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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs [Prelims + Mains Focus] – 26th May 2018

  • IASbaba
  • May 26, 2018
  • 3
IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains Focus)- 26th May 2018

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(PRELIMS+MAINS FOCUS)


Higher educational institutions can now offer degree courses online: UGC

Part of: Mains GS Paper II- Government interventions in key sectors

Key pointers:

  • Higher education institutes can now offer certificate, diploma and degree programmes in full-fledged online mode. The decision was taken by the University Grants Commission.
  • The certificate, degree and diploma would be given only for those disciplines which the institute has been offering the similar programmes/ courses at graduation level in regular mode (of classroom teaching) or in Open and Distance Learning mode and from which at least one batch has been graduated and approved by the statutory councils, as applicable.
  • The online learning shall have minimum four quadrants: video-lectures, e-content, self-assessments and discussion forum to clarify doubts.
  • Examinations would be conducted in the proctored mode and in conformity with any norms for such examinations stipulated by the UGC.

First national sports university to be set up in Manipur

Part of: Mains GS Paper II- Government interventions in key sectors

Key pointers:

  • The Union Cabinet has approved an ordinance to set up the country’s first national sports university in Manipur.
  • The Manipur government has already allocated land for the proposed university.
  • As of now, there are some institutes which offer various courses for athletes and coaches. A void exists in the sports environment of the country in various areas such as sports science, sports technology, high performance training. The proposed university is expected to bridge this gap.

(MAINS FOCUS)


INTERNATIONAL

TOPIC: General Studies 2:

  • India and its neighbourhood- relations.
  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests

India- Indonesia: Enhancing the strategic partnership

In news:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will make his first visit to Indonesia next week, the first by an Indian PM since 2013. PM Modi has been to half the ASEAN countries and the biggest of them, Indonesia, finally gets its turn.
Modi’s summit with Indonesian President Joko Widodo, known as Jokowi, is an important one. They have met annually since their first meeting at the East Asia Summit (EAS) in Myanmar in 2014.

Similarities:

  • Both India and Indonesia have among the world’s largest Muslim populace, which are youthful, aspirational and have a commitment to development.
  • Both are members of the G-20, NAM, EAS and the like.
  • India and Indonesia have a common heritage, cultural and trade linkages going back to antiquity. Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam, all came through these exchanges to Indonesia.

Differences:

Despite these similarities and the rather short distance between the Andamans and the Western State of Aceh in Indonesia, the distance in the mind is rather long.

  • India and Indonesia were allies in the fight against imperialism but in the 1970s, they started looking away from each other, till the return of multiparty democracy to Indonesia.
  • Since 2011, India and Indonesia are strategic partners, and an ambitious agenda of cooperation has been on the table but has not been implemented in a fulsome manner.

Enhancing the strategic partnership:

On the political front, there are signs of thaw in our engagement. Many stalled bilateral fora have successfully met in the last year. The governments needs to rationalise their calendar and implement decisions in a timely way.

  • More consultation on regional and global issues — G-20, EAS and maritime security and sustainable development, for instance will give greater cohesion in regional and global outlook.
  • Indonesia has a view of China and the BRI which is at variance with ours. But it recognises India’s balancing role in maritime security, has cooperated on the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and is not supportive of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on its anti-Indian rhetoric.
    Political need is to focus on commonalities, discuss issues frankly and establish political trust.
  • India-Indonesia maritime cooperation, exercises and patrolling between the Andamans and the Malacca straits have developed well. The engagement between the Indian navy and coast guard with the Indonesian navy has improved.
    We can now focus on supplying defence equipment to Indonesia and to look at joint production and development of such equipment.
    We could invest in a strategic port in Sumatra, which could support exports like coal and palm oil and support to Indian naval assets which require deep draught ports.
    A cooperative effort against terrorism and radicalisation needs to be high on the agenda.
  • On the trade and investment side, it is not advisable to curb trade for a balance since imports by India of coal and palm oil give Indonesia a surplus.
    This can be compensated by Indonesian investment in India and allowing better access to Indian entrepreneurs to the growing Indonesian market for infrastructure, healthcare, mining and power.
  • A special fast-track facility should be sought from Indonesia to support Indian business houses to secure and maintain business interest in Indonesia.
    Most Indian businesses feel that Indonesia is partial to China. Indonesia needs to be equitable in their engagements with India.
    Indonesia, which has opened its market to Indian beef and found its positive economic impact needs to do the same for pharmaceuticals, rice, sugar and infrastructure machinery.
  • Around human resource development and education, much can be done by the two countries to fulfil each other’s aspirations.
    Most Indonesian students coming to India pursue religious studies, hardly any Indian students go to Indonesia. There is a need to develop a system of twinning universities to have common projects, faculty and student exchanges.
  • Our common cultural heritage needs to be updated. Common archaeology projects can be undertaken.
    An Indonesia-India Ramayana festival held periodically should encourage development in the related dance forms over ASEAN countries and beyond.
    Moreover, the mainstream Muslim organisations, Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah need to be more closely engaged as they are the best bulwark against radicalisation. Greater space to such civil society cooperation efforts will give a long-term and popular base for the new thrust expected to the India Indonesia relationship through the PM’s forthcoming visit.

Conclusion:

PM Modi’s upcoming visit to Indonesia is a welcome one. The engagement needs to recognise the positive factors and the contradictions which impede it, to create a new paradigm.

Connecting the dots:

  • Despite many similarities, the India-Indonesia relationship is marked with contradictions. In this light it is necessary to take calculated measure to engance the strategic partnership the two countries have with each other. Disucss.

NATIONAL

TOPIC:

General Studies 1:

  • Urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

General Studies 2:

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act, 2016: Implementation

In news:

Recently, the Central government notified June 30 as the date by which all States have to do away with dilutions and bring in all incomplete projects within the ambit of RERA. This date is also the deadline by when permanent regulators have to be formed and for the websites of all States to become functional.

Background:

It is a year since the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA) came into effect (May 1).
Stocktaking presents a dismal picture as far as its implementation and expected benefits are concerned.
There is still a long way to go before the real estate sector operates in an “efficient and transparent manner and protect the interest of consumers”, as set forth in the statute’s preamble.

A record of extremes:

  • Only 20 of the 28 States (the Act is not applicable in Jammu and Kashmir) have framed the rules stipulated under RERA to carry out its legal mandate.
  • In some States such as Uttar Pradesh, the Act’s provisions have been watered down in favour of builders by altering the definition of “on-going projects” which need registration under RERA.
    There is also a dilution on the penalties for non-compliance.
  • The speedy dispute redress mechanism envisaged by the Act is yet to take shape.
  • Apart from Maharashtra, only Punjab and Madhya Pradesh have appointed a permanent regulatory authority (to be established within a period of a year).
    To ease the transition, RERA allows State governments to designate an existing body as the regulatory authority until a permanent one is established. This has resulted in 13 States working with only a designated regulatory authority.
  • Only six States have set up the online portal contemplated by the Act.
  • In the Northeastern States, RERA has been challenged on certain constitutional grounds — of land belonging to the community and autonomous councils.

Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority: An example

In contrast, Maharashtra, which has established both the regulatory authority (Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority, or MahaRERA) and the appellate tribunal, has shown that with earnest action, the Act and the establishment of the permanent regulator can have a positive impact in reassuring real estate purchasers.
MahaRERA’s online portal has led to builders registering projects and a high degree of compliance in terms of registration by real estate agents.
This along with fast track adjudication of consumer complaints has made the MahaRERA an example of how other States need to implement the Act.

Focus on the consumer:

  • Besides procedural compliances, implementation of the Act eventually needs to focus on consumer interests. In these efforts, rudimentary compliance must be eliminated and practicality adopted.
    For example, in U.P., a large number of new projects are concentrated in Ghaziabad or Gautam Budh Nagar/Noida. However, even though the Act provides for State governments to establish more than one regulatory authority, the interim regulator designated in U.P. is located in Lucknow. This has led to consumers being inconvenienced as they need to travel to Lucknow to file their complaints.
  • One of the most notable provisions of the RERA is the requirement to keep 70% of funds received for a project in a separate escrow account, a step to prevent a diversion of funds which usually happens and in turn results in project delays.
    Because of this stipulation and the overall ill-health of the real estate sector, many developers are now facing insolvency proceedings under the new Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).
    There appears to be a potential conflict developing between the IBC and RERA which needs to be checked as it would be against consumer interests.

Conclusion:

RERA provides for the regulation and maintaining of records of real estate projects, the objective being to facilitate the growth and promotion of a “healthy, transparent, efficient and competitive real estate sector”.
Given that the Central government is keen to curb black money, a large part of which has its origins in or finds its way into real estate, it needs to ensure that States give full effect to RERA.

Connecting the dots:

  • It is a year since the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA) came into effect (May 1). However, the implementation is dismal and expected benefits are not yet achieved. Comment.

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)

Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)

Q.1) In which state is the first national sports university proposed to be set up.

Select the correct option

  1. Manipur
  2. Meghalaya
  3. Nagaland
  4. Assam

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