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Saturday, 26 May 2018

The Hindu Editorial: Missed Opportunity

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The Hindu Editorial: Missed Opportunity

Title: Missed opportunity 

(A series of avoidable mis-steps led to the unravelling of the Trump-Kim summit)

Context:- American President Donald Trump’s abrupt decision to call off his planned June 12 meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore has not only dashed hopes of a breakthrough but also heightened risks of a confrontation on the Korean peninsula. 
Mr. Trump accepted Mr. Kim’s invitation in March and let it be known to the public immediately. 

Once Mr. Trump had cleared the summit proposal, North Korea also moved fast, making a series of gestures meant to smoothen the path for the meeting. In end-April, there was a summit between Mr. Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in at a border village in the demilitarised zone. 

The North pledged to halt nuclear and missile tests, and released three Korean-Americans. And, hours before Mr. Trump cancelled the summit on Thursday, it dismantled its Punggye-ri nuclear test site — critics say it was already inoperable, but that was a symbolic gesture nonetheless. 

The United States should have taken into account these steps by the North rather than harp on the rhetoric. It could also have made some goodwill gestures to lighten the air, such as cancelling a joint military exercise with South Korea. 

But it went ahead with the military drill, with Pyongyang slamming both Washington and Seoul even as preparations for the summit were under way. 

This triggered the unravelling of the summit, with the North once again warning the U.S. of a nuclear showdown. Despite the setback, hopes for an eventual one-to-one meeting still exist. 

In a letter to Mr. Kim, Mr. Trump said the North was welcome to return to talks if it changed its attitude towards the U.S. Pyongyang also issued a conciliatory(समाधानकारक) response, saying that it hoped the U.S. President would reconsider his decision to “unilaterally”(एकतरफा) cancel the summit. 

Final Words:

Both Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim should keep in mind the larger goal of de-escalation of tension, if not outright denuclearisation, on the peninsula and work to reschedule the summit. The only sound way to address the Korean nuclear crisis is diplomacy. 

Title: The RERA report card 

(A year after the real estate legislation came into effect, the follow-up in many States has been dismal)

Context:- It is a year since the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA) came into effect (May 1). But, 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. 
Similarly, 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. West Bengal is yet to even designate a regulatory authority. 

Additionally, 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. 

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 

Implementation of the Act eventually needs to focus on consumer interests. In these efforts, rudimentary(मौलिक) 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. 

Perhaps 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). 

RERA also 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. 

Final Words 
One hopes that in due course, developers will recognise that they can no longer operate with impunity by arbitrarily escalating costs of construction or missing timelines without being held responsible. 

Vocabulary words:

Unravel (verb) = Investigate and solve or explain (सुलझाना)

Call off (phrasal verb) = To cancel or abandon 

Dash (verb) = Smash, crash (धराशायी)

Breakthrough (noun) = A sudden or important development

Confrontation (noun) = A hostile or argumentative situation (विरोध)

Acrimony (noun) = Bitterness or ill feeling (कटुता)

Dismantle (verb) = Deconstruct (ध्वस्त)

Nonetheless (adv) = In spite of that (फिर भी)

Conciliatory (adj) = Intended or likely to pacify (समाधानकारी)

Dismal (adj) = Causing a mood of gloom or depression (निराशाजनक)

Dilution (noun) = The action of making something weaker in force, content or value

Appellate (adj) = Concerned with or dealing with applications for decisions to be reversed (अपील-संबंधी)

Compliance (noun) = Adherence, permission (अनुपालन)

Rudimentary (adj) = Involving or limited to basic principles (मौलिक)

Impunity (noun) = Exemption from punishment (दण्ड मुक्ति)

Definition

Appeal tribunal: An appeal tribunal is a special court or committee that is formed to reconsider a decision made by another court or committee.

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