NATIONAL CURRENT AFFAIRS

Telangana launches T-Wallet for people with and without mobile phones

  • The Telangana Government has launched a digital wallet, named T-Wallet, which doesn’t charge transaction fee from consumers.
  • The government is planning to use the wallet, available in Google Play, for remittances under job guarantee scheme MNREGA and scholarships for students.
  • Telangana IT and Industry Minister KT Rama Rao said that the wallet is better than BHIM, the one launched by the Union Government. “T-Wallet is a bi-directional.
  • While consumers use it for public and private transactions, the government can use it to make payments to various beneficiaries,
  • They have over 4,000 MeeSeva (e-governance centres) in the State and those without phones can also have wallets using these centres.

About T-Wallet

  • It has a two-factor authentication to ensure security of the wallet.
  • The two-factor authentication happens with Aadhaar with biometrics or Aadhaar with OTP (one-time password) to Aadhaar-linked phone number.
  • It also can be used over the web version. One can top up the wallet using credit or debit cards, Internet banking or through cash at Mee Seva centres.
  • It allows a maximum transaction of Rs1 lakh for e-KYC (know your customer) users.
  • For non-KYC users, the limit is set to Rs20,000.
  • The government has picked Transaction Analysts (TA), which secured an RBI licence to run mobile wallets, to run the wallet. Vijaya Bank, a banking partner for the initiative, will provide an escrow account facility for Transaction Analysts.
  • The settlement process and merchant settlement of T-Wallet will also be handled by the bank.The wallet supports, presently available in Android version, supports English, Telugu and Urdu.

Prithvi-II missile successfully test-fired

  • India successfully test-fired its indigenously developed nuclear-capable Prithvi-II missile from a test range in Odisha as part of a user trial by the Army.
  • The trial of the surface-to-surface missile, which has a strike range of 350 km, was carried out from a mobile launcher from launch complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur at around 9.50 am
  • The trial of the sophisticated missile was successful and the mission objectives were met
  • The Prithvi-II missile is capable of carrying 500 kg to 1,000 kg of warheads and is thrusted by liquid propulsion twin engines.
  • It uses advanced inertial guidance system with manoeuvring trajectory to hit its target with precision and accuracy.
  • The state-of-the-art missile was randomly chosen from the production stock and the entire launch activities were carried out by the specially formed strategic force command (SFC) and monitored by the scientists of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as part of training exercise
  • “The missile trajectory was tracked by the DRDO radars, electro-optical tracking systems and telemetry stations located along the coast of Odisha,” the sources said.
  • Teams on board the ship deployed near the designated impact point in the Bay of Bengal monitored the terminal events and splashdown.
  • In salvo mode, two Prithvi-II missiles were successfully test fired in quick succession from the same base, on November 21, 2016.
  • Inducted into Indian armed forces in 2003, the nine-metre tall, single-stage liquid-fuelled Prithvi II is the first missile to have been developed by the DRDO under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme.

Prithvi-II

  • Prithvi-II is a tactical short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) developed indigenously by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
  • It is the first missile to be indigenously developed by DRDO under India’s prestigious Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP). The missile is capable of carrying 500 kg to 1,000 kg of nuclear as well as conventional warheads. the missile has a strike range of 350 km.
  • The missile is powered by liquid propellant and can operate with both liquid as well as solid fuel.
  • It has the ability to dodge enemy missiles by using advanced inertial guidance system with manoeuvring trajectory to hit its target.
  • The missile was inducted into Indian armed forces in 2003. The missile has been inducted into the 333-missile regiment of the Indian Army.
  • The missile can deliver warheads deep into enemy territory and inflict heavy damage to forward airfields. It is designed in such a way that it can be taken close to the forward line over any kind of terrain

India’s first automatic coastal warning for disasters to come up in Odisha

  • Odisha can warn the population residing along its 480km long coastline by pressing one single button from a control room in the State capital in the event of the occurrence of natural disasters like a cyclone or tsunami.
  • The government is all set to commission the ambitious Early Warning Dissemination System (EWDS) that would enable loud sirens, going off simultaneously from towers at 122 locations by July.
  • Odisha is the first state in India that has developed an automatic public address system that can be activated along its entire coastline.
  • Odisha is the first State in India to have developed an automatic public address system that can be activated along its entire coast. Neighbouring Andhra Pradesh is also building up such capability to face natural calamities.
  • The 122 locations include tourist destinations, fish landing centres and coastal habitations.
  • The protocol, which will be developed in due course of time, will help people understand the gravity of situation depending on the number of sirens that would go off from towers.
  • The EWDS comprises of technologies like Satellite-Based Mobile Data Voice Terminals (SBMDVT), Digital Mobile Radio (DMR), Mass Messaging System (MMS) and Universal Communication Interface (UCI) for inter-operability among different communication technologies.
  • The project, which is being implemented with assistance from the World Bank, will have towers in 22 blocks under six coastal districts such as Balasore, Bhadrak, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Puri and Ganjam at an estimated cost of Rs 82 crore.

Highlights:

  • The warning can be circulated just by the press of a button from the control room in the State capital in the event of occurrence of natural disasters
  • It would trigger loud sirens simultaneously from 122 towers at various locations across the state, including tourist destinations, fish landing centres and coastal habitations
  • The sound eliminating from the towers can be heard in localities up to a radius of 1.5 km
  • The towers will be installed in 22 blocks under six coastal districts such as Balasore, Bhadrak, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Puri and Ganjam
  • The EWDS comprises of Satellite-Based Mobile Data Voice Terminals (SBMDVT), Digital Mobile Radio (DMR), Mass Messaging System (MMS) and Universal Communication Interface (UCI) for inter-operability among different communication technologies
  • The project at an estimated cost of Rs 82 crore will be implemented with assistance from the World Bank
  • The EWDS will help the people to move to safer places before government agencies commenced evacuation
India, Russia Sign Pact For Two More Units of Kudankulam N-plant, to Push Military Ties
  • India and Russia on 1st June signed the much-awaited agreement on setting up of two more units of a nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu and decided to give a “new direction” to the defence cooperation between the two “great powers”.
  • The two countries also decided to hold the first Tri-Services exercises, named ‘Indra-2017’, this year and start joint manufacturing of frigates, adding on to the co-production of Kamov-226 military helicopters.
  • These decisions were taken at the wide-ranging talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin in St Petersburg which covered a range of issues, including terrorism and increasing trade and investment.
  • A Joint Declaration issued after the talks said that “the Indian-Russian special and privileged strategic partnership is a unique relationship of mutual trust between two great powers.”
  • An agreement on cultural exchanges for a period of two years (2017-2019) has been signed between the two nations.
  • An agreement for the construction of the third stage of the Kudankulam NPP (KK5 & KK6) along with the Credit Protocol has been signed between NPCIL and ROSATOM
  • An agreement between the Federal Service for Intellectual Property (Rospatent) and the Council of India on Scientific and Industrial Research has been signed to provide access to Rospatent experts to the Indian Digital Library of Traditional Knowledge (TKDL).
  • Contract between JSC (Russian Railways) and the Ministry of Railways on the preparation of the justification for the implementation of the high-speed service at the Nagpur-Secunderabad section has been signed.
  • Memorandum of cooperation between ALROSA Joint Stock Company and the Council for the Promotion of the Export of Precious Stones and Jewellery of India has been signed.
  • It said the relationship covers all areas of cooperation, including in the spheres of political relations, security, trade and economy, military and technical field, energy, scientific, cultural and humanitarian exchanges, and foreign policy.
  • The relationship helps promote national interests of both countries, and contributes to the establishment of a more peaceful and just world order, the declaration said. The two sides signed five agreements, which included one on setting up of Units 5 and 6 of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) in Tamil Nadu with the Russian help.
  • Modi said the nuclear agreement, which was a major outcome of the summit meeting, will further strengthen the ties between the two countries.
  • The other pacts included a contract for a high-speed train service between Nagpur and Secunderabad, an MoU for export of precious stones and jewellery and a programme on cultural exchanges.
  • The reactors will be built by India’s Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) and Russia’s Atomstroyexport company, a subsidiary of Rosatom, the regulatory body of the Russian nuclear complex. Each of the two units will have a capacity to produce 1,000 MW of power.
  • The document titled ‘A vision for the 21st Century’ said economies of India and Russia complement each other in the energy sector and both countries will strive to build an “energy bridge”.
  • It said the future of Indian-Russian cooperation holds great promise across a wide spectrum covering nuclear power, nuclear fuel cycle and nuclear science and technology.

Sebi forms committee on corporate governance

  • To improve the standards of corporate governance of listed companies, markets regulator Sebi on Friday set up a committee under the chairmanship of Uday Kotak, chief of Kotak Mahindra Bank.
  • The panel includes representatives of Corporate India, stock exchanges, professional bodies, investor groups, chambers of commerce, law firms, academicians and research professionals, and Sebi.
  • The panel headed by Kotak, the executive vice chairman and managing director of Kotak Mahindra Bank, would have to submit the report within a period of four months, Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has said in a statement.

Objectives

  • The committee would make recommendations to SEBI on ensuring independence in spirit of independent directors and their active participation in functioning of the company and steps for improving safeguards and disclosures pertaining to related party transactions.
  • Besides, the panel would suggest measures for addressing issues faced by investors on voting and participation in general meetings and ways for improving effectiveness of board evaluation practices.
  •  Further, it will also suggest SEBI on issues pertaining to disclosure and transparency.
  • Earlier in April, SEBI had come out with detailed corporate governance norms for listed companies providing for stricter disclosures and protection of investor rights, including equitable treatment for minority and foreign shareholders.
  • The new rules, which would be effective from October 1, require companies to get shareholders’ approval for related party transactions, establish whistle blower mechanism, elaborate disclosures on pay packages and have at least one woman director on their boards.
  • Sebi’s norms are aligned with the new Companies Act and are aimed to encouraging companies to “adopt best practices on corporate governance”.

Securities and Exchange Board of India

  • Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) was first established in the year 1988 AQF as a non-statutory body for regulating the, securities market.
  • It became an autonomous body by The Government of India on 12 April 1992 and given statutory powers in 1992 with SEBI Act 1992 being passed by the Indian Parliament.
  • SEBI has its headquarters at the business district of Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai, and has Northern, Eastern, Southern and Western Regional Offices in New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Ahmedabad respectively. It has opened local offices at Jaipur and Bangalore and is planning to open offices at Guwahati, Bhubaneshwar, Patna, Kochi and Chandigarh in Financial Year 2013 – 2014.
  • Controller of Capital Issues was the regulatory authority before SEBI came into existence; it derived authority from the Capital Issues (Control) Act, 1947.
  • Initially SEBI was a non statutory body without any statutory power. However, in 1995, the SEBI was given additional statutory power by the Government of India through an amendment to the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992. In April 1988 the SEBI was constituted as the regulator of capital markets in India under a resolution of the Government of India
  • SEBI is credited for quick movement towards making the markets electronic and paperless by introducing T+5 rolling cycle from July 2001 and T+3 in April 2002 and further to T+2 in April 2003. The rolling cycle of T+2 means, Settlement is done in 2 days after Trade date.
  • SEBI has been active in setting up the regulations as required under law. SEBI did away with physical certificates that were prone to postal delays, theft and forgery, apart from making the settlement process slow and cumbersome by passing Depositories Act, 1996.

Shashi Shekhar Vempati named CEO of public broadcaster Prasar Bharati

  • Shashi Shekhar Vempati, a former principal architect of Infosys Technologies, has been appointed the new chief executive officer (CEO) of public broadcaster Prasar Bharati.
  • The appointment announced comes seven months after the last CEO, Jawhar Sircar, resigned from the post.
  • Vempanti, a technocrat, had been on the board of Prasar Bharati as a part-time member.
  • His appointment as CEO was made on the recommendation of a three-member committee headed by vice-president Hamid Ansari, Press Council of India chairman Justice CK Prasad and the secretary of the Information and Broadcasting ministry who is also the President’s nominee.
  • An IIT Bombay alumnus, Vempati’s tenure will be for five years from the date of assumption of office.
  • Vempati has over two decades of experience as a technocrat with specialization in areas of corporate management, technology consulting and digital media.
  • He currently holds two patents ‘Real Time Business Event Monitoring, Tracking and Execution Architecture’ and ‘System and method for monitoring and management of inventory of products and assets in real time’ under his name
  • With the appointment of Vempati, the government broke away from the tradition of appointing former bureaucrats to the position.

Vizianagaram bags MGNREGA national award

  • The Ministry of Rural Development has selected Vizianagaram as one among the 17 districts across the nation for the MGNREGA annual award for effective implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act during 2015-16.
  • The award would be presented at the Mahatma Gandhi NREGA Sammelan to the district programme coordinator and District Collector on June 19 in New Delhi.

Achievements

  • The district had generated works for 3,61,668 households in 2015-16 and disbursed Rs 483.42 crore as wages with an average of Rs 106.
  •  Over 5,000 farm ponds, 240 rain water harvesting structures, and 440 water shed works were executed. In addition, 3,427 minor irrigation tanks were de-silted and restored to their original capacity
  • Using MGNREGA convergence grants, 154 fish- breeding units and an equal number of vegetable pandals, besides fodder production, sericulture, and development of horticulture in 5,000 acres of land were taken up.

Convergence works

  • While appreciating people’s representatives, DWMA officials and other functionaries, the Collector said the material component that remained unused for the past few years was now being used for bridging the developmental gaps through convergence works, which include CC roads, NTR Jala Siri, energised bore-wells, plantation, and construction of IHHLs under Swachh Andhra Pradesh.
  • The State had been utilising 16% of the nation’s MGNREGA funds