Daily Current Affairs : 29th August 2020

Daily Current Affair for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. New rules for Transaction of Business of the Government of Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir Rules, 2019
  2. Common Voters List
  3. Importance of moving away from coal & Fossil Fuels
  4. Facts for Prelims

1 . New rules for Transaction of Business of the Government of Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir Rules, 2019

Context: The Union Home Ministry has notified new rules for Transaction of Business of the Government of Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir Rules, 2019

About the New Rules

  • The rules specify the functions of the Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) and the Council of Ministers.
  • The new rules have been defined under Section 55 of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019

Functions of L-G & Council of Ministers

  • Executive functions of the L-G: According to the rules the  “police, public order, All India Services and anti-corruption” will fall under the executive functions of the L-G.
  • Chief Minister or the Council of Ministers will have no say in their functioning.
  • Minority Community interests: The proposals or matters which affect or are likely to affect peace and tranquillity or the interest of any minority community, the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and the Backward Classes shall essentially be submitted to the Lieutenant Governor through the Chief Secretary, under intimation to the Chief Minister, before issuing any orders.
  • Service Matters: The Council of Ministers, led by the CM, will decide service matters of non-All India Services officers, proposal to impose new tax, land revenue, sale grant or lease of government property, reconstituting departments or offices and draft legislation.
  • A difference of opinion: In case of difference of opinion between the L-G and a Minister, when no agreement could be reached even after a month, the “decision of the Lieutenant Governor shall be deemed to have been accepted by the Council of Ministers”.
  • Government of the Union territory into controversy: According to the rules,  “any matter which is likely to bring the Government of the Union territory into controversy with the Central Government or with any State Government” shall be brought to the notice of the L-G and the CM by the Secretary concerned through the Chief Secretary.
  • 39 departments: Under the rules, there will be 39 departments in the UT, such as school education, agriculture, higher education, horticulture, election, general administration, home, mining, power, Public Works Department, tribal affairs and transport.
  • Communications received from the Centre: All communications received from the Centre, including those from the Prime Minister and other Ministers, shall be submitted by the Secretary to the Chief Secretary, the Minister in charge, the Chief Minister and the L-G for information after their receipt


  • On August 6, 2019 the centre scrapped the provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution revoking the special status of J&K and bifurcated and downgraded the State into the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh, with the former having a Legislative Assembly.
  • The erstwhile State has been under Central rule since June 2018 and the elected Assembly was dissolved in November the same year.
  • J&K has been without a Chief Minister since June 2018.
  • According to the requirements of the J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019, fresh elections will be held after the delimitation exercise is completed next year.

2 . Common Voters List

Context : In a move that ties in with the idea of simultaneous elections in the country, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), earlier this month, held a meeting to discuss the possibility of preparing a common voters’ list for elections to all local bodies, state assemblies and Lok Sabha.

What is common voters List

  • Common Voters list means single electoral roll for all elections in the country

Current Status of Electoral Rolls

  • Articles 243K and 243ZA deal with elections to panchayats and municipalities in the states. These give the power of superintendence, direction and control of preparation of electoral rolls and the conduct of these elections to the State Election Commission (SEC).
  • Article 324(1) of the Constitution empowers the EC to supervise, direct, and control the preparation and revision of electoral rolls for all the elections to Parliament and state legislatures.
  • State Election Commission are free to prepare their own electoral rolls for local body elections, and this exercise does not have to be coordinated with the EC.
  • Currently, a majority of the states use the EC’s voters list, instead of their own, to elect their municipalities and panchayats. However, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Odisha, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Odisha, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir have their own electoral rolls for local body polls.

Issues with Multiple Voters List

  • The Law Commission recommended single voters list in its 255th report in 2015. The EC too adopted a similar stance in 1999 and 2004. It had noted that the non-conformity of preparation of electoral rolls by the EC and the SECs causes duplication of the same task between two different agencies.
  • Further, the EC pointed out that it adds to the confusion among voters, since they may find their names present in one roll, but absent in another.


  • The incumbent government has pitched a common electoral roll and simultaneous elections as a way to save an enormous amount of effort and expenditure. A common electoral roll would save the exchequer money and the election conducting agencies effort.


  • First, a constitutional amendment to Articles 243K and 243ZA that would make it mandatory to have a single electoral roll for all elections in the country.
  • Second, to persuade the state governments to tweak their respective laws and adopt the Election Commission’s (EC) voters list for municipal and panchayat polls. However, the change would require a massive consensus-building exercise, which may not be easy given the suspicion between the states and the centre.
  • Having a common electoral roll doesn’t end with convincing the state governments to adopt EC’s voters list. The boundaries of the EC’s polling station may not necessarily match that of the wards. So the EC’s voters list has to be fashioned in a way to fit the SEC’s wards.

3 . Importance of moving away from coal & Fossil Fuels

Context: The 19th Darbari Seth Lecture was organised by the Delhi-based The Energy Resources Institute (TERI) recently. Here United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres criticised India for subsidising fossil fuels and promoting coal auctions.

Key Points raised by Antonio Guterres

  • Indian government should move away from coal and other fossil fuel-based economic growth and fully embrace renewable energy (RE).
  • As coal has no future economic viability so the the new coal auctions, in a bid to kick-start a post-covid economic recovery, would be counterproductive.
  • India’s achievements in RE investments and the country’s 2030 target of increasing its share of RE capacity to 500 gigawatts were appreciated.
  • India will be among the worst-hit countries due to the impacts of global warming and if the 1.5 degree Celsius goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement is breached, then India will face the brunt of the climate crisis.

Issues with usage of Coal

  • Increased usage of coal can lead to greater pollution, add to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and also place a burden on India’s healthcare system and a much higher healthcare system costs.

Measures suggested

  • Clean energy transition:  A shift should be made towards a ‘green’ economic recovery, where countries would drastically reduce their reliance on fossil fuels like coal.
  • Investments in Renewable energy, clean transport and energy efficiency should be done. This could create 9 million jobs annually for the next three years.

4 . Facts for Prelims

University Grants Commission (UGC)

  • The UGC was established in November 1956 as a statutory body of the Government of India through an Act of Parliament.
  • UGC is responsible for the coordination, determination and maintenance of standards of university education in India.
  • UGC has six regional centres at Pune, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Bhopal, Guwahati and Bangalore.
  • The head office of the UGC is located at New Delhi.
  • The UGC`s mandate includes:
    • Promoting and coordinating university education.
    • Determining and maintaining standards of teaching, examination and research in universities.
    • Framing regulations on minimum standards of education.
    • Monitoring developments in the field of collegiate and university education; disbursing grants to the universities and colleges.
    • Serving as a vital link between the Union and state governments and institutions of higher learning.
    • Advising the Central and State governments on the measures necessary for improvement of university education.

Barn Owl

The Lakshadweep Administration had embarked on the ‘Pilot project on Biological Control of Rodents (Rats) by Using Barn Owls (Tyto alba) in Kavaratti Island’ in 2019.

  • It is the most widely distributed species of owl.
  • It is found almost everywhere in the world except polar and desert regions, in Asia north of the Himalayas, most of Indonesia, and some Pacific islands.
  • The barn owl is nocturnal over most of its range, but in Great Britain and some Pacific islands, it also hunts by day.
  • Barn owls specialise in hunting animals on the ground and nearly all of their food consists of small mammals which they locate by sound, their hearing being very acute.
  • Its IUCN status is ‘Least Concern’

Transfer Pricing

  • Transfer pricing is an accounting practice that represents the price that one division in a company charges another division for goods and services provided.
  • Transfer pricing allows for the establishment of prices for the goods and services exchanged between a subsidiary, an affiliate, or commonly controlled companies that are part of the same larger enterprise.
  • Transfer pricing can lead to tax savings for corporations, though tax authorities may contest their claims.

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