News Snippet

News 1: ‘India’s coal mines are severely under-utilised amid push for new ones’

News 2: India has potential to attract $475 billion in FDI in 5 years: report

News 3: Public dashboard to track progress of remediation of legacy landfills

News 4: T.N. raises concern over presence of Chinese troops in Sri Lanka

News 5: Understanding the Global Hunger Index

News 6: Tax on windfall profit on crude oil, export of diesel, ATF raised

News 7:  Centre considering Sri Lanka’s proposal to translocate gaurs

News 8: U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum set for Nov. 8, modest outcomes likely

News 9: PM for use of regional languages in legal system to bring ease of justice

News 10: 6 varieties of neelakurinji identified in Santhanpara region of Western Ghats

News 11: DBUs to further augment digital infrastructure, says RBI Governor

News 12: Indian travellers to Europe can now make payments via UPI, here’s how

Other important news:

  1. Dehing Patkai National Park
  2. Hampi
  3. Khajuraho Group of Monuments

News 1: ‘India’s coal mines are severely under-utilised amid push for new ones’


Background:

  • On average, India’s coal mines use only two-thirds of the capacity, with some large ones using only 1%, says an analysis by Global Energy Monitor (GEM), a firm that tracks utilisation of the fuel-source internationally.

Findings:

  • This suggests that 99 of India’s coal mine projects, expected to yield 427 million tonnes per annum (MTPA), under development are unnecessary, and opening new coal mines would not contribute to easing short-term supply-crunches.
  • GEM performed its analysis by surveying annual reports of Coal India, the largest coal producer in the world, and its subsidiaries and underlines that the company has not listed capacity constraints as among the reasons it fails to reach production targets.
  • Instead, it blames “..competition from renewables, infrastructure impasses, and land-use concerns for hindering output…” the report notes.

Coal mines under development threaten:

  • Displacement of villages which will affect families, of which predominant population is tribal communities.
  • Agricultural land and 19,297 ha of forest
  • Consume at least 168,041 kilolitres of water per day, comparable to the daily water needs of over one million people, according to GEM.

On the heels of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of a net zero target of 2070, these new mines “… increase India’s likelihood of stranded assets, delay a clean energy future — and in the process pose irreversible impacts on India’s rural communities and environments for the sake of economically precarious mining ventures”, the report underlines.

‘Warning signs ignored’

  •  “New mines can’t make the industry’s old problems go away. The irony of this expansion is that opening new mines today could intensify the sector’s weaknesses and inefficiencies tomorrow, especially as competition from renewables and conflicts over land use continue to emerge.”

News 2: India has potential to attract $475 billion in FDI in 5 years: report


Background:

  • Even as the COVID-19 pandemic and geopolitical conflict resulted in investor uncertainty, India has the potential to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows of $475 billion in the next five years due to the focus on reforms and economic growth, according to a report by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and EY.

Findings:

  • The report noted that FDI in India has seen a consistent rise in the past decade, with FY 2021-22 receiving FDI inflow of $84.8 billion despite the impact of the pandemic and geopolitical developments on investment sentiment.
  • The report titled, Vision — Developed India: Opportunities and Expectations of MNCs, added that 71% of MNCs working in India consider the country an important destination for their global expansion.
  • The confidence in India’s potential, the report said, stems from strong consumption trends, digitisation and a growing services sector, along with government’s strong focus on infrastructure and manufacturing. The Indian government’s consistent efforts to reduce regulatory barriers is also stoking the positive perception among MNCs, it said.

News 3: Public dashboard to track progress of remediation of legacy landfills


Background:

  • Preparations to complete one of the targets of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) 2.0 that was launched a year ago — the remediation of all legacy landfills in the country — are in full swing and a public dashboard on the progress at 2,200 such sites is in the offing, Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry officials said.
  • To begin with, an official said, there was no data on the exact number of landfill sites. While landfills were only supposed to contain the remnants of solid waste after processing, the segregation and management were not carried out over the years, leaving mountains of trash. Any waste that has remained dumped for over three months is considered “legacy”, the official said.
  • Through the portal, citizens would be able to track the progress of their cities’ action plans for remediation of legacy landfills. The plans cover everything from remediation to the eventual reuse of the land. Once removed, the sites would free up 15,000 acres of land, the official said.

Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban):

  • Ministry: Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs
  • Launched: 2nd October, 2014
  • Aim: Achieving 100% Open Defecation Free (ODF) status through construction of Individual Household Latrines (IHHLs) and Community/ Public Toilets (CT/PTs) in all urban local bodies

Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) 2.0:

  • Ministry: Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs
  • Launched: October 1, 2021
  • Ending: October 1, 2026
  • Objective: To achieve “Garbage Free” status for all cities through 100 per cent source segregation, door-to-door collection of segregated waste and scientific processing and management of all fractions of waste, including its safe disposal in scientific landfills.
  • The scheme envisages remediation of all legacy dumpsites by converting them into green zones.

Focus areas:

  • To achieve the vision of a “Garbage Free” Urban India, more focus is required to be given to issues such as source segregation, collection & transportation, and processing, including effective management of Construction & Demolition waste, plastic waste management including reduction in single use plastic, and remediating all legacy dumpsites;
  • To sustain the ODF status and prevent slippage, there is a need to ensure that all fecal sludge and waste(used) water are safely contained, transported, processed and disposed off, so that no untreated fecal sludge or used water pollutes the ground or water bodies;
  • Intensified focus is required to be given to IEC and behavior change through citizen outreach and jan andolan, as well as capacity building and skilling of all relevant stakeholders, towards achieving the Mission’s objectives.

News 4: T.N. raises concern over presence of Chinese troops in Sri Lanka


Background:

  • Tamil Nadu has flagged serious security concerns over the increased presence of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China in Sri Lanka. An alert issued by the State’s intelligence agency a few days ago said the activities of the Chinese in the neighbouring country is a concern to national security and called for intensified vigil along the coastline.
  • The movement of PLA cadre and the deployment of hi-tech gadgets such as satellites, drones and other communication equipment in northern Sri Lanka required constant surveillance in coastal districts, the advisory sent to all cities and districts in the State said.
  • Citing sources, the alert claimed that the PLA had deployed sophisticated gadgets in the garb of launching sea cucumber farming.

Clandestine entry

  • The security advisory comes days after an alert was issued by the same agency warning that Chinese nationals had clandestinely entered India through the sea route with the assistance of cadre belonging to a Sri Lanka-based political party.
  • The Tamil Nadu Coastal Security Group had also, citing a Central intelligence agency, issued an alert on the Chinese ship used to monitor satellites, rockets and inter-continental missile launches of China docked at Hambantota Port, and called for adequate security arrangements in view of vital installations such as and seaports along the Tamil Nadu coast.
  • Security agencies in Tamil Nadu say there is an urgent need for the Union government to activate the Phase-III funding of the Coastal Security Scheme.

Coastal Security Scheme:

  • Ministry: Ministry of Home Affairs
  • Aim: To strengthen security of coastal areas against sea borne threats. It also envisages to augment the capabilities of police force of coastal states/UTs. This is being done in phases.
  • India has a coastline of 7516.6 km bordering the mainland and the islands with Bay of Bengal in the east, Arabian Sea in the west and Indian ocean on the south.
  • Indian Navy has been designated as the authority responsible for overall maritime security, which includes coastal security and offshore security. Indian Navy is assisted by Indian Coast Guard, Coastal Police and other Central and State agencies.
  • Indian Coast Guard is additionally responsible for coastal security in territorial waters including areas to be patrolled by coastal police.

News 5: Understanding the Global Hunger Index


Background:

  • For the second time in two years, the Ministry of Women and Child Development on Saturday rejected the Global Hunger Index (GHI) that ranked India 107 among 121 countries.
  • India was accorded a score of 29.1 out of 100 (with 0 representing no hunger), placing it behind Sri Lanka (66), Myanmar (71), Nepal (81) and Bangladesh (84). It referred to the index as “an erroneous measure of hunger”.

What is the Global Hunger Index?

  • The GHI, is a peer-reviewed annual report that endeavours to “comprehensively measure and track hunger at the global, regional, and country levels”. Authors of the report primarily refer to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG 2) that endeavours to achieve ‘Zero Hunger’ by 2030. According to them, the report attempts to “raise awareness and understanding of the struggle against hunger”.
  • The GHI score is computed using four broad indicators — undernourishment (measure of the proportion of the population facing chronic deficiency of dietary energy intake), child stunting (low height for age), child wasting (low weight for height) and child mortality (death of a child under the age of five).

Why these four metrics?

  • Undernourishment, as per the authors, provides a basis to measure inadequate access to food and is among the lead indicators for international hunger targets, including the UN SDG 2. Child stunting and mortality, offers perspective about the child’s vulnerability to nutritional deficiencies, access to food and quality of nutrition.
  • Since children (especially below five) are at a developmental age there is a greater and urgent requirement for nutrition with results particularly visible. This forms the basis of assessing nutritional requirement among children.
  • Adults are at a sustainable age — they are not growing but rather subsisting on nutrition for healthy survival. And lastly, on the same rationale, child mortality indicates the serious consequences of hunger.

What allegations are we looking at?

  • As per the Ministry for Women and Child Development, the report lowers India’s rank based on the estimates of the Proportion of Undernourished (PoU) population. It elaborates that the U.S. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimate is based on the ‘Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES)’ survey module conducted using the Gallup World Poll, that bears a sample size of 3,000 respondents being asked eight questions.
  • It stated that the data represented a miniscule proportion for a country of India’s size. It countered the assertions in the report pointing to India’s per capita dietary energy supply increasing year-on-year due to enhanced production of major agricultural commodities in the country over the years.
  • The GHI website provides important clarifications on these points raised by the government. It explains that while FAO uses a suite of indicators on food security, including two important indicators — prevalence of undernourishment and prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity based on FIES — the GHI only uses the PoU obtained through food balance sheets based on data reported by member countries, including India.
  • A food balance sheet provides a comprehensive picture of the pattern of a country’s food supply during a specified reference period. It lists down the source of the supply and its utilisation specific to each food category.

Why the controversy?

  • According to the Ministry, the report is not only disconnected from ground reality but also chooses to ignore the food security efforts of the Central government especially during the pandemic.
  • The Union Cabinet through the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojna (PM-GKAY), provisioned an additional 5 kg ration per person each month in addition to their normal quota of foodgrains. According to Professor of Economics at the Ambedkar University, Dipa Sinha, the schemes definitely helped ease the situation but fell short of being adequate.

News 6: Tax on windfall profit on crude oil, export of diesel, ATF raised


Background:

  • The government on Saturday raised the windfall tax on domestically-produced crude oil by more than a third while doubling the rate on export of diesel and reintroducing the levy on export of jet fuel (ATF) in line with the rise in international oil prices.

What is windfall profit tax?

  • A windfall tax is a higher tax rate levied by governments against certain industries when economic conditions allow those industries to experience above-average profits.
  • So when any industry, in this case-oil and gas- benefits from an event or a one-off external situation ( the Russia-Ukraine war) that they were not responsible for and make sudden profits, these profits are taxed separately, over and above the normal taxes that these companies pay to the governments.

News 7:  Centre considering Sri Lanka’s proposal to translocate gaurs


Background:

  • Close on the heels of the project that translocated cheetahs from Namibia, the Indian government is considering a proposal from Colombo to export a number of gaurs, or Indian bisons, to Sri Lanka to revive the population of gavaras that have been extinct in the island since the end of the 17th century.
  • If the project is cleared, it would be the first such agreement between India and Sri Lanka, and part of a global trend of “wildlife or zoological diplomacy”, say experts.

Wildlife or Zoological diplomacy:

  • Experts say that while “zoological diplomacy” had been practiced worldwide, they draw a distinction between “gifts or loans” of animals in captivity to translocation and reintroduction of a species, particularly between neighbouring countries with similar eco-systems.
  • “Much depends on whether the conditions that caused the extinction have been removed but reintroduction has frequently been taken up between countries where the range is contiguous,” explained Mahesh Rangaran, Professor of Environmental Studies at Ashoka University

Indian Bison (Gaur):

  • IUCN status: Endangered
  • Protected under Schedule I of Wildlife Protection Authority Act, 1972
  • Distribution: Native to South and South East Asia
  • Nowadays, this animal is kept well – protected in some of the famous national parks of India like Nagarhole, Bandipur, Kabini, Masinagudi and BR Hills.
  • The Indian Bison of Gaur which is the largest and the tallest in the family of wild cattle, even bigger than water buffalo and bison.

News 8: U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum set for Nov. 8, modest outcomes likely


Background:

  • The U.S.- India Trade Policy Forum (TPF) has been scheduled for November 8 in Washington DC, The Hindu has confirmed. U.S. trade officials are arriving in New Delhi next week to finalise issues for discussion, an Indian government official told The Hindu.  

Trade Policy Forum:

  • The 12th TPF was held in New Delhi in November 2021, after a hiatus of four years, delivering some gains over the past twelve months, such as the resumption of sales of Indian mangoes and pomegranate arils to the U.S. following the pandemic, and the appearance of U.S. cherries on the Indian market.
  • For India, many of the historical requests on services are met with responses from USTR that point to other wings of U.S. government, such as the Congress, or to other agencies and departments,  having ownership of the issue.
  • For the U.S. side, offering one to one market access for goods has been difficult.
  • “India has great access to the U.S. market,” a U.S. Government (USG) official told The Hindu, pointing to the lower tariffs in the US market.
  • Going into this year’s TPF , they are looking at “a number of products” in the agricultural space as “win wins”.
  • Among these, for the Americans, is the resolution of exports of alfalfa hay to India – an issue that is pending from last year’s TPF, the official said. The U.S. is also keen to supplement India’s ethanol and DDGS ( an animal feed product) production, with its supplies, in light of India’s blending goals under the 2022 National Biofuels Policy.
  • India’s requests have included high skilled worker visa numbers, fees, and recently, visa processing times;  social security portability across countries;  and 232 tariffs (i.e., tariffs imposed during the Trump administration on steel and aluminium) ; the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), a preferential market access program offered by the U.S. to some developing countries.
  • For now, GSP had been of interest in previous rounds of talks. Former U.S. President Donald Trump , whose approach to trade was largely guided by differentials in overall trade balance, had taken India out of the program  in June 2019.

Generalized System of Preferences:

  • The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), instituted in 1971 under the aegis of UNCTAD, has contributed over the years to creating an enabling trading environment for developing countries.
  • Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) is a preferential tariff system extended by developed countries to developing countries (also known as preference receiving countries or beneficiary countries). It is a preferential arrangement in the sense that it allows concessional low/zero tariff imports from developing countries.
  • The following 15 countries grant GSP preferences: Armenia, Australia, Belarus, Canada, the European Union, Iceland, Japan, Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Norway, the Russian Federation, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States of America.
  • The objective of UNCTAD’s support on GSP and other preferential arrangements is to help developing countries – particularly LDCs – to increase utilization of GSP and other trade preferences and in turn promote productive capacity development and increased trade.
  • Such support includes raising awareness and enhancing understanding among exporters and government officials in beneficiary countries of the trading opportunities available under the schemes; strengthening understanding of technical and administrative regulations and laws governing preferential market access, particularly rules of origin; and disseminating relevant information for users of GSP and other preferential schemes. Support is also provided to providers of preferences in improving their preferential schemes.

News 9: PM for use of regional languages in legal system to bring ease of justice


Background:

  • People’s faith in constitutional institutions gets strengthened when justice is seen to be delivered, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday even as he cited the delay in getting justice as one of the major challenges faced by the people of the country.
  • Mr. Modi stressed that new laws should be written in a clear manner and in regional languages to bring in “ease of justice”, so that even the poor can easily understand them and legal language doesn’t become a barrier for citizens.

Obsolete laws scrapped

  • He also urged the State governments to adopt a humane approach towards undertrial prisoners. The Prime Minister made these remarks while inaugurating the All India Conference of Law Ministers and Law Secretaries’ via video conference.
  • The two-day conference is being held at Ekta Nagar in Kevadia near the ‘Statue of Unity’ in Gujarat and is being attended by Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju among others.
  • Delivering the inaugural address, Mr. Modi said that people should neither feel the absence of government nor its pressure and that is his government, in the last eight years, has scrapped more than 1,500 obsolete and irrelevant laws that were a relic of British rule and reduced as many as 32,000 compliances for the sake of “innovation and ease of living”.
  • Laying stress on ensuring the ease of justice for the citizen, he said, “Delay in getting justice is one of the major challenges being faced by the people of our country. But our judiciary is seriously working towards resolving this issue. In this Amrit Kaal, we will have to work together to tackle this.”
  • Mr. Modi stated villages have been resorting alternative dispute resolution mechanism for a long time and it can be adopted at State level as well. On the importance of use of regional languages, he said, If law is comprehensible to the common man, it will have a different impact”.

News 10: 6 varieties of neelakurinji identified in Santhanpara region of Western Ghats


As visitors keep pouring in to witness the blooming of neelakurinji on a vast area on the Kallippara hills at Santhanpara in Idukki, Kerala, an expert team has identified six varieties of the plant across the region.

Neelakurinji (Strobilanthes kunthiana):

  • Kurinji or Neelakurinji in Malayalam and Tamil and Gurige in Kannada is a shrub that is found in the shola forests of the Western Ghats in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The purplish blue flower blossoms only once in 12 years, and gave the Nilgiri Mountains range its name, from the neelam (blue) + giri (mountain).

UPSC prelims question

  1. With reference to Western Ghats, consider the following:
  2. Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala are the six Indian states covered by the Western Ghats.
  3. Western Ghats are also known as Anaimalai hills and cardamom Hills in Kerala.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. a) 1 only
  2. b) 2 only
  3. c) Both 1 and 2
  4. d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer – Option C (They are also known as Sahyadris in Maharashtra, Nilgiri hills in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka )


News 11: DBUs to further augment digital infrastructure, says RBI Governor


Background:

  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das Sunday said the establishment of digital banking units (DBUs) will further augment the digital infrastructure in the country and improve customer experience in doing banking transactions.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi today dedicated 75 DBUs to the nation. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in her Union Budget speech for 2022-23, had announced setting up of 75 DBUs in as many districts of the country to commemorate 75 years of India’s independence.

What was the initial announcement?

  • In the Budget for 2022-23, the Finance Minister said: “In recent years, digital banking, digital payments and fintech innovations have grown at a rapid pace in the country.
  • The government is continuously encouraging these sectors to ensure that the benefits of digital banking reach every nook and corner of the country in a consumer-friendly manner.
  • Taking forward this agenda, and to mark 75 years of our independence, it is proposed to set up 75 Digital Banking Units (DBUs) in 75 districts of the country by Scheduled Commercial Banks”.

What are these DBUs?

In April this year, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced the guidelines for DBUs, following the report of a working group of the Indian Banks Association (IBA). 

  • A digital banking unit is a specialised fixed point business unit or hub, housing a certain minimum digital infrastructure for delivering digital banking products and services as well as servicing existing financial products and services digitally in self-service mode at any time.
  • “The establishment of DBUs is a step to further augment the digital infrastructure in the country. This will act as an enabler in the digital ecosystem and will improve customer experience by facilitating seamless banking transactions,” Das said at the virtual launch of these DBUs.
  • These units will augment the efforts to promote financial inclusion by providing banking services in a paperless, efficient, safe and secure environment, he said.

Who will set up these DBUs?

  • DBUs are being set up by commercial banks to ensure that the benefits of digital banking reach every nook and corner of the country. It is a joint initiative of the government, the RBI, the Indian Banks Association and the participating banks.
  • Commercial banks (other than regional rural banks, payment banks and local area banks) with past digital banking experience are permitted to open DBUs in tier 1 to tier 6 centres, unless otherwise specifically restricted, without having the need to take permission from the RBI in each case.

What services will be provided by these units?

  • As per the RBI, each DBU must offer certain minimum digital banking products and services. Such products should be on both liabilities and assets side of the balance sheet of the digital banking segment. Digitally value-added services to conventional products would also qualify as such.
  • The services include saving bank accounts under various schemes, current accounts, fixed deposit and recurring deposit accounts, digital kits for customers, mobile banking, Internet banking, debit cards, credit cards, and mass transit system cardss, digital kits for merchants, UPI QR codes, BHIM Aadhaar and point of sale (PoS).
  • Other services include making applications for and onboarding customers for identified retail, MSME or schematic loans. This may also include end-to-end digital processing of such loans, starting from online application to disbursal and identified government-sponsored schemes that are covered under the national portal.
  • Shaktikanta Das said the products and services in these units will be provided in two modes – self-service and assisted modes – with self-service mode being available round the clock.
  • DBUs will enable customers to have cost effective, convenient access and enhanced digital experience of banking products and services. They will spread digital financial literacy and special emphasis will be given to customer education on cyber security awareness and safeguards.

How will these DBUs compete with fintechs?

  • Currently, fintechs operating as neobanks offer digital banking services but they do so in partnership with non-banking financial companies (NBFCs). Some of the neobanks offering services in India are Jupiter, Fi Money, Niyo, Razorpay X.
  • Compared to conventional banks with online and mobile banking facilities, neobanks or digital banks excel at product innovation and offer far better digital solutions. However, given the arrangement they have currently with NBFCs or scheduled banks to conduct the actual banking part, some in the industry have pegged these digital banks as “glorified digital distribution companies”.

News 13: Indian travellers to Europe can now make payments via UPI, here’s how


Background:

  • Indian travellers to Europe would soon be able to make payments from their Indian bank accounts using the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) with the National Payments Corporation of India’s (NPCI) international arm entering into a pact with payments services operator Worldline.

How will users be able to make payments in Europe using UPI?

  • It will be mandatory for users to have an Indian bank account with an UPI activated on their accounts. The users will also need an app to make UPI payments, like the BHIM app.
  • The service will be available at point-of-sale terminals deployed by Worldline. Alongside UPI, NPCI’s card network RuPay will also be accepted. The UPI will be facilitated by QR code.
  • However, it is noteworthy that the payments made by customers using UPI will be charged in the local currency and not INR. This will attract a currency conversion charge levied by the banks, as it is in the case of card payments.

Does NPCI have other such international arrangements?

  • Earlier this year, NPCI and the UAE-based Mashreq Bank’s NEOPAY entered into a partnership, which allowed tourists and migrants to the UAE with Indian bank accounts to be able to make UPI payments at shops, retail establishments and other merchants in the gulf nation.
  • Additionally, NPCI’s international arm NIPL has several other such arrangements with international financial services providers for its products, including UPI and RuPay cards. Globally, UPI is accepted in Bhutan and Nepal.
  • Further, in Singapore, a project to link UPI with the city-state’s instant payment system PayNow is being undertaken by the RBI and the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

National Payment Corporation of India:

Type: Not for profit company under the provisions of Section 25 of Companies Act 1956 (now Section 8 of Companies Act 2013)

National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), an umbrella organisation for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India, is an initiative of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) under the provisions of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007, for creating a robust Payment & Settlement Infrastructure in India.

Objective:

  • Intention to provide infrastructure to the entire Banking system in India for physical as well as electronic payment and settlement systems.
  • The Company is focused on bringing innovations in the retail payment systems through the use of technology for achieving greater efficiency in operations and widening the reach of payment systems.

Ten core promoter banks:

  • State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Canara Bank, Bank of Baroda, Union Bank of India, Bank of India, ICICI Bank Limited, HDFC Bank Limited, Citibank N. A. and HSBC.
  • In 2020, new entities regulated by RBI were inducted, consisting of Payment Service Operators, payment banks, Small Finance Banks, etc.
  • The shares were allotted pursuant to issuance of equity shares on private placement basis in compliance to the applicable provisions of the Companies Act, 2013.

Unified Payment Interface (UPI):

  • Unified Payments Interface (UPI) is a system that powers multiple bank accounts into a single mobile application (of any participating bank), merging several banking features, seamless fund routing & merchant payments into one hood.
  • It also caters to the “Peer to Peer” collect request which can be scheduled and paid as per requirement and convenience.

Other important news


Dehing Patkai National Park:

  • Assam’s 7th national Park and has has 47 species each of reptiles and mammals, including tiger and clouded leopard.
  • The “last remaining stretches” of the Assam Valley tropical wet evergreen forests have become Assam’s seventh National Park.
  • The 234.26-sq. km Dihing Patkai straddling eastern Assam’s Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts is a major elephant habitat and 310 species of butterflies have been recorded there. 
  • Dehing Patkai National Park is located in the Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts of Assam and covers an area of 231.65 km2 rainforest. It is located in the Dehing Patkai Landscape which is a dipterocarp-dominated lowland rainforest.
  • The rainforest stretches for more than 575 km2 (222 sq mi) in the districts of Dibrugarh, Tinsukia and Charaideo. The forest further spreads over in the Tirap and Changlang districts of Arunachal Pradesh. Dehing Patkai National Park harbours the largest stretch of lowland rainforests in India.
  • Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary was declared as Dehing Patkai Elephant Reserve under Project Elephant.

Hampi:

  • Group of Monuments at Hampi, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Hampi town, Vijayanagara district, east-central Karnataka. Hampi was the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire in the 14th century. It was a fortified city.
  • The austere, grandiose site of Hampi was the last capital of the last great Hindu Kingdom of Vijayanagar. Its fabulously rich princes built Dravidian temples and palaces which won the admiration of travellers between the 14th and 16th centuries.
  • Conquered by the Deccan Muslim confederacy in 1565, the city was pillaged over a period of six months before being abandoned.
  • Dravidian architecture flourished under the Vijayanagara Empire and its ultimate form is characterised by their massive dimensions, cloistered enclosures, and lofty towers over the entrances encased by decorated pillars.
  • The Vitthla temple is the most exquisitely ornate structure on the site and represents the culmination of Vijayanagara temple architecture. It is a fully developed temple with associated buildings like Kalyana Mandapa and Utsava Mandapa within a cloistered enclosure pierced with three entrance Gopurams.
  • Among these, the Krishna temple complex, Narasimha, Ganesa, Hemakuta group of temples, Achyutaraya temple complex, Vitthala temple complex, Pattabhirama temple complex, Lotus Mahal complex, can be highlighted. 

Khajuraho Group of Monuments:

  • Khajuraho is a city, near Chhatarpur in Chhatarpur district of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. he Khajuraho Group of Monuments has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986 and is considered one of the “seven wonders” of India. The town’s name, anciently “Kharjuravahaka”, is derived from the Sanskrit word kharjur meaning “date palm“.
  • The temples at Khajuraho were built during the Chandella dynasty, which reached its apogee between 950 and 1050. Only about 20 temples remain; they fall into three distinct groups and belong to two different religions – Hinduism and Jainism.
  • They strike a perfect balance between architecture and sculpture. The Temple of Kandariya is decorated with a profusion of sculptures that are among the greatest masterpieces of Indian art.
  • The temples of Khajuraho are known for the harmonious integration of sculptures with their architecture. All surfaces are profusely carved with anthropomorphic and non-anthropomorphic motifs depicting sacred and secular themes. 

 

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