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Important Current Affairs for CLAT-1st October 2023

India’s Power Demand Surges to Five-Year High in September: CRISIL Report

In a recent report by CRISIL MI&A (Market Intelligence and Advisory), India’s power demand for September 2023 reached an impressive five-year high. The report also offers insights into the factors driving this surge and the challenges faced by the power sector. Here, we break down the key findings and observations.

September’s Power Demand Soars:

  • India’s power demand in September witnessed remarkable year-on-year growth, reaching 140-142 billion units (BUs), marking a five-year high.

  • Despite this, the demand in September was about seven percent lower than the previous month, primarily due to exceptionally dry conditions in August, one of the driest months in 122 years.

Record Peak Power Demand:

  • India experienced two consecutive months of all-time high peak power demand, with 238 GW in August followed by an even higher 240 GW in September.

  • This surge in peak power demand reflects the need for reliable and efficient power generation and distribution.

Power Generation Trends:

  • Overall power generation in September is estimated to have risen by 9-10 percent on a year-on-year basis, reaching 150-152 BU.

  • August 2023 saw a record high power generation of 159 BU.

  • To meet the rising demand for electricity, power generators increasingly turned to the short-term power market.

Factors Driving Demand:

  • The surge in power demand can be attributed to various factors, including agricultural, industrial, and manufacturing activities.

  • The Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to a three-month high of 58.6 in August, indicating increased industrial activity.

  • The onset of the festive season likely continued to drive demand into September.

Challenges Faced:

  • Meeting peak power demand has been challenging due to generation volatility.

  • Solar and wind power, while essential, face intermittency issues.

  • Hydro power, which offers steady supply, declined due to disturbed rainfall, contributing to peak price fluctuations.

Transition to Non-Fossil Fuels:

  • The report notes an improvement in the share of non-fossil fuel generation, reaching 26 percent by the third week of September, up from 23 percent in the first week.

  • This transition provided some support to coal generation, reducing pressure on the short-term market.

Coal Supply Concerns:

  • Despite the relief from non-fossil fuel sources, coal stocks at thermal power plants declined from 30 million tonnes on August 31 to 25 million tonnes as of September 25.

  • This level of coal stock would suffice for power plants for nine days, down from 10 days in August.

  • To address the increased coal requirement, the government extended the period of necessary blending of imported coal to March 2024, albeit with a reduced weightage of 4 percent from October 2023.

Future Projections:

  • CRISIL MI&A anticipates power demand to continue its growth trend, with expectations of a 9-10 percent year-on-year increase in the second quarter of fiscal 2024 and a 5 percent year-on-year rise for the full year.

K.N. Shanth Kumar Elected Chairman of Press Trust of India (PTI) Board

In a significant development within the realm of Indian journalism, K.N. Shanth Kumar, a seasoned media professional, has been elected as the Chairman of the Press Trust of India’s Board of Directors for a one-year term. This announcement came following the Annual General Meeting of PTI’s Board of Directors, held at the news agency’s headquarters in New Delhi on a Friday.

Change in Leadership

Mr. Shanth Kumar’s election marks a transition in PTI’s leadership, as he takes over from Aveek Sarkar, who had served as Chairman for two consecutive terms. This shift in leadership is expected to bring fresh perspectives and ideas to the helm of India’s largest and oldest private news agency.

Key Appointments

In addition to Mr. Shanth Kumar’s election as Chairman, Praveen Someshwar, the Chief Executive Officer of Hindustan Times, has been elected as the Vice-Chairman of PTI’s Board of Directors. These appointments are set to shape the strategic direction of PTI in the coming year.

A Distinguished Career

K.N. Shanth Kumar, aged 62, brings with him a wealth of experience in the field of media management. He has been associated with The Printers (Mysore) Pvt. Ltd. since 1983, serving in various roles over the years. His contributions to the media landscape extend beyond his current role at PTI; he has previously served as Chairman of the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) and been a dedicated member of the Executive Committee of the Indian Newspaper Society (INS) for more than two decades.

This marks Mr. Shanth Kumar’s second term as Chairman of the PTI Board, with his previous stint occurring from 2013 to 2014.

About Press Trust of India (PTI)

Press Trust of India, founded just two weeks after India gained independence in 1947, holds the distinction of being the country’s largest and oldest private news agency. It was established by a consortium of newspapers, which continue to be its owners. Notably, the shareholders do not receive any portion of the company’s profits; instead, these funds are reinvested to support the ongoing development and modernization of the news agency.

K.N. Shanth Kumar’s election as Chairman signals a new era for PTI, with the promise of continued commitment to providing reliable and timely news to the nation.

As India’s media landscape evolves, these leadership changes are poised to influence the trajectory of PTI and shape its role in the ever-changing world of journalism.

Dr Dinesh Dasa takes oath of Office and Secrecy as Member, UPSC

Dr. Dinesh Dasa, an eminent scholar with a rich background in forestry and public service, recently took the oath of office and secrecy as a Member of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). The ceremony, administered by UPSC Chairman Dr. Manoj Soni, marks a significant milestone in Dr. Dasa’s distinguished career. This article delves into Dr. Dasa’s impressive qualifications, his impactful tenure as Chairman of the Gujarat Public Service Commission, and his contributions to the realm of public service examinations.

Academic Excellence and Expertise

Ph.D. in Forest Laws and Sustainable Development

Dr. Dinesh Dasa’s academic journey is characterized by excellence. He holds a Ph.D. in Forest Laws and Sustainable Development from the Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar. This academic achievement reflects his commitment to the crucial field of sustainable forestry practices and environmental stewardship.

M.Sc. in Forestry

In addition to his Ph.D., Dr. Dasa possesses an M.Sc. in Forestry, specializing in Agroforestry and Ecology, from Gujarat Agriculture University, Navsari. His expertise in forestry aligns with the pressing need for sustainable land use and conservation in today’s world.

Leadership at the Gujarat Public Service Commission

Chairmanship: Feb 2016 – Jan 2022

Dr. Dinesh Dasa’s leadership as the Chairman of the Gujarat Public Service Commission from February 2016 to January 2022 showcased his remarkable administrative and organizational skills. During his tenure, the commission processed an impressive 827 advertisements to recruit 26,116 officers. This extensive recruitment drive not only contributed to the public service sector but also provided opportunities to a substantial number of candidates.

Massive Candidate Registration

Under Dr. Dasa’s stewardship, the Gujarat Public Service Commission witnessed the registration of a staggering 62 lakh candidates. This reflects the trust and confidence that the public and aspiring civil servants had in the commission’s recruitment processes during his tenure.

National and State-Level Contributions

Chairmanship of the Standing Committee

Dr. Dinesh Dasa’s commitment to public service extended to the national level. He served as the Chairman of the Standing Committee of All India Public Service Commissions from December 2020 to January 2022. This committee, comprising nine members, is a pivotal body that represents all 29 State Public Service Commissions. Its role is to coordinate with the UPSC on various issues of significance.

Drafting Committee for Model Syllabus and Exam Pattern

Dr. Dasa’s contributions extended beyond recruitment processes. He chaired the Drafting Committee tasked with preparing a model syllabus and exam pattern for Civil Service Examinations conducted across various states. His efforts culminated in a draft that was not only well-received but also principally accepted by all 29 Public Service Commissions during the 20th National Conference of the Chairpersons of State PSCs, held in Goa on January 12th and 13th, 2018.

Dr. Dinesh Dasa’s journey is a testament to his dedication to public service, academic excellence, and contributions to the field of sustainable development. As he takes on the role of Member of UPSC, his vast experience and accomplishments are poised to make a positive impact on the nation’s highest civil service institution.

Asian Games 2023, Rohan Bopanna and Rutuja Bhosale wins gold in Tennis

Rohan Bopanna and Rutuja Bhosale claimed mixed doubles gold with a 2-6 6-3 10-4 win over Chinese Taipei’s Yu-hsiou Hsu and Hao-ching Chan. It was India’s second medal in tennis at the continental event after Ramkumar Ramanathan and Saketh Myneni had won a silver in men’s doubles.

Bhosale raised her game in nick of time while seasoned Bopanna stayed solid with his big serves as India came from a set down to beat Chinese Taipei’s Tsung-hao Huang and En-shuo Liang 2-6, 6-3, 10-4 in the title clash. India’s two-medal show in tennis is the country’s worst at the Asian Games since the turn of the century.

Key points

  • Rohan Bopanna began the match with a terrific service game. However, Tsung-hao Huang and Liang En-shuo won two breaks in a row and held their serve to go 5-1 up, and eventually seal the first set 6-2.

  • Rohan Bopanna and Rutuja Bhosale fought back well in the second set and there was nothing separating both teams in the opening seven games. The Indian pair, however, levelled up with a decisive break in the eighth game and took the set 6-3 to induce a match tie break.

  • Rutuja Bhosale won her maiden Asian Games medal while Rohan Bopanna added to his gold medal from Jakarta 2018. This was India’s second medal in tennis at the Asian Games 2023, following a silver in the men’s doubles event.

  • India have now won seven medals in the mixed doubles category – including three gold – at the Asian Games. Leander Paes-Sania Mirza at Doha 2006 and Saketh Myneni-Sania Mirza at Incheon 2014 are the other mixed doubles champions.

Ruixiang Zhang Awarded 2023 SASTRA Ramanujan Prize in Mathematics

Mathematician Ruixiang Zhang, an Assistant Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, USA, has been selected as the recipient of the prestigious 2023 SASTRA Ramanujan Prize. This award recognizes his remarkable contributions to the field of mathematics. The prize, which includes a cash award of $10,000, will be presented during an international conference in Number Theory, held in the hometown of the renowned mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan, at SASTRA University in Kumbakonam during the third week of December.

Age Limit Honoring Ramanujan:

In keeping with the legacy of Srinivasa Ramanujan, whose groundbreaking work was accomplished during his tragically brief life of 32 years, the SASTRA Ramanujan Prize maintains an age limit of 32 years for its recipients. This age restriction pays tribute to the extraordinary achievements of Ramanujan.

Ruixiang Zhang’s Diverse Mathematical Contributions:

Ruixiang Zhang has made significant contributions across various mathematical domains:

1. Generalization of Vinogradov’s Mean Value Theorem:

  • Building upon his doctoral research at Princeton University, Zhang collaborated with Shaoming Guo to establish a multivariable generalization of Vinogradov’s Mean Value Theorem.

  • Their groundbreaking work, published in Inventiones Mathematicae in 2019, is recognized as a major achievement in the field of analytic number theory.

2. Breakthroughs in Restriction Theory:

  • While working on his thesis, Zhang ventured into restriction theory within Fourier and classical harmonic analysis.

Zhang successfully resolved two long-standing problems

  • Carleson’s problem regarding the pointwise convergence of solutions to the Schrödinger equation.

  • The two-dimensional case of Sogge’s local smoothing conjecture for wave equations.

  • Collaborating with Xiumin Du in a 2019 Annals of Mathematics paper, they introduced novel techniques tailored to Carleson’s problem, providing solutions in all dimensions.

3. Impact in Harmonic Analysis:

  • Ruixiang Zhang’s contributions extend to various areas, including harmonic analysis and its practical applications.

Academic Journey and Current Appointments:

  • Dr. Zhang earned his Ph.D. in mathematics from Princeton University in 2017.

  • Over the years, he has held positions at various academic institutions and is currently affiliated with the University of California since 2021.

  • Dr. Zhang has been recognized with multiple awards, including a Sloan Fellowship (2022-24) and an NSF CAREER award (2022-27).

The Prize Committee:

The 2023 SASTRA Ramanujan Prize Committee comprised distinguished mathematicians:

  • Krishnaswami Alladi (University of Florida) – Chair

  • Don Blasius (University of California, Los Angeles)

  • Sergei Konyagin (Lomonosov Moscow State University)

  • Jonathan Pila (Oxford University)

  • Bjorn Poonen (MIT)

  • Zeev Rudnick (Tel Aviv University)

  • Wadim Zudilin (Radboud University, The Netherlands)

Marico’s Saugata Gupta named as ASCI Chairman

Saugata Gupta, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Marico Ltd, has been appointed new Chairman of the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), at the board meeting of the self-regulatory body. Gupta’s association with ASCI spans several years, including two years on the Board of Governors and four years as a special invitee on the Board of Governors.

Partha Sinha, president of response, Bennett Coleman & Company Limited, was elected vice chairman, and Sudhanshu Vats, deputy managing director, Pidilite Industries Ltd, was appointed honorary treasurer.

About the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI)

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) is a voluntary self-regulatory organization of the advertising industry in India. Established in 1985, ASCI is registered as a non-profit company under section 25 of the Company Act.

  • ASCI is committed to the cause of self-regulation in advertising, ensuring the protection of the interest of consumers. ASCI seeks to ensure that advertisements conform to its Code for Self-Regulation, which requires advertisements to be legal, decent, honest and truthful, and not hazardous or harmful while observing fairness in competition.

  • ASCI looks into complaints across ALL MEDIA such as Print, TV, Radio, hoardings, SMS, Emailers, Internet/web-site, product packaging, brochures, promotional material and point of sale material etc. ASCI’s role has been acclaimed by various Government bodies including the Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA), Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Ministry of AYUSH as well as the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

  • The association with these Government bodies is to co-regulate and curb misleading and objectionable advertisements in the respective sectors.

  • In January 2017, the Supreme Court of India in its judgement also affirmed and recognized the self-regulatory mechanism as an effective pre-emptive step to statutory provisions in the sphere of advertising content regulation for TV and Radio in India. ASCI is a part of the Executive Committee of International Council on Ad Self-Regulation (ICAS).

  • Among several awards bestowed by the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA), ASCI bagged two Gold Global Best Practice Awards for the Mobile App “ASCIonline” (2016) and for reducing the time taken to process complaints (2013).

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal Unveils 15-Point Winter Action Plan to Combat Air Pollution

Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal, has unveiled a comprehensive 15-point winter action plan aimed at addressing air pollution in the national capital, just in time for the festive season. This initiative is a response to the pressing need for cleaner air in Delhi, which has seen some improvements in air quality metrics, including reductions in PM 2.5 and PM 10 levels.

Improvements in Air Quality Metrics

  • Kejriwal highlighted the decrease in PM 2.5 levels from 149 in 2014 to 103 presently, showcasing a significant improvement.

  • PM 10 levels have also reduced from 324 in 2014 to 223, signifying a 30% reduction in pollution levels.

Enhancing Public Transport

  • Kejriwal emphasized the importance of public transport improvements.

  • The Delhi government plans to introduce 800 electric buses to bolster the existing fleet of 7,000 government-operated buses.

Greenery and Tree Transportation

  • The Chief Minister mentioned a remarkable 23% growth in the number of trees in Delhi, making it the city with the highest green cover in India.

  • Plans for tree transportation were also discussed.

Clean Energy and Power Supply

  • Delhi currently has no thermal power plants, leading to uninterrupted 24-hour power supply and reduced reliance on generators, resulting in reduced pollution.

Identifying Pollution Hot Spots

  • Kejriwal announced the identification of 13 pollution hot spots in the city.

  • A dedicated war room and 13 specialized teams have been established to tackle pollution in these areas.

Reducing Stubble Burning

  • The development of a bio decomposer by PUSA was mentioned as a measure to reduce stubble burning.

  • In 2022, the bio decomposer was used across 44,00 acres, and this year it will be implemented on 5,000 acres.

Construction Regulations

  • A web portal registration requirement has been introduced for any construction exceeding 500 square meters.

  • Anti-smog guns are mandated for areas exceeding this size to maintain dust-free roads.

Mechanical Road Sweeping and Water Sprinkling

  • 82 mechanical road sweeping machines and 530 water sprinkling machines will be deployed to ensure dust-free roads.

  • During the winter season, 298 smog guns will be in operation on Delhi’s roads.

Vehicle-Related Pollution Measures

  • Measures to curb vehicle-related pollution include inspections of Pollution Under Control (PUC) certificates.

  • Vehicles, particularly petrol ones older than 15 years and diesel vehicles older than 10 years, will be checked for compliance.

  • To oversee these efforts, 385 teams have been organized.

Prohibition of Firecrackers

  • Kejriwal reiterated the prohibition of firecrackers to reduce air pollution during the festive season.

Greenery Enhancement

  • Plans to enhance the city’s greenery involve planting a total of 1 crore trees, with 52 lakh of them planted directly by the Delhi government.

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