1. India Needs a Refugee & Asylum Law
A Private Member’s Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha proposing the enactment of a Refugee and Asylum law.
Why does India need a Refugee and Asylum law?
- The principle of non-refoulement: no country should send a person to a place where he or she may face persecution.
- The principle of non-refoulement is clearly affirmed, with no exceptions, though reasons have been specified for exclusion, expulsion, and revocation of refugee status.
- India is neither a signatory to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, nor does it have a domestic asylum framework.
- Hence, their problems are dealt with in an ad hoc manner, and like other foreigners they always face the possibility of being deported.
- In the absence of a uniform and comprehensive law to deal with asylum seekers, we lack a clear vision or policy on refugee management.
- We have a cocktail of laws such as:
- the Foreigners Act, 1946,
- the Registration of Foreigners Act, 1939,
- the Passports Act (1967),
- the Extradition Act, 1962,
- the Citizenship Act, 1955 and
- the Foreigners Order, 1948
- Examples: The government expelled two batches of Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar, despite the risk of prosecution in their home country. Similar attempts were made with Chakmas in Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmarese in Mizoram. Afghanistan’s students stranded in India by taking over of Taliban have not had their visas renewed.
|Refugee includes people who have fled their home countries and crossed an international border because of a well-founded fear of persecution in their home countries, on grounds of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.
Who does not qualify as a refugee? This means that people who cross borders in quest of economic betterment, or because they are fleeing poverty, anarchy or environmental disaster, do not qualify as refugees.
Nor do those who flee from one part of their home country to another because of war, conflict or fear of persecution.
Supreme court: In 1996, the Supreme Court ruled that the state has to protect all human beings living in India, irrespective of nationality, guided by Articles 14, 20, and 21 of the constitution.
In the NHRC versus the state of Arunachal Pradesh case, the Supreme Court stopped forcible evictions of Chakma refugees in 1995.
- We need a proper framework to make sure that refugees can access basic public services, be able to legally seek jobs and livelihood opportunities for some source of income.
- The absence of such a framework will make the refugees vulnerable to exploitation, especially human trafficking.
2. Green Hydrogen Policy
The Centre notified the green hydrogen and green ammonia policy aimed at boosting the domestic production of green hydrogen to 5 million tonnes by 2030 and making India an export hub for the clean fuel.
- The new policy offers 25 years of free power transmission for any new renewable energy plants set up to supply power for green hydrogen production before July 2025.
- Example: This means that a green hydrogen producer will be able to set up a solar power plant in Rajasthan to supply renewable energy to a green hydrogen plant in Assam and would not be required to pay any inter-state transmission charges.
- It makes it more economical for key users of hydrogen and ammonia such as the oil refining, fertiliser and steel sectors to produce green hydrogen for their own use who currently use grey hydrogen or grey ammonia produced using natural gas or naphtha.
- The government is set to provide a single portal for all clearances required for setting up green hydrogen production as well as a facility for producers to bank any surplus renewable energy generated with discoms for upto 30 days and use it as required.
- Power distribution companies may also procure renewable energy to supply green hydrogen producers but will be required to do so at a concessional rate under the new policy. Such procurement would also count towards a state’s Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) under which it is required to procure a certain proportion of its requirements from renewable energy sources.
|Green hydrogen: It is produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using an electrolyzer powered by renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.
The fuel can be a game-changer for the energy security of India, which imports 85% of its oil and 53% of gas requirements.
To promote clean fuels, India is considering making it mandatory for fertilizer plants and oil refineries to purchase green hydrogen.
Green ammonia : Ammonia is a chemical which is used mainly in the manufacture of nitrogenous fertilizers, like urea and ammonium nitrate, but can be put to other uses too, such as to run engines.
Green ammonia production is where the process of making ammonia is 100% renewable and carbon-free.
One way of making green ammonia is by using hydrogen from water electrolysis and nitrogen separated from the air. These are then fed into the Haber process (also known as Haber-Bosch), all powered by sustainable electricity.
- Huge market potential, owing to the young demography and thriving economy, will be a long-term benefit for the government while pushing the application of hydrogen-based technologies.
- Hydrogen needs to be considered as complementary to its alternatives rather than contemplating it as an ultimate and stand-alone solution as it comes with its own constraints.
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