Governance & Politics Current Affairs - 2019

Latest India Current Affairs and Current Affairs related to Government policy, polity and administration in India. India’s National Current Affairs updates for 2019.

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State Power Ministers Conference

A two – day state power ministers conference starting on October 11, 2019, is to be held in the banks of Narmada river at Kevadia, Gujarat. The conference will be inaugurated by Union Minister of State for Power RK Singh.

The conference is to be held near the Statue of Unity, the tallest structure in the world. The congregation of the state energy departments is to be held on the banks of River Narmada. This is to signify that Narmada was the first river to have a canal top solar power plant in India.

Highlights of the conference

  • Schemes to promote clean energy is to be the prime focus of the conference.
  • Discussions related to emerging technologies in renewable and sustainable energy sector
  • Implementation of Prime Minister Kusum Scheme. The major components of the scheme are as follows
    • Provide solar run irrigation pumps to the farmers
    • Solarization of 10 lakh existing grid connected pumps.
  • Renewable energy development in the border areas. Recently GoI has also proposed construction of wind and solar projects in the Indo – Pakistan border.
  • Ease of doing business in solar and wind energy space
  • Issues related to regulatory matters, land and infrastructure
  • Discussions about projects for Ultra Mega Renewable Energy parks
  • The scheme of roof top solar projects will also be discussed. This is a scheme which certainly needs the support of the states.

The conference is being hosted by the Gujarat Government. In the event, there will be presentation on the achievement in the power and energy sector by the government in the past 10 years. There will also be detailed briefing about how Gujarat provides 24 – hour electricity through Jyoti Gram Scheme

Jyoti Gram yojana

It was an initiative of the Gujarat Government to ensure 24 – hour power supply to rural areas to farmers in scattered farm houses.

Instructions by the Center

The Union Ministry will make the following request to the states

  • PPAs should not be re – negotiated. The provisions under PPAs has to be enforced in letter and spirit. The payment to the generators, especially solar and wind, by the DISCOMS should be made on FIFO (First In First Out) basis
  • The Center will also instruct to expedite supply reforms, renewable capacity addition and improve energy efficiency standards.

The PPA issue

Recently many states reviewed or cancelled PPA with the renewable projects. The State’s decision to review renewable PPAs created controversies. The power generators moved to the High Court. The HC asked them to raise their grievances before the AP Electricity Regulatory Commission.

Draft Arms (Amendment) Bill

On October 10, 2019, the Union Home Ministry proposed an amendment to convict makers and users of illegal arms. According to the amendment, the makers of “prohibited” arms and those carrying such arms have to spend remainder of their life in prison if convicted.

The bill is to be introduced in the winter session of the parliament.

Main Features of the Amendment bill

  • Anyone possessing more than 2 licensed gun has to deposit the third one with the authorities. This is because GoI is planning to ban the practice of multiple licenses to individual
  • Section 25 (1AA) of Arms act 1959 is to be amended. According to the amendment punishment from usual 14 years to imprisonment for remainder of the person’s life.
  • The amendment also categorizes illegal import of guns and their sales as “illicit trade”. Also, it has provisions to send an authorized gun dealer to jail up to 7 years.
  • A sports person can possess a third weapon – 0.22 calibre rifle only, provided, if the user is a dedicated sports person whose participation is recognized in national and international events in the last 2 years.

Significance

India has a total of 35 lakh gun licenses. Around 13 lakh have licenses to carry weapons in UP alone. In J&K around 3.7 lakh citizens hold active gun licenses. These licenses were issued in the last two decades. Punjab has around 3.6 lakh active gun licenses. All these licenses were simultaneously issued when militancy has engulfed the state.

Arms Act, 1959

The act was legislated to consolidate and amend the laws related to arms and ammunition. It replaced the Arms Act 1878. The act has undergone many changes since 1959. The most recent change in the act was done in 2010 through an amendment for the arms act.

The act briefs rules and regulations about acquisition, manufacture, possession, sale, import and export ammunition in India. It also provides provisions related to licenses. The act lists the punishments associated with breaking rules related to the act. IT alsi provides details on powers that the officials possess to enact it.

Arms Act 1878

The act stipulated that no Indians shall be allowed to bear arms prior to proper permit. On the other hand, no such rules were imposed to the British living in India. The act was seen as a major humiliation for the newly emerging middle class. Surendranth Bannerjee called the act as a badge for racial inferiority.

The act was passed during the period when Lord Lytton was the Viceroy of India.