Five game changer laws
kumari seema 26 Dec 2016

Five game changer laws

Prime Minister Narendra Modi rode to power in 2014 on the promise of fast-tracking the economy. 2016 did see him at work. The government passed a slew of laws which were game-changers due to their potential to bring in investment, spur growth, enable various actors, smooth processes and discourage wrong-doings. Here is a list of laws that can impact the economy in both near and long terms in radical ways: 

The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidie,benefits and services) Act, 2016 

For long, Aadhaar was obstructed as it was believed to violate fundamental rights by impinging on privacy. It was feared as a crypto-mass-surveillance tool for the Big Brother government. However, it is now going to become the biggest vehicle for public welfare. When the government introduced it as a money bill, many thought it was a strategy to bypass Rajya Sabha where the government is in minority. Actually, by branding Aadhaar as a money bill, the government defined its primary objective—transfer of subsidies and other financial benefits, and rendered the privacy concerns secondary. The clause that prevents use of Aadhaar data for any other purpose addresses the privacy concern. The Act has become the biggest welfare step by any government so far because with Aadhaar, welfare is no longer a haphazard response but an elaborate institutionalised mechanism

The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 

India witnessed the biggest boom in the past 20 years in a sector that was least regulated — housing. Buyers were almost at the mercy of sellers. The government changed that with Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016, or RERA. The new law makes the seller accountable right from the beginning when he has to register the project with a regulatory authority and deposit 70 per cent of the funds collected into a separate bank account within three months of applying for registration. It has a stringent and quick dispute resolution mechanism too. Will it bring back the boom? Not likely, but it will ensure not too many miss the home bus by bringing stability to a sector where uncertainty can wreak havoc on the entire economy. 

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016 

Vijay Mallya escaping out of India with a debt of $1.4 billion and banks scurrying to recover it by selling off his assets has become a picture of corporate profligacy, which has hit India's public banks hard. Bad loans and corporate debt are the heaviest drags on India's growth today. Now there is a law to tackle today's free-for-all bankruptcy sector. The new law makes it harder for the big fish to escape and quicker for the companies to go insolvent or turn around. Workers, who used to be the biggest collateral damage when companies went bust, will now be a priority during the liquidation of assets, even over secured creditors. Those who go bankrupt will not be able to hold any public office, a safeguard against a lot of politicians abusing bankruptcy laws. India figures at 130 out of 189 countries in the World Bank's ease-of-doing-business rankings. With the new law, India hopes to jump above 100. The law is one of the most important reforms today as it can rescue rescue the public banks reeling under heavy debt. 

The Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016 

Days after declaring demonetisation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a speech in Goa, "This isn't the end. This isn't a full stop, I declare." As if giving a clue, he mentioned how bureaucrats in Delhi have benami flats in Goa. Many think this new law can be the next shock to the country's black money economy after demonetisation. Apart from land, the law applies to currency deposits too. Under this law, a taxman can confiscate and prosecute both the depositor and the person whose illegal money he or she has "adjusted" in their account. 

National Waterways Act, 2016 

Cargo movement, the lifeline of any economy, will get a boost with 106 new waterways proposed in the new Act in addition to the existing five. This is a revolutionary law but will take a long time to impact the economy as Inland Waterways Authority of India will first conduct the techno-economic feasibility studies and identify possible stretches for shipping. Yet, since waterways are far less costlier than highways, this law will give a big boost to the movement of goods. 

A real game-changer, this. 

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