Nuclear Energy as Power Source in India – Advantages and Disadvantages

Nuclear Energy as Power Source in India – Advantages and Disadvantages

This article deals with ‘Nuclear Energy as Power Source in India – Advantages and Disadvantages .’ This is part of our series on ‘Science and Technology’ which is important pillar of GS-3 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here

Installed capacity of India

As of April 2017 => 6,780 MW (6.78 GW) which constitutes ~2% of installed capacity of India

Nuclear  Energy as Power Source in India - Advantages and Disadvantages

Problems with Nuclear Power generation in India

1.India’s domestic Uranium Reserve can support only 100 GW of energy.

  • Our future depends upon  development of third stage of Nuclear Program without which will remain dependant on imported Uranium as it is case with Oil currently.

2. Current Nuclear reactors consume significant amount of water.

  • Hence most of upcoming plants will be set up near sea coasts. It will put pressure on the coastline & Western  Ghats.

3. There are long gestation periods which increase costs of the plant significantly.

4. New safeguard requirements post Fukushima disaster has pushed per MW costs of Nuclear Reactors significantly higher in comparison to Thermal, Solar and Wind Plants.

  • Jaitapur plant in Maharashtra (AREVA) is expected to cost 20 crore/ MW in comparison other sources cost 4 crore/ MW.

5. Some argue that Total costs of a Nuclear Lifecycle which involves Mining of Uranium, transportation , handling of waste generated etc is significantly more than economic value generated during lifetime of the functioning of the plant

6. Nuclear installations will be favorite targets of terrorists  which can cause irreversible damage to people 

So, Should Nuclear Energy be used ?

Strong arguments which justify use of nuclear energy are

  • No Green House Gases (GHGs) are emitted in Nuclear Power generation  => Helps to fight Global Warming
  • It generates very limited waste in quantity (although far more hazardous in quality). 
  • Helpful to achieve Paris Pledges => 40% of energy from Non-fossil sources till 2020
  • Increases image of country as technologically advanced nation .
  • Non fluctuating source of renewable energy. Solar, Wind etc energy depend on sunshine, wind speed etc and hence fluctuate

But

  • Cost of power from new nuclear reactors is increasing significantly post Fukushima Disaster . Power from new reactors costs between Rs. 6.2-6.5/Unit 
  • In case of any nuclear leakage & accident in nuclear power plants, damage is immense & incurable
  • Land acquisition issues ,  need for large water reservoirs for the reactors, & concerns about a possible tsunami scenario 
  • Major Nuclear Companies like Toshiba-owned Westinghouse, Areva etc are on verge of Bankruptcy pointing towards fact that Nuclear Energy has become unviable
  • Investing in Solar and Wind Energy is better option  . Cost of Solar Energy has decreased to around ₹4.5 / kWh compared to ₹6.5 kWh of Nuclear Energy
  • Uranium contamination of ground water due to Mining. Eg : in Rajasthan

Conclusion : India is producing miniscule 2% of its energy from Nuclear Energy. Although we should increase this share but at the same time safety protocol should be updated

Indian Nuclear Sector

Indian Nuclear Sector

This article deals with ‘Indian Nuclear Sector.’ This is part of our series on ‘Science and Technology’ which is important pillar of GS-3 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here

Aim of the nuclear research in India

  • Peaceful use of the nuclear energy
  • Power generation
  • Applications in the agriculture
  • Medical sciences, industrial application etc

Organisational set up

Indian Nuclear Sector

Department of Atomic Energy( DAE)

  • Formed  in 1954
  • Headquarters – Mumbai
  • Directly under PMO
  • Responsible  for the Nuclear energy including nuclear power and research

Atomic Energy Regulatory Board( AERB)

  • Setup in 1983
  • Under Atomic Energy Act ,1962
  • For regulating nuclear sector

Some institutions running under DAE

1.R&D sector

BARC

  • Bhaba Atomic Research Centre
  • Headquartered in Bombay
  • Formed in 1954 in Trombay (Mumbai)
  • Involved in research and development (R&D) in the field of Nuclear Energy.
  • Made  research reactors like Apsara (1956), Zerlina (1961) etc

IGCAR(Indira Gandhi Centre for Advanced Research)

  • Headquartered in Kalpakkam
  • Formed in 1981
  • Made various reactors for producing energy   . Eg Tarapur (1969), Rawatbhata (1981) etc
  • Currently working on PFBR (2nd Stage Reactor)

Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology

  • Situated in Indore
  • Doing work in advanced technology like Atomic Energy , Nano Tech, robotics etc

Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre

  • Situated in Kolkata

Atomic Minerals Division (AMD)

  • Situated in Hyderabad
  • Looks after availability of Nuclear Fuels in India 

2. Public Sector Undertakings

NPCIL (Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd)

  • Situated in Mumbai
  • Incharge of First stage of Nuclear Plants
  • All 24 Nuclear Energy  Plants in India are working under it

BHAVINI 

  • Bhavini = Bhartiya Nuclear Vidyut Nigam Limited
  • Situated in Kalpakkam
  • incharge of second stage -> PFBR operated by it

Uranium Corporation of India ltd (UCIL)

  • Situated in Jaduguda
  • Extract Uranium and process it to yellow cake

Indian Rare Earth ltd

  • Situated in Mumbai

3. Industrial sector

Heavy Water Board Mumbai
Nuclear Recycling Board Mumbai
Nuclear Fuel Complex Hyderabad
Board of Radiation and Isotope Technology Mumbai

4. Aided institutions

TIFR (Tata Institute of Fundamental research) Bombay
Tara Memorial Centre Bombay
Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics Kolkata
Institute of Physics Bhubaneswar
Institute of the Mathematical sciences Madras

India and Atomic Bomb

  • Indian Government formed Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) post independence which has conducted 2 successful Nuclear tests till date
1st May 1974 Smiling Budha Based on Nuclear Fission
2nd May 1998 Shakti Both Nuclear Fission and Fusion (Hydrogen bomb)
  • Indian Nuclear Program is considered better than rest of nuclear powers of the world because
    • India has adopted ‘No First Use Policy’ .
    • Indian Atomic Bombs are under Civilian Government.
    • Indian Nuclear Bombs are of minimal capacity of destruction .

Security Issues in North East

Security Issues in North East

In this article , we will discuss Security Issues in North East .

8 Sister States ie Sikkim, Assam, Meghalaya , Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh are known as North Eastren States of India.

This region is the most insurgency affected region of India and in this article , we will look into insurgencies and security issues in various North-Eastern states

Reasons for   lack  of  development  in  North-East

Centralized Governance  Indigenous people have little share in political and economic structures at central level. This centralized approach has deprived the locals from determining the nature and context of the problem thereby frustrating their aspirations of autonomy.
Economy controlled by outsiders Indigenous people have little role to play in the economy of the region. Eg : most of the plantation industry is dominated  by the immigrant labor force.
Connectivity issue
  • Due to partition of India , North East turned to landlocked country.
  • After 1962 war, Union didn’t built high grade roads and other infra in fear that it can lead to faster movement of Chinese troops.
Lack of infrastructure Lack  of  infrastructure  in  the  region  which  has  subsequently  culminated  into  lack  of industrialization  in  the  region.
Ethnic issues
  • North East has large number of Tribal Ethnicities and they usually rose against each other
  • Ethnic discord marked by some communities being branded “outsiders”
        • Chakma issue in Mizoram,
        • Hill versus valley disturbances in Manipur
        • longstanding NRC issue in Assam
        • Attacks on Sikh residents in Meghalaya
        • Chakma/Hajong citizenship issue in Arunachal Pradesh itself.
AFSPA Imposition of AFSPA has led to the feeling of discontentment
Land acquisition problems The  land  records  are  not  digitized,  and  land  surveys  are  not  done  and  land  records are  not  updated  at  regular  intervals.
Political representation One  of  the  key  reasons  for  not  giving  the  North-East  a  high  priority,  many  argue, is  the  fact  that  it  only  sends  24  Members  of  Parliament  to  the  Lok  Sabha,  out  of which  Assam  alone  sends  14.

Reasons for Insurgencies in North East

Pre Independence Reasons
  • Tribes were not brought under a strict political control and rigid regulations.
  • British tribal policy and Christian education are believed to be the genesis of demands of Independence from India
Post Independence
  • Ethnic and cultural  specificities were ignored during the process of delineation of state boundaries in the 1950s, giving rise to discontentment and assertion of one’s identity
  • Underdevelopment, Poverty, unemployment, lack of connectivity, inadequate health care and educational facilities
  • Governance deficit
  • Migration of people from the plains posing economic, cultural and political threat to the tribals.
  • Hostile neighbours extending moral and material support owing to porous international borders
  • Deep sense of alienation due to human right violation and excesses by security forces.
  • Imposition of AFSPA has led to the feeling of discontentment
  • Difficult terrain and weak infrastructure facilitating insurgents involved in conflict.

Impact of Insurgencies on North East

  • Lack of investment in the region especially in untapped potential for hydro-electric power due to lack of security
  • Economy severely affected due to extortion of “taxes” by various factions on local people, businesses, officials etc
  • Narcotic trade due to its position in vicinity of Golden Triangle impacting young generation

Strategy

Mix  of  development , military power, governance , dialogue and ceasefireSecurity Challenges in North East

Development
  • Act East Policy : Kaladan Multimodal Project , IMT highway , BCIM etc
  • Infra development . Japan also interested to fund
  • Seven  States  of  the  region  enjoy  special  category  status  to  develop  backward  areas.
  • Development of tourism
  • Job promotion in BPO sector => North East BPO Promotion Scheme
  • Promotion of Organic food
Governance
  • Governance – North East Council, Schedule 6 etc
  • Ratio in assistance from Central Government in Core Scheme =   90:10
  • Decentralisation of powers among the tribes
Military Power
  • AFSPA in place in insurgency hit areas
Dialogue
  • Eg : Indian Government in dialogue with NSCN and other Naga groups and is on verge of signing accord .

Topic : Assam Issue

Background

  1. British developed the tea industry in Assam. They imported labour from Bihar & other provinces to work in tea gardens.
  2. Assamese people living mostly in Upper Assam and cultivating one crop per year, were not interested in working as labour in the tea gardens nor in increasing or expanding land cultivation .Therefore, British encouraged Bengali Muslim peasants from present Bangladesh to move into Lower Assam for putting virgin land under cultivation.
  3. Later during 1971 crisis, large number of Bangladeshi Muslims (+ Hindus) too came in Assam. This pattern is going on even after that

Socio-political movement started by  Assamese people in 1979 to evict illegal Bangladeshis ended in Assam Accord in 1985.

Reason for Migration from Bangladesh

  • Increasing pressure on land and mounting unemployment in Bangladesh due to rise in population. Large segments of population in Bangladesh uprooted by severe floods and cyclones
  • Porous India Bangladesh border
  • Better economic conditions in India

Security Challenge

  • Lead to agitations in which public property is damaged : failure of government to respond the issue of illegal migration led to the agitation by Assamese (culminating in Assam Accord)
  • Illegal Voters : Most of the illegal Bangladeshis have got their names enlisted in the voting list illegally, thereby claiming themselves as citizens of the state. The immigrant’s population act s as a vote bank for the political parties in Assam.
  • Issue of terrorism:  Pakistan’s ISI has been active in Bangladesh supporting militant movements in Assam.  Among the illegal migrants there are also militants

Way Out

  • Diplomatic Effort: India has to make diplomatic effort to get Bangladesh to cooperate as illegal migration cannot be solved unless sending country cooperates. Sharing of digital database of its citizens will make it easier.
  • Better Border Management: Fencing, construction of border roads and proper management of border will make a difference
  • Bar from Voting rights: Illegal migrants should not be allowed to vote and this will diminish their ability to influence government decisions by being a political force

Side Topic : ULFA

  • Demand = Separate country of Assam
  • Formed in 1979 against the backdrop of All Assam Student Union’s agitation against foreigners. It established close relationship with organisations such as NSCN of Nagaland . Their objective is to create independent Assam through armed struggle. It conducted several terrorist activities throughout 1990s
  •  ULFA claims that Assam was never a part of India as the Treaty of Yandabu was signed between two imperial powers without the consent of Assamese people.
  • 2011 : Tripartite Agreement between Union Government, State of Assam and ULFA for suspension of operations of ULFA .
  • At present , ULFA is divided into two factions – ULFA (PTF) and ULFA (ATF) ie Pro and Anti Talk Faction .

Topic : Manipur

  • Most insurgent state of North-East
  • More than 15 violent insurgent groups are present

Issue

  • There is clear divide between hill and valley people
  1. Meiteis : Valley people
  2. Nagas and Kukis : Hill people
  • Hill areas are affected by the actions of Nagas and Kukis . The people of hill areas feel that Meitis are an  influential group thereby compromising their interest . Meiteis on the other hand feels threatened due to powers and status given to Kuki and Naga people after the independence .

Groups active here

UNLF
  • United National Liberation Front
  • Oldest Meitei insurgent group which seeks to create an independent and socialist Manipur
PLA
  • People’s Liberation Army
  • It is a Meitei organisation that aims to organise the entire North-East into a revolutionary front and bring together all the ethnic groups under a single umbrella
PREPAK
  • People’s Liberation Army of Kanglipak
  • Their aim is to expel the outsiders from Manipur
KYKL
  • Another Meitei insurgent group
  • Their aim is to cleanise Manipuri society of evils like drugs
KNA Kuki National Army (demanding Zalengam consisting of areas of India & Myanmar)

Tripura

  • Mass migration since 1947 altered the demography of Tripura from a tribal area to Bengali speaking majority area. Tribals were deprieved of their agricultural land which led to the emergence of Tripura National Volunteers .
  • In 1990, All Tripura National Force was formed which carried out periodic terrorist attacks . Their objective is expulsion of Bengali immigrants and removal of their names from the electoral rolls
  • National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) whose objective is to create independent of Tripura through armed struggle

Topic: Nagaland

Terms involved

Naga Naga people are a conglomeration of several tribes inhabiting the North Eastern part of India and north-western Burma. As of 2012, the state of Nagaland  officially recognises 17 Naga tribes.

Prominent Naga tribes include Poumai, Sumi, Angami, Ao, Chakhesang, Chang, Khiamniungan, Konyak, Liangmai, Lotha, Pochury, Rongmei,Zeme, Mao.

Greater Nagalim Region carved out by integrating all Naga-inhabited contiguous areas under one administrative umbrella .It includes several districts of Assam, Arunachal and Manipur, as also a large tract of Myanmar. The map of “Greater Nagalim” has about 1,20,000sq km, while the state of Nagaland consists of 16,527 sq km .
AFSPA An act of the Parliament of India that grants special powers to the Indian Armed Forces in what the act terms “disturbed areas”.

Timeline in Naga Struggle

1826 Assam annexed by Britishers
1881 Naga hill too became a part of British India
1918
  • Root of conflict started in 1918
  • Formation of the Naga Club by 20 members of the Naga French Labour Corp, who had served in World War I. The wartime knowledge motivated the few who had come in contact with the European battlefield to politically organise themselves as a distinct ethnic political entity.
1929 Club had submitted a memorandum to the Simon Commission in 1929, in which it stated that the people of Naga areas and that of mainland India had nothing in common between them. Therefore, it would benefit both to stay separate and form their own political entity as and when the British left India.
1946
  • Club was further reinforced with the formation of the Naga National Council (NNC) under the leadership of A.Z Phizo, a charismatic leader belonging to the Angami tribe.
  • Phizo had been trained by the British, especially Major General Wingate during World War II on the Burma Front against Japanese forces & he utilised knowledge to impart training in guerrilla warfare to NNC members.
1947
  • Nine Point Agreement known as  Akbar Hydari Agreement was signed between NNC leaders T. Sakhrie, Imkonglba Ao and the Governor of Assam, Sir Akbar Hydari on 29 June 1947.
  • The Agreement gave the Nagas rights over their land as well as executive and legislative powers, but within the ambit of the Indian Constitution.
  • The Agreement was rejected by Phizo. On 14 August 1947, the NNC led by Phizo declared independence.
1952 Formation of Naga Federal Government and Naga Federal Army which involved in violent clashes.
  1950s, 1960s and 1970s were a tumultuous period in Naga history with militancy on the rise coupled by the state’s military response propelled by acts like the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, amended in 1972.
1962 Efforts for peace were made by the Union Government with the grant of statehood to Nagaland in 1963 and the establishment of a peace mission in 1964.
1975
  • It was the loss of bases in East Pakistan in 1972, with the emergence of a new nation-Bangladesh, as well as the constant pressure from Indian security forces that motivated the NNC under Z. Huire to sign  Shillong Accord.
  • The Shillong Accord however repeated the tragic story of the 9 Point Agreement, in that it split the Naga rebel movement.
  • The Shillong Accord was the proximate cause for the formation of the original unified National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN).
1980 Thuingaleng Muivah rejected the accord and formed Nationalist Social Council of Nagaland (NSCN).
1988
  • Due to intense differences with existing leadership Isak Chisi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah formed NSCN (IM) on 31 January 1988.
  • Followed by the further spilt of S. S. Khaplang led faction and formation of the NSCN (Khaplang) another National Socialist Council of Nagaland, named after its leader came to dominate in Naga inhabited areas.
1990s NSCN(IM)  becomes the largest insurgent outfit in Nagaland demanding Greater Nagalim.
1997 NSCN(IM) signs cease fire
2001 NSCN (K) (Khaplang) signs cease fire
2012 New NSCN (Khole-Kitovi) group was formed as a breakaway faction of the NSCN (K).
March 2015 NSCN (K) breaks cease fire
Aug 2015 Naga Peace Accord Signed with NSCN (IM)

      • NSCN has vowed allegiance to the constitution of India. The details of the accord are yet to come in public domain.
      • Issue : NSCN-IM has been insistent on the integration of Naga-inhabited areas into a greater Nagaland, which they call Nagalim and would involve the partition of three states — Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh and inclusion of areas in Myanmar.

NSCN (IM), which views itself as the sole representative of the Naga people in peace dialogue , is being increasingly threatened on its home turf by the NSCN (Khole and Kitovi) faction.

  • While NSCN (Khaplang) is a major threat to the NSCN (IM) as a rival armed actor, its influence in terms of social legitimacy in Naga inhabited areas in India has been limited at best, due to the fact that its Chairman Khaplang belongs to Myanmar .
  • The Khole-Kitovi faction is however, a real challenge to the NSCN (IM)’s sphere of influence given the fact that both leaders are from Nagaland.

Money Laundering

In this article , we will look into Money Laundering as per the needs of UPSC examination.

Money Laundering

Money laundering is the process of taking money earned from illicit activities, such as drug trafficking or tax evasion, and making the money appear to be earnings from legal business activity.

Money laundering is a way to conceal illegal funds and works by transferring money in an elaborate and complicated manner and to mislead anyone who may seek to trace the transaction. The objective is to make difficult to trace the original party to the transaction also referred to as the launderer.

Process

Money Laundering
Process of Money Laundering
  1. Placement
  • It refers to moving the funds from a direct association with the crime .
  • It involves the initial entry of dirty cash into financial system.
  • The aim at this stage is to remove the cash from its location of acquisition to avoid detection by legal authorities
  • This is the most vulnerable stage in the money laundering

Done through

  1. Currency exchange
  2. Gambling
  3. Purchasing assets
  4. Repayment of loans Etc

2. Layering

  • This is the second and the most complex stage in the process of money laundering .
  • It often involves international movement of funds
  • During this stage , launderers may begin by moving money electronically from one country to another and then investing them back into the markets abroad. This is especially prevalent in those countries that don’t cooperate on anti-money laundering investigations

3. Integration

  • The final stage involves integration of the money into the legitimate economic and financial system. By this stage , it is extremely difficult to distinguish between legal and illegal wealth.
  • Some of the ways it is carried out includes :-
    • Creating front companies and false loans . Such companies are incorporated in countries wth corporate secracy laws in which criminals lend themselves their laundered proceeds in legitimate transactions .
    • Property dealing
    • Generation of false import and export invoices
    • Complicity with foreign banks

Causes why India has high levels of money laundering

  • Poor tax administration 
  • For a long time , India didn’t have any specific law for dealing with money laundering
  • Level of corruption is very high in India
  • Secrecy clauses in DTAAAs (Direct Tax Avoidance Treaties)
  • Nexus between bureaucrats , political leaders and criminals

Hawala & Money Laundering

  • Hawala works by transferring money without actually moving it.
  • It is an alternative or parallel remittance system, which works outside the circle of banks and formal financial systems. 
  • It is frequently used by criminals to launder money for their illicit acts like terrorism, drug trafficking etc
  • As hawala transactions are not routed through banks, the government agencies and the RBI cannot regulate them.

Status of Hawala in India

  • Hawala is illegal in India, as it is seen to be a form of money laundering
  • FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act) 2000 and PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) 2002 are the two major legislations which make such transactions illegal.

Cryptocurrency: The New Hawala

  • Cryptocurrency like Bitcoin provides  anonymity & facilitates terror financing which was evident in 2015 Paris terrorist attack.
  • FATF reported in 2015 that some terrorist websites encouraged sympathisers to donate in bitcoins.
  • After, demonetisation action by the Government of India in 2016, there was noticed a flood of such digital transactions.

Impacts of Money Laundering

  • Social Impact
    • Transfers the economic power from the right people to the wrong 
    • Increases income inequality
    • Loss of morality and ethical standards leading to weakening of social institutions

  •  Economic Impact
    • Volatility in exchange rates and interest rates due to unanticipated transfers of funds
    • Discourages foreign investors
    • Policy distortion occurs because of measurement error
    • Legitimate businesses lose , as there is no fair competition involved 

  • Political Impact
    •  Affects the Government’s capability to spend on development schemes thereby affecting a large section of populations who could have benefitted from such spending

  • Security impacts
    • Laundered money is used to fund terrorist organisations

Steps Taken

  • Statutory : Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) 2002

  • Institutional framework: Two bodies:
    • Enforcement Directorate  : Enforce certain provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PML)
    • Financial Intelligence Unit – India (FIU-IND) : International coordination in Money Laundering cases

  • International :
    • Financial Action Task Force (FATF) :
    • Asia – Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) : India is member

Other International Steps

  • Vienna Convention :  1988| To combat money laundering in Drug Trafficking 
  • Basel Statement of Principles in 1989
  • Financial Action Task Force : Integovernmental body sponsored by OECD & based in Paris . India is member
  • UNCTOC (UN Convention on Transnational Organised Crimes)

Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA)

  • Defines offence of money laundering
  • Impose obligation on financial institutions and intermediaries to verify identity of  clients , maintain records and furnish informations to Financial Intelligence unit -India (FIU-Ind)
  • Brought certain offences under  IPC, Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act,  Arms Act,  Wild Life (Protection) Act, Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act and  Prevention of Corruption Act,  proceeds of which would be covered under this Act
  • Tackles Cross border money Laundering: It allows Central Government to enter into an agreement with Government of any country  for enforcing the provisions of the PMLA
  • Confiscate the illegal property
  • An officer not below the rank of a joint secretary would be appointed for management of properties confiscated under this.
  • Punishment shall not be less than 3 years & can be extended to 7 years . May be extended to 10 years in case it is under Narcotics & Psychotropic Substances Act , 1985
  • Special Courts set-up in a number of States  to conduct the trial of the offences of money laundering. 

Challenges

  • Rapid advancements in digital technology : The enforcement agencies are not able to match up with the speed of growing technologies. Eg : Bitcoins etc used by money-launderers
  • Tax Haven Countries : Their strict financial secrecy laws  prohibit the disclosure of financial information. 
  • Involvement of employee of financial institution : usually employees of the financial institution are involved in money laundering
  • Lack of comprehensive enforcement agencies : In India, there are separate wings of law enforcement agencies dealing with money laundering, terrorist crimes, economic offences etc. and they lack convergence among themselves.
  • Low Financial Education and use of Jan Dhan Account holders as money mules .
  • Failure of Banks to effectively implement KYC norms as stipulated by the RBI

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