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Current Affairs: 10 February 2017

Published on Friday, February 10, 2017

RBI to set up panel on strengthening cyber security

  • In a bid to strengthen cyber security system, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) decided to set up an inter-disciplinary panel on cyber security to examine various threats and suggest measures to deal with it.
  • While banks have taken steps to strengthen their defences, the diverse and ingenious nature of recent cyber-attacks necessitates an ongoing review of the cyber security landscape and emerging threats. Towards this end, an inter-disciplinary Standing Committee on cyber security is being constituted
  • The panel will review the threats inherent in the existing or emerging technology on an ongoing basis, it said.
  • Besides, it will also study adoption of various security standards/protocols and also act as interface with stakeholders.
  • There are around 75 crore debit cards operational in India, of which 19 crore are indigenously developed by RuPay while the rest are Visa- and Master Card-enabled
  • Of the debit cards affected, about 26.5 lakh are on Visa and MasterCard platforms while 6,00,000 are on RuPay. The breach reportedly involved some 90 ATMs.
  • Several public and private sector banks recalled or blocked over 32 lakh debit cards to safeguard customers from any financial fraud.

RBI to set up separate Enforcement Department

  • The Reserve Bank of India will set up enforcement department to effectively monitor banks in case they violate regulations. The RBI has decided to establish a separate Enforcement Department which will start operations from April 1, 2017.
  • As of now, each department of the RBI takes action against banks for violations of rules. RBI now proposes to have it centralised in one department
  • his will help RBI follow-up and maintain a record on banks performance
  • Enforcement department will deals with cases of non-compliance with regulations noticed either through the surveillance process or otherwise. 
  • With a view to developing a sound framework and process for enforcement action, it has been decided to establish a separate Enforcement Department,

MoU signed between India and France in science and technology

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was apprised of the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of cooperation between Technology Development Board (TDB), Department of Science and Technology, Government of India and Bpifrance- which is a Public Investment Bank in France.
  • The agreement will foster exchange of desirable practices and setting up of coordinated measures to further developmental exchange in the field of science, technology and innovation
  • The MoU aims at carrying out activities related to exchange of best practices in the field of science and technology through TDP and Bpifrance. (ANI)

Cabinet approves 'Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan for covering 6 crore rural households

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved 'Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan' (PMGDISHA) to make 6 crore rural households digitally literate. The outlay for this project is Rs.2,351.38 crore to usher in digital literacy in rural India by March, 2019.
  • PMGDISHA is expected to be one of the largest digital literacy programmes in the world. Under the scheme, 25 lakh candidates will be trained in the FY 2016-17; 275 lakh in the FY 2017-18; and 300 lakh in the FY 2018-19. To ensure equitable geographical reach, each of the 250,000 Gram Panchayats would be expected to register an average of 200-300 candidates.
  • Digitally literate persons would be able to operate computers/digital access devices (like tablets, smart phones, etc.), send and receive emails, browse internet, access Government Services, search for information, undertaking cashless transactions, etc. and hence use IT to actively participate in the process of nation building.
  • The implementation of the Scheme would be carried out under the overall supervision of Ministry of Electronics and IT in active collaboration with States/UTs through their designated State Implementing Agencies, District e-Governance Society (DeGS), etc

MEA hosted Implementation and Assessment Group Meeting of GICNT

  • The Ministry of External Affairs in coordination with the Department of Atomic Energy hosted the Implementation and Assessment Group Meeting of the Global Initiative to combat Nuclear Terrorism on February 8-10, 2017 at the Pravasi Bhartiya Kendra. Approximately 150 delegates from various GICNT partner countries and international organisations participated in this event.
  • This event highlighted India’s commitment to global nuclear non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. 
  • It is a part of our overall engagement with the international community on nuclear security issues. It also highlights the continued priority we attach to nuclear security, our efforts to further strengthen the institutional frameworks, capacity building and enhance international cooperation.
  • The possible use of weapons of mass destruction and related material by terrorists is no longer a theoretical concern. 
  • A breach of nuclear security may lead to unimaginable consequences

Jharkhand CM launches UJALA scheme

  • Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das launched energy efficient fans and LED tube lights under the 'Unnat Jeevan by Affordable LEDs and Appliances for All' (UJALA) scheme in the state.
  • Speaking on the occasion, Das said a total 85 lakh LED bulbs have been distributed.
  • He said that when he took charge two years ago, 30 lakh households out of 68 lakh did not have electricity, and since then seven lakh households have got it.
  • The state government set a goal to electrify the rest 23 lakh households by March, 2019, he was quoted in an official release.
  • The UJALA scheme is being implemented by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a JV under the administration of Ministry of Power, Government of India.
  • The schemes will help the government manage peak demand and reduce power outage. We should all be proud that we are helping the environment by mitigating climate change through the adoption of energy efficient appliances
  • EESL would provide free of cost replacement of LED bulbs and tube lights for all technical faults for three years, as well as free of cost replacement of energy efficient fans for all technical faults for 2.5 years.

Gujarat establishes cashless system for PDS

  • Gujarat has become the first state in the country for establishing cashless system in its public distribution system (PDS) of food grains.
  • The beneficiaries who are eligible for subsidised food grains under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) will now need to carry only Aadhaar cards for getting their food grains in Gujarat.
  • The efforts of the state government for installing Aadhaar enabled payment system in 17,250 fair price shops (FPS), much before the targeted date of March 31, is commendable
  • The Gujarat government has partnered with common service centres, a special purpose vehicle of ministry of Electronics and IT by offering 30 digital services through the FPSs.
  • Further, a farmer can get the soil health card and registration for centrally sponsored schemes.
  • It is told that the state government (Gujarat) is also trying to make provision for monthly bus travel pass for students and payment of electricity bill through these shops. 
  • Besides, one can use the computer and internet facility at the FPS

Lok Sabha passes Wages Amendment Bill

  • The Lok Sabha  passed the Payment of Wages (Amendment) Bill, 2017 which allows for digital payment of salaries or through cheque. The bill will now go to Rajya Sabha and following its passage in the upper House, the amendments will be notified.
  • The move will enable employers to pay wages of less than Rs 18,000 a month by cheque or digitally to bank accounts, besides in cash, by doing away with the requirement of employees' written consent for the same.
  • At present, wages can be given through cheque or transferred to a bank account only after a written authorisation from an employee. The Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 15, but it could not be taken up for discussion amid din over demonetisation.

Govt approves revenue insurance scheme for plantation crops

  • The commerce ministry has approved the pilot Revenue Insurance Scheme for Plantation Crops for protecting the growers from the risks such as yield loss, pest attacks and income decline caused by fall in prices.
  • The Price Stabilization Fund (PSF) Scheme, 2003 was closed on September 30, 2013 and Revenue Insurance Scheme for Plantation Crops (RISPC) is an improved form of the PSF
  • Department of Commerce has recently approved the pilot RISPC for protecting growers of plantation crops from the twin risks of yield loss due to adverse weather parameters, pest attacks etc and income loss caused by fall in international/domestic prices,

In a First, SC Issues Contempt Notice to Calcutta High Court Judge CS Karnan

  • In the first move of its kind, the Supreme Court has issued a contempt notice to a sitting judge of the Calcutta High Court and taken away all his judicial and administrative powers.
  • A seven judge bench of the apex court initiated contempt proceedings against Justice CS Karnan.
  • Karnan wrote letters to the Prime Minister, Law Minister, Chief Justice of India, judges of SC and others levelling allegations of corruption against the Supreme Court and Madras High Court judges.
  • This is a significant as it is for the first time that SC has issued a show cause notice to a sitting judge of a HC and asked him to remain present in person to defend charges against him.
  • Justice Karnan is also directed to return all judicial and administrative files in his possession to Registrar General of Calcutta HC
  • SC has given Karnan time till February 13 to reply to the notice and that’s the next date of hearing in the case. The court has also asked it’s registry to furnish copy of the order to Justice Karnan during the course of the day.
  • Attorney General of India Mukul Rohatgi said that action must be taken against the judge as the letters written by him to authorities bring disrepute to the judicial system. He called it "slanderous" and "disparaging" to the system of administration of justice.

HRD ministry forms sub-panel of CABE to boost girls' education

  • The Union HRD Ministry has constituted a sub-committee of Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) under Chairmanship of Telangana's Deputy Chief Minister to look into issues of girl's education.
  • The terms of reference of the sub-committee would be to examine the reasons for low participation of girls in education, including the socio-economic factors with resultant gender bias, and suggest ways to reduce gender disparity so as to achieve better gender parity index
  • The sub-committee, to be chaired by Telangana's Deputy Chief Minister and Education Minister Kadiyam Srihari, would also assess the current status of girls' enrolment across the country at primary, upper primary, secondary education and senior secondary levels.
  • It will analyse girls' participation at all levels of school education across socio-economic groups of SC/ST, minorities and in rural-urban areas and reduce existing educational disparities among them.

Federal Bank Inks Pact with Commodity Online for Loans Against Warehouse Receipts

  • Private sector lender Federal Bank Limited has partnered with Commodity Online, a leading online data and information portal for the distribution of loans against warehouse receipts and collateral management services across the country.
  • Commodity Online will launch an agri-commodity financing platform through its portal
  • The partnership will enable Federal Bank to digitally provide financing for agri-commodities with collateral management across India.
  • The farmers and traders with the help of the portal can track commodity markets and warehouses online as per their convenience and eventually get financing for their commodities quickly.

HDFC Bank, KMB go live with Bharat Bill Payment System

  • Private sector lenders HDFC Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank are live with the Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) that is aimed at easing utility and other repetitive bill payments for consumers.
  • The BBPS is a centralised system created by the National Payments Corporation, involving banks and non-banks and allows agents to access bill payments services in an interoperable manner
  • A customer can pay multiple bills from a single platform without the hassle of visiting multiple websites or issuing individual cheques, or also registering billers with her bank for standard instructions for debit
  • BBPS introduced by NPCI is a seamless payment platform that offers speed and convenience to pay all types of bills
  • The service will soon be made available for non-bank customers as well.
  • The bank has introduced the service on its net banking page at present and plans to offer it on mobile banking next.
  • At present, there are 124 billers whose payments can be made using the service

Bank of Baroda, IFFCO launch co-branded debit card for farmers

  • In a novel initiative that would push digitalisation and cashless economy, Bank of Baroda (BOB) has tied up with IFFCO, a cooperative, to provide co-branded debit cards with inbuilt overdraft facilities to the farmers.
  • In this regard, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between G.B.Panda, General Manager (government relationship) BOB and Yogendra Kumar, General Manager (Marketing) IFFCO.
  • Under this MOU, two lakh co-branded debit cards will be issued to the farmers beginning with the state of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Subsequently more cards will be issued across rest of India.
  • These co-branded debit cards will be exclusively used for the purchase of IFFCO products only.
  • BOB has agreed to issue the co-branded debit cards to the farmers with an overdraft limit of Rs. 2,500 per cardholder.
  • BOB will also provide 2500 PoS machines initially at the various locations across India recommended by IFFCO at mutually agreed terms and conditions.

Hyderabad surgeon Raghu Ram wins B C Roy award

  • Dr P Raghu Ram, president of Association of Breast Surgeons of India, has won the prestigious Dr B C Roy national award for outstanding service in the field of socio medical relief for 2016.
  • The announcement was made by Dr Jayshree Mehta, president, Medical Council of India, in a letter addressed to Ram, who is also director, KIMS-USHALAKSHMI Centre for Breast Diseases, and CEO, Ushalakshmi Breast Cancer Foundation.
  • The award, the highest recognition for medical practitioners in India, would be conferred on Ram by President Pranab Mukherjee on July 1, observed as Doctors day, according to a KIMS-USHALAKSHMI Centre perss release.
  • He is the youngest surgeon ever from the Telugu states (Telangana and Andhra Pradesh) to have been selected for this award, it claimed. 
  • The award recognises Dr Rams significant contribution towards improving the delivery of breast health care in India, and equally, creating the much needed awareness about importance of early detection of breast cancer in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh through a number of initiatives

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