How India have become a Major Buyer of Russian Oil

Before the outbreak of the Ukraine-Russia war, hardly any crude oil from Russia used to reach the country. However, in the last few days, India has emerged to be the one of the prime importers of Russian oil, despite what her diplomats in the West say. India produces only 15% of its oil requirement from the states of Assam, Gujarat and Mumbai offshore and has to import the rest 85%.

Mineral oil is a necessity for Indians as most of us use fuel for transportation and cooking on a daily basis. India is the world’s largest importer of fuel oil, a tag which India needs to get rid of in the long run. Though India has upped its renewable energy production, fuel oil is still a necessity for most of the common people. India is mostly dependent on Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE and Iran for its mineral oil requirement.

Mineral oil from Gulf countries have become expensive after Europe started depending on them in the past few months. Heavy economic sanctions put forward by European and American countries towards Russia have made many countries look for alternatives. Europe’s mineral oil requirement was supplied mostly by Russia and Ukraine. The economic sanctions meant that Europe and America now would have to look at the Gulf countries for oil shipment.

As Europe’s dependence on Arab countries’ oil fields increased, the price of oil also increased. However, Russian oil companies offered discount rates of oil, forcing India to divert a part of her revenue towards Russian oil. Despite logistic costs, the increase in crude oil’s prices day by day means that India has to import Russian oil, despite pressure from the West.

As it happened, Indian oil imports from Russia increased by more than 50 times from 0.2% before the start of the Ukraine-Russia war to over 10% now. Last month, Russia overtook Saudi Arabia to become India’s second-biggest supplier of oil behind Iraq as refiners snapped up Russian crude available at a deep discount following the war in Ukraine. Indian refiners bought about 25 million barrels of Russian oil in May.

Russian oil is also expected to take over much of the Indian oil market in the upcoming days as more and more Russian companies come into the picture. The logistics chain was a major hindrance, requiring oil to be shipped a large distance covering land routes through other countries, and Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. With the establishment of a well-suited logistics chain now, the import of Russian oil is expected to rise many-fold in the upcoming days.

Written – Himadri Paul

Cyclists Number Growing in the Country after Pandemic

The latest research has shown that West Bengal holds the highest percentage of households having a bicycle among all Indian states and Union Territories. 78.9% of households in the state have a bicycle. With the abundant availability of local transports, like e-rickshaws, good network of local trains, trams, and electric buses, West Bengal is showing the way for a green as well as effective mode of transportation.

The national average percentage of households having a bicycle is quite less at only 50.4%. The presence of hilly terrain is a hindrance to cycling. Hence, some states like Nagaland (5.5%) and Sikkim (5.9%) have fallen behind, being the states with lowest and second lowest percentage of households having a bicycle. However, others like Gujarat and Delhi have recorded poor percentages of only 29.9% and 27.2% respectively.

Presence of bicycles is still a hindrance in Kolkata, where many busy streets have a cycle ban on them. However, the Newtown and Salt Lake areas in Kolkata fared well with bicycle tracks and regular riders where young riders are mostly found. The rural Bengal is however, the greatest contributor, where a recent Sabuj Saathi scheme was floated by the State Government. According to the scheme, bicycles are given to students of class 9 to 12 for easier commuting to school. According to a senior Government official, this is responsible for West Bengal achieving the top spot in percentage of households having a bicycle.

With the increase in fuel prices, bicycles have the potential to replace existing motor bikes and cars in some places at least. Also, as the resources are getting depleted, we right now need alternative sources of energy which will sustain our needs as well as not get depleted anytime soon. Bicycling is currently the best solution among the youth for a healthy lifestyle as well, and is fast becoming a way to stay fit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Currently, more than half of Indian households have a bicycle. The Covid-19 pandemic has triggered the use of bicycles as the public transport was little available. The Covid-19 pandemic also made sure to be self-dependent on transportation, health maintenance and other factors. The number is expected to grow bigger in the coming days, as we modernize the bicycle, use it for general purposes everywhere, and become more conscious about our health and environment. However, it also depends on how the new generation spreads awareness about cycling.

Written by – Himadri Paul

India-Japan Clean Energy Partnership

India has signed up a 3.2 lakh crore partnership deal with Japan on 19th March 2022, following Japanese PM, Fumio Kishida’s meeting with Indian PM, Narendra Modi. Previously, India and Japan had signed a deal for the prestigious bullet train project from Mumbai to Ahmedabad, which has not got far beyond papers in recent years.

This time, though the bullet train project was highlighted as “One Team, One Project”, the main aim was on renewable and clean energy. The greatest development was in the automobile sector, which contributes to most of India’s pollution in big cities. India and Japan have agreed to collaborate in production of electric vehicles, battery storages and green hydrogen as an alternative energy source. This comes at a time after the Indian Government has announced its intention to switch over to a complete electric vehicles fleet after 2025.

Referring to bilateral trade ties, he said Japan has an investment target of five trillion yen (Rs 3.2 trillion) in India over the next five years. Japan also announced a sustainable development initiative for the Northeastern region. Loans worth Rs 20, 400 crore from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) were also agreed upon for cooperation in infrastructure, connectivity, biodiversity and healthcare.

Japan’s co-operation with India has only increased over the years. At a time when India is desperately looking for alternatives to oil and coal, investments in renewable and clear energy sectors come as a boon. In the solar power sector, when India imports more than 90% of solar panels and more than half of energy storage facilities, co-operation is needed with the developed countries to sustain production in India. Japan is now on the driving seat of economic and technological boom among major powers in the world. Hence, India co-operation with Japan in various advanced technological and economic fields will boost India’s growth as a world power in the coming years.

Read more about India-Japan’s economic summit here – https://www.financialexpress.com/opinion/a-yen-for-india-to-take-bilateral-relations-forward-japan-and-india-must-exploit-complementarities/2467164/

Written by – Himadri Paul

Renewable Sector Inching Towards the Milestone

The renewable energy sector in India made a sharp increase at the end of the last decade. But the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 became a big stumbling block in its progress to reach the 175 GW goal by 2022. With the increase in prices of fuels and abundant availability of natural resources, the scope of renewable energy in India is vast. The only thing required at this hour is a push from the Government that may eventually start the process of replacing non-renewable resources with renewable resources.

Recently on August 12, 2021, the Government of India announced that it has installed 100 GW of renewable energy without large hydro. This good piece of news came way too late as the last 2 years of renewable energy addition was sluggish. Presently too, it is not showing any encouraging trend in the near future despite the pandemic situation waning in the country.

Solar Panels In India

The target falls way behind the 175 GW target that was set back in 2015. At that time, large hydro was not a part of renewable resources in India. By large hydro, we mean the hydro-electric plants having generating capacity of greater than 25MW. Until mid-2019, large hydro was not a part of the Ministry of New and Renewable but was administered separately as a part of the Ministry of Power. Now, the Indian Government has merged large and small hydro-electric power plants under renewable resources, taking the tally to 146 GW as of August 12, 2021.

Wind Turbines in India

As of October, 2021 according to the Ministry, the renewable energy tally stood at 103.05 GW. The 103.05 GW capacity included 47.66 GW of solar, 39.99 GW of wind, 10.58 GW of biopower and 4.82 GW of small hydro capacity. The rest of nearly 150 GW milestone was covered by large hydro. The Ministry also said that projects of 50.98 GW capacity were at various stages of completion, while projects of 32.06 GW capacity were under various stages of bidding.

Hydro Electric Power Generation Dam in India

As of 30th November 2021, the renewable energy capacity including large hydro reached the milestone of 150 GW, an addition of 4 GW since August. Hence, though it seems that 175 GW is not at all far away, reaching there will take a considerable amount of time unless some drastic measures are taken by the government. However, 2022 has a long way to go, and many sites of hydel, solar, wind and biomass energy have been allocated or auctioned. In a nutshell, despite India being very close to meeting its target of renewable energy, the last lap is still a long way to go.

Written by – Himadri Paul

SOLAR ENERGY AND ATMANIRBHAR BHARAT

 Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Friday introduced India to a 750 Mega Watt powered Solar Power Plant in the Rewa District of Madhya Pradesh. This was accompanied by his statement on his strong believe that India needs Solar Power Plant as a first step to be Self- Dependent (Atma Nirbhar).

Amidst the inferno in the India border separating China, Indian population is chiming with anti- China shoutouts. Within the following days of such a populous initiative, the government accompanied by taking multiple steps to step down upon China. The decisions taken or executed are still a topic of debate considering the economic outlook of the current situation. However, India is surely planning to be tangible with whatever resources is restricted to their own land, which at least is not shared by China.

The Solar Power, if said in layman’s terms, is the energy derived from the Sun which is further stored and used to convert into Electrical Energy. Even though the concept is quite simple, this does not reflect upon the apparatus which empowers the idea. Amongst cost the apparatus has a quirky setup while assembling. But pros and cons are prevalent to any resources that are used by human being. When considering the installation and apparatus charges the elephant in the room is the amount which has to be paid by the customers to make use of this fine system. To understand this, you need to know the basic unit consumption of a regular Nuclear or Hydro Powered electricity which is currently under major use. So, the average Indian pays Rs. 7.22 per Unit consumed currently; and the unit consumption per month varies from 110 – 277 which ranges around Rs. 800 – 2000 monthly. The solar power plant which has been installed is assumed to cost Rs. 2.95 per unit. This pulls down the cost to Rs. 300 – 800 on the same set of units.

This clearly begs the question, does this initiative truly pushes India one step toward being self-dependent enough? The answer might result in controversy but there truly are two phases to it. A group of people might (with or without judgement) declare this the “Biggest Step Taken to Push Indian Economy” and another school of thought might consider this to be a trivial side dish to the “5 Trillion Economy”. Logically, reliability on Solar Power plant has always been at large and has still not been verified. It might be enough to power a town or village on lower area or power need but might result in lacking significance to power up a city of varying economic class and neighborhood.

The initiative which has been taken clearly to boost the (atma-nirbharta) self- dependence doesn’t really embark upon the major part of livelihood and does not really offer anything new to the plate. World’s largest statue followed by Asia’s largest solar plant gives a light political flavor to the initiative. Irrespective of the consideration over various schools of thought, the future only awaits the endgame of the Plant and whether this, truly, will be any benefit to the Self Dependent India initiative.

                                                                              Saswati Chattopadhyay