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PM Modi meets Telangana CM, discusses drought, rural development

New Delhi: The Soil Health Card scheme aims at delineating the country into ‘crop colonies’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday after Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao made a suggestion in this regard during a meeting to review drought situation in the state.

At the outset, the Prime Minister told Rao he is holding separate meetings with chief ministers of the drought-affected states to assess the specific requirements of each and to focus attention on both immediate and long-term measures.

He has already met the Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka. In all, he will be meeting chief ministers of 11 states.

During the meeting between the Prime Minister and the Telangana CM, several historical examples, as well as global best practices in the area of water storage and irrigation were discussed, a PMO statement said.

Narendra Modi. File photo. Getty imagesNarendra Modi. File photo. Getty images

Narendra Modi. File photo. Getty images

Rao suggested delineation of the entire country into ‘crop colonies’ so that specific strategies could be evolved accordingly, it said.

The Prime Minister appreciated the suggestion and said Soil Health Cards aim to achieve the same objective, it said, adding Modi encouraged Telangana to come up with a model plan.

The meeting was told that an amount of Rs 712.62 crore has been released to Telangana under the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF), after adjustments of the state balances, the statement said.

This is in addition to Rs 205.5 crore released as central share of State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) for 2015-16 to the state, it said.

A further amount of Rs 108 crore has been released as first instalment of SDRF for 2016-17, the meeting was told. Rao apprised Modi of the progress made in ‘Mission Kakatiya’, which aims at rejuvenation of water tanks and other water-storage structures in the state.

He also shared details of the state government’s ambitious project of ‘Mission Bhagiratha’, which aims at providing safe drinking water to rural households.

The Prime Minister stressed on the importance of using urban waste water for irrigation in adjoining rural areas. He said remote sensing and space technology can be used to identify blocked water channels, which can then be targeted for desiltation through public participation.

Rao also spoke of the progress made in micro-irrigation, which has so far covered 40,000 hectares in the state. He thanked the Prime Minister for launching the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, which, he described as a very good scheme for farmers.

He also thanked Modi for the amendments to the CAMPA (Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority) Act and suggested that the Union government should now evolve a strategy for its effective utilisation.

The Chief Minister also shared details of the state government’s major plantation drive -– Haritha Haram.

Lok Sabha passes Bill on compensatory afforestation

The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority Bill, 2015, that will unlock Rs 40,000 crore worth of funds for state governments. The Bill will enable setting up of a fund at national and state level, to receive money from industries for compensatory afforestation and to assist natural regeneration of forests. The Bill was tabled in Lok Sabha on May 8, 2015 and was later sent to the parliamentary standing committee on environment and forests and the union cabinet approved changes suggested by the parliamentary committee on April 20. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An earlier avatar of the Bill was rejected in 2009 on the floor of Rajya Sabha for vesting too much power in the hands of Centre. After its passage in Lok Sabha, the Bill will be now be tabled in Rajya Sabha. Currently, an ad hoc Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA), formed on the directions of the Supreme Court, handles the corpus of funds collected by state governments and union territories, that has accumulated to nearly Rs 40,000 crore.The money with the National Fund will be spent on management of the national schemes as approved by the national CAMPA committee. The money in the state fund will be used for artificial regeneration, forest management and protection of wildlife. The state CAMPA body will consist of a governing body, a steering committee and an executive committee. The governing body will be chaired by the chief minister of the state.

Rajya Sabha passes real-estate Bill

In a step that would finally bring smiles on prospective home buyers, the Rajya Sabha on Thursday unanimously passed the Real Estate Regulator (Regulation and Development) Bill with important amendments that make builders and developers accountable for what they promise and finally sell.This effectively means developers/promoters cannot lure and cheat you by showing glamorous advertisements of swimming pools, gardens, club houses etc and deliver you a pond, a small patch of green and a small room good enough only to play carom.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Once the Bill becomes an Act, the developer will have to quote prices based on carpet area and not super built-up area that is used to fudge and inflate figures. The Bill also prevents builders from changing the building layout plans without mandatory consent from 66% buyers.Introduced in Parliament almost a decade ago by the Congress-led UPA government, the real estate Bill failed to make it because of logjams and alleged lobbying by the builders’ lobby. After being passed in the Upper House, the amended Bill now requires the assent of the Lok Sabha to become an Act.Applicable to both residential and commercial real estate transactions, the Bill establishes the State Real Estate Regulatory Authority for each particular state as the government body to be approached for redressal of grievances. But it will take place only when the the states ratify this Act and establishes a state authority on the lines provided in the central bill.It makes it mandatory for the developer to deposit 70% of the project cost in a dedicated bank account ensuring that the money is not invested by the developer in innumerous projects by using booking money for one project.This would also check black money in real-estate business, said urban development minister Venkaiah Naidu.Bowing to pressure from some Congress members, Naidu agreed to bring the anti-discrimination aspect in the rules of the Bill. This will allow no discrimination on the basis of region, religion, food habits and caste etc.The amended Bill makes developers/builders liable for structural defects for five years instead of two. The regulatory body will ensure quicker dispute resolution in 60 days, lays down the bill.Speaking to dna, national convenor of Pan India Movement for Real Estate Regulations, Abhay Upadhyay, described it as a historical occasion for real democratic movement when all parties came forward to pass the Bill.”This was our seventh push for the Bill and finally we the consumers succeeded,”said Upadhayay.Hailing it as a big win for consumers, Ajay Mehta of Campa Cola Compound Residents’Association, Mumbai, said: “I hope the day Parliament enacts it, Maharashtra will take a lead in implementing it.”What is in storeAll projects, brokers should be registered with the real estate regulatorThe Bill will apply to new and ongoing projectsDevelopers won’t now be able to divert funds raised for one project to anotherDevelopers should put aside 70% money collected from buyers during pre-saleThat money should be solely used for funding project constructionThe Bill proposes that consumers and developers pay the same interest rate for any delays on their partIt also allows for developers to be arrested and jailed for up to three years for any violations