Current Affairs : 11 March 2016

Ex-SC judge Balbir Singh Chauhan new Law Commission chairman

  • Former Supreme Court judge Balbir Singh Chauhan was on Thursday appointed Chairman of the 21st Law Commission, a post lying vacant since last September.
  • Justice Chauhan (66) is currently heading the Cauvery River Water Disputes Tribunal. A judge of the Supreme Court from May 2009 to July 2014, he also served as the Chief Justice of Orissa High Court from July 2008 to May 2009.
  • The post of the Chairman was lying vacant since last September. Justice Ravi R Tripathi (62), a former judge of the Gujarat High Court, has been appointed as member of the law panel. He retired as judge last May.

Rajya Sabha approves Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill

  • Rajya Sabha approved the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill that promises a muchdelayed clean-up of an industry that routinely delays the delivery of homes for years, forces buyers to accept shoddy construction, escalates costs without good reason and leaves customers without any recourse to timely redress when promises are broken.
  • The Bill will go to the Lok Sabha and then for presidential assent before becoming law, a process that’s expected to be smooth unlike other reforms.
  • The bill seeks to create a uniform regulatory mechanism across the country and enhance the growth of construction sector. It also ensures to bring transparency and accountability in the real estate sector to access capital and financial markets essential for its long term growth.

Key Features of Bill

  • Establishes state level regulatory authorities called Real Estate Regulatory Authorities (RERAs) and tribunals called Real Estate Appellate Tribunals (REAT) to settle disputes.
  • Enforces the contract between the developer and buyer and fast track the mechanism to settle disputes.
  • 70% of the amount collected from buyers for a project must be maintained in a separate bank (escrow) account and must only be used for construction of that project. State government can alter this amount to less than 70%.
  • In case of delays in completion of projects on time, developers will have to pay the same penal interest rate as the buyer does.
  • All information for registered projects must be disclosed on website of the RERA. It will include details of promoters, land status, layout plan, schedule of execution and status of various approvals.
  • Promoters and real estate agents must register project details with RERAs who intend to sell any plot, apartment or building.
  • The commercial real estate also has been brought under its ambit. Projects under construction are also required to be registered with the RERAs.
  • The term carpet area has been clearly defined in order to eliminate any scope for wrongdoing.

Cabinet approves cyber security deal with UAE

  • The union cabinet on Thursday accorded approval to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on technical cooperation in cyber space and combating cyber crime.
  • The agreement would pave the way for both countries cooperating mutually in combating cyber crime, particularly through coordination and exchange of information in relation with cyber crime and training in cyber crime investigation.
  • The ministry of home affairs will be the nodal agency on the Indian side responsible for the implementation of this agreement.
  • India extends $2 billion credit line to Bangladesh
  • India has signed an agreement extending $2 billion in development financing to Bangladesh, the biggest ever credit facility to another country.
  • The deal, signed in Dhaka, came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of the new credit line to Bangladesh during his Dhaka visit in June last year. It follows India’s $1 billion in assistance provided to Bangladesh in 2011 for infrastructure development.
  • The credit line would be used to finance development in the power sector, railways, road transportation, information and communication technology, shipping, health and technical education sectors.
  • Exim Bank is also in the process of extending $1.60 billion in buyer’s credit to an India-Bangladesh joint venture to build a 1,320 megawatt thermal power plant project in Bangladesh.

ISRO puts sixth navigation satellite IRNSS-1F in orbit

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) on 10 March 2016 successfully launched its sixth navigational satellite on board its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-32) from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota at 4.01pm as part of its plan to put in place an indigenous navigation system similar to US-based global positioning system (GPS) and the Russian GLONASS.
  • The satellite, IRNSS-1F, is part of the Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System of seven satellites.
  • The PSLV put the sixth satellite into the right orbit. We have only one more satellite left in this constellation to complete our sequence of seven satellites to complete our regional navigational system.
  • The other five satellites, IRNSS-1A, 1B, 1C,ID and 1E , were successfully launched by PSLV on 2 July 2013, 4 April 2014, 16 October 2014, 28 March 2015 and 20 January, respectively.
  • The final satellite, IRNSS-1G, which will complete the series of satellites, will be launched next month, after which the navigation system will become operational.
  • IRNSS -1F carries two types of payloads – navigation payload and ranging payload. The navigation payload of IRNSS-1F will transmit navigation service signals to the users. The ranging payload which includes a C-band transponder, facilitates accurate determination of the range of the satellite.

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