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Current Events 11 March 2016

 

News

11 MAR 2016

 

GS II: POLITY – BILL
Rajya Sabha passes long-awaited Bill to protect homebuyers

The Rajya Sabha passed a landmark Real Estate Bill on Thursday with a promise to secure the interests of homebuyers and developers in equal measure and remove corruption and inefficiency from the sector.


Real estate contributes nine per cent to the national GDP and the Bill’s passage was seen as crucial to ensuring better regulatory oversight and orderly growth in the industry. people had been falling prey to unfair practices in the absence of a regulatory mechanism.After incorporating 20 amendments, Mr. Naidu said the Bill now sought to make “the consumer the king” and will also “encourage developers in an atmosphere of mutual trust and confidence.”

Compared to the previous version of the Bill, in which constructions below the size of 1,000 square metres or 12 apartments were left out of the accountability ambit, the new Bill has reduced the size and exempts projects only below 500 square meters. one of the significant aspects of the Bill was the definition of “carpet area”Buyers will now be paying only for the carpet area and not the super built-up area which was fraught with confusion earlier. The developers will now have to take consent of 66 per cent of the homebuyers in case they have to increase the number of floors or change the building plans. This will protect the buyers from any ad-hoc changes that are a norm presently.

The Real Estate Bill will renew investors’ confidence and ensure timely completion of projects and create more opportunities. In this way, it will help in achieving the target of ‘Housing For All' .If builders still cause delays in transferring properties to buyers, the appellate tribunal would intervene and slap fines on them within 60 days. In a worst case scenario, the tribunals can send a developer found guilty of fraud to jail for three years.

The builders would also be responsible for fixing structural defects for five years after transferring the property to a buyer. In case consumers fail to make payments to developers, the appellate tribunal can fine them, too.Rajeev Chandrasekhar, an independent MP, who played a key role in drafting The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2015 .By creating a much-needed regulator for the sector at the State and Central levels, this government has initiated the crucial first step to protect consumers from the prevalent opaque and fraudulent practices that have so far characterised this sector in India.”

 

GS III: ENVIRONMENT
Plastic degrading bacteria isolated

A bacterium species capable of breaking down plastic — poly(ethylene terephthalate), or PET — has been identified by a team of Japanese researchers. The bacterium uses two enzymes in sequence to break down the highly biodegradable-resistant polymer PET.
The results are published on Friday (March 11) in the journal Science.

Except for rare instances of two fungi that have been found to grow on a mineral medium of PET yarns, there are no reports of any bacteria biologically degrading PET or growing on the chemically inert substance.Shosuke Yoshida, the first author of the paper from the Department of Applied Biology, Kyoto Institute of Technology, Kyoto, and others collected 250 debris-contaminated samples from a PET bottle recycling site. They looked for microorganisms that relied on PET film as a primary source of carbon for growth. At first they identified a distinct microbial consortium that contained a mixture of bacteria species that degraded the PET film surface at 30°C; 75 per cent of the PET film surface was broken down into carbon dioxide at 28°C.

From the microbial consortium, the researchers isolated a unique bacterium — Ideonella sakaiensis 201-F6 — that could almost completely degrade a thin film of PET in a short span of six weeks at 30°C. “The PET film was damaged extensively and almost completely degraded after six weeks at 30°C,” they note.The bacterium degrades PET using two enzymes that act on it in sequence. First, the bacterium adheres to PET and produces an intermediate substance through hydrolysis. The second enzyme then works with water and acts on this intermediate substance to produce the two monomers ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid — that are used for making PET through polymerisation.

Human-made PET has been littering the environment for the last 70 years and in 2013, 56 million tonnes of PET were produced worldwide. Since PET came into being only 70 years ago, a pertinent question is how this distinct bacterium evolved or naturally selected in the environment. Also, it is not clear what natural processes were at play for the two unique enzymes capable of breaking down PET in sequential steps to evolve.PET enrichment in the sampling site and the enrichment culture potentially promoted the selection of a bacterium that might have obtained the necessary set of genes through lateral gene transfer.


GS III: Science & Technology.
India's sixth navigation satellite, IRNSS-1F, placed in orbit

ISRO on Thursday successfully put into orbit India’s sixth dedicated navigation satellite, the IRNSS-1F, from here. The satellite was launched on-board India’s workhorse launch vehicle, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).The Independent Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) is designed to provide accurate position information service to users in India and the region extending up to 1,500 km from the border.

The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV C-32) lifted off at 4.01 p.m. with the payload. The launch was revised by one minute to 4.01 p.m. “for collision avoidance as per the space debris studies,” according to ISRO.The IRNSS-1F carrying two payloadsthe navigation payload and ranging payload — was put into orbit 20 minutes after take-off from the second launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.PSLV has taken the satellite into the right orbit. We have only one more satellite in this constellation to complete our sequence of seven satellites for the regional navigation system which we expect to do sometime next month. The signals will be available in one month

The satellite had a lift-off mass of 1,425 kg and was powered by two solar panels generating 1660 W and one Lithium-ion battery of 90 Ampere-hour capacity.With this launch, India inches closer to having its own navigation system (like a GPS).The navigation payload of IRNSS-1F will transmit navigation service signals and will operate in the L5 band and S band. The ranging payload consists of a C-band transponder that facilitates accurate determination of the range of the satellites.ISRO is now preparing to launch the last satellite in the IRNSS series, the IRNSS-1G, and work has already begun on it.ISRO IS going to start the next mission with the last of  IRNSS series and are going to end this year with a spectacular mission of launching the heaviest Indian satellite on the GSLV Mark III D1.



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