News: Responding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to roll back the three contentious farm laws, the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, the umbrella body of farmer unions that is leading the agitation, on Sunday evening wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister demanding a legal guarantee of remunerative Minimum Support Price (MSP) and withdrawal of the draft Electricity Amendment Bill, 2020-21.
About the Electricity Act 2003:
The Electricity Act, 2003 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted to transform the power sector in India.
The act covers major issues involving generation, distribution, transmission and trading in power. While some of the sections have already been enacted and are yielding benefits, there are a few other sections that are yet to be fully enforced till date.
The Act delicenses power generation completely (except for all nuclear and hydro-power projects over a certain size).
As per the Act, 10 per cent of the power supplied by suppliers and distributors to the consumers has to be generated using renewable and non-conventional sources of energy so that the energy is reliable.
The provision of direct sale of electricity by the generators, when and where allowed, would promote more IPP participation in the power generation, as these consumers are more creditworthy and bankable compared to many SEB’s.
However, the act provides for imposition of a surcharge by the regulatory body to compensate for some loss in cross-subsidy revenue to the SEB’s due to this direct sale of electricity by generators to the consumers.
The Act delicenses distribution in rural areas and brings in a licensing regime for distribution in urban areas.
However, as per the Act, only 16 states in India have notified what constitutes as rural areas and therefore the rural distribution is yet to be freed up in nearly one third of the country.
The role of CEA is limited to policy recommendations, monitoring electricity sector performance, advising the Ministry of power on technical issues, data management/dissemination of the power sector, etc.
About Central Electricity Authority (CEA):
The Central Electricity Authority of India (CEA) advises the government on policy matters and formulates plans for the development of electricity systems. CEA is a statutory organisation constituted under section 3(1) of Electricity Supply Act 1948, which has been superseded by section 70(1) of the Electricity Act 2003.
Under the Electricity Act 2003, CEA prescribes the standards on matters such as construction of electrical plants, electric lines and connectivity to the grid, installation and operation of meters and safety and grid standards.
The CEA is also responsible for concurrence of hydro power development schemes of central, state and private sectors taking into consideration the factors which will result in efficient development of the river and its tributaries for power generation, consistent with the requirement of drinking water, irrigation, navigation and flood control.
The CEA facilitates exchange of power within the country from surplus to deficit regions and with neighbouring countries for mutual benefits.
The CEA advises central government, state governments and regulatory commissions on all technical matters relating to generation, transmission and distribution of electricity.
It also advises state governments, licensees or generating companies on matters which enable them to operate and maintain the electricity system under their ownership or control in an improved manner.
2. CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT ACT 2019
News: Narendra Modi’s announcement on repealing the three farm laws has revived groups against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in Assam with a protest planned on December 12.
About Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019:
The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 was passed by the Parliament of India on 11 December 2019.
It amended the Citizenship Act, 1955 by providing a pathway to Indian citizenship for persecuted religious minorities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis or Christians, and arrived in India before the end of December 2014.
The law does not grant such eligibility to Muslims from these Muslim-majority countries.
The act was the first time that religion had been overtly used as a criterion for citizenship under Indian law and attracted global criticism.
The amendment has been criticized as discriminating on the basis of religion, particularly for excluding Muslims.
Commentators also question the exclusion of persecuted religious minorities from other regions such as Tibet, Sri Lanka and Myanmar.
3. TADOBA ANDHARI TIGER RESERVE
News: A day after a woman park ranger was mauled to death by a tigress in the core area of the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) in Chandrapur district of Maharashtra, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday announced an ex gratia compensation of ₹15 lakh for the family of the deceased.
About Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve:
The Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve is a wildlife sanctuary in Chandrapur district of Maharashtra state in India.
It is Maharashtra’s oldest and largest national park. Created in 1955, the reserve includes the Tadoba National Park and the Andhari Wildlife Sanctuary.
The reserve consists of 577.96 square kilometres (223.15 sq mi) of reserved forest and 32.51 square kilometres (12.55 sq mi) of protected forest.
Tadoba Reserve covers the Chimur Hills, and the Andhari sanctuary covers the Moharli and Kolsa ranges.
Tadoba Reserve is a predominantly southern tropical dry deciduous forest with dense woodlands comprising about eighty seven per cent of the protected area. Teak is the predominant tree species.
4. LIFE EXPECTANCY IN INDIA
News: Life expectancy among the poorest is lower by 9.1 years among men and 6.2 years among women from the corresponding figures for the richest in urban areas, noted a report released recently by Azim Premji University in collaboration with 17 regional NGOs across India.
The report, “Healthcare equity in urban India”, explores health vulnerabilities and inequalities in cities in India.
It also looks at the availability, accessibility and cost of healthcare facilities, and possibilities in future-proofing services in the next decade.
It notes that a third of India’s population lives in urban areas, with this segment seeing a rapid growth from about 18% (1960) to 28.53% (2001) and 34% (in 2019). Close to 30% of people living in urban areas are poor.
The study also draws insights from data collected through interactions with civil society organisations in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Surat, Lucknow, Guwahati, Ranchi and Delhi.
This also included an analysis of the National Family and Health Surveys, the Census, and inputs from State-level officials on the provision of healthcare.
The report, besides finding disproportionate disease burden on the poor, also points to a chaotic urban health governance, where the multiplicity of healthcare providers both within and outside the Government without coordination are challenges to urban health governance.
The other key findings include a heavy financial burden on the poor, and less investment in healthcare by urban local bodies.
The report calls for strengthening community participation and governance; building a comprehensive and dynamic database on the health and nutrition status, including comorbidities of the diverse, vulnerable populations; strengthening healthcare provisioning through the National Urban Health Mission, especially for primary healthcare services; and putting in place policy measures to reduce the financial burden of the poor.
It also advocates for a better mechanism for coordinated public healthcare services and better governed private healthcare institutions.