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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 01 May 2017
Paper 1 Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
Basava Jayanthi 2017
On the occasion of Basava Jayanti 2017, PM Modi released the translated volumes of Vachanas in 23 Indian languages.
- Basavanna was a 12th-century philosopher, statesman, Kannada poet and a social reformer during the reign of the Kalachuri-dynasty king Bijjala I in Karnataka, India.
- Basavanna spread social awareness through his poetry, popularly known as Vachanaas. Basavanna rejected gender or social discrimination, superstitions and rituals.
- He introduced new public institutions such as the Anubhava Mantapa (or, the “hall of spiritual experience”), which welcomed men and women from all socio-economic backgrounds to discuss spiritual and mundane questions of life, in open.
- As a leader, he developed and inspired a new devotional movement named Virashaivas, or “ardent, heroic worshippers of Shiva”. This movement shared its roots in the ongoing Tamil Bhakti movement, particularly the Shaiva Nayanars traditions, over the 7th- to 11th-century.
- Basava championed devotional worship that rejected temple worship and rituals led by Brahmins, and replaced it with personalized direct worship of Shiva through practices such as individually worn icons and symbols like a small linga.
- Basaveshwara is the first Kannadiga in whose honour a commemorative coin has been minted in recognition of his social reforms.
- In November 2015, the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi inaugurated the statue of Basaveshwara along the bank of the river Thames at Lambeth in London.
Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
RERA comes into force
The Real Estate Regulatory Act, 2016 (RERA) is a landmark development in the history of the sector. The Act comes into force on May 1, 2017. It is aimed not only at bringing in more transparency and accountability but also provide mechanisms to simplify and regulate the buying and selling of all types of properties. The Act will give a major facelift to the methodology in which this sector works, right from builders to end‐users to investors to lending institutions and government agencies involved.
- Ahead of the Act coming into force, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation has formulated and circulated Model Real Estate Regulations for adoption by the Regulatory Authorities in the States/UTs.
- Under these Regulations, developers are required to display sanctioned plans and layout plans of at least 3 feet X 2 feet size at all marketing offices, other offices where properties are sold, all branch offices and head office of the promoters in addition to the site of project.
- Real Estate Regulatory Authorities may take decisions on all issues preferably through consensus failing which through voting with Chairman using Casting Vote in case of a tie.
- There shall be quorum for the meetings of the Regulatory Authorities and if a meeting is adjourned due to lack of such quorum, such meeting can take place without quorum. Members of Regulatory Authorities shall declare interest if any in the matters coming up for discussion and shall not participate there in.
Some of the major provisions of the Act, besides mandatory registration of projects and Real Estate Agents include:
- Depositing 70% of the funds collected from buyers in a separate bank account in case of new projects and 70% of unused funds in case of ongoing projects.
- Projects with plot size of minimum 500 sq.mt or eight apartments shall be registered with Regulatory Authorities.
- Both developers and buyers to pay the same penal interest of SBI’s Marginal Cost of Lending Rate plus two percent in case of delays.
- Liability of developers for structural defects for five years.
- Imprisonment of up to three years for developers and up to one year in case of agents and buyers for violation of orders of Appellate Tribunals and Regulatory Authorities.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
Infrastructure Investment Trusts
The initial public offering (IPO) for IRB InvIT, India’s first infrastructure investment trust fund will shortly be opened for subscription. Sponsored by road developer IRB Infrastructure Developers Ltd., the trust aims to raise up to ₹4,035 crore.
What are InvITs?
InvITs are similar to mutual funds. While mutual funds provide an opportunity to invest in equity stocks, an InvIT allows one to invest in infrastructure projects such as road and power.
- InvITs are registered as trusts with SEBI and there are four parties — trustee, sponsors, investment manager and project manager.
- As per present regulations, InvIT investments are not open for small and retail investors. The minimum application size for InvIT units is ₹10 lakh. The main investors could be foreign institutional investors, insurance and pension funds and domestic institutional investors (like mutual funds, banks) and also super-rich individuals.
Significance of InvITs:
Infrastructure projects suffer from lack of availability of long-term capital and have depended on bank finance which typically has a short tenure. InvITs are designed to attract low-cost, long term capital and the underlying focus is to reduce the funding pressure on the banking system as well as generating fresh equity capital for infrastructure projects. InvITs allow developers of infrastructure assets to monetise their assets by pooling multiple projects under a single entity (trust structure).
How do InvITs work?
InvITs raise funds from a large number of investors and directly invest in infrastructure projects or through a special purpose vehicle. Two types of InvITs have been allowed: one, which invests in completed and revenue generation infrastructure projects; the other, which has the flexibility to invest in completed or under-construction projects. InvITs which invest in completed projects take the route of public offer of its units, while those investing in under construction projects take the route of private placement of units. Both forms are required to be listed on stock exchanges.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
South Asia Satellite
The South Asia Satellite, proposed by Prime Minister Modi, is all set to be launched into orbit on May 5, 2017, on board the Indian Space Research Organisation’s rocket GSLV-09 from the Second Launch Pad (SLP) at Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR (SDSC SHAR), Sriharikota.
What you need to know about the satellite?
- GSAT-9 is a Geostationary Communication Satellite with the objective to provide various communication applications in Ku-band with coverage over South Asian countries.
- The main structure of the satellite is cuboid in shape built around a central cylinder with a mission life of 12 years.
- The satellite weighs a massive 2,230-kg and it has 12 Ku-band transponders, which India’s neighbours can utilise to increase communications.
- The total cost of launching the satellite is estimated to be about ₹2,350,000,000 (₹235 crore). The cost associated with the launch will be met by the Government of India.
- According to ISRO, GSLV-F09 mission is the eleventh flight of GSLV and its fourth consecutive flight with the indigenous Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS).
- The satellite is meant for providing communication and disaster support, connectivity among the countries of South Asia region.
- The satellite will provide a significant capability to each of the participating countries in terms of DTH, certain VSAT capacity plus linking among the states for both disaster information transfer and also in terms of library type of things.
Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are already on board of the mission. Afghanistan is in the process of inking the deal. That means seven out of eight SAARC countries are a part of the project except Pakistan, which opted out of the program.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
Sebi finalizes norms for listing of green bonds
Regulator Sebi has finalized norms for issuance and listing of green bonds, which will help in raising funds from capital markets for investment in the renewable energy space.
- The rules have been finalised by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) after taking into account inputs from the finance and environment ministries, as also from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
What are Green bonds?
Green bonds are like any other debt instrument but the funds raised from such a bond sale are used exclusively for renewable energy projects.
Why are green bonds important for India?
India has embarked on an ambitious target of building 175 gigawatt of renewable energy capacity by 2022. This requires a massive $200 billion in funding. However, higher interest rates and unattractive terms under which debt is available in India raise the cost of renewable energy by 24-32% compared to the U.S. and Europe. Budget allocations have also been insufficient and the market is also very limited. Therefore, green bonds help raise funds for the projects in this sector.
What are its benefits?
Green bonds enhances an issuer’s reputation, as it helps in showcasing their commitment to wards sustainable development. It also provides issuers access to specific set of global investors who invest only in green ventures. With an increasing focus of foreign investors towards green investments, it could also help in reducing the cost of capital.
Sources: the hindu.