Today Current Affairs English 28 January 2022

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Dilution of the Lok Ayukta Law

What is the issue?

The Kerala government’s plan to alter the Lok Ayukta Act through an ordinance appears rushed and dubious.

What is Lokayukta?

The Lok Ayuktas are state-level counterparts to the central Lokpal, and they deal with charges of corruption against state officials. Maharashtra was the first state in India to create Lok Ayukta in 1971.Odisha was the first state in India to pass the Lok Ayukta Act in 1970.

Functions

Investigating citizen complaints about government in efficiency. Public workers are being investigated for charges of abuse of office, corruption, or lack of integrity. Keep an eye on the anti-corruption agencies’ and authorities’ investigations.

What is the Kerala Lok Ayukta Act, 1999 about?

Currently, the Lok Ayukta has the authority to dismiss a public official if it discovers fraud or corruption. It can issue an order in this regard by filing a request to the appropriate authorities (Governor, CM, State government) for the individual involved. The idea is that it should be approved by the authorities.

What is the proposed ordinance about?

The modifications give the government the power to accept or reject the Lok Ayukta verdict. It has reduced the quasi-judicial body to a toothless advisory body whose decisions are no longer enforceable by the government. The authority in question must make a judgement on the judgement within three months, according to the ordinance. Otherwise, it will be deemed authorised. It also aspires to allow for an appeal.

What are the oppositions against the proposed ordinance?

There are claims that the government is targeting the Lok Ayukta because there are numerous cases before it that could cast the administration in a negative light.It’s worth noting that during the previous government’s time, Minister KT Jaleel was forced to quit as a result of the Lok Ayukta’s decision, which was a big setback for the administration.The use of an ordinance to alter the legislation has generated certain concerns.

 

What is the government’s stand?

The Government has defended the draught ordinance by claiming that it breaches Articles 163 and 164 of the Constitution by allowing the Governor to remove a Minister who was properly appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister. There is no provision in the current laws for an appeal.

US Federal Reserve Policy Tightens Global Liquidity

What is the Issue?

In this part, write down what you wish to modify. Then, in the box below, click the paraphrase button. It’s that simple!

What will be the major policy moves of Fed Reserve?

Global liquidity constraints are being tightened.Rate hikes that are aggressive In early March, the net asset purchases were halted.Once policy rate hikes start, the balance sheet will shrink.

What possible ramifications will it have on global financial markets?

Investors are pulling money out of overheated stocks all across the world, as the MSCI World Equity Index has fallen 7% since the beginning of the year.Bond markets have become choppy, with the 10-year US Treasury security yield climbing to 1.87 percent, a 36-basis-point increase in the last month.Bond yields—As the globe prepares for the US rate hike cycle to begin, sovereign bond yields in other countries are also climbing.Institutional investors have been moving money out of risky assets like developing market equities, bonds, and cryptocurrencies and into safer havens like dollar-denominated securities.Currency depreciation- This is driving emerging-market currencies to depreciate, exacerbating fund outflows. Fears have been raised that the move will be similar to the 2013 “taper tantrum.” The term “tapering” refers to a progressive reduction in the amount of securities and bonds purchased.Once tapering is complete, the Fed may reduce the size of its balance sheet in order to gradually withdraw monetary assistance.

What is the status in India?

The benchmark equity indices in India are down roughly 6% from recent highs.Since December 2021, the 10-year government security yield has increased by more than 40 basis points.This fiscal year, foreign portfolio investors have been net sellers, withdrawing about Rs. 45,000 crore.

What is the need of the hour?

In such times, it is necessary to encourage domestic investor participation in equities markets in order to keep prices stable.The RBI must act quickly to integrate government securities in global bond indices so that G-sec yields can be supported at a time when foreign institutional investors are pulling money out of government bonds.Retail participation in government bond markets should be encouraged in order to boost demand for these assets at a time when government borrowing is expected to skyrocket.If volatility rises, the forex reserves amassed over the last two years will be important in supporting the currency.During periods when foreign funds pour money into the country, the RBI should maintain trying to add to its reserves.

An Endgame for New Coal Power Projects?

What in news?

Following India’s goal at COP 26 to have net zero emissions by 2070, an expert group constituted by the Union Power Ministry has proposed a strategy to halt new coal-fired capacity increases.

What are the key findings of the committee?

Former Central Electricity Authority (CEA) chairman Gireesh Pradhan led the committee. Renewables- It was discovered that adding low-cost renewable energy capacity would be sufficient to meet the predicted increase in electricity consumption.It focuses on hastening India’s power system decarbonisation and recommends technology that can function flexibly to allow the integration of 450GW of variable renewable energy (VRE) by 2030.Underutilization of coal fleets- It was also discovered that the whole coal fleet was underutilised, with an average capacity utilisation of 55 percent.Power storage, such as batteries and pumped hydro, might work in tandem with traditional thermal (gas and coal) and hydro units to provide energy to the grid.

How do flexible generation sources integrate?

Flexible generation is defined by the flexibility to start up, ramp up, and ramp down the generation quickly, and then shut down just as quickly.In general, gas-fired power plants, such as Combined Cycle Gas Turbines (CCGT), perform better in terms of flexibility, with faster ramp up and ramp down rates and lower generation levels.CCGT facilities can ramp up net generation at a rate of 12% per minute, compared to 9% and 8% for coal and lignite, respectively. CCGT plants can operate with a minimum load of 30%, but coal and lignite plants can only function at 10% and 20%, respectively.Due to a lack of domestic gas supplies, the 25GW of gas-fired capacity is only used at about 20% of its potential. Battery storage is the most established technology for providing fast ramp-up and ramp-down energy dispatch and fast frequency service in terms of flexibility.

Batteries can quickly ramp up to full load and absorb extra electricity from the grid.

Solar plus batteries are now cost competitive with new coal-fired plants in markets like the United States and Australia, following a decade of cost deflation.

New projects are being implemented in India, financed by tenders from government-owned enterprises such as NTPC and the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI).

With a Production Linked Incentive (PLI) plan for 50GWh of battery storage for electric vehicles (EVs) and stationary battery storage, the government is attempting to assist the localization of the battery value chain.

What is the key for transitioning to a modern and cost-effective power economy?

The transformation to a contemporary and cost-effective power economy requires optimised power assets, both energy and grid services. Electricity-efficient coal and gas-fired power plants might be adapted to operate more flexibly, allowing a diverse pool of assets to compete for energy and grid ancillary services. Flexibility can be achieved by co-optimizing energy and ancillary services across regions. Creating two distinct value (income) streams at the same time lowering the cost of the system as a whole Increasing the amount of money invested in assets that can provide flexibility.

Some More Current Affairs

Pictorial book on India’s Women Unsung Heroes of Freedom Struggle

As part of Azadi ka Mahotsav, Union Minister of State for Culture Smt. Meenakashi Lekhi published a pictorial book on India’s Women Unsung Heroes of the Freedom Struggle.The book was published in collaboration with Amar Chitra Katha, a well-known Indian publication.The book honours the lives of some of the women who led the charge and sparked a national outpouring of protest and resistance.It tells the storey of queens who fought colonial powers in the fight against imperial authority, as well as women who dedicated their lives to the motherland’s cause.The goal is to familiarise our youth with historic leaders of the independence movement and instil in them a sense of pride in their heritage. The goal of the book is to teach young people about the history of the liberation struggle from an Indian perspective rather than a colonial one.The second edition, which is now in the works and may take some time, will focus on 25 unsung Tribal Freedom Fighters.The third and final edition will include 30 unsung heroes from various backgrounds.

Rani Abakka

In the 16th century, Rani Abakka, Queen of Ullal, Karnataka, fought and vanquished the formidable Portuguese.Her army was made up of people from diverse castes, religions, and socioeconomic groups.With this diversity, she was able to rally her people to fight the Portuguese for a long time.

‘The Fearless Queen’ was her given name.

Her memory lives on in Dakshin Karnataka through folk songs, storytelling, and Yakshagana – a sort of indigenous theatrical – performances.Things at the Tulu Baduku Museum’s memorial.Patrol Vessel for the Inshore Rani Abakka is a character in the film Rani Abakka.Abbakka Veera Rani Utsava is an annual festival dedicated to her.On that day, the Veera Rani Abbakka Prashasti was handed to famous women.

Velu Nachiyar

The queen of Sivaganga, Velu Nachiyar, was the first Indian queen to declare war on the British East India Company.Tamils refer to her as Veeramangai.Rani Velu Nachiyar had training in Valari, Silambam, horseback riding, and archery.She was fluent in a variety of languages, including French, English, and Urdu.She conducted a war against the British with the help of Hyder Ali and Gopala Nayaker, and was victorious.In the late 1700s, she is credited with developing the first human bomb and establishing the first army of trained female troops.In honour of her, a stamp was issued.

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