Daily Current Affairs and MCQs for UPSC - December 19, 2020 (The Hindu, Economic Times, PIB)

India Post Payments Bank launches its digital payments' services 'DakPay'

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.


Context

  • The Department of Posts (DoP) and India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) have virtually unveiled a new digital payment app 'DakPay', an official statement said.
  • "The App is launched as part of its ongoing efforts to provide Digital Financial inclusion at the last mile across India," the statement said.

Background

DakPay is not just a digital payment app but a suite of digital financial and assisted banking services provided by India Post and India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) through the postal network across the nation to cater to the financial needs of various sections of the society - be it sending money to the loved ones (Domestic Money Transfers - DMT), Scan QR code and make payment for services/merchants digitally (Virtual debit card and with UPI), enabling cashless ecosystem through biometrics, providing interoperable banking services to the customers of any bank (AePS) and Utility Bill Payment services.

About the app

  • DakPay is not only a digital payment app however a collection of digital monetary and assisted banking providers offered by India Post and India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) by way of the postal community throughout the nation.
  • It will cater to the monetary wants of varied sections of society.
  • You can ship cash to your family members (Domestic Money Transfers – DMT).
  • Scan QR code and make payment for providers/retailers digitally (Virtual debit card and with UPI).
  • It will allow a cashless ecosystem by way of biometrics, offering interoperable banking providers to the purchasers of any financial institution (AePS) and Utility Bill Payment providers.

Source: LiveMint.

Ten universities to set up Kamdhenu Chairs

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.


Context

  • Ten universities from across the country have announced that they will set up Kamdhenu Chairs in their respective institutions of higher learning.
  • Over 500 vice-chancellors and officials of universities from across the country took part in an open house organized by Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog (RKA) to promote the idea of setting up ‘Kamdhenu Chairs’ in universities.

Background

  • Now the Government has started to explore the Potentials of Cows and Panchgavya.
  • There is need to bring forth the Science related to Indigenous Cows and our Education system should provide platform as well as push in Research on benefits mentioned about Cows with modern scientific and process oriented approach.

Highlights

Among other objectives of setting up the chairs, RKA has proposed setting up of certificate and diploma courses on cow-based entrepreneurship and sensitizing students about the scientific, economic, environmental and spiritual importance and impact of cow.

Source: PIB.

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QCI launches recognition scheme for hygiene rating audit agencies

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.


Context

Quality Council of India (QCI) at the behest of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has come out with a Scheme for approval of Hygiene Rating Audit Agencies to scale up Hygiene Rating by increasing the number of recognised Hygiene Rating Audit Agencies in the country.

About the initiative

  • FSSAI’s initiative of ‘Food Hygiene Rating Scheme’ is a certification system for food businesses supplying food directly to consumers, either on or off premise.
  • The food establishments are rated based on food hygiene and safety conditions observed at the time of audit.
  • The hygiene rating will be in the form of smileys (1 up to 5) and the certificate should be displayed prominently in the consumer facing area.
  • The aim is to allow consumers to make informed choices pertaining to the food outlets where they eat by encouraging food businesses to improve their hygiene and safety standards.
  • The recognised Hygiene Rating Audit Agency will verify the compliance with food hygiene and safety procedures laid by FSSAI.

About QCI

  • It was set up in 1997.
  • The Government of India and the Indian Industry represented by the three premier industry associations i.e. Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
  • It is under the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Ministry of Commerce & Industry.
  • The objective is to establish and operate national accreditation structure and promote quality through National Quality Campaign. 

Source: Economic Times.

AYUSH Ministry approves 200 Ayush Health & Wellness Centres in Almora District of Uttarakhand

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.


Context

  • Under Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National AYUSH Mission (NAM), the Ministry of AYUSH has approved 200 AYUSH Health & Wellness Centres(HWC) in Uttarakhand. 
  • In this regard, Arvind Lal Vandana Lal (ALVL) Foundation, New Delhi is providing support to the Department of AYUSH, Uttarakhand, in operationalization of AYUSH HWCs in Almora District of Uttarakhand. 

Background

  • The overall responsibility of planning, implementation and providing essential support to the Trust to carry out designated activities will be rested with the State Government of Uttarakhand.
  • The Central Government will provide necessary technical support.
  • The ALVL Foundation will support in Population Enumeration, creation of Health Cards in the catchment population of the HWCs and help in training & capacity building of HWC team.

Highlights

  • In the operational guideline of AYUSH Health and Wellness Centers, there is a provision for partnership with Government and Non-Governmental organizations for improving the environment for health in providing Comprehensive Primary Health Care.
  • The Central Government has decided to operationalise 12,500 AYUSH Health and Wellness Centres in phased manner by the year 2023-2024 throughout the country.

Source: PIB.

U.S. sanctions NATO ally Turkey over Russian S-400 defense system

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.


Context

The United States has imposed long-anticipated sanctions on NATO ally Turkey over Ankara's procurement and testing of a Russian-made S-400 air defense system.

Background

  • The sanctions announced target Turkey’s Presidency of Defense Industries, its main defense procurement entity, as well as the group's President Ismail Demir and three other officers.
  • The Turkish officials will face U.S. visa restrictions and their financial assets in the U.S. will be frozen.

Highlights

  • The S-400 Triumf, (NATO calls it SA-21 Growler), is a mobile, surface-to-air missile system (SAM) designed by Russia.
  • It is the most dangerous operationally deployed modern long-range SAM (MLR SAM) in the world, considered much ahead of the US-developed Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD).
  • The system can engage all types of aerial targets including aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV and ballistic and cruise missiles within the range of 400km, at an altitude of up to 30km.
  • The system can track 100 airborne targets and engage six of them simultaneously.
  • The S-400 Triumf air defence system integrates a multifunction radar, autonomous detection and targeting systems, anti-aircraft missile systems, launchers, and command and control centre.
  • It is capable of firing three types of missiles to create a layered defence.

Source: Indian Express.

Cabinet approves MoU between India and USA for exchange of information in areas of mutual interest in the electricity sector

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.


Context

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for Central Electricity Regulatory Commission’s proposal for entering into a Memorandum of Understanding between Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC), India and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), United States of America (USA) for exchange of information and experiences in areas of mutual interest to both in the electricity sectors.

Background

The MoU will help in improving regulatory and policy framework for developing efficient whole sale power market and enhancing grid reliability. 

Activities include

  • Identify energy-related issues and develop topics and possible agendas for the exchange of information and regulatory practices in areas of mutual interest
  • Organize visits by Commissioners and/or staff to participate in activities at each other’s facilities
  • Participate in seminars, visit, and exchanges;
  • Develop programs of mutual interests and where appropriate hold these programs locally to enhance participation;
  • When practical and of mutual interest, provide speakers on energy issues and other personnel (management or technical).

Source: PIB.

Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati named VP of Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union

Focus: GS2.                                

Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.


Context

  • Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati has been elected as the Vice President of Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU), one of the largest broadcasting associations in the world.
  • The election happened during the General Assembly of the Union which was held virtually due to COVID-19.

Background

  • Shri Vempati has been elected to the office of the Vice President, ABU for three years with immediate effect.  
  • The candidature of the nominee from China’s NRTA was unsuccessful, failing to garner support from any of the members, paving the way for CEO Prasar Bharati India’s election to the Vice Presidency of ABU.

Highlights

The Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union was formed in 1964 as a professional association of broadcasting organisations with over 286 members in 57 countries and regions, reaching the potential population of about three billion people.

Source: AIR News.

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Test your Knowledge

  1. With reference to the recognition scheme for Hygiene Rating Audit Agencies, consider the following statements:
  • It is an initiative of FSSAI and Quality Council of India.
  • The hygiene rating will be in the form of smileys (1 up to 5) and the certificate should be displayed prominently in the consumer facing area.
  • The scheme aims to allow consumers to make informed choices/decisions pertaining to the food outlets where they eat by encouraging food businesses to improve their hygiene and safety standards.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

      A. 1 and 2 only
      B. 2 and 3 only
      C. 1 and 3 only
      D. AOTA

Solution: D

  1. S-400 air defence systems is developed by?

      A. Turkey
      B. France
      C. Russia
      D. China

Solution: C

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