Polity & Governance
- Government mulls insurance cover for digital transaction frauds
- Ram Nath Kovind elected as the 14th President of India
Government Schemes & Policies
- Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana
- Draft Guidelines for implementation of Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana
- Aajeevika Grameen Express Yojana
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- Environment Ministry Approves Projects for Climate Change Adaptation in Three States
Science & Technology
- ASTROSAT, Chandra and Hubble jointly detect massive cosmic explosion on Proxima Centauri
Key Facts for Prelims
- First meeting of Integrated Monitoring and Advisory Council (IMAC)
- Indian Army signs MoU with DRDO to raise MRSAM defence system regiment
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Polity & Governance
Government mulls insurance cover for digital transaction frauds
The government is “very seriously” considering the recommendations of the Chandrababu Naidu committee on digital payment security, including insurance cover for the victims of fraudulent digital transactions.
- The Committee of Chief Ministers on Digital Payment, chaired by Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh N. Chandrababu Naidu, has in its interim report suggested several measures for digital payment security.
- The Committee suggested several measures for digital payment security, including an insurance scheme to cover losses incurred in digital transactions on account of fraud, etc.
- The report suggests that in order to address the apprehension of the general public in adopting digital payments, the scheme should target low-ticket transactions to cover the vulnerable sections like small merchants, farmers etc.
Why we need digital security?
The number of digital transactions in the country was rising and hence the concern for their security. However, the number of fraudulent digital transactions in comparison to the total number of digital transactions was negligible.
- As per data, around 1,200 crore digital transactions take place annually in the country. Of these, between 0.005% and 0.007% are fraudulent transactions.
- The number of cases of frauds involving credit cards, ATM/debit cards and Internet banking during 2015-16 was 16,468 and in 2016-17 it was 13,653.
- As per incidents reported to the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), 40 phishing incidents affecting 19 financial organisations and 10 incidents affecting ATMs, Point of Sale (POS) systems and Unified Payment Interface (UPI) have been reported during November 2016 to June 2017.
Ram Nath Kovind elected as the 14th President of India
Former governor Ram Nath Kovind was elected as India’s 14th President.
- He will be only the second Dalit leader after K R Narayanan since Independence to occupy India’s highest ceremonial post.
- He won with over 7 lakh votes against Opposition candidate Meira Kumar.
Important FAQs on Presidential Election in India:
Who elects the President of India?
- As per the Article 54 of the Constitution of India, the President is elected by an Electoral College, which consists of the elected members of both Houses of Parliament and the elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of all the States and also of NCT of Delhi and the Union Territory of Puducherry.
Who conducts the election to the Office of President of India?
- Under Article 324 of the Constitution of India, the authority to conduct elections to the Office of President is vested in the Election Commission of India
What electoral system/process is followed for the election to the office of the President?
- As per Article 55(3) of the Constitution of India, the election of the President shall be held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote and the voting at such election shall be by secret ballot.
What are the Qualifications required by a candidate to contest the election to the Office of the President of India?
Under Article 58, a candidate should fulfill the following eligibility conditions to contest the election to the Office of President: –
- Must be a citizen of India,
- Must have completed 35 years of age,
- Must be eligible to be a member of the Lok Sabha,
- Should not be holding any office of profit under the Government of India or the Government of any State or under any local or other authority subject to the control of any of the said Governments.
However, the candidate may be holding the office of President or Vice-President or Governor of any State or Ministers of the Union or any State and shall be eligible to contest election.
Is it compulsory for an elector at a Presidential election to mark his preference for all candidates?
- Only the marking of first preference is compulsory for a ballot paper to be valid. Marking other preferences is optional.
Are the provisions of the Anti-Defection Law applicable in Presidential elections?
- Members of the Electoral College can vote according to their wish and are not bound by any party whips. The voting is by secret ballot. Therefore, Party whip does not apply in this election.
Are Nominated Members of either Houses of Parliament or a State Legislative Assembly eligible to vote at the election to the Office of President?
- As per Article 54 of the Constitution, only elected members of both Houses of Parliament and of the State Legislative Assemblies are members of the Electoral College for Presidential Election. Therefore, nominated members cannot vote in this election.
Can an elector at a Presidential election exercise his vote by proxy?
Whether provisions of NOTA are applicable?
How can an elector who is under preventive detention during the period of Presidential election cast his vote?
- An elector under preventive detention can cast his vote through postal ballot, which will be sent to him by the Election Commission on the place of his detention.
Government Schemes & Policies
Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana
The Union Finance Ministry has launched Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY), a pension scheme exclusively for senior citizens aged 60 years and above.
- The Scheme can be purchased offline as well as online through Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India which has been given the sole privilege to operate this Scheme.
Major benefits under the Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY):
- Scheme provides an assured return of 8% p.a. payable monthly (equivalent to 8.30% p.a. effective) for 10 years.
- Pension is payable at the end of each period, during the policy term of 10 years, as per the frequency of monthly/ quarterly/ half-yearly/ yearly as chosen by the pensioner at the time of purchase.
- The scheme is exempted from Service Tax/ GST.
- On survival of the pensioner to the end of the policy term of 10 years, Purchase price along with final pension installment shall be payable.
- Loan upto 75% of Purchase Price shall be allowed after 3 policy years (to meet the liquidity needs). Loan interest shall be recovered from the pension installments and loan to be recovered from claim proceeds.
- The scheme also allows for premature exit for the treatment of any critical/ terminal illness of self or spouse. On such premature exit, 98% of the Purchase Price shall be refunded.
- On death of the pensioner during the policy term of 10 years, the Purchase Price shall be paid to the beneficiary.
Draft Guidelines for implementation of Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana
The draft guidelines for the implementation of Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) have been prepared by the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD).
- The draft guidelines inter-alia provide Aadhaar linkage, Direct Benefit Transfer of Rs. 5000 in beneficiary’s bank/post office account in three installments at the stage of early registration of pregnancy, after six months of pregnancy on at least one antenatal check-up and registration of child birth and first cycle of immunisation of the child.
About the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY):
Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme.
- It is a maternity benefit program run by the government of India.
- It is a conditional cash transfer scheme for pregnant and lactating women of 19 years of age or above for first two live births.
- It provides a partial wage compensation to women for wage-loss during childbirth and childcare and to provide conditions for safe delivery and good nutrition and feeding practices.
- Under the scheme, the cost sharing ratio between the Centre and the States & UTs with Legislature is 60:40, for North-Eastern States & three Himalayan States, it is 90:10 and 100% Central assistance for Union Territories without Legislature.
- It was previously known as Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY).
- In 2013, the scheme was brought under the National Food Security Act, 2013 to implement the provision of cash maternity benefit of ₹6,000 stated in the Act.
Aajeevika Grameen Express Yojana
The Union Ministry of Rural Development is all set to launch Aajeevika Grameen Express Yojana (AGEY), a sub-scheme under Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM).
Aim of the AGEY:
- AGEY aims to provide an alternative source of livelihood to members of Self Help Groups (SHGs) by facilitating them to operate public transport services in backward rural areas.
Key Features of AGEY:
- AGEY will provide safe, affordable and community monitored rural transport services like e-rickshaws, 3 and 4 wheeler motorised transport vehicles to connect remote villages.
- These transport vehicles will connect villages with key services and amenities including access to markets, education and health for the overall economic development of the area.
Implementation of the scheme:
- The scheme will be implemented in 250 blocks in the country on a pilot basis for a period of 3 years from 2017-18 to 2019-20.
- Under it, Community Based Organisation (CBO) is proposed to provide interest free loan from its own corpus to SHG member for purchase of the vehicle.
About DAY -NRLM:
Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY -NRLM) is a flagship rural poverty reduction program.
- It was launched nationwide by the Ministry of Rural Development with the objective of social mobilization, financial inclusion and sustainable livelihoods promotion.
- DAY – NRLM aims at creating efficient and effective institutional platforms for the rural poor enabling them to increase household income through sustainable livelihood enhancements and improved access to financial services.
- One of the major focus areas of DAY – NRLM is promotion of existing livelihood portfolios of the rural poor in farm and non-farm sectors. Upgradation and sharing of knowledge on agricultural practices for sustainable income is therefore, considered a valuable input for poverty alleviation and higher income generation.
- DAY – NRLM recognizes the importance of achieving the post-2015 agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as other global priorities, that relate to rural poverty reduction, sustainable rural livelihoods, rural employment, social protection, good governance and gender equality.
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
Environment Ministry Approves Projects for Climate Change Adaptation in Three States
The Environment Ministry approved three projects for climate change adaptation in three states i.e. Rajasthan, Gujarat and Sikkim for funding under the National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC).
- In this regard, the National Steering Committee on Climate Change (NSCCC) headed by Environment Secretary has approved the Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) submitted by these three state governments.
- In Rajasthan, the project builds on work carried out under Phase I of the Mukhya Mantri Jal Swavlamban Abhiyan to enhance the adaptive capacity of villages by making them self-reliant in terms of water requirement.
- In Gujarat, the project seeks to enhance the adaptive capacity of natural resource dependent communities to climate change in targeted villages of Kachchh district.
- In Sikkim, the project aims to address the issue of water security which are directly identified as climate resilience building interventions under the SAPCC.
About the NAFCC:
Launched in 2015, the National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC) is a flagship Scheme of Union Government, which provides 100 per cent grant to the State Governments for implementing climate change adaptation projects.
- The Scheme is designed to fulfil the objectives of National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) and to operationalize the State Action Plans on Climate Change (SAPCCs).
- The projects address vulnerabilities in climate sensitive sectors like agriculture, animal husbandry, water, forests and coasts among others.
- The project outcomes are expected to increase resilience and adaptive capacity of vulnerable communities and ecosystems against climate change impacts.
- Under this scheme, Union Government is encouraging States to come up with innovative and scalable projects to develop resilience against climate change and mainstream it in the planning processes.
- During the two year period, 21 projects were approved at a total cost of Rs. 435.72 crore.
Science & Technology
ASTROSAT, Chandra and Hubble jointly detect massive cosmic explosion on Proxima Centauri
Three space-based observatories ASTROSAT, Chandra, Hubble Space Telescope and a ground-based observatory HARPS have simultaneously detected a massive coronal explosion on the nearest planet-hosting star ‘Proxima Centauri’.
- The explosion was detected as part of joint multi-wavelength simultaneous observational campaign undertaken by these three space-based observatories.
What is Coronal explosion?
- Coronal explosion is an unusually large release of plasma and magnetic field from the solar corona.
- They often follow solar flares and are normally present during a solar prominence eruption.
- The plasma is released into the solar wind, and can be observed in coronagraph imagery.
About the Proxima Centauri:
- It is group of stars which hosts an Earth-like habitable planet — Proxima Centaur b — orbiting within (Proxima Centauri) its habitable zone.
- It was discovered in 2016.
- It is a cool dwarf star located around 4.25 light years away from the Earth.
- Because of Proxima Centauri’s proximity to Earth, its angular diameter can be measured directly. It is about one-seventh the diameter of the Sun.
- ASTROSAT is India’s first dedicated multi-wavelength space observatory.
- It was launched on a PSLV-XL on 28 September 2015.
- It was built by a consortium of institutes across India led by ISRO Satellite Centre, TIFR Mumbai, IIA Bengaluru, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, and Space Applications Centre in collaboration with University of Leicester (UK) and the Canadian Space Agency.
- One of the unique features of ASTROSAT mission is that enables the simultaneous multi-wavelength observations of various astronomical objects with a single satellite.
The scientific objectives of ASTROSAT mission are:
- To understand high energy processes in binary star systems containing neutron stars and black holes
- Estimate magnetic fields of neutron stars
- Study star birth regions and high energy processes in star systems lying beyond our galaxy
- Detect new briefly bright X-ray sources in the sky
- Perform a limited deep field survey of the Universe in the Ultraviolet region
- The Chandra programme is managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.
- The flight operations and the Chandra Science are controlled by the Smithsonian Astrophysics Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
About the Hubble Space Telescope:
- The Hubble Space Telescope is a space telescope that was launched into low Earth orbit in 1990 and remains in operation.
- It is one of the largest and most versatile space telescopes, and is well known as both a vital research tool and a public relations boon for astronomy.
Key Facts for Prelims
First meeting of Integrated Monitoring and Advisory Council (IMAC)
- The first meeting of the newly formed Integrated Monitoring and Advisory Council (IMAC) was held in New Delhi.
- It was chaired by Union Minister of State (I/C) for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan.
- IMAC is an inter-ministry monitoring and advisory body for policy formulation and implementation of ‘Roadmap to achieve target of 10% reduction in import dependency in oil and gas by 2021-22.
- IMAC was envisaged to facilitate better coordination and comprehensive strategy for all energy resources by focusing on supply and demand side management.
- IMAC is consisted of Secretary, Petroleum & Natural Gas and other Senior Officers from various Ministries such as Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Urban Development, Road and Transport, Agriculture, Power/Bureau of Energy Efficiency, Rural Development, Finance, Petroleum Planning Analysis Cell, PCRA, DGH etc.
Indian Army signs MoU with DRDO to raise MRSAM defence system regiment
- The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has signed a pact with the Army for developing a medium-range surface to air missile (MRSAM) which will be capable of shooting down ballistic missiles and aircraft.
- The missile will be produced by the DRDO in collaboration with the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).
- The MRSAM is an advanced, all weather, mobile, land-based air defence system.
- MRSAM is a land-based variant of the long-range surface-to-air missile (LRSAM) or Barak-8 naval air defence system, which is designed to operate from naval vessels.
- The missile will be capable of engaging multiple aerial targets at a range of more than 50 kms.
- The MRSAM system will be capable of shooting down enemy ballistic missiles, aircraft, helicopters, drones, surveillance aircraft and AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control Systems) aircraft
- The Army has been pressing the government for the MRSAM to enhance its strike capability.
- MRSAM’s current version is operational with the Indian Air Force and Navy.