Niti Aayog’s Draft Battery Swapping Policy


Government think-tank Niti Aayog has prepared a draft battery swapping policy, under which it has proposed offering incentives to electric vehicles (EVs) with swappable batteries, subsidies to companies manufacturing swappable batteries, a new battery-as-a-service business model, and standards for interoperable batteries, among other measures.


GS II- Government policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is battery swapping?
  2. What are some of the key proposals?
  3. What is the battery-as-a-service model?
What is battery swapping?
  • Battery swapping is a mechanism that involves exchanging discharged batteries for charged ones.
  • This provides the flexibility to charge these batteries separately by de-linking charging and battery usage, and keeps the vehicle in operational mode with negligible downtime.
  • Battery swapping is generally used for smaller vehicles such as two-wheelers and three-wheelers with smaller batteries that are easier to swap, compared to four-wheelers and e-buses, although solutions are emerging for these larger segments as well.
Advantages of Battery Swapping
  • It will address the problem of setting up charging stations and also reduce range anxiety of drivers.
  • It can help EV owners save the cost of purchasing a battery. 
  • It is less time consuming and takes only a few minutes compared to charging at a battery station which could take hours. 
  • It also requires minimum infrastructure.
Barriers to Battery Swapping
  • High Cost of Battery (Batteries account for close to 60% of the cost for an e-two-wheeler)
  • Lack of standardization among batteries
  • Unsuitable battery pack design
  • Higher GST on separate batteries (18% versus 5% for EVs) 

What are some of the key proposals?

Tax rate:

  • The draft policy has suggested that the GST Council consider reducing the differential across the tax rates on Lithium-ion batteries and electric vehicle supply equipment.
  • Currently, the tax rate on the former is 18 per cent, and 5 per cent on the latter.


  • The policy also proposes to offer the same incentives available to electric vehicles that come pre-equipped with a fixed battery to electric vehicles with swappable batteries.
  • The size of the incentive could be determined based on the kWh (kilowatt hour) rating of the battery and compatible EV.

Float battery requirements:

  • An appropriate multiplier may be applied to the subsidy allocated to battery providers to account for the float battery requirements for battery swapping stations in different battery swapping ecosystems

Contract duration:

  • The government will also specify a minimum contract duration for a contract to be signed between EV users and battery providers to ensure they continue to provide battery swapping services after receiving the subsidy.

Battery charging stations:

  • The policy also requires state governments to ensure public battery charging stations are eligible for EV power connections with concessional tariffs.
  • It also proposes to bring such stations under existing or future time-of-day (ToD) tariff regimes, so that the swappable batteries can be charged during off-peak periods when electricity tariffs are low.
  • It also proposes to install battery swapping stations at several locations like retail fuel outlets, public parking areas, malls, kirana shops and general stores etc.

Registration process:

  • Transport Departments and State Transport Authorities will be responsible for easing registration processes for vehicles sold without batteries or for vehicles with battery swapping functionality.
  • Municipal corporations will be responsible for planning, zoning permissions and land allocation for battery swapping stations.

Unique identification number (UIN)

  • The policy also proposes to assign a unique identification number (UIN) to swappable batteries at the manufacturing stage to help track and monitor them.
  • Similarly, a UIN number will be assigned to each battery swapping station.

EV Safety

  • To ensure a high level of protection at the electrical interface, a rigorous testing protocol will be adopted to avoid any unwanted temperature rise at the electrical interface.
  • The battery management system, which is a software that controls battery functions, will have to be self-certified and open for testing to check its compatibility with various systems, and capability to meet safety requirements.
  • Additionally, for better protection of assets, swappable batteries will have to be equipped with advanced features like IoT-based battery monitoring systems, remote monitoring and immobilisation capabilities.

What is the battery-as-a-service model?

  • Niti Aayog said battery swapping will fall under the battery-as-a-service (BaaS) business model, and such models would have to ensure interoperability between EVs and batteries for a successful mainstreaming of battery swapping as an alternative.
  • Apart from the batteries themselves, major battery providers will be encouraged to sign data-sharing agreements to provide information on battery health and performance, and to enable more flexibility to consumers through peer-to-peer roaming networks.
  • “This policy requires ecosystems to be ‘open’ to allow participation from other market players in order to be considered for support under the policy”.
  • The policy will only support batteries using Advanced Chemistry Cells (ACC), with performance that is equivalent or superior to EV batteries supported under the government’s FAME-II scheme.
    • As of now, two-wheel EV maker Bounce has launched an electric scooter with a swappable battery.
  • Under the company’s business model, customers can pay to swap their battery at one of their stations, whenever it runs out of juice.

Russia’s New Nuclear Missile Sarmat


Amidst stiff resistance from Ukraine in the ongoing war and harsh sanctions imposed by the West, Russia went ahead and tested its new Inter Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Sarmat.


GS III- Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Samrat
  2. Who is it named after?

About Samrat:

  • This was the first test launch of the ICMB Sarmat after having been delayed earlier in 2021.
  • It was launched from Plesetsk in North West Russia with the intended target in the Kamchatka peninsula almost 6,000 km away.
  • The RS-28 Sarmat (NATO name Satan-II) is reported to be able to carry ten or more warheads and decoys and has the capability of firing over either of the earth’s poles with a range of 11,000 to 18,000 km.
  • It is expected to pose a significant challenge to the ground-and-satellite-based radar tracking systems of the western powers, particularly the USA.
  • The ten warheads are Multiple Independently-Targetable Re-entry Vehicles and each has a blast yield of .75 MT.
  • The Sarmat will also be the first Russian missile which can carry smaller hypersonic boost-glide vehicles.
  • These are manoeuvrable and hard to intercept.
  • The upgraded electronic counter measures, guidance systems and alternative warhead carrying capacity makes the RS-28 Sarmat ICBM more lethal than the R-36M Voyevoda ICBMs (NATO name Satan) currently in service in Russia.
  • Sarmat is a liquid fuelled missile as compared to US ICBMs which have moved on to solid fuel systems. Regardless of the different propulsion system, the Sarmat is supposed to pose a significant threat to the US Missile Defence Systems.

Who is it named after?

  • Sarmat is named after nomadic tribes that roamed the steppes of present-day Southern Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan in the early medieval period.
  • According to Encyclopaedia Britannica: Sarmatians were highly developed in horsemanship and warfare.
  • It goes on to say that the administrative capabilities and political expertise of Sarmatians contributed to their gaining widespread influence and by the 5th century BC they held control of the land between the Urals and the Don River.

Jupiter’s moon Europa


In their new research, a team of researchers from Stanford University have said that on one of Jupiter’s moons Europa, a prime candidate for life in the solar system, there might be an abundance of water pockets beneath formations called double ridges.


GS III- Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Europa
  2. Implications of the recent findings

About Europa

  • Europa is slightly smaller than Earth’s moon and its diameter is about one-quarter that of the Earth.
  • Even though Europa has a very thin oxygen atmosphere, it is considered one of the most promising places in the solar system to find present-day environments that are suitable for life beyond the Earth.
  • It is also believed that underneath Europa’s icy surface the amount of water is twice that on Earth.
  • NASA notes that scientists believe Europa’s ice shell is 15-25 km thick and is floating on an ocean, which is estimated to be between 60-150 km deep. Interestingly, while its diameter is less than the Earth’s, Europa probably contains twice the amount of the water in all of the Earth’s oceans.
  • NASA is expected to launch its Europa Clipper in 2024. The module will orbit Jupiter and conduct multiple close flybys to Europa to gather data on the moon’s atmosphere, surface and its interior.
  • The researchers are now saying that the double ridges – the formations which are most common on Europa’s surface and are similar to those seen on Earth’s Greenland ice sheet – are formed over shallow pockets of water.

Implications of the recent findings

  • The central implication is that the shallow water pockets beneath the double ridge, like surfaces seen on the Greenland ice sheet on Earth and those seen on Europa’s ice shell, increase the potential habitability of the moon.
  • The ice shell, which is potentially miles thick, has been a difficult prospect for scientists to sample. But according to the new evidence gathered by the Stanford team, the ice shell is believed to be less of a barrier and more of a dynamic system.
    • This means that the ice shell does not behave like an inert block of ice, but rather undergoes a variety of geological and hydrological processes.

Integrated Command and Control Centres


During a two-day Smart Cities Conference in Surat, Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister that 80 Integrated Command and Control Centres (ICCCs), an integral component of the Smart Cities Mission, have already been set up, while the remaining 20 would be completed by August 15 this year.


GS II- Government Policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Integrated Command and Control Centre
  2. About Smart Cities Mission
  3. What is the current status of the Smarts Cities Mission?

About Integrated Command and Control Centre

  • The Smart Cities Mission includes setting up ICCCs for each such city as a vital step.
  • These ICCCs are designed to enable authorities to monitor the statups of various amenities in real time.
  • Initially aimed at controlling and monitoring water and power supply, sanitation, traffic movement, integrated building management, city connectivity and Internet infrastructure, these centres have since evolved to monitor various other parameters.
  • The ICCCs are now also linked to the CCTNS (Crime and Criminal Tracking Networks and Systems) network under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • The ICCC acts of a smart city acts as a “nerve centre” for operations management.
  • It processes a complex and large pool of data sets at an aggregated level. For example, it is now the go-to source for integrated traffic management monitoring.
  • The ICCC is the nodal point of availability of all online data and information relating to smart services included in a smart city, such as like LED street lighting, CCTV surveillance cameras, air quality sensors, smart parking system, WiFi, electricity and water supply and billing, GIS, e-hospitals, property tax management, estate management, engineering systems, asset management systems, and other services.
  • These ICCCs are spread across various states that have been developing Smart Cities, with states such as Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat leading in terms of the total number of ICCCs set up.
  • During the pandemic, they also served as war-rooms for Covid-19 management.

How did the ICCCs help in management of Covid-19?

  • During the peak of the first wave, when countries were struggling to figure out ways of combating the virus, the government used the ICCCs as war-rooms for managing the outbreak, with real-time surveillance and monitoring of districts across the country that were affected by the coronavirus disease.
  • Converted into war-rooms, the smart cities’ ICCCs used the central data dashboard and provided information about the status of Covid-positive cases in various administrative zones of these cities, officials aware of the exercise said.
  • The war-rooms were also used for tracking people under quarantine and suspected Covid-19 cases.

About Smart Cities Mission

  • The Smart Cities Mission aims at developing 100 cities, which were shortlisted, into self-sustainable urban settlements.
  • The mission was launched on June 25, 2015 and was projected as one aimed at transforming the process of urban development in the country.
  • Among its strategic components is ‘area-based development’, which includes city improvement (retrofitting), city renewal (redevelopment) and city extension (greenfield development), plus a pan-city initiative in which ‘smart solutions’ are applied covering larger parts of the city.
  • Key focus areas of the scheme include
    • Construction of walkways,
    • Pedestrian crossings,
    • Cycling tracks,
    • Efficient waste-management systems,
    • Integrated traffic management and assessment.
  • The scheme also assesses various indices to track urban development such as the Ease of Living Index, Municipal Performance Index, City GDP framework, Climate Smart Cities assessment framework, etc.

What is the current status of the Smarts Cities Mission?

  • The ambitious project, announced by Prime Minister in 2015, had an initial deadline of 2021 for the first lot of 20 smart cities out of the 100 selected.
  • Although the project was announced in 2015, the cities were selected over a period of two years between 2016 and 2018, each with a deadline of completion within five years from the time of their selection.
  • On the recommendation of NITI Aayog, the timeline was extended last year until 2023 due to delays caused by the pandemic.
  • In its assessment, the NITI Aayog noted that progress on sustainable development goals (SDGs) needed to be worked upon, and recommended the extended deadline after noting substantial delays caused by the pandemic. “The period of implementation of SCM has been extended to June 2023,” the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs informed Parliament in December last year.
  • According to current Ministry data, the SCM has so far covered over 140 public-private partnerships), 340 ‘smart roads’, 78 ‘vibrant public places’, 118 ‘smart water’ projects and over 63 solar projects.

Health Star Rating System of FSSAI for Packaged Food


Recently, 40 global health experts claimed that the “health star rating” system that the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) plans to adopt to help consumers reduce their intake of unhealthy foods is “not evidence-based” and has failed to alter buyer behavior.


GS III- Food Processing & Related Industries In India

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is the Health Star Rating System?
  2. What is FoPL?

What is the Health Star Rating System?

  • In February, the FSSAI decided to adopt the “health-star rating system”, which gives a product 1/2 a star to 5 stars, in its draft regulations for front of package labelling (FOPL).
  • The HSR format assigns a rating to a packaged food item based on its salt, sugar, and fat content, which is printed on the front of the package.
  • The HSR’s fundamental principle is that good components like fruits and nuts can be used to offset bad nutrients like calories, saturated fat, total sugar, and sodium when determining a product’s star rating.
  • The decision was based on the findings of an IIM-Ahmedabad research commissioned by the regulator in September 2021.

What is FoPL?

  • The FoP labelling system has long been regarded as one of the greatest methods for encouraging customers to choose healthy food choices around the world.
  • It works in the same manner as graphics on cigarette packs deter people from smoking.
  • Because India is undergoing a dietary transformation, with individuals increasingly consuming more processed and ultra-processed goods, as well as a rising market, FoP labelling is required.
  • It will be useful in the fight against rising obesity and a variety of non-communicable diseases.
  • FoP labels are nutrition labelling systems that are shown on the front of food packaging in the primary field of view and give concise, frequently graphic information on the nutrient content or nutritional quality of items, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • To go along with the more thorough nutrient statements seen on the back of food packages.
  • “FoP labelling is aimed to assist in deciphering nutrient declarations,” according to the Codex Alimentarius Commission.


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