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9 PM Daily NEWS Brief

9 PM Daily Brief – 11 March 2016

Brief of newspaper articles for the day bearing
relevance to Civil Services preparation

What is 9 PM brief?

Note: There are few article on women and their status in society which are being left out of 9 PM Brief . These articles will be covered in standalone issue by the end of the week. 

GS PAPER 2


[1]. RS passes long-awaited Bill to protect homebuyers

The Hindu

Rajya Sabha passed a Real Estate Bill

Real estate contributes nine per cent to the national GDP.

Bill now sought to make “the consumer the king” and will also “encourage developers in an atmosphere of mutual trust and confidence.”

Provisions include

Bill has reduced the size and exempts projects only below 500 square meters.

Buyers will now be paying only for the carpet area and not the super built-up area.

The developers will now have to take consent of 66 per cent of the homebuyers in case they have to increase the number of floors or change the building plans.

If builders still cause delays in transferring properties to buyers, the appellate tribunal would intervene and slap fines on them within 60 days.

Bill has a provision for imprisonment of upto 3 years in case developers are found guilty of frauds.

Commercial real estate also comes under the purview of the bill.

Its mandatory for developers to deposit 70% money from buyers in a third party bank account.

Registration of all projects in each state is now mandatory.

Builders to be responsible for fixing structural defects for five years after transferring the property to a buyer.  

Conclusion

By creating a much-needed regulator for the sector at the State and Central levels, this government has initiated the crucial first step to protect consumers from the prevalent opaque and fraudulent practices that have so far characterised this sector in India.

[2]. Azaadi from a colonial rule book

The Hindu

Colonial legacy

The bastions of any legal system are–Crime, contract, property and legal procedure. In India, some of major laws are  the Indian Penal Code or IPC (1860),  the Indian Evidence Act (1872), the Indian Contract Act (1872), the Transfer of Property Act (1882), the General Clauses Act (1897), the Code of Civil Procedure (1908), etc. And all of these laws are legacies of the British.

 

Many of these laws are based on simple good sense and a keen awareness of human nature, independent of the relationship between the ruler and the ruled. So, they have been preserved since their inception because they do not have an overtly political flavour.

 

Need for change

The field of criminal law is unmistakably coloured by the brush of colonial morality and colonial governmentality.  The Britishers left their stamp upon India’s criminal law, in a manner that is entirely inconsistent with a democratic, constitutional republic.

 

Sections of the Statute which reflects Victorian morality
Section 377– It criminalises “carnal intercourse against the order of nature” . It embodies a form of colonial morality, drawn from Victorian England, famously repressed and repressive when it came to sex.

Section 497–It punishes a man for adultery, but exempts the woman (who can be punished only as an “abettor”, and not as the primary offender).

Section 498–It punishes “enticing” a married woman.

Above two provisions reflects that women were seen as passive partners in a sexual relationship, led astray by unscrupulous men, and unable to take responsibility for their own actions.

Section 375(Exception)–It  places forced sexual intercourse between a husband and a wife outside the definition of “rape”.It is based upon a belief that marriage entails a one-time, permanent and irrevocable consent to sex.

Section 292 and 294– It criminalises the sale of “obscene” books and “obscene songs”  respectively.

 

Sections framed upon a subject-ruler relationship
Section 124A– It deals with offense of sedition. Its prohibition upon spreading “disaffection” against the government, and the manner of its use, makes it clear that it was enacted to preserve the reputation of the colonial government in the eyes of its subjects. the law of sedition is perhaps amongst the most recognisable — and notorious — provisions of the IPC.

Section 295A–It criminalises insulting the religious beliefs of any “class” of citizens.

Section 153A–It criminalises promoting “enmity” between different groups.

Above two provisions were made following the Divide and Rule Policy.

 

How to reconcile it with the modern times
Unwilling to go so far as to strike down parts of the IPC, Courts have been forced into a number of unconvincing contortions to try and reconcile the colonial law with the constitutional republic. But this is not a task that the judiciary can accomplish, with all the will in the world and with the best of intentions.

 

It is for the legislature to take a comprehensive relook at the IPC for the first time in its 156-year history.

The problems with the IPC cannot be solved in a piecemeal manner by taking isolated sections of the code and attempting to modernise them (as the Verma Committee tried to do with the laws of sexual assault, in the aftermath of the Nirbhaya case).

So, the legislature should introduce reforms that do not merely tinker at the edges but transform the very philosophy of the penal law in a manner that is consistent with our basic constitutional principles, which are  individual autonomy, the freedom of speech and conscience, and equality.

 


GS PAPER 3


[1]. Navigation satellite placed in orbit

The Hindu                                                                                                       

What?
ISRO has put into orbit India’s sixth dedicated navigation satellite, the IRNSS-1F from Sriharikota.The satellite was launched on-board India’s workhorse launch vehicle, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).

Purpose of the Independent Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS)

It is designed to provide accurate position information service to users in India and the region extending up to 1,500 km from the border.
It will provide accurate position information to users in India. Basically it will provide two kinds of services, Standard Positioning Services, which is available to all users, and an encrypted service that is provided only to authorized users. The complete IRNSS system will include three satellites in geostationary orbit and four satellites in geosynchronous orbit at an altitude of 36,000 km above the Earth.

IRNSS is similar to other satellite navigation service providers like USA’s GPS (Global Positioning System), Russia’s Glonass, Europe’s Galileo, Japan’s Quasi Zenith and China’s Beidou.

Applications of IRNSS:- Terrestrial, Aerial and Marine Navigation. Disaster Management. Vehicle tracking and fleet management. Integration with mobile phones. Precise Timing. Mapping and Geodetic data capture. Terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travellers. Visual and voice navigation for drivers.

What next?
ISRO is now preparing to launch the last satellite in the IRNSS series, the IRNSS-1G, and work has already begun on it.

[2]. Action plan to fix public sector banks

The Hindu

Concern

Level of stress on India’s state owned banks

Reserve Bank of India keeping up the pressure on banks to identify, recognise and make provision for bad loans.

Background

There were legitimate expectations that the Centre, being a majority owner of public sector banks, would step in to provide increased fund assistance.

Budget

Capital infusion of Rs.25,000 crore for the coming year

Indicate that the government would find fresh funds.

The strength of the financial sector is dependent on a strong and well-functioning banking system.

Outcome

Decision to set up a Banks Board Bureau, headed by former Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai, is a significant move forward.

The board could yet be an effective mechanism to end political interference in business procedures and decision-making in banks.

An empowered independent bureau such as this could help reset the concept of an arm’s-length relationship in public sector banking.

Once ownership is delinked from management, fixing accountability becomes that much easier.

This can foster a decision-making framework that privileges business sense.

It is, however, important to ensure that systems are in place to make the autonomous functioning of this bureau sustainable.

[3]. Cabinet approves new pricing policy for hard-to-reach. deep sea gas fields

The Hindu

What?
The Union Cabinet has approved a new pricing formula for gas discoveries made in difficult-to-access areas.

 

New Formula
The new pricing formula will be based on a weighted one-year average of prices of fuel oil, naphtha and imported coal.
The ceiling price in US $ per mmbtu (GCV) shall be lowest of:
(i) Fuel oil import landed price
(ii) Weighted average import landed price of substitute fuels (0.3 * price of coal + 0.4 * price of fuel oil + 0.3 * price of naphtha).
(iii) The import landed price of Liquefied Natural Gas.
The landed price-based ceiling will be calculated once in six months and applied prospectively for the next six months.
The new price will apply to underdeveloped gas discoveries and not currently producing fields.

 

Why new formula?
Since the previous formula was not enough to incentivise exploration, the government approved the new price formula for undeveloped gas discoveries in deep-sea, ultra-deep sea and high-temperature, high-pressure areas.

 

Its implications
It will be positive for upstream companies since the new pricing will be applicable to existing as well as future discoveries. This will lead to prices rising by about 70-80 per cent of their current levels and will enable companies to begin work on their new discoveries in these difficult areas.

 

Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP)

Highlights of HELP involve granting explorers a uniform license for exploration and production of all forms of hydrocarbons. The previous policy required a separate license for each type of hydrocarbon.

The new policy also incorporates an open acreage policy wherein exploration and production companies will be allowed to choose the blocks they want to use from the designated area.

In addition, the policy moves towards an easier revenue-sharing mechanism from the current profit-sharing mechanism.

 

Profit-sharing mechanism

Profits are shared between government and the contractor after recovery of cost. Under the profit-sharing methodology, it became necessary for the government to scrutinise cost details of private participants and this led to many delays and disputes.

 

Revenue-sharing mechanism
Under this, the government will not be concerned with the cost incurred and will receive a share of the gross revenue from the sale of oil, gas, etc.

 

Views of the Corporate

According to them, this revenue-sharing model is more controversial. A production-sharing contract will be better for Indian blocks since the risk level is higher. Now, right from day one companies will have to share revenue with the government, which will mean that they will have to start projects with a much higher amount of capex since earlier they had to share only after costs were incorporated.

 

Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana

Under this scheme, free LPG connections will be provided to women from BPL households.

[4]. Industry welcomes reality bill

The Hindu

Real Estate Regulatory Bill passed

One of the significant aspects of the Bill was the definition of “carpet area”.

Buyers will now be paying only for the carpet area and not the super built-up area, which was fraught with confusion earlier.

The setting up of the Real Estate Regulatory Authority will usher in the much-needed transparency and pave the way for implementation of standard practices across the sector. Even though some clauses are heavily stacked against the builders.

CREDAI has demanded that existing projects should not be brought under the new legislation.

[5]. Thumbs his nose I

Indian Express

35 lakh visitor

Issues

  • Event is on floodplains of yamuna which should be burden free for the life of yamuna (already on the verge of death), and survival of birds supported by Yamuna.
  • Venue did not have fire safety and security clearances
  • Art of Living (AOL) Foundation’s World Culture Festival
  • Quality of construction, especially the stage, was suspect
  • No traffic plan was in place to manage the crowd.

Departments related to the event clearance

  • Delhi Development Authority ignored scale of the event and its impact on the fragile Yamuna ecosystem
  • Delhi Pollution Control Committee had no clue about the construction debris and waste likely to be left behind by the congregation.
  • Ministry of water resources, mandated to protect the Yamuna, was not in the picture.
  • Delhi High court described it as Ecological disaster.
  • Ministry of environment and forests told the NGT that event did not require environmental clearances.

 

NGT ruling

Permitted the event saying

“For the reason of delay and laches on the part of the applicant in approaching the Tribunal and for the reason of fait accompli capable of restoration and restitution”

With initial fine of 5 crore rupees.

Development of a biodiversity park later at the venue.


BY: ForumIAS Editorial Team 

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