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Growing power demand a challange: World Bank

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New Delhi: Despite making a remarkable progress in electricity distribution over the years, India still faces challenges to meet its growing demand for power and reliable supply still remains low in the country, the World Bank said in a report.

India has made enormo­us progress in expanding ho­u­sehold access to electrici­ty and reducing power sh­o­r­t­­­a­g­es over the last few years. In 2018 India achieved 100 per cent village electrification, the World Bank Regional Re­p­ort –— ‘In the Dark: How Much Do Power Sector Distortions Cost South Asia’ .

“Notwithstanding this remarkable progress, India still faces an enormous need to meet the growing demand for electricity.”

 

With growing population, rapid urbanisation and an ec­onomy that is expected to grow at an average of 7 per cent per year, demand for el­e­ctricity in India will almost triple between 2018 and 2040, the World Bank said, citing projection from the International Energy Agency.

Even as air pollution from fossil fuel-based power generation poses another daunting challenge, coal is India’s dominant source of energy, the report added.

“Despite ambitious prog­r­­ammes to promote renewa­b­­le energy development, In­d­­ia still uses coal to genera­te 75 per cent of its electrici­ty. Me­anwhile, industries pr­od­u­­ce their own ‘captive’ po­w­er, much of it from coal and diesel generators,” it said.

The report also recognised that shortly after independence in 1947, India began adopting legislative measures to develop the core electricity sector followed by reforms in later years, but despite of all these the state power utilities have struggled to improve their performance.

The inefficient state government owned power plants, under-investment in transmission, under-priced electricity, high losses of distribution utilities, groundwater depletion from cheap electricity are the key challenges to India’s power generation sector.

“World Bank study rev­i­e­w­ing the sector’s performan­ce finds that, despite much progress in implementing the law, many challenges rem­ain. They include ineffici­e­nt generation, high losses in transmission and distrib­u­­tion, widespread subsidies and most notably, sharp deterioration in the finances of state utilities,” said report.

With the total installed generation capacity more than doubling over the past decade from 154.7 gigawats (GW) in 2006-07 to 345.5 GW in 2017-18, India is now the world’s third largest producer of electricity, after China and the US.

Significant capacity addit­ions and lower than expected demands growths have helped reduce power shorta­g­es significantly, the report said. The central electricity authority predicts that India is likely to become a power surplus country in fiscal 2019, it said.

On renewable energy generation front, India has become one of the leading countries in the world recently with cumulative installed capacity from these sources reaching 70 GW in 2018, higher by about 50 per cent from four years ago.

The increase in solar and wind energy since 2014 has been particularly large. India now ranks 4th in the world in wind power–based capacity after China, the US and Germany and 6th in solar-based capacity.

“Through various initiati­v­es and incentive programs, the government of India pl­a­ns to add 227 GW of renewa­b­le energy capacity by the end of 2022,” said the World Bank report. As per 2018 global competitiveness repo­rt, India ranks at 80th positi­on among 137 economies in the reliability of its electricity supply, the report added.


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WPI inflation at 8-month low of 3.80 pc in Dec on softening fuel, food prices

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New Delhi: Inflation based on wholesale prices fell to a 8-month low of 3.80 per cent in December, 2018, on softening prices of fuel and some food items.

The Wholesale Price Index (WPI)-based inflation stood at 4.64 per cent in November, 2018, and 3.58 per cent in December 2017. According to the government data released on Monday, deflation in food articles stood at 0.07 per cent in December, against 3.31 per cent in November.

Vegetables, too, saw deflation at 17.55 per cent in December, compared to 26.98 per cent in the previous month. Inflation in the ‘fuel and power’ basket in December slumped to 8.38 per cent, nearly half of 16.28 per cent in November.

 

This was on account of lowering of prices of petrol and diesel through December. Individually, in petrol and diesel inflation was 1.57 per cent and 8.61 per cent, respectively, and for liquified petroleum gas (LPG) it was 6.87 per cent during December.

Among food articles, potato prices became cheaper substantially with inflation at 48.68 per cent in December, as against 86.45 per cent in November.

Inflation in pulses stood at 2.11 per cent, while in ‘egg, meat and fish’ it was 4.55 per cent. Onion witnessed deflation of 63.83 per cent in December, compared to 47.60 per cent in November.

The 3.80 per cent inflation is the lowest in 8 months, and a lower inflation than this was last seen in April at 3.62 per cent. Data for retail or consumer price index-based inflation would be released later in the day.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) mainly takes into account retail inflation data while formulating monetary policy. In its fifth monetary policy review for the fiscal, last month, the Reserve Bank kept interest rates unchanged, but held out a promise to cut them if the upside risks to inflation do not materialise.

The central bank lowered retail inflation projection to 2.7-3.2 per cent for the second half of the current fiscal, citing normal monsoon and moderate food prices.

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Air tickets, identity cards to become redundant; flyers can use facial recognition to enter airport

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New Delhi: The hassle to show air tickets and identity cards at Airport will be over as air travellers can soon enter airport with facial recognition biometric facility.

GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd (GHIAL) that operates the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA), has successfully conducted the trial of facial recognition technology. During the first phase of the trial, employees of GHIAL were included. The second phase of the trial is expected to be launched by the end of this month, in which GHIAL will include common air fliers. And if the second phase of the trial is successful, GHIAL will implement facial recognition technology in Hyderabad airport from March onwards.

Three phases of facial recognition technology

 

First phase: GHIAL has installed facial recognition cameras in the Hyderabad. In the first phase, the imaging of passengers will be done through these cameras which will recognise the faces of the flyers.

Second phase: There would be a centralised registration system for passengers. Each passenger’s face will be attached with his/her photo identity like passport, Aadhaar, voting id, driving licence etc. The details of passengers along with his facial mapping will be scanned and stored by GHIAL through the centralised registration system at the Airport.

Third phase: The ID proof of the passengers along with their facial mapping will be stored at the e-boarding gate of the Airport.The data centres at Airlines will also have similar information. Whenever such passengers book tickets, the data system will alert the Hyderabad Airport authorities.

The moment you book a flight ticket originating from Hyderabad airport, your details will be shared by the data centre and the information will be given to all the concerned authorities.

When you reach the Hyderabad terminal gate, face recognition technology will identify you and all your details will be shared on the screen. The security personnel at the gate will access all your information via the system.

Similarly, your details can be accessed by the security personnel at the check-in counter, security check-in. Once the formalities are done, passengers will get an online boarding pass on their mobile phone.

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Maruti all-new WagonR 2019 available for booking at Rs 11,000

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New Delhi: Country’s largest car manufacturer Maruti Suzuki India on Monday said that its all-new WagonR is available for booking starting.

Customers can book the 3rd generation WagonR at authorized dealer network across the country by paying Rs 11,000. They can also book the car online.

The New WagonR is powered by the advanced K-series engine offering high fuel efficiency and an unmatched driving experience, Maruti said. The car now comes with a new 1.2 L engine option that delivers powerful and impressive performance coupled with great fuel economy. Customers will also have the choice of 1.0 L engine for the all-new WagonR.

 

Maruti Suzuki’s acclaimed two pedal technology will also be offered in the new WagonR. The Auto Gear Shift (AGS) offers. Maruti said that for the first it is going to offer the most innovative SmartPlay Studio infotainment experience in the Big New WagonR.

The car will be available in Pearl Poolside Blue, Pearl Nutmeg Brown, Magma Grey, Pearl Autumn Orange, Silky Silver and Superior White Range of variants. The Petrol: 1.0 L engine will be available in Lxi, Vxi / Vxi AGS variants while the Petrol: 1.2 L will be available in Vxi, Vxi AGS, Zxi / Zxi AGS variants.

“The new WagonR gets bigger with enhanced comfort. The car’s sturdy and masculine look with true tall boy design makes for a strong road presence. The Big New WagonR not only embodies strong looks but is also stronger inside out,” Maruti said in a release.

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