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Insights Daily Current Events, 10 December 2015

Insights Daily Current Events, 10 December 2015

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Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

India to host Heart of Asia conference in 2016

India is all set to host the next Heart of Asia conference in 2016. As one of the 14 member countries of Istanbul Process, India has volunteered to host the sixth meeting next year.

  • This was one of the main outcomes of the recently concluded 5th edition Heart of Asia conference in Islamabad, Pakistan.
  • The stated aim of the conference is to foster ongoing efforts towards regional cooperation and connectivity with a view to promoting long-term peace, stability and development in Afghanistan and the wider region.
  • The conference ended with a commitment from member states to address the menace of terrorism and to foster close economic cooperation to stabilise the war-torn country.

About the conference:

The Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process presents a new vision of cooperation and confidence building for the region with Afghanistan at its centre.

  • The Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process articulates a set of principles, such as respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, and promoting cooperation in the areas of common challenges and shared interests in the region.
  • It provides a platform for discussing key regional issues among participating states.
  • Since its inception in 2011, the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process has been lead by two co-chairs: Afghanistan as a permanent co-chair, and one of the Heart of Asia countries hosting the annual ministerial meeting as the co-chair.
  • As permanent co-chair of this regional process, Afghanistan has been recognized as the main focal point/ coordinator of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process.

The Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process has three main elements:

  1. Political Consultation involving Afghanistan and its near and extended neighbours.
  2. A sustained incremental approach to implementation of the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) identified in the Istanbul Process document.
  3. Seeking to contribute and bring greater coherence to the work of various regional processes and organisations, particularly as they relate to Afghanistan.

sources: the hindu, wiki.

 

Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Real Estate Regulatory Authority on anvil

The Union Cabinet recently gave its approval to the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2015. The Bill will now be taken up for consideration and passing by Parliament.

  • The Bill aims to protect the interest of consumers, promote fair play in real estate transactions and ensure timely execution of projects.

Features of the bill:

  • It regulates both commercial and residential real estate projects;
  • It seeks to set up Real Estate Regulatory Authority in states and union territories to oversee real estate transactions;
  • It makes registration of real estate projects and real estate agents with the authority mandatory;
  • It makes mandatory disclosure of details of all registered projects, including those about the promoter, project, layout plan, land status, approvals, agreements along with details of real estate agents, contractors, architect, structural engineer etc;
  • Developers have to deposit specified amount in a separate bank account to cover the construction cost of the project for timely completion of the project;
  • It seeks to establish fast track dispute resolution mechanisms for settlement of disputes through adjudicating officers and Appellate Tribunal;
  • The bill bars civil courts from taking up matters defined in it. However, consumer courts are allowed to hear real estate matters. There are 644 consumer courts in the country. The more avenues for grievance redressal would mean lower litigation costs for the buyers.
  • Promoters are barred from changing plans and design without consent of consumers.

Benefits:

  • The Bill is expected ensure greater accountability towards consumers, and to significantly reduce frauds and delays.
  • It is expected to promote regulated and orderly growth of the real estate sector through efficiency, professionalism and standardization.
  • These measures are also expected to boost domestic and foreign investment in the sector and help achieve the objective of the Government of India to provide ‘Housing for All by 2022’, through enhanced private participation.

sources: the hindu, pib.

 

Topic: General awareness.

Merkel named Time ‘Person of the year 2015’

U.S. magazine Time has named German Chancellor Angela Merkel as its “Person of the Year 2015,” hailing her leadership during Europe’s debt, refugee and migrant crises, as well as Russia’s intervention in Ukraine.

  • Merkel is just the fourth woman since 1927 to be chosen and the first since opposition leader Corazon C. Aquino of the Philippines in 1986.

sources: the hindu.

 

Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Cabinet Gives Nod To Bill On National Waterways Conversion

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval to carry out official amendments in the National Waterways Bill, 2015.

  • The bill seeks to declare 106 additional inland waterways as national waterways. After the inclusion of 106 additional inlands waterways to the existing five national waterways, the total number of national waterways goes upto 111.
  • The amendments are based on the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture and comments of states.

About the Bill:

  • The Bill repeals the five Acts that declare the existing national waterways. These five national waterways are now covered under the Bill.
  • The Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill states that while inland waterways are recognised as a fuel efficient, cost effective and environment friendly mode of transport, it has received lesser investment as compared to roads and railways.

Inland waterways, comprising rivers, lakes, canals, creeks and backwaters, extend about 14,500 km across the country. However, potential of this mode of transport has not been fully exploited so far. Thus, the central government has come up with this policy.

It should be noted here that 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.

sources: pib.

 

Paper 3 Topic: money-laundering.

India fourth-largest source of black money: Report

India has been ranked the fourth-biggest source of black money, with $510 billion worth of illicit financial flows during 2004-2013, or $51 billion annually, on average.

  • This was stated in a report which was released recently by Global Financial Integrity (GFI), a research and advisory group based in Washington.

Notable facts:

  • According to the report, $1.1 trillion flowed out of developing and emerging economies illicitly in 2013 alone. The capital outflow mainly stemmed from tax evasion, crime, corruption and other illegal activities.
  • The report says China tops the list for 2004-2013, with $139 billion average illicit financial flow per annum, followed by Russia ($104 billion per annum) and Mexico ($52.8 billion per annum).

sources: bs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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