Polity & Governance
- Cabinet approves Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2015
- Cabinet approves Bill to declare 106 additional inland waterways as national waterways
- India fourth-largest source of black money: Report
- Fifth ‘Heart of Asia’ Conference begins in Pakistan
Also in News
- 10th December: Human Rights Day
Polity & Governance
Cabinet approves Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2015
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2015.
The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill is a pioneering initiative to protect the interest of consumers, promote fair play in real estate transactions and to ensure timely execution of projects.
The salient features of the Bill:
- Applicable both for commercial and residential real estate projects.
- Establishment of ‘Real Estate Regulatory Authority’ in States/UTs to regulate real estate transactions.
- Registration of real estate projects and real estate agents with the Authority.
- Mandatory disclosure of all registered projects, including details of the promoter, project, layout plan, land status, approvals, agreements along with details of real estate agents, contractors, architect, structural engineer etc.
- Deposit of specified amount in a separate bank account to cover the construction cost of the project for timely completion of the project.
- Establishment of fast track dispute resolution mechanisms for settlement of disputes through adjudicating officers and Appellate Tribunal.
- Civil courts jurisdiction prohibited from taking up matters defined in Bill, however, consumer court allowed to hear real estate matters.
- Promoters barred from changing plans and design without consent of consumers.
Objective of the Bill:
- The Bill aims at restoring confidence of consumers in the real estate sector; by institutionalizing transparency and accountability in real estate and housing transactions which will further enable the sector to access capital and financial markets.
- The Bill provides uniform regulatory environment to ensure speedy adjudication of disputes and orderly growth of the real estate sector.
- It will boost domestic and foreign investment in the Real Estate sector and help achieve the objective of Government of India to provide ‘Housing for All’ by enhanced private participation.
- The Bill will promote orderly growth through consequent efficient project execution, professionalism and standardization.
Cabinet approves Bill to declare 106 additional inland waterways as national waterways
The Union Cabinet has given its approval to carry out official amendments in “The National Waterways Bill, 2015”.
Under the Union List of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution, the central government can make laws on shipping and navigation on inland waterways which are classified as national waterways by Parliament by law.
- The amendments are based on the recommendations of the Department related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture and comments of State Governments.
- It provides for enacting a Central Legislation to declare 106 additional inland waterways, as the national waterways.
- After the inclusion of 106 additional inlands waterways to the existing five national waterways, the total number of national waterways goes up to 111.
- Above declaration would be taken based on the outcome of the techno-economic feasibility studies that are being undertaken by the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI).
- IWAI will develop the feasible stretch of National Waterways for shipping and navigation purpose through mobilization of financial resources.
- The declaration of these National Waterways would enable IWAI to develop the feasible stretches for Shipping and Navigation.
- The right over the use of water, river bed and the appurtenant land will remain with the State Government. In addition, other benefits to States are:
- Fewer accidents,
- Less congestion on roads,
- Cheaper mode of ferrying passengers,
- Reduced logistics costs in cargo movement and
- Development of adjoining areas.
- The expeditious declaration of National Waterways and its subsequent development will enhance the industrial growth and tourism potential of the hinterland along the waterway. This will also provide an additional, cheaper and environment friendly mode of transportation throughout the country.
Advantages of Waterways as means of transport:
- Inland waterways, comprising rivers, lakes, canals, creeks and backwaters, extend about 14,500 km across the country. But, potential of this mode of transport has not been fully exploited so far.
- Inland Water Transport is considered as the most cost effective and economical mode of transport from the point of view of fuel efficiency.
- One horse power can carry 4000 Kg load in water whereas, it can carry 150 Kg and 500 Kg by road and rail respectively.
- Further in a study as highlighted by the World Bank, 1 litre of fuel can move 105 ton-Km by inland water transport, whereas the same amount of fuel can move only 85 ton-Km by rail and 24 ton-Km by road.
India fourth-largest source of black money: Report
India has been ranked the fourth-biggest source of black money by a US-based think tank, with $510 billion worth of illicit financial flows during 2004-2013, or $51 billion annually, on average.
The report titled ‘Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2004-2013’ has been released by Global Financial Integrity (GFI), a research and advisory group based in Washington.
- China, Russia and Mexico have maintained the top three ranks for the period of 2004-2013.
- During 2004-2013, GFI estimates that more than $510 billion went out of India. In the case of China the figure was $1.39 trillion and Russia $1 trillion.
This study clearly demonstrates that illicit financial flows are the most damaging economic problem faced by the world’s developing and emerging economies.
[Source: Business Standard]
Fifth ‘Heart of Asia’ Conference begins in Pakistan
The fifth ‘Heart of Asia’ conference has been organized at Islamabad, Pakistan.
What is the Heart of Asia conference?
- ‘Heart of Asia’ conference is a part of the ‘Istanbul Process’, which provides a platform to discuss an agenda of regional cooperation with Afghanistan at its centre.
- ‘Heart of Asia’ countries engage in result-oriented cooperation for a peaceful and stable Afghanistan and, by extension, a secure and prosperous region as a whole.
- The first conference was held in Istanbul in Turkey in 2011 — this is where the process gets its name from.
- There are fourteen member countries which are supported by 16 other countries and 12 regional and international organisations.
- The member countries are: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and the UAE.
- The United States, Japan, Egypt, the United Kingdom, France and Germany are among the supporting countries,
- While the UN, NATO, SAARC, SCO and OIC are among the supporting organisations.
Focus areas of the conference:
The countries in the Istanbul Process have agreed on:
- political consultation involving Afghanistan and its near and extended neighbours,
- a sustained incremental approach to implementation of the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) identified in the Istanbul Process document, and
- seeking to contribute and bring greater coherence to the work of various regional processes and organisations, particularly as they relate to Afghanistan
What are likely to be the major areas of discussion in Islamabad?
- The rise of the Islamic State terrorist group in Afghanistan and Central Asia, and concerns over the threat it poses to the region are also likely to be discussed.
- Afghanistan, which faces an uncertain fiscal situation, is likely to seek greater aid, grants and loans.
- The NATO military drawdown has led to a reduction in the global aid that has kept the Afghan government afloat since 2002.
- Without additional financial aid, the Afghan government will find it increasingly difficult to rule.
- Some pledges from developed countries are expected during the Conference.
Has India held any meeting related to the conference?
- India is the lead country for Trade, Commerce and Investment Opportunities, and has hosted six regional technical group meetings on trade, commerce and investment opportunities for Heart of Asia in New Delhi between 2012 and 2015.
- India is likely to host the next ‘Heart of Asia’ conference in 2016.
[Sources: Indian Express, The Hindu]
Also in News
10thDecember: Human Rights Day
Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December.
- It commemorates the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
- In 1950, the Assembly passed resolution 423 (V), inviting all States and interested organizations to observe 10 December of each year as Human Rights Day.
- This year’s Human Rights Day is devoted to the launch of a year-long campaign for the 50th anniversary of the two International Covenants on Human Rights which were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 16 December 1966.
- The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
- The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
- The two Covenants, together with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, form the International Bill of Human Rights, setting out the civil, political, cultural, economic, and social rights that are the birth right of all human beings.
- The year-long campaign revolves around the theme of rights and freedoms — freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear — which underpin the International Bill of Human Rights are as relevant today as they were when the Covenants were adopted 50 years ago.
- Theme of the year 2015 is “Our Rights. Our Freedoms. Always.” which aims to promote and raise awareness of the two Covenants on their 50th anniversary.
[Sources: The Hindu, UN.org]