In first week of November 2014, Gujarat Governor O P Kohli gave his assent to the controversial Gujarat Local Authorities Laws Bill, 2009 and gave his sanction for implementation.
This bill has the provisions of compulsory voting and 50 per cent reservation for women in the institutions of local self-governance.
Once the Act comes into effect, Gujarat will be the first state to have the provision of compulsory voting in local body polls.
Key provision of Gujarat Local Authorities Laws Bill
- The Bill encompasses municipal corporations, municipalities and the district, taluka and village panchayats of Gujarat.
- 50 per cent reservation for women in local bodies, raising the quota from 33 per cent.
- A person, who does not vote in the local body polls, will be liable for penal action and punishment. However, the nature of penalty that would be taken against defaulters has not mentioned.
- The new rule applies to the elections to all seven municipal corporations, 159 municipalities, 26 district panchayats, 223 taluka panchayats and in 13,713 village panchayats of the state.
Background of the Bill
The Gujarat Local Authorities Laws (Amendment) Bill 2009 has amended the Bombay Provincial Municipal Corp Act 1949, the Gujarat Municipalities Act, 1963 and the Gujarat Panchayat’s Act 1993.
The bill was passed by the legislative assembly twice in 2009 and 2011 when Narendra Modi was Chief Minister of the state.
Earlier, then Governor Dr. Kamla Beniwal had withheld the bill by saying that the provision of compulsory voting is violation of Article 21 of the Constitution and forcing voter to vote is against the principles of an individual liberty. However, in December 2009, the Bill was again cleared by the House and was returned for reconsideration to Governor in April 2010. It was again passed in March 2011, but didn’t succeed in getting assent of then Gujarat Governor Kamla Beniwal.
Wind turbine manufacturer Suzlon Energy has installed the world’s first and tallest hybrid wind generator turbine in Kutch, Gujarat. This installation was part Gujarat’s focused approach on enhancing Renewable Energy Portfolio in order to meet the dual objective of Sustainable Development and ensuring India’s Energy Security.
In 2008, the Suzlon Energy had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Gujarat Government to set up 2000 MW of wind energy capacity in the state.
Key features of Suzlon’s tallest hybrid wind generator turbine
- The turbine will generate 12-15 percent more energy.
- Hybrid wind turbine will be 120-metre in height. It is taller than conventional wind turbine towers by 40 metres.
- With this new turbine, the installed wind energy capacity at the Kutch region of Gujarat has gone up to 1100 MW. It makes it the Asia’s biggest wind energy park at one location.
- This tower is ideal for low wind areas and the potential is huge. In the next three years, this region will have 2000 MW of wind energy capacity.
About Suzlon Energy
Suzlon Energy is a leading wind power products and services company with a global footprint. It was established in 1995. Suzlon is credited with developing one of the world’s largest wind farms in the western Indian state of Gujarat and Rajasthan.
The company has presence across six continents: North and South America, Asia, Australia, Europe, and Africa. The Suzlon Group has built its presence in over 31 countries and has achieved a milestone by crossing over 25000 MW of wind power installations globally.
- A deep depression that has formed over the Arabian Sea is expected to turn into a tropical cyclone Nilofar. Nilofar has the potential to strengthen to the equivalent of a Category 1 hurricane before its Arabian Peninsula landfall.
- In India, the North Gujarat coast is expected to bear the brunt of Nilofar. It is expected to land in Gujarat on October 31 with a wind speed of over 120 kmph
- District authorities in the coastal areas of Gujarat have been warned to be prepared for heavy rains and storm. The authorities are also monitoring the situation and the control rooms are operational. The authorities of the Kandla Port Trust, State Maritime Board and the Forest Department, besides local leaders in villages have been put on high alert.
- According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), the coastal districts of Gujarat will isolated very heavy rainfall from October 30 which will intensify further into a severe cyclone storm within 24 hours
- Alerts will be issued to concerned local authorities on status of the storm every three hours
- Other than India, Nilofar is also expected to hit eastern Yemen or Oman with damaging winds, flooding rain and dangerously rough seas. It is also expected to bring potentially heavy rainfall to parts of Pakistan, especially Karachi.
- It is to be noted that tropical cyclones are unusual in this part of the world. Generally, only one or two tropical cyclones form every year in Arabian Sea.
About Naming of cyclones
In the West, hurricanes and tropical cyclones have been given their own names since 1953. This was done in accordance with a convention by Miami’s National Hurricane Centre and is maintained and updated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). WMO is an agenct of the UN and based out of Geneva.
However, South Asia and the Middle East did not adhere to this practice of naming storms till much later. In an effort to name the cyclones without offending any of the countries in the region, all the countries came together in 2004 to evolve a mechanism to name the tropical cyclones. According to the agreed upon system, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Sri Lanka and Thailand meet every year and each country submits its list of names. Each country gets a turn to name the storm in alphabetical order. Till now, the countries have decided on 64 names. Hudhud was a suggestion of Oman, while Nilofar was Pakistan’s suggestion.