BBIN Pact can turn a game changer :-
The Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN)Motor Vehicles Agreement will be a game-changer for regional cooperation in South Asia which requires a number of enablers for its effective implementation.
Motor Vehicles Agreement signed by BBIN :-
- The four South Asian nations signed the BBIN agreement in the Bhutanese capital Thimphu in June 2016, in what was seen as a first model of sub-regional cooperation.
- The agreement would allow passengers, personal, and cargo vehicular traffic among the four countries.
- Bhutan is yet to ratify the agreement.
- According to CUTS International officials, the implementation of the agreement is expected to begin in the second half of 2018.
National Policy Dialogue Emphasis on :-
- Ensuring better connectivity by addressing bottlenecks in physical infrastructure and procedural barriers.
- Generating political consensus for connectivity initiatives, and why they should be looked at from gender and other dimensions of social inclusiveness for a better local buy-in.
CUTS Report on BBIN MVA :-
- With the help of the Electronic Cargo Tracking System and a better conformity assessment system, which are in place in India, the BBIN MVA would become a successful model for regional cooperation.
- Rail connectivity for people-to-people contacts between India and Bangladesh are being extended.
- Setting up of “Border Haats” and their gradual development are undertaken to foster better bilateral as well as regional cooperation.
Needs to work on several issues for its success :-
- Importance of women’s participation in economic activities for comprehensive and socially inclusive development.
- Prioritise and develop those corridors and critical hubs that are of geographic and strategic importance to the region.
- Local level capacity building
- Private sector engagement should be there and need to strengthen the institutional arrangements for regional cooperation.
About CUTS International :-
- It is known as Consumer Unity & Trust Society.
- CUTS International is a non-profit organisation committed to fulfilling the developmental aspirations of the poor.
- Headquartered in Jaipur, India.
- Founded by Pradeep S. Mehta in 1983.
THE FUGITIVE ECONOMIC OFFENDERS BILL 2017 :-
What is the Bill?
- The Bill aims to stop economic offenders who leave the country to avoid due process.
- Offenses involving amounts of ₹100 crore or more fall under the purview of this law.
What are economic offenses?
- Economic offences are those that are defined under the Indian Penal Code, the Prevention of Corruption Act, the SEBI Act, the Customs Act, the Companies Act, Limited Liability Partnership Act, and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.
Who is a ‘fugitive economic offender’?
- According to Section 4 of the law, a ‘fugitive economic offender’ is “any individual against whom a warrant for arrest in relation to a scheduled offence has been issued by any court in India, who:(i) leaves or has left India so as to avoid criminal prosecution.(ii) refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution.
How is a person declared an offender?
- A Director, appointed by the central government, will have to file an application to a Special Court to declare a person as a ‘fugitive economic offender’
- The Director has the power to attach any property the accused holds
What does the offender have to do?
- The Court will issue a notice to the person named a ‘fugitive economic offender’.
- Within six weeks from the date of the notice, the person will have to present themselves at “a specified place at a specified time”.
- If the offender fails to do so, they will be declared a ‘fugitive economic offender’ and their properties as listed in the Director’s application will be confiscated.
Once the property is confiscated, can the offender file a civil claim?
- Section 11 of the Act disqualifies those declared as offenders from either filing or defending a civil claim in court.
What happens to the properties?
- The Special court will appoint an ‘administrator’ to oversee the confiscated property.
- This person will be responsible for disposing of the property as well, and the property will be used to satisfy creditors’ claims.
UN Spotlight on Kerala Energy Positive Campus :-
Recognition for energy efficiency
- The Energy Management Centre (EMC), an autonomous institution under the Kerala government, has grabbed the global spotlight for its energy-positive campus
- Energy Management Centre is the only Indian project to get recognition for energy efficiency in a UNEP report
Global Status Report 2017
- The ‘Global Status Report 2017: Towards a zero-emission, efficient, and resilient buildings and construction sector,’ is published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
- It has listed the EMC campus as one of the recent achievements in the deployment of key technologies for energy-efficiency in buildings
- The EMC campus is the only LEED Gold certified building in the government sector in Kerala and is built with assistance from the Global Environment Fund.
Fear of Forfeiture :- On the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill :-
Concerns over proposed law to curb economic offences :-
- Whether the threat of confiscation of property will act as a serious deterrent to those seeking to flee or as a big incentive for fugitives to return.
Problems with previous laws :-
- From the provision in the Code of Criminal Procedure for attachment of the property of ‘proclaimed offenders’, to sections in Acts targeting smugglers, foreign exchange offenders and traffickers in narcotics, proceedings for forfeiture of property have been marked by shortcomings and procedural delays.
- Laws like Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of Property) Act, 1976, have not exactly been a success.
How new bill overcomes these shortcomings?
- The bill provides a fresh legal framework that would enable the confiscation of the property of those evading prosecution by fleeing the country or remaining abroad.
- Under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, confiscation is not limited to the proceeds of crime and extends to any asset owned by an offender, including benami property but such clauses are liable for a legal challenge, especially if there are third party interests and doubts about real ownership
Forfeiture not linked to criminal conviction
- The government has justified not linking the forfeiture clause to criminal conviction.
- It has been citing the principle enshrined in the UN Convention Against Corruption, which India ratified in 2011.
- The convention envisages domestic laws for confiscation of property without a criminal conviction.
- This is in cases in which the offenders cannot be prosecuted for reasons of death, flight or absence.
- While the utility and effectiveness of laws are best assessed in the implementation, it is important to ensure they are fair and reasonable.
- The shortcomings in previous laws must be avoided, and the new legal regime impartially enforced.