Thursday, 30th March 2023

Table of contents

1   Daily Current Affairs

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Global Economic Recession - Edukemy Current Affairs

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State of India’s Environment Report 2023

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Multilateral Development Bank - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Institute of Eminence - Edukemy Current Affairs

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India - Africa AFINDEX - Edukemy Current Affairs

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World Bank Striving for Clean air Report

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National Agricultural Higher Education Project’s (NAHEP)

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Bio-bitumen - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary (AMS)

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Sea Slugs - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Piezoelectric effect - Edukemy Current Affairs

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SMILE and SHRESHTA Scheme - Edukemy Current Affairs

2   Daily Editorial Analysis

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Digital Public Infrastructure of India

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Daily Current Affairs

Global Economic Recession - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: According to a new World Bank report “Falling Long-Term Growth Prospects”, global average potential GDP growth rate, i.e. the theoretical growth rate an economy can sustain over the medium term without risking excess inflation, is expected to fall to a three-decade low of 2.2% a year between now and 2030.

Key Highlights of the Report:

  • Post COVID period provided a glimmer of hope for revival of the global economy, which was also stamped by leaders at the World Economic Forum at Davos and IMF’s World Economic Outlook. However, the recent collapses in the banking sector again ratcheted up the apprehensions of recession.
  • In the current decade, total factor productivity is expected to grow at its slowest since 2000. This broad-based slowdown in the growth rate of potential GDP has profound implications for the world’s ability to tackle the growing array of challenges unique to our times.
  • According to the World Bank, if all countries make a strong push, potential global GDP growth can be boosted by 0.7%. The report argues that the current decade could be a lost decade, not just for some countries but for the whole world.

Reasons for Recession:

  • Overlapping crises: Covid-19 pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resultant spike in inflation as well as monetary tightening have resulted in the halt of nearly three decades of sustained economic growth.
  • Prolonged period of weakness: Data for actual and per capita GDP growth, shows a broad-based decline over the past two decades for all the countries, irrespective of being an emerging or middle or low income country.
  • Weakening Investment growth: The Pandemic and Russia-Ukraine war ruined the global sentiments and there has been decline in investments.
  • Poor labour force growth: The global labour force is also growing sluggishly as populations age in advanced economies and many emerging-market and developing economies (EMDEs).
  • Reversals in human capital growth due to health shock, school closures and learning losses will have long-lasting effects on the growth of potential output.

Impacts on India

  • A persistent and broad-based decline in long-term growth prospects imperils the ability of EMDEs like India to combat poverty, tackle climate change, and meet other key development objectives.
  • Even though India has also lost its growth momentum over the past two decades, it is and will likely remain a global leader when it comes to growth rates.

Policies to boost global growth:

  • Increasing investment: A major global push for greater investment to achieve development and climate goals, without undermining fiscal sustainability, could boost potential growth rates by as much as 0.3% per year.
  • Aligning monetary and fiscal frameworks: Robust macroeconomic policy frameworks are critical to support investor confidence and can moderate the vagaries of business cycles.
  • Cutting trade costs: Trade costs associated with shipping, logistics, and regulations can double the cost of internationally traded goods. Reducing these costs through trade-facilitation agreements, removing tariff schedules etc. could propel international trade.
  • Capitalising on services: Developing economies enjoy significant room to grow in the service sector, amidst decline of international trade, because of their limited use of technology in everyday interactions.
  • Upping labour-force participation. Boosting labour-force participation rates, especially among women and older workers, to the best ten-year increase, this could increase global potential growth rates by 0.2% by 2030.
  • Strengthening global cooperation: Effective new methods of cooperation on trade, climate, finance, debt transparency, fragility, health and infrastructure etc. will be essential to achieve sustainable growth and poverty alleviation.



Source: 

https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-economics/global-economy-recession-2020-2030-decade-8524701/#:~:text=In%20this%20context%2C%20a%20new,but%20for%20the%20whole%20world.%E2%80%9D

Keywords: GS-2: Important International institutions and their reports, GS-3: Growth and Development
Daily Current Affairs

State of India’s Environment Report 2023


In News: Recently, State of India’s Environment report 2023 was launched by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) and DTE (Down to Earth) magazine.

About Report

  • State of India’s Environment Report 2023 is the annual publication, focusing on climate change, migration, health and food systems. It also covers biodiversity, forest and wildlife, energy, industry, habitat, pollution, waste, agriculture and rural development.

Major Highlight of the Report

  • Air Pollution: The average period of life that air pollution takes away in India is four years and eleven months. In comparison to the urban areas, the rural regions are losing more years due to health problems caused by air pollution. To cater to the needs of rural areas, 35% more community health centers are required.
  • Plastic Waste: Although the issue of plastic waste is enormous, there are numerous policies and a sense of urgency that are heading in the right direction. Cities are becoming more knowledgeable about waste management, segregating waste at the source, minimizing plastic usage, and transforming waste into valuable resources.
  • Agriculture: There is increasing evidence of the effectiveness of traditional and regenerative farming methods in agriculture. Despite the concerning fact that forest loss is a prevalent issue affecting biodiversity, there is a positive trend of communities demanding their rights over forests, and these rights are being granted.
  • Encroachment: In India, more than 30,000 water bodies have been occupied, and the country generates 150,000 tonnes of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) every day, with more than half of it either left unattended or dumped in landfills. Environmental crimes are still prevalent and unchecked, leading to a backlog of 245 cases that courts must resolve every day.
  • Extreme Weather Events: India experienced 271 days of extreme weather events between January and October 2022, resulting in the loss of over 2,900 lives.
  • Sustainable Development Goals: In the past five years, India has fallen nine places in the global ranking for meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) mandated by the United Nations, currently standing at 121 in 2022. India's ranking is lower than that of four South Asian countries, namely Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. India is encountering difficulties in 11 out of the 17 SDGs, including SDG 2 (zero hunger), SDG 3 (good health and wellbeing), SDG 5 (gender equality), and SDG 11 (Sustainable cities).

 

https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/environment/cse-dte-release-2023-state-of-india-s-environment-report-88429    

 

Keywords: GS-3 Environment and Ecology
Daily Current Affairs

Multilateral Development Bank - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: Under India's G20 Presidency, an expert group has been established to strengthen Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs).

About

  • The expert Group will comprise of Professor Lawrence Summers and N K Singh, former Chairperson of the 15th Finance Commission of India
  • The expert group will make a roadmap for an updated MDB ecosystem for the 21st century to address and finance global development.
  • The group will also work for solutions so that World Bank can contribute towards climate finance, which is crucial for developing and LDCs to make a smooth transition to lower carbon emissions without compromising on growth.

Multilateral Development Banks:

  • These are financial institutions that are funded by multiple governments to provide financial assistance and support for economic development projects in developing countries.
  • The primary objective of MDBs is to promote sustainable economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve living conditions in developing countries.
  • They provide loans, grants, and technical assistance to developing countries for projects such as infrastructure development, education, healthcare, and environmental protection.
  • MDBs also work closely with other international organizations such as the UN and IMF to promote economic development and poverty reduction in developing countries.
  • In recent years, MDBs have increasingly focused on sustainable development and climate change issues to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
  • Some of the important MDBs: World Bank Group, the Asian Development Bank, the African Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

 

https://indianexpress.com/article/business/g20-expert-group-constituted-for-strengthening-mdbs-8524513/#:~:text=Under%20the%20aegis%20of%20India's,ministry%20said%20in%20a%20statement.

 

Keywords: GS-3 Economy
Daily Current Affairs

Institute of Eminence - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: A parliamentary panel has recently recommended accelerating the process of granting the Institute of Eminence (IOE) status and realigning the IOE scheme with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.

About

  • The IOE scheme was launched to help 20 public and private institutions attain world standards and break into the top 500 categories of world rankings by 2027 and gradually in the top 100.

  • In 2017, the IOE status was given to seven higher education institutions, including two public and five private institutions.
  • The IOE status provides these institutions with additional funding of Rs. 1000 crore each, over and above their usual annual funding, for a period of five years.
  • The scheme is designed to encourage institutions to undertake research and teaching activities of global standards.
  • Public institutions: IISc Bangalore, IIT Delhi, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Bombay, IIT Madras, BHU, University of Hyderabad, and Delhi University.
  • Private institutions: BITS Pilani, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Jio Institute (Reliance Foundation, Maharashtra), Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Bangalore, VIT Vellore, Jamia Hamdard, Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, O.P JINDAL University, Shiv Nadar University, and Bharti (Satya Bharti Foundation)
  • These institutions are yet to sign the required MoUs to receive the IOE status due to the absence of an Empowered Expert Committee (EEC), which is to be notified by the Centre.
  • A total of 114 higher educational institutions, including public universities such as JNU and private ones such as Nirma University, have applied for the IOE tag so far.

 

https://indianexpress.com/article/education/accelerate-granting-of-ioe-status-parliamentary-panel-tells-centre-seeks-status-notes-8524338/

 

Keywords: GS-3 Economy
Daily Current Affairs

India - Africa AFINDEX - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: The Africa-India Field Training Exercise (AFINDEX-2023) has recently concluded in Pune, Maharashtra.

About

  • AFINDEX-2023 was divided into four phases: training for the trainers, Humanitarian Mine Action, Peace Keeping Operations, and validation.
  • The exercise involved 25 African nations and Indian troops from the Sikh, Maratha, and Mahar regiments.
  • An ‘Equipment Display’ was also organised in which 75 indigenous products from 32 industries manufactured under ‘Make in India’ were showcased.
  • The aim of the exercise was to build positive military relations and promote the ability to operate together while undertaking Humanitarian Mine Action and Peace Keeping Operations.
  • The exercise will enable the armies to learn and adopt methodologies and tactics while conducting such operations.
  • It will also assist the forces in the correct interpretation of Rules of Engagements while undertaking Peace Keeping Operations.

 

https://theprint.in/world/2nd-edition-of-india-africa-afindex-joint-military-exercise-culminates-in-pune/1481834/

 

Keywords: GS-3 Science and Technology, Defence exercise
Daily Current Affairs

World Bank Striving for Clean air Report


In News: Air pollution responsible for 20% of premature deaths in Bangladesh

About

  • World Bank has recently released a report titled ‘Striving for Clean Air: Air Pollution and Public Health in South Asia’ in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
  • As per findings, South Asia has nine out of the 10 cities with the worst air pollution in the world.
  • The report also highlights that air pollution causes 20pc premature deaths of which 30pc polluted air comes from India.
  • The report shows there are economically feasible and cost-effective solutions to achieve clean air in the region, but this requires countries to coordinate policies and investments.

Major findings of the Report:

  • Almost 60% of South Asians live in areas where PM2.5 concentrations exceed an annual mean of 35 μg/m3.
  • Air pollution is a severe public health crisis in South Asia, causing an estimated two million premature deaths each year and increasing health-care costs and lost productivity.
  • Air pollution is projected to account for 2.1 million premature deaths in 2030 in the five South Asian countries—Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
  • Some of the main sources of air pollution in South Asia are unique to the region, including:
    • Solid fuel combustion in the residential sector
    • Small industries such as brick kilns
    • Burning plastics in waste management,
    • Inefficient fertilizer application,
    • Fireworks,
    • Human cremation, and ammonia (NH₃) emissions from imbalanced fertilizer use and livestock manure.
  • Controlling ambient air pollution in South Asia is challenging due to the spatial interdependence of air quality and the long distances that particulate matter can travel.
  • Large parts of South Asia, accounting for about two-thirds of its total population, will still miss the least-ambitious WHO Interim Target 1 of 35 μg/m³ concentration, even if all technically feasible measures were fully implemented.
  • Air pollution is transboundary in nature as six major airsheds in South Asia share common geographical areas that have high spatial interdependence in air quality.
  • Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan share a common airshed that spans the Indo Gangetic Plain.
  • The World Bank has made suggestions that South Asian countries must take a coordinated approach to reduce air pollution in the same airshed.
  • To achieve greater progress, policymakers should focus on other sectors such as small manufacturing, agriculture, residential cooking, and waste management.

 

https://www.worldbank.org/en/region/sar/publication/striving-for-clean-air

 

Keywords: Daily CA
Daily Current Affairs

National Agricultural Higher Education Project’s (NAHEP)


Why in news? Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and World Bank have issued ‘Delhi Declaration’ on Modernisation of Agricultural Education System (AES) at International Conference on Blended Learning Ecosystem.

About NAHEP:

  • NAHEP is a five-year project initiated in 2018 by World Bank and Central Government to strengthen National Agricultural Education System (AES).
    • The conference was held as part of NAHEP’s Resilient Agricultural Education System (RAES) development initiative.

Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR):

  • ICAR is an autonomous organisation for coordinating, guiding and managing research and education in agriculture including horticulture, fisheries and animal sciences in India.
  • HQ: New Delhi

 

 

https://www.aninews.in/news/business/business/icar-and-world-bank-issue-delhi-declaration-on-modernisation-of-agricultural-education-system-at-international-conference-on-blended-learning-ecosystem20230328150551/

Keywords: General Studies –2 Government Policies & Interventions
Daily Current Affairs

Bio-bitumen - Edukemy Current Affairs


Why in news? As per the Ministry of Road and Highways, making bitumen from agricultural waste such as rice husk can help save up to ₹30,000 crores annually in import bills.

About:

Bitumen

  • Bitumen is a dense, highly viscous, petroleum-based hydrocarbon produced during the refining process or distillation of crude oil.
  • Bitumen is known for its waterproofing and adhesive properties and is commonly used in the construction industry, notably for making roads and highways.
  • It is generally composed of asphaltene resin and is main fossil fuel component of oil sands.

Bio-bitumen

  • Bio-bitumen would play a significant role as a road construction material to replace the fossil-based version while curbing CO2 emissions and boosting the bioeconomy.
  • The bio-bitumen was produced from rice and wheat straw.

 

https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/logistics/producing-bitumen-from-agri-waste-can-help-save-up-to-30000-crore-import-bill-annually-nitin-gadkari/article66671688.ece

 

Keywords: General Studies – 3 Science & Technology
Daily Current Affairs

Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary (AMS)


Why in news? Recently, Assam High Court has sought a report on demarcation of borders of Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary (AMS).

About:

  • The Amchang Wildlife sanctuary is located on the eastern fringe of Guwahati.
  • It comprises three Reserve forests-Khanapara, Amchang, and South Amchang.
  • It stretches from the Brahmaputra River in the north to the hilly forests of Meghalaya in the south, forming a continuous forest belt through Meghalaya's Maradakdola Reserve Forests.
  • It was declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 2004 by Government of Assam.
  • Flora: Khasi Hill Sal Forests, East Himalayan Mixed Deciduous Forest, Eastern Alluvial Secondary Semi-Evergreen Forests and East Himalayan Sal Forests.
  • Fauna: It is home to Mammals (Flying Fox, Assamese Macaque, Slow Loris, Hoolock gibbon etc.), Birds (Lesser and Greater Adjutant, White-backed Vulture, Slender-billed Vulture), Reptiles (Python, Monitor Lizard, Indian Cobra etc.).
  • Tree yellow butterflies (gancana harina) are found at the Amchang wildlife sanctuary which is indigenous to Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and northeast India.

 

https://www.indiatodayne.in/assam/story/gauhati-high-court-orders-assam-forest-department-to-submit-report-on-amchang-wildlife-sanctuary-borders-533070-2023-03-27

 

Keywords: General Studies –3 Environment & ecology
Daily Current Affairs

Sea Slugs - Edukemy Current Affairs


Why in news? A citizen science project documents unique sea slugs from Visakhapatnam coast.

About:

  • Sea slugs are small, slow-moving ocean creatures known for their bright colors and intricate patterns.
  • They belong to Phylum Mollusca and Class Gastropoda.
  • They are found in both shallow and deep areas of oceans. There are also slugs that live on land.
  • Features: Sea slugs range from large sea hares of 10cm to tiny nudibranchs 1cm or less. They generally lack large external shells.
  • Threats: Affected by human activities such as reclamation and pollution, Trampling by careless visitors and over-collection etc.

More Information:

  • A unique species of nudibranch sea slugs were documented on the Visakhapatnam shore.
  • These sea slugs are found in places with abundant prey bases which may vary from sponges, hydroids, and algae.
  • The nudibranchs are usually found in coral reefs and their presence is a significant indicator of a strong coral ecosystem.
  • They mainly feed on algae and are usually seen in large numbers when there is an algal bloom.
  • Most nudibranchs are active throughout the day, but some species are also nocturnal.

 

https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/a-citizen-science-project-documents-unique-sea-slugs-from-visakhapatnam-coast/article66652146.ece

 

Keywords: General Studies –3 Environment & ecology
Daily Current Affairs

Piezoelectric effect - Edukemy Current Affairs


Why in news? For the first time, scientists have reported evidence of the piezoelectric effect in liquids.

About:

  • In the piezoelectric effect, a body develops an electric current when it is squeezed.
  • The piezoelectric effect was discovered in 1880, in quartz.
  • Quartz is the most famous piezoelectric crystal. Quartz is silicon dioxide (SiO2).
    • The quartz crystal consists of silicon and oxygen atoms at the four vertices of a three-sided pyramid; each oxygen atom is shared by two pyramids. These pyramids repeat themselves to form the crystal.
    • It is used in this capacity in analog wristwatches and clocks. Such crystals are also used in cigarette lighters, electric guitars, TV remote controls, audio transducers, and other instruments where converting mechanical stress to a current is useful.
    • When a mechanical stress is applied – i.e., when the crystal is squeezed – the position of the charge is pushed further from the centre, giving rise to a small voltage. This is the source of the effect.
  • This effect has only been expected in solids thus far because the body being squeezed needs to have an organised structure, like pyramids of quartz.
  • Liquids don’t have such structure. Instead, they take shape of their container.

 

https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/scientists-spot-piezoelectric-effect-in-liquids-for-the-first-time/article66671337.ece

 

Keywords: General Studies –3 Science & Technology
Daily Current Affairs

SMILE and SHRESHTA Scheme - Edukemy Current Affairs


Why in news? The Scheme for Residential Education for Students in High Schools in Targeted Area (SHRESHTA) and Support for Marginalised Individual for Livelihood and Enterprise (SMILE) are being implemented by Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.

About:

SHRESHTA Scheme

  • SHRESHTA provides financial assistance to NGOs for education projects related to students belonging to Scheduled Castes, with three types of projects covered they are Residential Schools, Non-Residential Schools, and Hostels, both for Primary and Secondary Students.
  • Earlier known as Grant-in-Aid to Voluntary and other Organizations working for Scheduled Castes
  • The scheme has been revised and a new component, Mode-I, has been added for quality residential education for meritorious SC students in top-class residential High Schools through a nationwide entrance test conducted by National Testing Agency (NTA).

SMILE Scheme

  • SMILE, on the other hand, supports marginalized individuals for livelihood and enterprise, but does not specifically cover persons belonging to Scheduled Castes.

 

https://pib.gov.in/Pressreleaseshare.aspx?PRID=1911502

 

Keywords: General Studies –2 Government Policies & Interventions
Daily Editorial Analysis

Digital Public Infrastructure of India


Exam View: India Stack; The Digital Public Infrastructure of India (DPI); India harnessing its DPI.

Context: India’s digital public infrastructure (DPI), the India Stack and more, is a marvel of our times, shaped in a unique partnership between governments (Union and States), regulators, the private sector, selfless volunteers, startups, and academia/think tanks.

Background:

  • India, through India Stack, became the first country to develop all three foundational DPIs:
    • digital identity (Aadhar),
    • real-time fast payment (UPI) and
    • a platform to safely share personal data without compromising privacy (Account Aggregator built on the Data Empowerment Protection Architecture or DEPA).
  • A foundation with Aadhaar has led to many more Lego blocks, coming on top of it, and on its side, to create a superstructure of DPI which delivers consistent, affordable, and across-the-board value to citizens, government and the corporate sector.
  • The outcomes are India’s answer to Web 3.

Decoding the editorial: The Digital Public Infrastructure stack of India

  • Aadhaar
    • Governments: It becomes the rocket ship to launch good governance Today, over 1,700 Union and States government schemes ride atop it.
      • Also, between government departments (intra- and inter-State) Aadhaar data can be shared, but with the prior informed consent of the citizen.
    • Private sector: Aadhaar holders can voluntarily use their Aadhaar for private sector purposes, and private sector entities need not seek special permission for such usage.
    • Banks and other regulated entities: They can store Aadhaar numbers as long as they protect it using vault and other similar means, as in Unique Identification Authority of India security regulations.
    • The Goods and Service Tax Network (GSTN) and then account aggregator happened because of the Aadhaar number and Permanent Account Number (PAN) database existing. Thus, the Lego blocks keep building one on top of the other.
  • DigiYatra
    • The DigiYatra is a free of cost Biometric Enabled Seamless Travel (BEST) experience based on a facial recognition system (FRS) for the Indian traveller, again through a partnership between industry and government, which ensures seamless identification of passengers at key checkpoints such as airport entry, security check and boarding gate clearance.
  • DigiLocker
    • This DPI has 150 million users, six billion stored documents, and done with a tiny budget of ₹50 crore over seven years.
    • It is soon to be expanded to many countries around the world. When one applies for a passport now, one need not even upload any portable document format (PDF) any more or submit some notarised papers. A simple consent on the passport application form allowing it to fetch the relevant data from DigiLocker does the job.
    • Zerodha, Upstox, RazorPay, Equal and many other insurance and fintechs exist today because of the DigiLocker APIs, as their Know Your Client happens through it, almost instantly.
    • When DigiLocker was used in a Karnataka Police recruitment drive to verify the academic credentials of candidates, it led to the process being cut down by about six months.
  • UPI’s impact
    • The unified payment interface or UPI is breaking records under the visionary leadership at the National Payments Corporation of India.
    • It has now crossed eight billion transactions per month and transacts a value of $180 billion a month, or about a staggering 65% of India’s GDP per annum.

Beyond the editorial: India harnessing its DPI

  • National Cloud (MeghRaj) was designed by the Government of India in order to utilise and harness the benefits of Cloud Computing.
  • Bharat Maps is a multi-layered Geographic Information System (GIS) platform consisting of seamless country wide base maps, satellite images and hybrid maps aligned as per the global geo spatial standards.
    • GIS is helping MGNREGA workers to get information about availability of work in the near locations
  • Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) has brought a paradigm shift in the way benefits are transferred to the citizens, without leakages and on-time.
  • COVID Vaccine Intelligence Network (CoWIN) system is a comprehensive cloud-based IT solution for planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of COVID-19 vaccination in India.
  • e-RUPI is a cashless and contactless instrument for digital payment that will play a significant role in making direct benefit transfer(DBT) more effective. This will provide a new dimension to digital governance. This initiative is based on digital transactions merged with technology for connecting people’s lives in India.
  • TReDS is an electronic platform for facilitating the financing / discounting of trade receivables of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) through multiple financiers. These receivables can be due from corporates and other buyers, including Government Departments and Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs).

 

Source:

https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/indias-dpis-catching-the-next-wave/article66676393.ece

Keywords: GS-Paper 3: Achievements of Indians in science & technology, Awareness in the fields of IT
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