Constitution & Law Current Affairs - 2020

Summary of latest bill and acts passed or pending in 2019 in Parliament of India with their salient features and issues for Current Affairs 2019 preparation for various examinations such as UPSC, SSC, State Civil Services, CLAT, Judicial Services etc.

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Andhra Pradesh Cabinet nods to abolish Legislative Council

On January 27, 2020, the Andhra Pradesh cabinet cleared to abolish Legislative Council. It is to be noted that the Legislative Council stalled two bills that were passed by the assembly. It includes AP Capital Region Development Authority Repeal Bill and Decentralization bill.

State Legislative Council

Andhra Pradesh is one of the few states to have bicameral legislature. The states with legislative council includes Bihar, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Telangana.

Constitutional Provisions

Article 169 of the constitution defines Legislative Council. As of November 2019, there are 6 states with State Legislative Council. The members of the State Legislative Council are selected in the following way

  • One-third are elected from the local bodies such as Gram Panchayat, municipalities and district councils.
  • One-third are elected by members of State Legislative Assembly.
  • One-Sixth of the members are nominated by the governor
  • One-twelfth are graduates who have resided for three years in the state
  • One-twelfth are teaching professions.

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Ordinance promulgated to amend coal mining laws

On January 11, 2020, the Government of India promulgated ordinance to amend coal mining laws in order to ease auction of coal mines.

Highlights

The GoI has promulgated ordinance to amend MMDR act (Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation act), 1957 and Coal Mines (Special Provisions) act [CMSP], 2015.

Objectives of the amendment

  • It will enhance ease of doing business
  • The amendment will democratize the coal sector. This will open the coal sector for anyone to invest.
  • It will promote FDI (Foreign Direct Investment). The amendment will remove eligibility criteria and restrictions in order to achieve this.

Amendments

  • The amendment has clarified the purpose of allocation. Previously, there was lack of clarity in interpretation of eligibility conditions in the auctions. The amendment clarifies that any company winning the auction shall carry on own consumption, sale or other purposes. This also allows 100% FDI participation
  • The Schedule II and Schedule III of the CMSP act had clauses that allowed only companies that are engaged in specific end use of coal to participate in the auction. These clauses are now removed.
  • So far, the CMSP act had been silent on reallocation of a coal upon terminations of an allocated mine. With the amendment, it is now possible to allocate the mine to the next successful bidder.
  • The amendment allows the coal mines to appoint a custodian for production.

Coal Targets of GoI

India is the second largest importer of coal in the world. The amendments will help to increase domestic production of India. It will also help India achieve its targets set. The GoI plans to increase coal production to 1 billion tonnes by 2024.

For the financial year 2019-20, the target set is 660 million tonnes.

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