Daily Current Affairs for 16th September 2020

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New Bill on powers of Delhi govt., L-G soon


Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Why in news?

The National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2020 to “bring ease in implementation of certain provisions of the “Act” is among more than 20 Bills proposed to be introduced in this Parliament session.

About the bill

  • According to changes proposed, the L-G could act in his discretion in any matter that is beyond the purview of the powers of the Legislative Assembly of Delhi in matters related to the All India (Civil) Services and the Anti-Corruption Branch.
  • It will also give more teeth to the L-G, and the validity of any decision taken as per such discretion shall not be questioned.
  • The Bill proposes to clearly spell out the functions of the Council of Ministers and the Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) by giving more discretionary powers to the L-G.


  • A clutch of petitions was filed in the Supreme Court against a 2015 notification by the MHA, which said that the Delhi government had no powers in Services-related matters and the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB).
  • The apex court is still examining the Services
  • In 2018, a five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court had unanimously held that the L-G was bound by the “aid and advice” of the Delhi government and both had to work harmoniously with each other.
  • Recently, the Delhi government and L-G Anil Baijal sparred over the appointment of Public Prosecutors in the Delhi riots cases and the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 protests.
  • The panel of lawyers selected by the Delhi government to assist the Delhi Police was overturned by the L-G’s office.

Constitutional Provisions:

The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi act, 1991

  • The Union Territory of Delhi with a Legislative Assembly came into being in 1991 under Article 239AA of the Constitution inserted by ‘the Constitution (Sixty-ninth Amendment) Act, 1991’.
  • It said that the UT of Delhi shall be called the National Capital Territory of Delhi, and the administrator thereof appointed under Article 239 shall be designated as the Lieutenant-Governor.
  • According to the existing Act, the Legislative Assembly of Delhi has the power to make laws in all matters except public order, police, and land.

Telangana govt. opposes Electricity Act Amendment


Mains: General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

Why in news?

The State government has resolved to present a strong case against the proposed amendment to the Electricity Act 2003 by the Central government.

Draft Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020,

  • The electricity amendment seeks to end the malaise in the production, distribution and transmission.
  • it seeks to revive investments and promote growth in line with the vision of a $5 trillion economy in the near future.
  • Among the other major changes proposed are provisions for removal of regulatory assets (recoverable discom expenses which regulators acknowledge as pass-through costs, but which are not immediately built into tariffs), strengthening of payment security mechanisms and the incorporation of a separate renewable energy policy.
  • To address payment-related disputes, the draft Bill proposes to establish an Electricity Contract Enforcement Authority.

Why this opposition?

According to the state government, the amendment to the Electricity act 2003 is:

  • Unilateral decision and a blatant attempt aimed at usurping the States’ powers.
  • It was aimed at centralisation of powers and would impose a huge burden on States.
  • Harmful to the interests of the people, farmers and under privileged sections in particular.
  • The distributor sub-license method mentioned in the new Act would lead to backdoor entry for private companies in power distribution.
  • The new Act would enable consumers to procure more power through open access system and this would adversely affect the distribution companies.

Electricity policy in India:

  • Electricity Act, 2003 provides an enabling framework for accelerated and more efficient development of the power sector.
  • The Act seeks to encourage competition with appropriate regulatory intervention.
  • Competition is expected to yield efficiency gains and in turn result in availability of quality supply of electricity to consumers at competitive rates.
  • Section 3 (1) of the Electricity Act 2003 requires the Central Government to formulate, inter alia, the National Electricity Policy in consultation with Central Electricity Authority (CEA) and State Governments.
  • Access to Electricity – Available for all households in next five years
  • Availability of Power – Demand to be fully met by 2012.

Current situation of DICOM companies in India

  • The losses of discoms, which had reduced in 2016-18, have nearly doubled in 2019.
  • Discoms also lagged behind in eliminating the gap between the average cost of supply and realisable revenue (ACS-ARR gap).
  • Discoms have also missed the FY 2019 UDAY target to bring down their aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses to 15 %.
  • According to the government’s Payment Ratification and Analysis in Power Procurement for bringing Transparency in Invoicing of Generators (PRAAPTI) web portal,outstanding dues to power generators had risen to Rs 81,964 crore at the end of October 2019 from Rs 54,664 crore in the same period last year.
  • Discoms across states have already started defaulting on power purchase agreements signed with renewable energy players.


  • An important indicator of the financial viability of DISCOM operations is the gap between the average revenue realised (ARR) per unit of energy supplied and the average cost of supply (ACS).
  • A DISCOM’s operations will be profitable if its ARR exceeds the ACS in a given year of operation.
  • ACS is the sum of all costs associated in supplying power such as the cost of purchasing power from various generators (conventional, non-conventional, power exchanges, etc.), cost of operating and maintaining the distribution network (such as service lines and distribution transformers), employee cost, depreciation, and finance cost—divided by the total sales to consumers.
  • ARR is the sum of the total revenue earned by charging consumers at specified tariffs for the energy supplied and subsidy received from the state government-divided by the total sales.
  • The State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERCs) are entrusted with the task of regulating tariffs for consumers, considering DISCOMs’ financial viability and the consumers’ ability to pay.

UDAY scheme

  • The Ministry of Power launched Ujjwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) in 2015.
  • The scheme had three critical components:
    1. Takeover of discoms debt by state governments
    2. Reduction in aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses.
  • Timely tariff revisions and elimination of the gap between the average per unit cost of supply (ACS) and average revenue realised (ARR) by FY19.
  • It allows state governments, which own the DISCOMs, to take over 75 percent of their debt as of September 30, 2015, and pay back lenders by selling bonds.
  • In return, discoms were given target dates (2017-19) to meet efficiency parameters like reduction in power lost through transmission, theft and faulty metering.
  • There are indications that the turnaround hasn’t materialised, with several targets being missed.

Is UDAY a total failure?

  • Of the 28 states that implemented it, 10 have shown either reduced losses or profits in FY ’19.
  • Most UDAY states registered an improvement in reducing the ACS-ARR gap and in bringing down AT&C losses.
  • However, states are way behind in achieving the targets as per the UDAY schedule — a trajectory that bears similarity to how the two previous attempts had run aground.

Reason for failure of UDAY scheme

  • At the aggregate level, the AT&C losses for major states stood at 19.05 % as against the target of reducing them to 15 % by the end of FY19.
  • Only around seven states had recorded losses of less than 15%.

  • While the ACS-ARR gap was supposed to be eliminated by FY19, it remains as high as Rs 0.25 per unit.
  • Part of the problem can be traced to inadequate tariff hikes.
  • Currently, only four states — Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka — had recorded an ACS-ARR below 0, while the rest recorded gaps ranging from Rs 0.01/unit to Rs 2.13/unit.
  • Dues by state discoms to power generators have risen.
  • There are several other operational efficiency targets under UDAY, such as feeder metering, smart metering and feeder segregation on which the progress is mixed.
  • The Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (APTEL) noted that, between 2015-16 and 2018-19, it had not received any compliance reportsrelated to its earlier orders.

Scientist document cases of asymptomatic reinfection


Mains: General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

Why in news?

  • Researchers have reported the first instance of people in India being infected twice over by sars-cov2 but remaining asymptomatic.
  • Moreover, one of those infected appeared to carry a variant that conferred resistance to neutralising antibodies.

Key details

  • Globally and in India, there have been intermittent reports of people being infected at least twice and confirmed positive by an RT-PCR test.
  • The person is being symptomatic atleast once if getting infected twice.
  • The fact that the patients were infected twice could be reliably established was because the viral samples gleaned from their nasal swabs underwent a whole-genome sequencing.

What is Genome sequencing

  • Genome sequencing refers to sequencing the entire genome of an organism.
  • Major genome sequencing methods are the clone-by-clone method and the whole genome shotgun sequencing.

Genome India Project

  • The Rs 238-crore Genome India Project will involve 20 leading institutions including the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru and a few IITs.
  • The first stage of the project will look at samples of “10,000 persons from all over the country” to form a “grid” that will enable the development of a “reference genome”.
  • The Genome India Project has been described as the “first scratching of the surface of the vast genetic diversity of India”.

RBI issues draft on rupee IR derivatives


Mains: General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

Why in news?

The Reserve Bank proposed allowing foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) to undertake exchange-traded rupee interest rate derivatives transactions.

Key details

  • The transactions would be subject to an overall ceiling of ₹5,000 crore.
  • The proposed directions are aimed at:
  1. Encouraging higher non-resident participation.
  2. Enhancing the role of domestic market makers in the offshore market.
  • Improving transparency
  1. Achieving better regulatory oversight.

What is interest rate derivatives?

  • Interest Rate Derivatives (IRDs) are contracts whose value is derived from one or more interest rates, prices of interest rate instruments, or interest rate indices.
  • For an Interest Rate Derivative, the underlying asset is the right to pay or receive a (usually notional) amount of money at a given interest rate.

Indian economy to shrink 9% in FY21, says ADB


Mains: General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

Why in news?

  • India’s COVID-19-battered economy will shrink by 9% this fiscal, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) predicted,

Key Details:

  • According to ADB, growth outlook remains highly vulnerable to either a prolonged outbreak of the pandemic or a resurgence of cases.
  • In its Asian Development Outlook 2020 Update, ADB forecasts a strong recovery for the economy in FY21, with gross domestic product growing by 8% as mobility and business activities resume more widely.
  • India imposed strict lockdown measures to contain the spread of the pandemic and this has had a severe impact on economic activity.
  • Two global rating agencies Moody’s and Fitch projected the Indian economy to contract 11.5% and 10.5% respectively in the current fiscal.

Asian Development Bank

  • ADB is a regional development bank established on 19th December 1966.
  • ADB now has 68 members, 49 from within Asia.
  • As of 31 December 2019, ADB’s five largest shareholders are –

➔ Japan and the United States (each with 15.6% of total shares),

➔ The People’s Republic of China (6.4%),

➔ India (6.3%), and

➔ Australia (5.8%).

  • It aims to promote social and economic development in Asia.
  • ADB is headquartered in Manila, Philippines.

Asian Development Outlook:

  • The Asian Development Outlookis an annual publication produced by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
  • It offers economic analysis and forecasts, as well as an examination of social development issues, for most countries in Asia.
  • It is published each March/April with an update published in September and brief supplements published in July and December.

Other credit Agencies prediction:

  • Fitch Ratings projected global GDP to contract 4.4 per cent in the current year but revised upwards China’s growth estimate to 2.7 per cent for 2020.
  • In its report, Global Economic Outlook (GEO), Fitch Ratings cut its 2020 GDP forecast for emerging markets, excluding China, to (-)5.7 per cent, from (-)4.7 per cent estimated in June, mainly on account of a huge downward revision to India GDP forecast for the financial year ending March 2021.

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