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Government unveils revised Building Code

The Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution unveiled the revised Building Code, making builders liable for the structure’s safety.

The code has been prepared by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). It is voluntary in nature, but the states can incorporate them in their building bylaws. 

Some provisions of the code 
  • Safety responsibility: Structure designers and supervisors are made responsible for the safety of the structure. Builders are also made responsible safety of the construction.
  • Builders have to give a certificate mentioning that the building has been constructed as per the planned design submitted to the local bodies
  • Modern buildings: It incorporates necessary changes keeping in view the requirement of modern buildings. Besides, it encourages use new building material and alternative smart technologies.
  • It also has provisions on use of innovative materials and technologies and on prefabricated construction techniques that can give fillip to speedier construction.
  • Fire and life safety norms: Specified for high rise buildings and a proper horizontal evacuation system in high-rise hospitals and public buildings. It includes high speed lifts for tall buildings.
  • Universal accessibility: It provides for universal accessibility for senior citizens and differently abled citizens.
  • Sustainability norms: It features norms for solar energy utilisation, inclusion of modern lighting technique including LED, updated provision on piped gas supply in houses and hospitals. It also covers solid waste management and rain water harvesting.
  • Ease of doing business: It has a detailed provision for streamlining the approval process in respect of different agencies in the form of an integrated approval process through single window approach thereby avoiding separate clearances from various authorities.

The Building Code is used by local bodies for framing building bylaws. It is used by government departments in construction activity and also by private builders as well as professionals like planners, architect and engineers. It is also used for academic purpose

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March 15: World Consumer Rights Day

The World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) is celebrated every year on March 15 to pay solidarity with the international consumer movement and give more attention to promote basic rights of consumers.

Significance of Day: It provides (i) an opportunity to promote the basic rights of all consumers (ii) demand those rights that must be respected and protected and (ii) for those protesting against the market abuses and social injustices.

2017 Theme: ‘Building a Digital World Consumers can Trust’.

Background

The WCRD commemorate the historic address given by the then US President John F Kennedy to the US congress on this day in 1962. In his historic address he had outlined the definition of consumer rights for the first time. He was the first world leader to formally define ‘consumer rights’. The first WCRD was observed on 15 March 1983 and has since become an important occasion for mobilizing citizen action. In 2016, WCRD was observed with the theme “Antibiotics off the menu”.

Note: In India, 24th December is observed as National Consumer Day. On this day in 1986, Consumer Protection Act, 1986 had received the assent of the President.

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Union Government launches Smart Consumer mobile App & OCMC for speedy redressal of consumer grievances

The Union Government has launched ‘Smart Consumer’ mobile App and an ‘Online Consumer Mediation Centre (OCMC)’ to provide speedy redressal of consumer grievances.

Apart from this, a helpline 14404 was also launched for consumer related grievances on the occasion of National Consumer Day (24th December).

 Key facts
  • The OCMC has been launched in association with Bengaluru based National Law School of India University (NLSIU) to provide speedy redressal of consumer grievances in New Delhi.
  • The basic purpose of this Centre is to encourage consumers and companies to go for pre-litigation and provide them with an option to settle disputes amicably.
  • Initially, the OCMC deal with only deal with cases related to e-commerce companies. It will also facilitate online and even physical mediation between consumers and companies.

Besides, microsite based on the theme “Digitally Safe Consumer Campaign” was also launched. It will help consumers for being vigilant and not falling prey to cyber frauds.

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