petroleum accumulations. The gas may occur in separate sands containing little or no oil, but most of the natural gas of India is found closely associated with the oil and supplies the propulsive force which carries the oil from the oil-sands into the wells and, if the pressure is sufficent, brings the oil up to the surface.
Significance of LNG
- Flexibility of supplies: LNG is a proven method both in terms of being an effective way of diversifying gas supplies for certain countries as well as covering the peak demand for gas.
- Output: during the liquefacation of natural gas into LNG, its capacity is reduced by approx. 600 times. This means that after re-gasification from 100 m3 of LNG we receive 60,000 m3 of natural gas.
- Economy:the costs of transport and storage of LNG are smaller than that of natural gas. This affects, among others, the possibility of selecting suppliers from different parts of the world (cost of purchase and transport optimisation).
- Ecology:natural gas is an ecological fuel. It emits much less pollutants into the atmosphere during combustion than coal, petroleum or other mined fuels. Liquefied natural gas is additionally purified – it is comprised of 95% methane with a small fraction of other components (approx. 5%). LNG is therefore a very clean fuel without toxic or corrosive properties.
- Security: should a leak possibly occur, LNG simply evaporates and is rarefied in the atmosphere. Thus, it is a much less harmful and dangerous fuel than petroleum or LPG. It is impossible to pollute the environment (sea, soil) in the case of an LNG leak. Modern technologies used in constructing the LNG containers (the ‘full-containment’, type), as well as special procedures and security systems ensure an exceptionally high level of safety of the re-gasification terminals.
Natural Gas Reserves in India
- The reserves of natural gas estimated in India from Bombay High, Assam, Gujarat, Rajasthan have been estimated, respectively, at 400.99 billion cu.m, 97.82, 41.26 and 0.74 million cu.m.
- The huge gap between the demand and the indigenous production will have to be filled through imports. Gas output is being increased through the development of the South Bassein and Gandhar fields, the main areas of production so far and new fields such as S-1 and B-55 in the Western Offshore region of the ONGC. The increasing demand has forced the Government to arrange for imports from west Asia.
Model UPSC Question: Discuss the importance of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the context of India.
Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention
Topic: GS-2 Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
IN NEWS: President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention
More on the Topic
- The Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention is being organised by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation to mark the beginning of the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi, also coinciding with the fourth anniversary of the launch of Swachh Bharat Mission.
- Addressing Ministers and delegates from 68 participating countries, the President said that our successes with Swachh Bharat, our attainments in the sphere of sanitation, our methods and our mechanisms, are available to all of them to use as they deem necessary. Access to improved sanitation is not a target and a goal for one country or the other – it is the interlinked destiny of humankind.
- Achieving universal access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene by 2030 is a major challenge in many parts of the world.
- Drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene are central to Sustainable Development Goal 6, especially targets 6.1, 6.2 and 6.3. Target 6.2 of the Sustainable Development Goals calls for countries to end open defecation, ensure everyone has access to a basic toilet and put in place systems for safe management of excreta.
- Improving access to sanitation and eradicating open defecation have enormous implications. They are critical social and economic investments.
- The absence of a suitable toilet and appropriate hygiene and sanitation practices can lead to malnutrition and life-long disadvantages.
- Therefore, in India cleanliness is critical to securing human capital and demographic dividend and to giving children a better future.
Model mains question: The future depends on what you do today. In the light of above statement examine the need for pro activism in cleanness drive.
SATAT initiative to promote Compressed Bio-Gas as an alternative, green transport fuel
Topic: Government Policies/Environment and Ecology
In news: Petroleum Minister to launch SATAT initiative to promote Compressed Bio-Gas as an alternative, green transport fuel.
More on the Topic:
- SATAT, the initiative is aimed at providing a Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) as a developmental effort that would benefit both vehicle-users as well as farmers and entrepreneurs.
- To be launched on the penultimate day of the ongoing Swachhta Hi Seva fortnight, a mass movement to fulfil Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of a Clean India, this initiative holds great promise for efficient municipal solid waste management and in tackling the problem of polluted urban air due to farm stubble-burning and carbon emissions.
- Use of CBG will also help bring down dependency on crude oil imports and enhancing farmers’ income, rural employment and entrepreneurship.
- Bio-gas is produced naturally through a process of anaerobic decomposition from waste / bio-mass sources like agriculture residue, cattle dung, sugarcane press mud, municipal solid waste, sewage treatment plant waste, etc.
- After purification, it is compressed and called CBG, which has pure methane content of over 95%. Compressed Bio-Gas is exactly similar to the commercially available natural gas in its composition and energy potential. With calorific value (~52,000 KJ/kg) and other properties similar to CNG, Compressed Bio-Gas can be used as an alternative, renewable automotive fuel.
- Given the abundance of biomass in the country, Compressed Bio-Gas has the potential to replace CNG in automotive, industrial and commercial uses in the coming years.
There are multiple benefits from converting agricultural residue, cattle dung and municipal solid waste into CBG on a commercial scale:
- Responsible waste management, reduction in carbon emissions and pollution
- Additional revenue source for farmers
- Boost to entrepreneurship, rural economy and employment
- Support to national commitments in achieving climate change goals
- Reduction in import of natural gas and crude oil
- Buffer against crude oil/gas price fluctuations
Topic: Government Schemes/Economy
In news: Over 6 lakh crore has been disbursed under the flagship scheme Mdra Yojana till date.
Mission of the policy:
- Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY) is a scheme launched by the Hon’ble Prime Minister for providing loans upto 10 lakh to the non-corporate, non-farm small/micro enterprises.
- These loans are classified as MUDRA loans under PMMY. These loans are given by Commercial Banks, RRBs, Small Finance Banks, Cooperative Banks, MFIs and NBFCs.
- The borrower can approach any of the lending institutions mentioned above or can apply online through this portal.
- Under the aegis of PMMY, MUDRA has created three products namely ‘Shishu’, ‘Kishore’ and ‘Tarun’ to signify the stage of growth / development and funding needs of the beneficiary micro unit / entrepreneur and also provide a reference point for the next phase of graduation / growth.
Importance of MSME Sector in India
- MSME- an abbreviation of Micro, Small & Medium enterprises- is the pillar of economic growth in many developed, and developing countries in the world.
- Often rightly termed as “the engine of growth” for India, MSME has played a prominent role in the development of the country in terms of creating employment opportunities-MSME has employed more than 50 million people, scaling manufacturing capabilities, curtailing regional disparities, balancing the distribution of wealth, and contributing to the GDP-MSME sector forms 8% of GDP.
- Though India is still facing infrastructural problems, lack of proper market linkages, and challenges in terms of flow of institutional credit, it has seen a tremendous growth in this sector.
- The advantage of this sector is it requires less investment, thus creating employment on a large scale, and reducing the employment and underemployment problems. Moreover, this sector has survived almost all threats emerging out of still completion from both domestic and international market.
U.S. economic growth, rupee fall will boost Indian exports
In news: India’s exports hold a promising outlook with the U.S. economy growing at its best in four years, coupled with the rupee depreciation leading to enhanced net revenue realisations, according to a report by Assocham.
More On the topic:
- The U.S. emerged as the top export destination for India, with $47.9 billion worth of shipments in the last fiscal ended March, followed by the UAE and Hong Kong, Commerce Ministry data showed.
- The U.S. economic growth accelerated by 4.2% in the second quarter of this year, its fastest pace in about four years despite the ongoing tariff war with China.
- The U.S. accounted for about 16% of India’s total merchandise exports of $303 billion in the fiscal 2017-18 with the annual growth of 13.42%, the report said.
- It is the largest market for Indian exports, both for merchandise and services. So, when the U.S. grows at its current pace, it augurs very well for the total Indian exports’ basket.
- A sharp drop in rupee may have caused a burden on the country’s import bill, but the net realisations for exporters have increased significantly.
- According to the trade data for August 2018, while exports have shown a growth of about 19% in dollar terms, the rupee realisations for the export shipments went up close to 30%.
- With further streamlining of exporters’ GST refunds, their competitiveness should also improve, helping them in the global market.
Indo-US joint army exercise in ‘Yudh Abhyas’ Topic: Governance
In news: The fortnight-long 14th Indo-US joint army exercise in ‘Yudh Abhyas’ concluded.
More On the Topic
- The Yudh Abhyas series started in 2004 under US Army Pacific Partnership Programme.
- Over the years the two countries have decided to progressively increase the scope and content of the combined exercise.
- The exercise curriculum was planned progressively where the participants were initially made to get familiar with each other’s organizational structure, weapons, equipment and tactical drills.
World’s first artificially conceived lion cubs born in South Africa
Topic: Environment and Ecology
In news: A lioness at the Ukutula Conservation Center and Biobank in South has given birth to two cubs conceived via non-surgical artificial insemination, using fresh semen from an adult male lion at the same facility, in a world first achievement.
More On the Topic
- The breakthrough could be repeated, with scientists hoping the technique could be used to save other endangered big cats.
- Lions are extinct in 26 African countries and numbers in the wild have plummeted 43% over the last two decades, with roughly only 20,000 left, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which lists the African lion as vulnerable.