‘FASTag’-IASToppers
Current Affairs Analysis

29th November 2019 Current Affairs Analysis -IASToppers

What is ‘FASTag’? Labour Code on Industrial Relations 2019; What are Accelerator Labs of UNDP? Various types of Grants; Supplementary grants; National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) programme; One Nation One FASTag; What is RFID tagging? What is climate emergency? Paris Agreement; 6th Asian Dendrochronology Conference; Tree rings; Dendrochronology; Dendrochronology Conference; YuWaah! Programme; Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2019; What is Chit fund? Global Migration Report 2020; International Organisation for Migration; 1st International Conference on ‘Landslides Risk Reduction and Resilience’; National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM); Landslide in India; NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation); etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
November 29, 2019

Contents

Government Schemes & Policies

  • Rajya Sabha passes Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2019
  • Cabinet approves code to allow fixed-term employment

Issues related to Health & Education

  • UNDP launches Accelerator Lab in India

Social Issues

  • At 17.5 million, Indian diaspora largest in the world: UN report

Economy

  • FM Sitharaman seeks Parliament nod for additional spending of Rs 21,246 crore

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • MoS for Home Affairs inaugurates Conference on Landslides Risk Reduction
  • Tree rings can predict climate change
  • EU Parliament Declares Climate Emergency

Bilateral & International Relations

  • S. to cut spending on NATO budget, Germany to pay more

Science & Technology

  • Govt extends deadline for mandatory FASTags by two weeks to December 15

Key Facts for Prelims

  • India launches bold new youth initiative – YuWaah!

 

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Government Schemes & Policies

Rajya Sabha passes Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2019

The Rajya Sabha passed the Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2019, to streamline operations of collective investment schemes or chit funds, to protect investors that primarily comprises economically weaker sections of the society. The Bill seeks to amend the Chit Funds Act, 1982.

Rajya-Sabha-passes-Chit-Funds-(Amendment)-Bill,-2019

Highlights of the Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2019

Names for a chit fund

  • The Act specifies various names which may be used to refer to a chit fund. These include chit, chit fund, and kuri.
  • The Bill additionally inserts ‘fraternity fund’ and ‘rotating savings and credit institution’ to this list.

Substitution of terms

  • The Act defines certain terms in relation to chit funds. The bill replaces three terms (a) ‘chit amount’ with gross chit amount (b) ‘dividend’ with share of discount and (c) ‘prize amount’ with net chit amount.

Presence of subscribers through video-conferencing

  • The Act specifies that a chit will be drawn in the presence of at least two subscribers.
  • The Bill seeks to allow these subscribers to join via video-conferencing.

Foreman’s commission

  • Under the Act, the ‘foreman’ is responsible for managing the chit fund. He is entitled to a maximum commission of 5% of the chit amount.
  • The Bill seeks to increase the commission to 7%. Further, the Bill allows the foreman a right to lien against the credit balance from subscribers.

Aggregate amount of chits

  • Under the Act, chits may be conducted by firms, associations or individuals. The Act specifies the maximum amount of chit funds which may be collected. These limits are: (i) one lakh rupees for chits conducted by individuals, and for every individual in a firm or association with less than four partners, and (ii) six lakh rupees for firms with four or more partners. 
  • The Bill increases these limits to 3 lakh rupees and 18 lakh rupees, respectively.

Application of the Act

  • Currently, the Act does not apply to: (i) any chit started before it was enacted, and (ii) any chit where the amount is less than Rs 100.
  • The Bill removes the limit of Rs 100, and allows the state governments to specify the base amount over which the provisions of the Act will apply.

What is Chit fund?

  • Chit fund, as per Chit Fund Act, 1982, is a type of rotating savings and agreement among different persons i.e. friends, relatives, neighbours and family members to subscribe a certain sum of money for a specified period of time.

Chit fund

Example

Chit fund example

  • Suppose one chit fund start with 50 members with a monthly contribution of Rs.10,000 per month. So, 50 people x Rs 10,000 = 5 Lakh. The amount collected from all member in a group called as pot.
  • Once this amount is collected, it is placed for the auction among subscribers. The subscriber who agrees to take the lowest amount will get the prize (pot amount).
  • Suppose for the first month, one subscriber bid lowest say 65% of pot amount. This means 3.25 Lakh (65% of 5 lakh) will be given to this subscriber as a prize. 5 Lakh – 3.25 Lakh = 1.75 Lakh (Remaining amount)
  • Suppose 5% commission is charged by Foreman. Foreman is a person or company who started chit fund. 5% of 5 Lakh (Total Pot amount) = Rs 25,000
  • The remaining amount will be 1.5 Lac (1.75 lakh – 25,000). This amount will be distributed among other subscribers. All remaining subscribers get Rs.3000 each (1.5 lakh/50 members).
  • So, effective contribution for the first month would be Rs 7000 for every subscriber. The process of auction will continue every month till all subscriber get the pot at least once. In next month auction, only non-prize subscribers can participate as a bidder.

Advantage of Chit Funds

  • Chit fund gives the flexibility to borrow and save.
  • One can get a chance to borrow money (pot) just by paying first monthly installment.
  • Best for needy people as one can get finance without any documents like IT returns, PAN card etc.
  • The non-prized subscriber who is a saving member up to the last installments gets a dividend which is comparatively higher than the interest that are accrued by way of other Deposit Schemes.
  • One need not disclose for which purpose you will be using the prize money.

Disadvantage of Chit Funds

  • No guarantee of fix returns.
  • Chance of fraud is high suppose foreman run away with corpus amount.
  • A winning subscriber may disappear after winning the first bid.
  • The subscriber may default and not ready to pay next installments.
  • High degree of risk with very little protection.
[Ref: Live Mint]

 

Cabinet approves code to allow fixed-term employment

The Union cabinet approved the Labour Code on Industrial Relations 2019, allowing companies to hire workers on fixed-term contract of any duration.

Industrial-relations-code-3

About the Labour Code on Industrial Relations 2019

  • Labour Code on Industrial Relations is one of the four labour codes.
  • The code on Industrial Relations combines Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, the Trade Unions Act, 1926, and the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946.

Highlights of the Labour Code on Industrial Relations 2019

Industrial-relations-code-4

Industrial-relations-code-1

Fix-term contract

  • Allows companies to hire workers on fixed-term contract of any duration. Fixed-term employment means a worker can be hired for any duration, three months or six months or a year depending on season and orders.
  • Currently, companies hire contract workers through contractors. With the introduction of fixed-term employment, they will be able to hire workers directly under a fixed-term contract, with the flexibility to change the length of the contract based on the seasonality of industry.

Flexibility in exit provisions

  • Retained the threshold on the worker count at 100 for prior government approval before retrenchment. It also means that all workers will be treated at par with regular workersfor benefits. However, it has provision for changing such number of employees through notification.

Tribunal Set up

  • Provide for setting up of a two-member tribunal(in place of one member) wherein important cases will be adjudicated jointly and the rest by a single member, resulting speedier disposal of cases. Vested powers with the government officers for adjudication of disputes involving penalty as fines, thereby lessening the burden on tribunal.

Amending definition of Strike

  • The definition of a strike is being amended to include ‘mass casual leave’ in case of a sudden protest and makes it mandatory for a notice of 14 days for strikes and lockouts in any establishment.

Recognition of negotiating union

  • Introduces a feature of ‘recognition of negotiating union’ under which a trade union will be recognized as sole ‘negotiating union’ if it has the support of 75% or more of the workers on the rolls of an establishment

Re-skilling Fund

  • Proposes setting up of a “re-skilling fund” for training of retrenched employees. The retrenched employee would be paid 15 days’ wages from the fund within 45 days of retrenchment.

Significance

  • Makes it easier for the employer to engage/disengage workers based on requirement.
  • Promote the setting up of more enterprises, thus catalysing the creation of employment opportunities.
  • Offers some degree of flexibility on government permissions for retrenchment. Ensured that the retrenched worker is provided an opportunity to acquire new skills through a re-skilling fund to enhance his employability.
  • The move to include Code on Industrial Relations in a central law will help in wider reach, and states are expected to follow similar applicability.

Criticism

  • Unclear provision regarding retrenchment would lead to uncertainty, and discretionary behavior during implementation by the central or state government. Hence, the flexibility clause (fix-term contract) can be misused by government.
  • Fixed-term employment needs to be introduced with adequate safeguards, otherwise it runs the risk of encouraging conversion of permanent employment into fixed-term employment.

Background

The industrial relations code is the third out of four labour codes that have got approval from the cabinet.

In June 2019, the central government has decided to merge 44 labour laws under four categories:

  1. Labour Codes on Wages
  2. Labour Codes on Industrial Relations
  3. Labour Codes on Social Security
  4. Labour Codes on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions
[Ref: The Hindu, Financial Express, Livemint]

 

Issues related to Health & Education

UNDP launches Accelerator Lab in India

To achieve the challenging goals within the stipulated timeframe, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched the India chapter of its new initiative, Accelerator Labs, for which it is partnering with Germany and Qatar.

UNDP-launches-Accelerator-Lab-in-India-1

What are Accelerator Labs of UNDP?

UNDP-launches-Accelerator-Lab-in-India

  • Accelerator Labs are initiative of Joint initiative of UNDP, Qatar Fund for development and Germany.
  • These labs aim to find and try to scale up innovative solutions that can help combat both climate change and social inequity.
  • There are nearly 60 such labs across world.

Objective

  • Identify grassroots solutions with local actors and validate their potential to accelerate development.
  • Make faster progress in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
  • Accelerate learning by operating within a global network where each lab learns from the rest, by exploring multiple solutions in parallel.

Indian Accelerator Labs

  • Accelerator Labs is partnering with the NITI Aayog for its India chapter.
  • The India Accelerator Lab will work with partners on innovative solutions to some of India’s most pressing challenges, such as air pollution, sustainable water management and climate-resilient livelihoods.
  • UNDP has created partnership India-based Honeybee Network, aimed at developing innovative solutions from the grassroots.

How these labs help to tackle a problem from multiple angles?

Problem: Acute air pollution in Indian cities compounded by stubble burning

  • Ukraine is already working on this problem and it was part of experiments taking place on conservation agriculture in six villages in Punjab. The India Accelerator Lab can now join the efforts of Ukrainian government to curb this problem, Moreover, two other technology-based solutions for air pollution were developed in UK and Singapore in these labs.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Social Issues

At 17.5 million, Indian diaspora largest in the world: UN report

India continues to be the largest country of origin of international migrants with a 17.5 million-strong diaspora across the world, and it received the highest remittance of $78.6 billion from Indians living abroad, as per ‘Global Migration Report 2020’.

At-17-1

Highlights of Global Migration Report 2020

wmr

Top country with highest migrants: United States

Top three countries with largest number of migrants living abroad:

  1. India (17.5 million)
  2. Mexico (11.8 million)
  3. China (10.7 million)

Top 3 remittance recipient countries

  • India
  • China
  • Mexico

Top 3 remittance-sending country

  1. United States
  2. United Arab Emirates
  3. Saudi Arabia
  • Total number of migrants in 2019: 270 million (3.5% of world’s population). 52 % of international migrants were male; 48 % were female. 74 % of all international migrants were of working age (20–64 years).
  • More than half of all international migrants live in Europe and North America.
  • In Africa, Asia and Europe, most international migrants stay within their regions of birth, but the majority of migrants from Latin America and the Caribbean and North America do not.
  • Gulf countries have some of the largest numbers of temporary labour migrants in the world.
  • Syria has the highest internally population of displaced people, followed by Colombia and the Congo.
  • Bangladesh had the largest number of stateless persons (around 906,000), followed by Côte d’Ivoire (692,000) and Myanmar (620,000).
  • Intraregional migration has been an important contributor to population change in some African countries such as Equatorial Guinea.
  • The Syria and Turkey were the origin and host of the largest number of refugees globally.

International Organisation for Migration

International-Organisation-for-Migration

  • IOM is the inter-governmental organization to help ensure the humane management of migration, to promote international cooperation on migration issues and to assist in the search for practical solutions to migration problems.
  • In 2016, IOM became a related organization of the United Nations It was initially established in 1951 as the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration (ICEM) to help resettle people displaced by World War II.
  • It has 173 member states including India.

IOM works in the four broad areas of migration management:

  • Migration and development
  • Facilitating migration
  • Regulating migration
  • Forced migration
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Economy

FM Sitharaman seeks Parliament nod for additional spending of Rs 21,246 crore

Finance Minister Sitharaman recently tabled the first batch of Supplementary Demands for Grants for the financial year 2019-20 in both the Houses of Parliament saying of the total spend, cash outgo will be about 19,000 crore.

FM-Sitharaman-seeks-Parliament-nod-for-additional-spending-of-Rs-21,246-crore

Various types of Grants:

The budget contains the ordinary estimates of income and expenditure in a financial year.  The parliament can make various other grants under extraordinary or special circumstances.

Article 115: Supplementary, additional or excess grants.

Article 116: Votes on account, votes of credit and exceptional grants.

Supplementary, additional or excess grants and Votes on account, votes of credit and exceptional grants are mentioned in the Constitution of India 1949.

Supplementary grants

  • The additional grant required to meet the required expenditure of the government is called Supplementary Grants.
  • When grants, authorised by the Parliament, fall short of the required expenditure, an estimate is presented before the Parliament for Supplementary or Additional grants.
  • When actual expenditure incurred exceeds the approved grants of the Parliament, the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Railways presents a Demand for Excess Grant. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India bring such excesses to the notice of the Parliament.
  • The Public Accounts Committee examines these excesses and gives recommendations to the Parliament. The Demand for Excess Grants is made after the actual expenditure is incurred and is presented to the Parliament after the end of the financial year in which the expenses were made.

Excess Grant

  • It is granted when money spent on any service is more than allotted in budget for that year. It is voted by Lok Sabha after approval of Public Accounts Committee.
  • When grants, authorised by the Parliament, fall short of the required expenditure, an estimate is presented before the Parliament for Supplementary or Additional grants. These grants are presented and passed by the Parliament before the end of the financial year.
  • When actual expenditure incurred exceeds the approved grants of the Parliament, the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Railways presents a Demand for Excess Grant. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India bring such excesses to the notice of the Parliament.
  • The Public Accounts Committee examines these excesses and gives recommendations to the Parliament. The Demand for Excess Grants is made after the actual expenditure is incurred and is presented to the Parliament after the end of the financial year in which the expenses were made.

Exceptional Grant

  • It is granted for an exceptional purpose which forms no part of the current service of any financial year.

Token Grant

  • It is granted when funds to meet proposed expenditure on a new service can be made available by re-appropriation, a demand for the grant of a token sum may be submitted to the vote of the House and, if the House assents to the demand, funds may be so made available.

Additional Grant

  • It is granted when a need has arisen during the current financial year for supplementary or additional expenditure upon some new service not contemplated in the Budget for that year.

Vote of Credit

  • It is granted for meeting an unexpected demand upon the resources of India when on account of the magnitude or the indefinite character of the service the demand cannot be stand with the details ordinarily given in an annual financial statement.
[Ref: Economic Times]

 

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

MoS for Home Affairs inaugurates Conference on Landslides Risk Reduction

The Union Minister of State for Home Affairs inaugurated the 1st International Conference on ‘Landslides Risk Reduction and Resilience’, organized by the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM).

1st-International-Conference-on-Landslides-Risk-Reduction-and-Resilience-2019

About National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM)

National-Institute-of-Disaster-management

  • NIDM is a premier institute for training and capacity development programs for managing natural disasters in India.

Background

  • In the backdrop of the International decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR), a National Centre for Disaster Management was in 1995.
  • The Centre was upgraded as the National Institute of Disaster management (NIDM) in 2003.
  • The Institute has achieved the status of a statutory organisation under the National Disaster Management Act 2005.

What is landslide?

  • A landslide is any geologic process in which gravity causes rock, soil, artificial fill or a combination of the three to move down a slope.

What Causes Landslides?

Landslides have three major causes: Geology, Morphology, and Human activity.

  • Geology refers to characteristics of the material The earth or rock might be weak or fractured, or different layers may have different strengths and stiffness.
  • Morphology refers to the structure of the land. For example, slopes that lose their vegetation to fire or drought are more vulnerable to landslides. A classic morphological cause of landslides is erosion, or weakening of earth due to water.
  • Human activity, such as agriculture and construction, can increase the risk of a landslide. Irrigation, deforestation, excavation, and water leakage are some of the common activities that can help destabilize, or weaken, a slope.

Landslide in India

Landslide in India

  • In India, 6% of land area (0.42 million sq. km), excluding snow covered area, is prone to landslide hazard.
  • The entire Himalayan tract, hills/ mountains in sub-Himalayan terrains of North-east India, Western Ghats, the Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu Konkan areas are landslide-prone.
  • In Indian terrain, landslide events are mostly triggered by monsoonal rainfall but examples of earthquake-triggered landslide are also not uncommon in India (e.g., Uttarkashi Earthquake, Chamoli Earthquake, Sikkim Earthquake etc.)
[Ref: PIB]

 

Tree rings can predict climate change

Reconstructions of past responses of vegetation from different ecosystems can predict the impact of climate change on weather and other environmental parameters, scientists said at the 6th Asian Dendrochronology Conference being held at the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences in Lucknow.

Tree-rings

About 6th Asian Dendrochronology Conference:

  • The 6th Asian Dendrochronology Conference being held at the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences in Lucknow.
  • This is the first time that the conference is being held in India.

Tree rings

  • Tree rings are layers of growth that a tree acquires in a year. These rings can show how old the tree is, and what the weather was like during each year of the tree’s life.

What information can be extracted from tree rings?

 What information can be extracted from tree rings

Tree-rings-1

  • The light-colored rings represent wood that grew in the spring and early summer, while the dark rings represent wood that grew in the late summer and fall.
  • Tree rings usually grow wider in warm, wet years and they are thinner in years when it is cold and dry.
  • The colour of old wood is always darker than a comparatively newer wood which creates a contrasting pattern of rings year on year.

Dendrochronology

  • Dendrochronology (or tree-ring dating) is the scientific method of dating tree rings to the exact year they were formed.

Asian Dendrochronology Conference

  • The International Asian Dendrochronology Conference, under the banner of Asian Dendrochronological Association (ADA), is held every two years.
  • It is a meeting point for the scientific community carrying out tree-ring research in Asia.

Key Facts

  • Paleoclimatology is the study of past climates, prior to the widespread availability of instrumental records.
[Ref: Down to Earth]

 

EU Parliament Declares Climate Emergency

European lawmakers have voted to declare an EU-wide climate emergency, in a symbolic move aimed at increasing pressure on the incoming European Commission to take a stronger stance on climate change.

EU-Parliament-Declares-Climate-Emergency-1

About the New EU proposal

  • The proposal is designed to help the European Council (EC) to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. It includes a directive on greenhouse gas emissions trading within the EU. The proposal will lay foundation for the largest e greenhouse gas emissions
  • The resolution calls on the EU to cut emissions by 55% by 2030 to become climate neutral by 2050.
  • The proposal includes an increase in carbon taxes, heavier investment in sustainable business, reductions in pollution, and increased protection for Europe’s wilderness, national parks, and green spaces.
  • A “European Green Deal’ was also proposed that aims to achieve ‘climate neutrality’ (no added greenhouse gases to the atmosphere beyond those that can be absorbed) by 2050.

Background

  • Climate emergency declarations have already been made in several EU member including Spain, France and the UK. Outside Europe only Canada, Argentina and Bangladesh have declared a climate emergency.

What is climate emergency?

EU-Parliament-Declares-Climate-Emergency-2

  • A climate emergency declaration has been issued since 2016 by certain countries set priorities to mitigate climate change.
  • In declaring a climate emergency, a government admits that global warming exists and that the measures taken up to this point are not enough to limit the changes brought by it.

What is Paris Agreement?

Paris Agreement

  • The Paris agreement aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 C.
  • It was adopted in 2015 by over 190 countries and entered into force in November 2016.
[Ref: Down to earth]

 

Bilateral & International Relations

U.S. to cut spending on NATO budget, Germany to pay more

The U.S. is to cut its contribution to NATO’s operating budget, with Germany increasing payments as the alliance tries to appease US President ahead of a summit.

U.S

Background

  • Within the principle of common funding, all 29 NATO members contribute according to an agreed cost-share formula which is based on Gross National Income of a country, which represents a small percentage of each member’s defence budget.
  • Beyond the direct budget, NATO came to an agreement in 2014 that each member state will increase their own defense spending to 2% of their respective gross domestic product by 2024.

What is the issue?

  • Under common funding formula, United states currently pays 22 % of the NATO budget and Germany 14.8%.
  • Under the new agreement, the contributions of Germany and the United States to NATO’s budget will equalized (to 16.35%) as of 2021.

Reason:

  • Since 2017, US President has criticised other NATO countries with respect to their substantially lower defense spending as a percentage of their GDP.
  • Germany said that it might fail to achieve 2% defence target by 2024. As a result, US accused Germany that Germany should stop paying Russia billions of dollars for gas and energy imports.
  • Moreover, currently only Six European governments are above the threshold of 2% GDP spending target.

About NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation)

north-atlantic-treaty-organization-(nato)

  • NATO, or the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, is an intergovernmental military alliance established in 1949. It is also called the Washington Treaty.
  • It is an alliance of 29 countries bordering the North Atlantic Ocean.
  • It was established primarily to keep Europe safe by deterring any attack. It constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party.
  • The organisation is considered to be the largest and most powerful military alliance in history.
  • A key provision of the treaty (Article 5) states that if one member of the alliance is attacked in Europe or North America, it is to be considered an attack on all members.
  • It has an active role in a broad range of crisis-management operations and missions, including civil emergency operations.
  • NATO membership is open to any other European state in a position to further the principles of this Treaty. NATO ha the Membership Action Plan (MAP) which provides advice for aspiring member countries. Current participants in MAP are Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of North Macedonia.
  • NATO has two official languages: English and French. Hence, in Europe NATO is more frequently referred to as OTAN, which is French acronym for NATO.
  • NATO has two sources of funding, direct and indirect. The largest type is indirect contributions, which come, for instance, when a member nation volunteer’s equipment or troops.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Science & Technology

Govt extends deadline for mandatory FASTags by two weeks to December 15

The government announced extending the date to December 15 for making FASTag mandatory for toll payments on national highways.

Govt-extends-deadline-for-mandatory-FASTags-by-two-weeks-to-December-15-1

What is ‘FASTag’?

‘FASTag’

  • FASTags are stickers that are affixed to the windscreen of vehicles and use radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to enable digital, contactless payment of tollswithout having to stop at toll gates.
  • The tags are linked to bank accounts and other payment methods. As a car crosses a toll plaza, the amount is automatically deducted, and a notification is sent to the registered mobile phone number.
  • A FASTag is valid for five yearsand needs to be recharged only as per requirement.
  • At present, 70 lakh vehicles in India have FASTags.

Govt-extends-deadline-for-mandatory-FASTags-by-two-weeks-to-December-15-2

Benefits of FASTag:

  • Use of FASTag will increase user convenience from payments without stops at toll plazas thus saving on time, money and fuel.
  • The online payments will improve transparency of toll transactions and reduce revenue leakages, thus, improving overall efficiency and commercial competitiveness.
  • Potential for tie up with the participating banks in the ETC program to cross sell products such as vehicle insurance and loans.
  • By improving the infrastructure of toll plazas, banks will be able to leverage on the transactional data aggregated at acquiring system. The data will be further used for fraud analytics and predicting fuel consumption for a particular vehicle.

About National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) programme

About National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) programme

  • National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), along with National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has developed the NETC program to meet the electronic tolling requirements.
  • It aims to integrate the collection of toll digitally and ensure seamless mobility of vehicles across India.
  • It can be availed upon activation by new cars having Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags on national and state highways.
  • Users living within 10 km of a toll plaza can avail a concession on toll to be paid via FASTag.

Criticism

  • The FASTags bought from one bank can be recharged through that particular bank only and not through other banks. However, tags sold by National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) are bank-neutral as one can use any bank account to recharge/top up the value in the tag.
  • Tag-reader is often not able to read the tag. Also, the SMS alert is often coming late.

About One Nation One FASTag

  • Under this scheme, NHAI is trying to get states on board so that one tag can be used seamlessly across highways, irrespective of whether it is the state or the Centre that owns/manages it.

What is RFID tagging?

RFID tagging

  • RFID tagging is an ID system that uses small radio frequency identification devices for identification and tracking purposes. It uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to objects.
  • RFID tags that contain their own power source are known as active tags. Those without a power source are known as passive tags.

Evolution of Digital toll payments

The concept of electronic toll collection (ETC) was proposed in 1959. During 1960s and 1970s, free flow tolling was tested with transponders fixed under the toll booths on highways.

  • In Japan, the ETC program started in 2001, and has achieved a usage ratio of 90%. ETC operations in China, started in 2014, majorly accept card based payment mode.
  • Some European regions such as Norway, have been pioneers in the field of urban tolling. The world’s first toll plaza was opened at Bergen (in Norway) in 1986.
  • In India, in 2013, the first ETC was set up on Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway.
[Ref: The Hindu, India Today, Indian Express]

 

Key Facts for Prelims

India launches bold new youth initiative – YuWaah!

Minister for Women and Children’s Development launched a bold new national initiative to transform the countries to education, skilling and employment for its more than 300 million young people aged 10-24 years.

India-launches-bold-new-youth-initiativeShe also launched a special “U-Report” digital survey, aimed at listening to and engaging youth in India to ensure that their voices shape the actions of YuWaah! partners.

About YuWaah! Programme

India-launches-bold-new-youth-initiative-1

  • YuWaah! Programme was launched by the NITI Aayog in partnership with UNICEF India.
  • YuWaah! aims to create enable solutions for learning (alternative and flexible learning programmes), life and employability skills, career guidance and employment opportunities.
  • The target of the partnership is on adolescents and young people.

Targets

By 2030, YuWaah! in India will:

  • Provide economic opportunities for 50 million young women and 50 million young men
  • Facilitate 200 million young women and men to gain relevant skills for productive lives
  • Equip 300 million young women and men as problem solvers by engaging them as catalysts of social change.

Background

  • In 2018, UNICEF initiated the Generation Unlimited partnership at the global level.
  • Within the overall Sustainable Development Goals framework and UN Youth Policy 2030, Generation Unlimited provides an agenda that is universal in nature – all countries can and must do more to support the education, skills, and empowerment of young people.
[Ref: Indian Express]

 

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