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Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Abu Dhabi's first Hindu temple
  • Prime Minister Modi was on a two-day visit to the United Arab Emirates. For this, Prime Minister Modi reached the UAE yesterday by a special flight from Delhi. 
  • There he was given a rousing welcome. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Abu Dhabi's first Hindu temple there. The temple was built by Bochasanvasi Sri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha.
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi lays foundation stone for 300 MW Parsingsar Solar Power Plant with an investment of Rs.1756 Crore
  • Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will tomorrow lay the foundation stone for a 300 MW solar power plant in India, emphasizing on promoting renewable energy and moving towards zero carbon emissions.
  • NLC India, a leading Navratna Central Public Sector Undertaking under the Ministry of Coal, is setting up a 300 MW solar power project at Parsingsar in Bikaner district of Rajasthan as part of the Central Public Sector Undertaking scheme of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. 
  • Its objective is to ensure low cost supply of electricity to government institutions. NLCIL is the first central PSU to achieve 1 GW solar generation capacity milestone in the country. 
  • The company has acquired 300 MW of solar project capacity under Phase-III of the Central Public Sector Undertaking Scheme launched by the Renewable Energy Development Agency of India through competitive bidding.
  • The electricity generated will be sent through the transmission lines of Parsingsar Thermal Power Station, which aims to generate around 750 million units of green electricity annually. This offsets about 18,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions over its lifetime.
  • A power utility agreement has been signed with Rajasthan Urja Vikas Nigam at a rate of Rs 2.52 per unit for the next 25 years. The project is scheduled to be launched by September 2024. 
  • This has the potential to create employment opportunities for around 600 people indirectly and 100 employees during the operations and maintenance phase. 
  • Also, the project will help the state of Rajasthan meet its renewable procurement obligation, while contributing to the country's effort to avoid carbon emissions.
Electoral Bond Scheme Illegal - Supreme Court Constitutional Bench Ruling
  • The Electoral Bond Scheme was announced in the Union Budget 2017-18. This scheme came into effect last year 2018. Accordingly, State Bank of India has issued election bonds in denominations of Rs.1,000, Rs.10,000, Rs.1 lakh, Rs.10 lakh and Rs.1 crore.
  • Election bonds will be sold in the specified bank branches of State Bank in the months of January, April, July and October. Generally election bonds are issued only for 10 days in a month. However, only 30 days of bonds will be sold in a month during the election period.
  • Individuals and companies can purchase electoral bonds and donate to political parties of their choice. A person or company can buy any number of bonds. These bonds do not contain details such as the name and address of the buyer. 
  • Bond must be converted into cash within 15 days. Otherwise the amount of the election bonds will be deposited in the Prime Minister's Relief Fund. Opposition parties have been alleging lack of transparency in the electoral bond scheme.
  • 4 petitions were filed in the Supreme Court on behalf of NGOs including ATR, Common Cause and the Communist Party to cancel this project. The Supreme Court accepted these petitions for hearing. The investigation lasted for the last 6 years. A bench comprising Chief Justice Chandrachud, Justices Sanjiv Khanna, Pardiwala and Manoj Misra was hearing the case since last year.
  • A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Chandra Chute has issued supreme orders quashing the electoral bond system as illegal.
  • The Supreme Court judges also said in their order that banks should immediately stop issuing election bonds. The Supreme Court has issued this order in a case of non-transparency in the election bond system.
  • The order also said, "Electoral bond system violates the fundamental rights of people. It is illegal for companies to amend the law to donate electoral bonds. Under the current rules, the electoral bond system is illegal.
  • The electoral bond system is in violation of the Right to Information Act and Article 19(1) of the Constitution. If there is no transparency in the electoral bond scheme, it can be cancelled. When corporates give money to parties, they are likely to expect something in return. Apart from electoral bonds, there are other ways to achieve the objective of curbing black money.
  • Courts have on many occasions said that the people of the country have the right to hold the government to account. Not requiring disclosure of donor details is a disenfranchisement of voters. 
  • Therefore, the Income Tax Amendment Act and the Representation of the People Amendment Act which provided for election donation are repealed. Other amendment bills related to the electoral bond system are also repealed. Not only the Electoral Bond Act, but also the Companies Act Amendment Bill is repealed.
  • No proper reason given for non-disclosure of election bond financial details. From 2019, SBI Bank should disclose the details of donors through election bonds. 
  • Details of all contributions made through election bonds must be submitted by March 6. Likewise, the details of the donors should be published on the Election Commission website by April 13," the judges said in their order.

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