India moving away from coal slowly, considerable progress by states: Study

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BY VISHAL GULATI
New Delhi, Sep 14 |
India alone is home to 7 per cent (21GW) of the global coal project pipeline, which is 56 per cent of South Asia’s total, a study showed on Tuesday, with the country moving slowly away from coal at a national level, however considerable progress is being made at the state level.

Four countries in South Asia — Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka — have previously considered or are currently considering coal. Together, they account for 13 per cent of the global pre-construction pipeline (37.4GW), said a new report by climate change think tank E3G that assessed the global pipeline of new coal projects.

It finds there has been a 76 per cent reduction in proposed coal power since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015, bringing the end of new coal construction into sight.

The report says Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan are showing leadership in cancelling projects and making political statements that they will no longer pursue new coal power.

In India, significant socio-economic headwinds to new coal have led to state-level commitments to no new coal, opening a pathway for national-level progress.

Having considered new coal-fired power projects for a number of years, Sri Lanka is now leading the way in South Asia.

The report finds India is moving slowly away from coal at a national level, however considerable progress is being made at the state level.

Between 2019 and 2021, public officials from the states of Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, and Karnataka announced their intention to not build new coal power plants.

According to a 2019 study, many more states have the potential to move away from new coal power due to a combination of socio-economic and environmental factors, particularly the rapidly increasing cost competitiveness of new renewables.

India’s pre-construction pipeline of 21GW is the second largest in the world.

India is currently constructing 34GW of new coal capacity, more than the next seven countries combined. This is on top of India’s considerable existing operating fleet of 233GW (11.3 per cent of the global total).

Yet since 2015, India has seen over 326GW of projects cancelled, including more than 250GW of shelved capacity. This means almost 7GW has been scrapped for every 1GW that has gone into operation.

Conditions are now ripe for India’s remaining pipeline to not continue into construction, says the report. The cost implications of building new coal are starker in India than in many other countries, with clear evidence that even a country with large domestic coal reserves can struggle to make coal-fired power economically viable.

Average coal plant load factors have fallen consistently, from 61 per cent in 2018 to 53 per cent in 2021, making it more expensive to run existing plants and highlighting the folly of building new coal.

Meanwhile, renewable tariffs in India are some of the lowest in the world, reaching a record low of Rs 1.99/kWh ($ 0.026/kWh) in December 2020.

This is cheaper than the majority of the existing Indian coal fleet, and all the new coal projects. Renewables backed by storage are also increasingly competitive.

The report finds India’s power distribution companies (discoms) are already in dire financial health, with debt expected to touch $80 billion in FY22.

Even the under-construction pipeline of coal projects (34GW) face major stranded asset risk, according to IEEFA’s June 2021 study. Stressed and stranded assets are already a reality, for example the seven-plus coal power units totalling 7410MW that have either been ordered to be liquidated or are heading for liquidation, six of which were in early stages of construction.

Most private developers have little appetite for coal and are instead pivoting to renewables, making it increasingly hard to fund new coal projects. Recent analysis also suggests that India may not even need additional coal capacity to meet its future electricity demand and could even begin retiring older coal plants and still meet demand projections.

Collectively, lower than expected power demand growth, cheaper renewables, falling load factors, and difficulty in securing finance highlight the headwinds and risks to continued pursuit of new coal in India, says the report.

While Indian national politics have hesitated to engage in discussion on moving away from coal for multiple reasons, progress is being made at the sub-national level, with several states considering pivoting away from new coal.

Senior government officials in Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Karnataka have all signalled their intent to not pursue new coal power projects.

India’s pursuit of coal has typically been justified on energy security, affordability, and development arguments, but new coal does not make economic sense for India anymore.

Renewable energy can deliver these outcomes better, quicker and cheaper, and without the negative socio-economic, health, and environmental impacts of coal, concludes the report.

(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at vishal.g@ians.in)

Source: IANS

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Does MBA really help in getting a better job offer ?

Does MBA really help in getting a better job offer ?

Most students pursuing an MBA come with the sole objective of having a decent job offer or a promotion in the existing job soon after completion of the MBA. And most of them take loans to pursue this career dream. According to a recent survey by education portal Campusutra.com  74% MBA 2022-24 aspirants said they would opt for education loans.

There are exceptional cases like those seeking master’s degree or may have a family business to take care of or an entrepreneurial venture in mind. But the exception cases are barely 1%. For the rest 99%, a management degree is a ticket to a dream job through campus placements or leap towards career enhancements. Stakes are high as many of them quit their jobs which essentially means loss of 2 years of income, apprehension and uncertainty of the job market. On top of that, the pressure to pay back the education loans. Hence the returns have to be high. There is more than just the management degree. Colleges need to ensure that they offer quality management education which enables them to be prepared for not just the demands of recruiters and for a decent job but also to sustain and achieve, all along their career path.

  • So, what exactly are the B Schools doing to prepare their students for the job market and make them industry ready ?
  •  Are B schools ready to deliver and prepare the future business leaders to cope up with the disrupted market ?  

These are the two key questions every MBA aspirant needs to ask, check and validate before filling the MBA application forms of management institutes. And worth mentioning that these application forms do not come cheap. An MBA aspirant who may have shortlisted 5 B Schools to apply for, may end up spending Rs 10,000.00 to Rs 15,000.00 just buying MBA / PGDM application forms.

While internship and placements data of some management institutes clearly indicates that recruiters today have specific demands. The skill sets looked for are job centric and industry oriented. MBA schools which have adopted new models of delivery and technology, redesigned their courses, built an effective evaluation process and prepared the students to cope with the dynamic business scenario, have done great with campus placements despite the economic slow down.

However, the skill set being looked for by a consulting company like Deloitte or KPMG may be quite different from FMCG or a manufacturing sector. Institutes need to acknowledge this fact and act accordingly.

  • Management institutes should ensure that students are intellectually engaged, self motivated and adapt to changes fast. In one word ‘VUCA ready’.
  • B Schools should encourage students to participate in national and international competitive events, simulations of business scenarios.
  • Institutes should have the right mix of faculty members with industry exposure and pure academics.

The placement records of 2021 across top management institutes indicated the fact that recruitment is happening, skilled talent is in demand and certain management institutions continued to attract recruiters even in the middle of an ongoing crisis.

It is time, all management institutes rise to the occasion, understand market realities and identify areas of improvement at both ends – students and faculty.

After all, the stakes are high at both ends. B Schools taking corrective measures will stay while those which are lagging will end up shutting down.

Author Name : Nirmalya Pal

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