Crucial Bills And Amendments for IAS Prelims 2017: The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) will conduct the civil services (CS) preliminary examination on June 18 this year. It is one of the most esteemed and toughest exams in the country. With a success rate of 0.1- 0.3 percent of the total percentage of candidates who apply, it is really difficult to nail the examination.
This article covers some of the most important Bills and Amendments which will help you for your upcoming IAS Prelims Preparation.
Crucial Bills And Amendments for IAS Prelims 2017: Merchant Shipping Bill, Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016
Today we will discuss the next two bills. Below mentioned is the explanation of the the next two topics i.e Merchant Shipping Bill, Benami Transactions, 2016.
Merchant Shipping Bill
The Merchant Shipping Bill, 2016 was introduced in Lok Sabha on December 16, 2016 by the Minister of State for Shipping, Mr. Pon Radhakrishnan. The Bill seeks to bring in reforms in the shipping sector to promote ease of doing business, and develop Indian coastal shipping. The Bill replaces the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958, and repeals the Coasting Vessels Act, 1838.
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the Merchant Shipping Bill, 2016 for introducing it in the Parliament.
The Merchant Shipping Bill, 2016 is a revamped version of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958. The Bill provides for repealing of Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 as well as for the repealing of the Coasting Vessels Act, 1838.
The Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 had become a bulky piece of legislation over the years as a result of various amendments carried out in the Act from time to time. It was amended 17 times between 1966 and 2014 resulting in an increase in the number of sections to more than 560 sections. These provisions have been meticulously shortened to 280 sections in the Bill.
The provisions of the Bill will simplify the law governing the merchant shipping in India. Further, certain redundant provisions will be dispensed with and remaining provisions will stand consolidated and simplified so as to promote case of doing business, transparency and effective delivery of services.
The significant reforms that will usher in, upon enactment of the Bill, are:
A. Augmentation of Indian tonnage promotion/development of coastal shipping in India by:-
a) allowing substantially-owned vessels and vessels on Bare Boat-cum-Demise (BBCD); charter by Indians to be registered as Indian flag vessels;
b) recognising Indian controlled tonnage as a separate category;
c) dispensing with the requirement for issuing of licences to Indian flag vessels for coastal operation and for port clearance by the Customs authorities; and
d) making separate rules for coastal vessels to develop & promote coastal shipping.
B. Introduction of welfare measures for seafarers, such as:-
a) seafarers held in hostage captivity of pirates will receive wages till they are released and reach home back safely;
b) owners of vessels to compulsorily take insurance of crew engaged on vessels including fishing, sailing without mechanical means of propulsion and whose net tonnage is less than 15; and
c) the requirement of signing of articles of agreement by the crew before the Shipping Master will no longer be necessary.
C. Registration of certain residuary category of vessels not covered under any statute and lo make provisions for security-related aspects.
D. Incorporation of all International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Conventions/Protocols in the Indian laws up-to-date (an essential pre-requisite for compliance with the IMO Member-State Audit Scheme that is mandatory since 1/1/2016) by inserting provisions relating to seven different conventions, namely,
a) the Intervention Convention 1969,
b) the Search and Rescue Convention 1979
c) the Protocol for Prevention of Pollution from Ships Annex VI to Marine Pollution Convention,
d) the Convention for Control and Management of Ships Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004,
e) the Nairobi Wreck Removal Convention, 2007,
f) the Salvage Convention 1989 and
g) the International Convention for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage, 2001.
Besides, the provisions for survey, inspection and certification of vessels which were scattered in various Parts of the existing Act are placed together to provide for a simplified regime for convenience of Indian shipping industry. The Coasting Vessels Act, 1838, which is an archaic legislation of the British era providing for registration of non-mechanically propelled vessels to a limited jurisdiction of Saurashtra and Kutch, is proposed to be repealed since in the Merchant Shipping Bill 2016 provisions have been introduced for registration of all vessels for the whole of India.
Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act
The Income Tax department has notified that the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016 (BTP Amendment Act), will come into force from 1st November 2016. The new law seeks to give more teeth to the authorities to curb benami transaction.
The notification issued by the Income Tax department, stated that after coming into effect, the BTP Amendment Act, the existing Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988, shall be renamed as Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988.
The Bill seeks to: (i) amend the definition of benami transactions, (ii) establish adjudicating authorities and an Appellate Tribunal to deal with benami transactions, and (iii) specify the penalty for entering into benami transactions.
- The Act defines a benami transaction as a transaction where a property is held by or transferred to a person, but has been provided for or paid by another person. The Bill amends this definition to add other transactions which qualify as benami, such as property transactions where: (i) the transaction is made in a fictitious name, (ii) the owner is not aware of denies knowledge of the ownership of the property, or (iii) the person providing the consideration for the property is not traceable.
- The Bill also specifies certain cases will be exempt from the definition of a benami transaction. These include cases when a property is held by: (i) a member of a Hindu undivided family, and is being held for his or another family member’s benefit, and has been provided for or paid off from sources of income of that family; (ii) a person in a fiduciary capacity; (iii) a person in the name of his spouse or child, and the property has been paid for from the person’s income; and the Bill defines benamidar as the person in whose name the benami property is held or transferred, and a beneficial owner as the person for whose benefit the property is being held by the benamidar.
- The Bill defines benamidar as the person in whose name the benami property is held or transferred, and a beneficial owner as the person for whose benefit the property is being held by the benamidar.
- The Bill also seeks to establish an Appellate Tribunal to hear appeals against any orders passed by the Adjudicating Authority. Appeals against orders of the Appellate Tribunal will lie to the high court.
- Under the Act, the penalty for entering into benami transactions is imprisonment up to three years, or a fine, or both. The Bill seeks to change this penalty to rigorous imprisonment of one year up to seven years, and a fine which may extend to 25% of the fair market value of the benami property.
- The Bill also specifies the penalty for providing false information to be rigorous imprisonment of six months up to five years, and a fine which may extend to 10% of the fair market value of the benami property.
- Certain sessions courts would be designated as Special Courts for trying any offences which are punishable under the Bill.
Here, we conclude our article on Crucial Bills And Amendments for IAS Prelims 2017. Stay tuned with us for the rest of the topic that we will discuss day by day.