Polity & Governance
- Parliament Passes Bill for States’ Control Over Potable Alcohol Production
- Ahmednagar’s Rahuri municipal council first to have ‘Digi-Locker’
- Peer-to-peer lending to come under RBI purview
Science & Technology
- IRNSS Is Now Navic: India’s Navigation System Gets a Simpler Name
- ‘Smarac Citizen’: ISRO app to protect heritage, aid architects
- Japan gives up on black hole research satellite
Polity & Governance
Parliament Passes Bill For States’ Control Over Potable Alcohol Production
Parliament has passed the Industries (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015.
- This bill seeks to transfer the control over industries producing potable alcohol from the central government to the state governments.
- The Industries (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015 amends the 1951 act. It was already passed by the Lok Sabha in December last year.
- The amendment would bring potable alcohol under the jurisdiction of states, and clearly demarcates what is within the powers of the centre and what is within the powers of states.
- The 1951 act provides for development and regulation of certain industries including fermentation (which includes production of alcohol), and its first schedule includes all industries that are regulated under the act. The bill amends the schedule to exclude production of alcohol for potable purposes from the ambit of the act.
- The Supreme Court in its judgement on January 20, 1997, had demarcated the regulation of production of alcohol between the central and state governments in the case of Bihar Distillery and another vs. Union of India and others.
- The court ruled that central government should regulate the production of alcohol for industrial use and states should regulate the production of alcohol for potable purpose (domestic consumption). The bill conforms to the Supreme Court’s decision.
Ahmednagar’s Rahuri municipal council first to have ‘Digi-Locker’
Rahuri Municipal Council of Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra became the first Municipal Council to attain the status of integrated with digital locker for the issuance of all essential Documents.
- This service was recently launched as part of Digital India Programme.
- The citizen of the area can now apply for the certificates like Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates online without going to Municipal Council and these documents will be available in the Digilocker signed to the citizens.
Peer-to-peer lending to come under RBI purview
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has released a consultation paper on peer-to-peer (P2P) lending and proposed to bring such platforms under its purview by defining them as non-banking finance companies (NBFCs).
What is P2P lending?
What is the RBI proposal?
- The central bank has proposed a minimum capital requirement of Rs 2 crore, and wants players not to offer any extraordinary returns.
- The borrower can either be an individual or a business requiring a loan. A fee is paid to the platform by both the lender and the borrower.
- The RBI has also stated that P2P lenders could act only as an intermediary, wherein none of the lending/borrowing gets reflected in their balance sheets.
- It has also been proposed to make it mandatory for transfer of funds to take place directly from the lender’s bank account to that of the borrower.
- The central bank also said confidentiality of customer data and data security would be the responsibility of the platform.
Necessity of P2P lending:
- Although nascent in India and not significant in value yet, the potential benefits that P2P lending promises to various stakeholders and its associated risks to the financial system are too important to be ignored.
- Coming under the purview of the RBI will not only be a confidence booster for the sector, but also for individual lenders.
Present status of P2P lending:
- According to the data released by Peer to Peer Finance Association, the cumulative lending through P2P platforms globally, at the end of Q4 of 2015, had reached 4.4 billion pounds.
- In India, P2P lending platforms are largely technology companies registered under the Companies Act.
Science & Technology
IRNSS Is Now Navic: India’s Navigation System Gets a Simpler Name
With the successful launch of IRNSS-1G from Sriharikota space station in Andhra Pradesh today, India took a step further towards having its own navigation satellite system.
- The seventh satellite to make up the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), called the IRNSS-1G, has been launched into space via the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C33 rocket from Sriharikota spaceport in southwestern India.
- This was the final step towards completing India’s own satellite navigation system. This has made the nation self-reliant in the field of space-based positioning.
More about IRNSS-1G:
- IRNSS-1Gwas the seventh and final of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) series of satellites after IRNSS-1A, IRNSS-1B, IRNSS-1C, IRNSS-1D, IRNSS-1E and IRNSS-1F.
- This system of satellites will provide navigational services to the Indian region.
- The satellite was successfully placed in geosynchronous orbit.
‘Navic’- new name to navigation system:
- PM Narendra Modi has christened the navigation system ‘Navic’, which in Hindi means ‘sailor’ or ‘navigator’. The name is also supposed to be a contraction of the phrase ‘navigation with Indian constellation’.
Significance of launching of IRNSS-1G:
- While GPS and Glonass are fully functional global systems, the Chinese and the Japanese systems offer regional coverage and Europe’s Galileo is yet to be operational.
- India will formally join the select group of nations owing such system once IRNSS is declared operational after checking the systems – space (satellites), ground (ground stations) and the user-end signal receivers.
- IRNSS is an independent regional navigation satellite system designed to provide position information in the Indian region and 1500 km around the Indian mainland.
- The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) is similar to the GPS (global positioning system) of the US, Glonass of Russia and Galileo of Europe as well as China’s Beidou.
- It consists of a constellation of seven satellites.
- IRNSS would provide two types of services, namely
- Standard Positioning Services available to all users and
- Restricted Services provided to authorised users.
Applications of IRNSS include terrestrial, aerial and marine Navigation, disaster management, vehicle tracking and fleet management, integration with mobile phones, precise timing, mapping and geodetic data capture, terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travellers, and visual and voice navigation for drivers.[Ref: Hindu, Wiki]
‘Smarac Citizen’: ISRO app to protect heritage, aid architects
Based on a proposal from the National Monuments Authority (NMA), the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has developed an app named “Smarac Citizen”.
Features of the app:
- The app is aimed at granting construction permits within few minutes to architects and real estate developers who plan to construct buildings close to national monuments.
- The app contains the maps of 3,686 Centrally-protected monuments across the country.
- Apart from easing the process of obtaining construction permits, the app will help the NMA keep a tab on encroachments around monuments.
- The app will also give the elevation details— the height of the site with respect to mean sea level.
- It will help architects not only for the NMA approval, but also for the approval of the Airports Authority of India.
Japan gives up on black hole research satellite
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has announced that it would stop trying to fix the satellite, Hitomi, a quarter-of-a-billion-dollar satellite it sent to study black holes.
- The ultra-high-tech “Hitomi” – or eye – multi-million-dollar satellite was launched in February to probe the mysteries of black holes using X-ray telescopes.
- On March 26, contact was lost with the satellite.
- The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was a principal partner in the Japan-led project which included 8 other nations.