Civil Services Chronicle Online, October, 2019 :
- The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has constituted a working group to suggest norms on Social Stock Exchanges (SSE) under the chairmanship of Ishaat Hussain, Director, SBI Foundation with 14 members.
- The so-called social stock exchanges in the country will allow companies operating in sectors such as health, environment and transportation to raise risk capital.
- In the Budget, the Centre had asked SEBI to initiate steps towards creating a social stock exchange.
Nasscom’s Data Security Council of India(DSCI) has collaborated with Union Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) and Google India to launch ‘Digital Payment Abhiyan’.
About Digital Payment Abhiyan
- The campaign aims at increasing awareness about cashless payment, educate end-users on the benefits of making digital payments, online financial security and urge them to adopt security and safety best practices.
- It will be a pan-India campaign which will be crafted in seven languages — Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Bengali and Marathi.
- It will engage with users and make them aware of the dos and don’ts for different payment channels including UPI, wallets cards as well as netbanking and mobile banking
The Reserve Bank of India has expanded the scope of the Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) by adding other categories of recurring payments through the portal.
Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS)
- BBPS is an interoperable platform that enables a customer to pay bills such as telephone, water, gas, direct-to-home (DTH) and electricity at a single location—electronic or physical.
- With the expansion of the scope of the payment facility, other recurring payments such as school fees, municipal taxes, insurance premiums can also be paid via BBPS.
- BBPS payments can be made using cash, cheques as well as through digital methods such as internet banking, debit, credit card, among others.
- Bill aggregators and banks function as operating units and carry out these payment transactions for customers.
- Using DNA from museum specimens, researchers have found that South China Salamander (Andrias sligoi) is the largest amphibian.
- Chinese giant salamanders, which are critically endangered and can grow to nearly 2m long, were previously thought to be of a single species until new research revealed not one, but three different genetic lineages. Only two of them have been analysed by the researchers.
- Researchers from Utrecht University have revealed a piece of continental crust, named Greater Adria for the Adriatic region it settled in, broke away from North Africa more than 200 million years ago.
- Much of the territory was plunged into the earth’s mantle, however some of the landmass has remained visible – making up a strip of land across Italy that stretches from Turin in the north to Puglia in the south.
- Earth’s modern-day continents were joined together in one Pac-Man-shaped supercontinent known as Pangea, which eventually split into two fragments: Laurasia in the north and Gondwana in the south.
Other Recent Discoveries
- Mauritia: A lava-covered piece of continent found under the popular island of Mauritius in Indian Ocean.
- Zealandia: It is located in the southern Pacific Ocean, including New Zealand, New Caledonia and two Australian islands, Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island. The continent spans 1.9 million square miles but the bulk of it 94% is under the Pacific Ocean.
- It was a campaign launched on World Rhino Day on September 22 by WWF India and Animal Planet with Indian cricketer Rohit Sharma as the face of the programme to help build awareness for the need to conserve the Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros or the Indian Rhino.
- It is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.
- It is the state animal of Assam.
- There are an estimated 3,500 Indian rhinos left in the world, out of which 82 per cent are found in India.
- Once found abundantly across the Indus, Ganges and the Brahmaputra river basins, the animal is now found only in select pockets in Assam, West Bengal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
- The National Green Tribunal has rapped the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) for the delay in issuing a notification to ban RO purifiers where total dissolved solids (TDS) in water are below 500 milligrams per litre and sensitise public about the ill-effects of demineralised water.
- The Department of Biotechnology under the Ministry of Science and Technology has launched UMMID (Unique Methods of Management and treatment of Inherited Disorders) Initiative and inaugurated NIDAN (National Inherited Diseases Administration) Kendras to tackle inherited genetic diseases of new born babies designed on the concept of ‘Prevention is better than Cure’.
- The program is being implemented at government hospitals so that people who cannot afford expensive care for genetic disorders will be benefited.
- In India’s urban areas, congenital malformations and genetic disorders are the third most common cause of mortality in newborns. With a very large population and high birth rate, and consanguineous marriage favored in many communities, prevalence of genetic disorders is high in India.
The UMMID initiative aims to
- Establish NIDAN Kendras to provide counselling, prenatal testing and diagnosis, management, and multidisciplinary care in Government Hospitals wherein the influx of patients is more,
- Produce skilled clinicians in Human Genetics and
- Undertake screening of pregnant women and new born babies for inherited genetic diseases in hospitals at aspirational districts.
- As a part of this initiative, in the first phase, five NIDAN Kendras have been established to provide comprehensive clinical care.
- The country’s first-ever ‘’water-grid’’ costing Rs 3,50,000 crore will come in the parched Marathwada region of Maharashtra in the next five years as part of the Jal Jeevan Mission (JMM).
- To be implemented over the next five years, the JJM involves saving water and delivering it to the people’s doorsteps to resolve their water problems.
- India’s second riverine Multi Modal terminal built at Sahibganj in Jharkhand was dedicated to the nation on 12 September, 2019. This is the second of the three Multi Modal Terminals being constructed on river Ganga under Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP)
- Earlier, in November, 2018 the first MMT was opened at Varanasi. The third one is Haldia Multi Modal Terminal.
- The Sahibganj terminal will open up industries of Jharkhand and Bihar to the global market and provide Indo-Nepal cargo connectivity through waterways route.
- It will play an important role in transportation of domestic coal from the local mines in Rajmahal area to various thermal power plants located along National Waterway-1.
- Also, Sahibganj will get connected to North-East States through Bangladesh by river-sea route.