UPSC Prelims News of 27 December 2022
Green Methanol Project
Context: NTPC has signed a MoU with Tecnimont Private Limited to jointly evaluate and explore the possibility to develop commercial scale Green Methanol Production facility at NTPC project.
More on the News:
- The Green Methanol Project involves capturing carbon from NTPC power plants and converting it into a green fuel.
- Significance: Green methanol project aligns with NTPC’s commitment to sustainability and renewable energy, and will significantly contribute to the country’s energy transition.
- Green methanol is a low-carbon fuel that can be produced from either biomass gasification or renewable electricity and captured carbon dioxide (CO2).
- Production: Green hydrogen is produced from sustainable biomass, typically called biomethanol, or from carbon dioxide and hydrogen produced from renewable electricity.
- Applications: Green Methanol serves as a base material for the chemical industry, storing renewable electricity, and even as a transportation fuel.
- It is also considered as a substitute fuel for maritime fuel applications.
- NTPC is the country’s largest power-producing company and provides one-fourth of the total electricity in the country.
- It comes under the Ministry of Power.
Context: India is financing the upgradation of Mongla port of Bangladesh under concessional Line of Credit (LOC) of USD 4.5 billion.
More on the News:
- The upgradation of Mongla port will strengthen maritime connectivity for Bangladesh, not just for the movement of goods with India but also with Bhutan and Nepal.
- India is also providing concessional financing for the Khulna-Mongla Port rail line project and the Khulna-Darsana rail line project.
- After completion, Mongla Port would become the only port in Bangladesh with rail connectivity.
- Significance: Bangladesh is India’s largest development partner. Nearly one fourth of India’s global development assistance is provided to various projects in Bangladesh, covering a variety of sectors.
- Upgradation of Mongla port project will not only benefit India-Bangladesh economic relations but also on the economy of the entire sub-region.
- Previously known as Chalna port, it was developed in 1950 to serve the southwestern region of East Pakistan.
- Location: The port is situated at the confluence of the Pasur River and the Mongla River, near Khulna City.
- It is the second largest sea port of Bangladesh and is the gateway to Sunderbans.
Amrit Bharat Station Scheme
Context: Indian railway is planning to modernise 1,000 small yet important stations under the new “Amrit Bharat Station Scheme”.
About Amrit Bharat Station Scheme
- Aim: Preparing master plans of railway stations and implementing those in phases to enhance facilities including and beyond the minimum essential amenities.
- Creation of roof plazas and city centres at stations.
- Objective: To identify developing cities with potential and envisage railway stations as city centres that would link not just various parts of the city but also between different cities in the future.
- The plan is to map everything connected to it — bridges and different modes of transport.
- Target: Introduction of new amenities as well as to upgrade and replace existing facilities, it said.
- Modernisation will include improved station approaches to ensure smooth access by widening roads, removal of unwanted structures, properly designed signages, dedicated pedestrian pathways, well-planned parking areas, and improved lighting among others.
- Khurda Model: These stations will be redeveloped under “Khurda model of redevelopment”.
- Khurda station in Odisha was modernised for Rs 4 crore with all contemporary amenities for passengers.
- It envisages cost-efficient improvement to facades and makes provisions for wide, well-lit and aesthetically pleasing entrance porches.
- Station should also have a second entry station building and high-level platforms with a length of 600m.
Context: The Lok Sabha member from Shivamogga in Karnataka urged the Centre to levy a hefty import duty on arecanut to check falling prices in the domestic market.
More on the News:
- In September 2022, the central government allowed the import of 17,000 tonnes of green (fresh) arecanut from Bhutan without minimum import price (MIP).
- Crop loss: About 35-40 per cent of the crop has been affected in 2022 – highest crop loss since 2013
- Areca nut or betel nut, as commonly referred in India is a seed of the Areca Palm tree.
- Cultivation of Arecanut:
- The cultivation of arecanut is mostly confined to 28º north and south of the equator.
- It grows well within the temperature range of 14ºC and 36ºC and is adversely affected by temperatures below 10ºC and above 40ºC.
- Arecanut is capable of growing in a variety of soils.
- June – December is found to be the optimum.
- Uses of Arecanut:
- Powdered areca nut is used as a constituent in some dentifrices.
- Arecanut exhibits various therapeutic properties.
- Its traditional uses include the removal of tapeworms and other intestinal parasites by swallowing a few teaspoons of powdered arecanut, drunk as a decoction, or by taking tablets containing the extracted alkaloids.
- Production: Karnataka produces around 80 per cent of the country’s arecanut.
- Threats: Large areas under the crop have been damaged by yellow leaf disease, blast disease and fruit rot disease, especially in Shivamogga, Dakshina Kannada and Chikkamagaluru districts.
About the Minimum Import Price (MIP)
- MIP is the rate below which no imports are allowed.
- Imports without MIP or at low rates threaten the domestic prices and lead them to crash.