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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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Union Government approves 100% FDI in Aviation, Defence and e-commerce sectors

The Union Government has eased foreign direct investment (FDI) norms for nine sectors to give impetus to job creation and ease of doing business in the country.

Decision in this regard was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. With these changes, India becomes most open economy in the world for FDI.

Some of these sectors are

  • Food products: In this sector, 100% FDI under government approval route has been approved.
  • It will include trading in food products including through e-commerce, in respect of food products manufactured or produced in India.
  • Defence Sector: Present FDI regime in this sector permits 49% FDI participation in the equity of a company under automatic route.
  • Now, FDI beyond 49% has now been permitted through government approval route, in cases resulting in access to modern technology in the country or for other reasons.
  • FDI limit also has been made applicable to Manufacturing of Small Arms and Ammunitions covered under Arms Act, 1959.
  • Pharmaceutical Sector: In this sector, 100% FDI under automatic route in greenfield pharma has been approved. FDI up to 100% under government approval in brownfield pharma also has been approved.
  • Aviation Sector: 100% FDI under automatic route in Greenfield and Brownfield Airport Projects to aid in modernization of the existing airports to establish a high standard.
  • Animal Husbandry: 100% FDI allowed in Animal Husbandry (including breeding of dogs), Aquaculture, Pisciculture and Apiculture under Automatic Route without requirement of controlled conditions.
  • Single Brand Retail Trading: Entities undertaking single brand retail trading have been relaxed from local sourcing norms up to 3 years.
  • Entities engaged in of single brand retail trading of products having ‘state-of-art’ and ‘cutting edge’ technology have been relaxed from local sourcing norms up to 5 years.

Comment

With these liberalised changes in FDI Policy, Union government has permitted 100% FDI under government approval route for almost every sector, including defence except in few sectors mentioned in the small negative list.  In this list, FDI continues to be prohibited in atomic energy, lottery, gambling, real estate and Real Estate Investments Trusts (REIT) and railways operations.

Background

Since 2014, Union Government has brought major FDI policy reforms in a number of sectors, including Insurance, Pension Sector, Defence, Construction Development and Broadcasting etc. Measures undertaken by the Union Government have resulted in increased FDI inflows at 55.46 billion dollars in the financial year 2015-16. This was the highest ever FDI inflow in India for a particular financial year.

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