Editorial 1: Changing the way the postman knocks


  • The new Post Office Bill (2023) introduced in the Rajya Sabha on the penultimate day of the monsoon session of Parliament, is to replace the Indian Post Office Act (1898) in the light of the changing role of post offices where its network has become a vehicle for delivery of a variety of citizen centric services.

The changes

  • While the 1898 Act had focused only on mail services, the new Bill authorises the Director General of Postal Services to make regulations related to activities necessary for providing various such other services as the central government may prescribe, and to fix charges of them.
  • This aspect in the new Bill gives the postal department the requisite flexibility in deciding the prices of its services in a fiercely competitive industry and help in responding quickly to market demands.
  • Also, various initiatives of India Post to dispense citizen-centric services will now be based on a strong legal framework.
  • The new Bill authorises the central government which may, by notification, empower any officer to cause any item in course of transmission by the Post Office to be intercepted, opened or detained in the interest of the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, emergency, or public safety or upon the occurrence of any contravention of any of the provisions of this Act.
  • The provision contained in the new Bill is more generic in nature and will arrest possibilities of smuggling and unlawful transmission of drugs and other contraband goods through postal parcels.
  • There is no similar legislation for courier firms. India Post has a share of less than 15% of the market in the courier/ express/parcels (CEP) industry, and so the effectiveness of the provision to intercept, open or detain any item in the course of postal transmission on the grounds of national security and public service has its limitations.

Futuristic postal delivery

  • The new Bill provides the central government standards for addressing on the items, address identifiers and usage of post codes.
  • This provision will have a far-reaching impact as the physical address may be replaced by a digital code using geo-spatial coordinates to identify a specific premise.
  • Digital addressing, though a futuristic concept, may ease the process of sorting and facilitate accurate delivery of mails and parcels.


  • Whatever may be the legal provision, a commoner perceives a letter to be a written and personal form of communication between two individuals, physically conveyed by post.
  • As such, doing away with the provision of “exclusive privilege” by the central government in the new Post Office Bill is a step in the right direction and an acknowledgement of the reality.

Editoriala 2: Disentangling the 2030 global renewable energy target


  • The presidency of the 28th Conference of Parties (COP28) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to be held in Dubai has called for agreement on a global target of tripling renewable energy capacity from current levels by 2030.

The figures

  • In 2021, the global installed capacity of renewable energy sources (RES) for electricity generation was 3026 Giga Watts (GW), or 39% of the total capacity from all sources.
  •  In total electricity generation however, the contribution by RES was only 28%. More than half the RE generation was from hydropower, while solar (13%) and wind (23%) accounted for about 36% of RE generation, that is 10% of generation from all sources.
  • Tripling RE capacity by 2030 implies a target of about 9000 GW, which is more than the total installed capacity from all sources in 2021, adding about 6000 GW of RE capacity between 2022 and 2030.
  • Most of this capacity is expected to come from solar and wind, as the time for construction and operationalisation of any hydro plants, will typically exceed the timeline of 2030 being considered.

Regionally differentiated energy needs

  • However, there is no such thing as “global” electricity demand, but only a global aggregate across countries.
  • Electricity demand across countries is highly differentiated, and the rates of growth vary for countries at different stages of development.
  • Electricity demand is growing far more rapidly in developing countries currently.
  • India would need about 717 GW of RE capacity to meet additional demand, its share of the tripling target would be 12%.
  • With a full phase-out of fossil fuel-based capacity, the U.S. and the EU would account for more than a third of the new capacity, closer to their fair share of the burden.
  •  This would also allow developing countries a less onerous transition in the energy sector, without the North appropriating even the meagre remaining carbon budget with their still considerable fossil fuel capacity.

Targets for ‘thee but not for me’

  • The most vocal proponents of this global target do not have any such a target domestically.
  • When Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced at COP26 that India would increase its ambition to 500GW from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030, U.S. President Joe Biden made no such promise or declare any renewable energy target.
  • For both the U.S. and the EU, these targets are essentially market signals, which the governments will promote, but are not guaranteed by government intervention as in the developing countries.

Way forward

  • Developing countries at COP28, especially India, should consider the tripling global RE capacity target only if the North commits to absolute targets domestically, that are equitable and commensurate with their responsibility, in an update of their Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement.