Current Affair of 07 April 2018, Exam View.

Current Affair 07 April 2018

RBI explores feasibility of launching ‘fiat’ digital currency.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has clamped down on virtual currencies, including Bitcoin, directing all entities regulated by the central bank — mainly banks, finance companies and wallets — not to deal with or provide services to any individual or business entities dealing with or settling virtual currencies, joining the global crackdown on trading of virtual coins.

Rapid changes in the landscape of the payments industry along with factors such as emergence of private digital tokens and the rising costs of managing fiat paper/metallic money have led central banks around the world to explore the option of introducing ‘fiat’ digital currencies.

Fiat Currency

Fiat currency is currency that a government has declared to be legal tender. However, cryptocurrency, or virtual currency like Bitcoin, is not legal tender and not backed by a government.

Several central banks are debating the possibility of introducing a fiat digital currency. As opposed to private digital tokens, these are issued by a central bank. They constitute liability of the central bank, and they will be in circulation in addition to the paper currency.

Govt. forms committee to regulate news portals

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has instituted a committee to regulate online portals, including news websites, entertainment sites and media aggregators.

The 10-member committee, formed on Wednesday, will include secretaries of the departments of Home, Legal Affairs, Electronics and Information and Technology, and Industrial Policy and Promotion. The CEO of MyGov and a representative each of the Press Council of India and National Broadcasters’ Association will also be part of the committee.

  • The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting noted that both print and electronic media are regulated
  • Online media does not come under the ambit of regulatory mechanism.
  • The committee, broadly, will look at three things

    1. to bring online information dissemination under regulation
    2. to propose a policy for foreign direct investment in this media.
    3. to look at international best practices on such existing regulatory mechanism.

    The content telecast on television channels are regulated in terms of the programme and advertisement codes under the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994. Similarly, the autonomous body Press Council of India regulates the print media.

    TRAI suggests access points for Wi-Fi

    Trai has proposed the concept of Public Data Office Providers, aimed at enhancing Wi-Fi connectivity and cutting internet costs by up to 90%.

    TRAI recommended an ambitious model of a public Wi-Fi grid that also aims to push broadband proliferation in the country. Ruing that India significantly trails other nations in providing access to broadband, especially in rural areas, the telecom regulator has underscored the need for ushering a new set of small players to provide Wi-Fi service.

    The public Wi-Fi pilot outcome aims to offer a seamless experience to end users...This will allow small entrepreneurs such as tea shops, grocery shops etc. to set up and maintain access points. Whereas, device manufacturers, payment companies, Internet Service Providers/Telcos and consumer internet companies can provide the remaining pieces to set up PDO

    The regulator had earlier come out with recommendations on proliferation of broadband through public Wi-Fi networks that were sent to Telecom Department on March 9, 2017.

    RBI switches back to GDP model

    The Reserve Bank of India has decided to use Gross Domestic Product (GDP), instead of Gross Value Added (GVA) to measure economic activity in the country.

    The change, is to conform with international practice, for ease of comparison. Globally, the performance of economies is gauged in terms of GDP. This approach is also taken by multilateral institutions, international analysts and investors.

    The Central Statistical Office has been using GDP as the main measure of economic activity since January 2015. So, though there are good economic reasons to employ GVA as the supply-side measure of economic activity, it has been decided to switch to GDP, said Acharya.

    India’s economic growth is expected to strengthen from 6.6 percent in 2017-18 to 7.4 percent in 2018-19. Growth trends across the four quarters are expected to be 7.3 percent in Q1, 7.4 percent in Q2, 7.3 percent in Q3 and 7.6 percent in Q4.

    RBI keeps interest rate unchanged, lowers inflation projection

    The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 5th April kept the repo rate and reverse repo rate unchanged at 6 percent and 5.75 percent respectively.

    Cutting inflation forecast for second-half was cut to 4.4 percent from 4.5-4.6 percent, RBI reiterated commitment to keep inflation at 4 percent in medium-term.

    Sanjita Chanu won gold medal at CWG 2018

    Weightlifter Khumukcham Sanjita Chanu won India its second gold medal at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games by outshining in the women’s 53 kg category event.

    She set a new record in the game by lifting a total of 192 kgs which includes 84 kgs in a snatch and 108 kgs in clean and jerk. While Sanjita and Lather secured medals, the only blip in weightlifting for India came through Saraswati Rout, who was eliminated from the women's 58kg-event after failing in all her three 78kg Snatch attempts.

    Delhi-Pathankot flight under UDAN scheme

    Alliance Air will start thrice-a-week flight service between Delhi and Pathankot under Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN) scheme from April 5.

    Pathankot is the 21st airport under the Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN) scheme, according to an official statement. The 1-hour-35-minute-long flight will operate three days a week -- Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.

    The 1-hour-35-minute-long flight will operate three days a week -- Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.

    Union Government launches UTTAM App for Coal Quality Monitoring

    Union Minister of Railways and Coal Piyush Goyal on April 5, 2018 launched the UTTAM App for Coal Quality Monitoring. The word 'UTTAM' here is abbreviated as 'Unlocking Transparency by Third Party Assessment of Mined Coal'.

    The app has been jointly developed by the Union Ministry of Coal and Coal India Limited (CIL) developed .

    • The app has been designed with an aim to transform the citizens as stakeholders in the coal ecosystem
    • The app seeks to monitor the process of Third Party Sampling of coal and coal dispatches across all the CIL subsidiaries.
    • It facilitates a bidirectional channel between Coal India Limited and a common citizen.
    • It aims to ensure transparency and efficiency in the coal quality monitoring process and brings coal governance closer to people.

    First ever “Van Dhan Vikas Kendra” to come up at Bijapur, Chhattisgarh

    The Ministry of Tribal Affairs has approved the establishment of the first multipurpose “Van Dhan Vikas Kendra” on pilot basis for the establishment in Bijapur District of Chhattisgarh State for providing skill upgradation and capacity building training and setting up of primary processing and value addition facility.

    The selection of the tribal beneficiaries and formation of the SHGs has been undertaken by TRIFED and the training is scheduled to start from April 10, 2018. To start with Van Dhan Vikas Kendra is being established in a Panchayat Building so that the primary processing can be commenced by the SHGs. The Kendra will be shifted to its own building once the same is ready.

    The Van Dhan Vikas Kendras will be an important milestone in economic development of tribals involved in collection of MFPs by helping them in optimum utilization of natural resources and provide sustainable MFP-based livelihood in MFP-rich districts.

    ICICI Bank first to get Swift's new cross-border payment service

    ICICI Bank has become its first Indian client to go live with an improved cross-border payments service according to Global financial messaging cooperative Swift

    The Swift platform was allegedly used by erring officials of PNB to initiate messages based on which payments were made to Modi's purported overseas suppliers. The scam has led to a slew of changes, including a ban on the letters of undertaking (LoU), which can hurt importers.

    International trade is the backbone of globalization and an imperative for India to grow.

    The service enables real-time payments tracking across correspondent banks and has a facility to track the payments instructions across the correspondent banks globally.

    White label ATM (WLA)

    • White label ATMs are set up by non-banking entities.
    • Broadly, ATMs differ from WLAs in two ways:
    1. In case of a White Label ATM, the logo displayed on the ATM machine and in the ATM premises pertain to the WLA operator instead of a bank.
    2. Cash deposits are not accepted at WLAs as it is not permitted by the RBI at present
    • The country’s first WLA was set up by the Tatas’ Indicash in 2013.
    • Non-bank entities were allowed by the RBI to set up White Label ATMs as banks won’t be able to provide their ATM facilities in each and every place.
    • At present, cash crunch following demonetization and transaction fees that do not cover costs are affecting these services hardly.