The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has extended the timeline for implementation of the new credit and debit card data storage norms, or card-on-file tokenisation (CoF) by six months to 30th June 2022.
The digital payment firms, merchant bodies, and banks had sought more time to integrate the systems and onboard all the stakeholders amid fears over the disruption of business transactions.
In September 2021, the RBI prohibited merchants from storing customer card details on their servers with effect from 1st January 2022.
Tokenisation: It refers to the replacement of actual credit and debit card details with an alternate code called the “token”.
A tokenised card transaction is considered safer as the actual card details are not shared with the merchant.
Card-on-File: It is a transaction where a cardholder has authorised a merchant to store the cardholder’s Mastercard or Visa payment details.
The cardholder then authorises that same merchant to bill the cardholder’s stored Mastercard or Visa account.
More Time needed for Implementation:
If the new RBI mandate is implemented in the present state of readiness, it could cause major disruptions and loss of revenue, especially for merchants.
Online merchants can lose up to 20-40 % of their revenues post 31st December due to tokenisation norms.
Disruptions of this nature erode trust in digital payments and reverse consumer habits back towards cash-based payments.
Merchants cannot start the testing and certification of their payment processing systems until banks and card networks are certified and live with stable APIs (Application Programming Interface) for consumer-ready solutions.
The RBI has said that after June 2022, credit and debit card data should be purged from the online systems of merchants.
In addition to tokenisation, industry stakeholders may devise alternate mechanisms to handle any use case, including recurring e-mandates and EMI option or post-transaction activity, including chargeback handling, dispute resolution, reward or loyalty programme, that currently involves the storage of CoF data by entities other than card issuers and card networks.
ESG (Environment, Social, and Governance) Funds
Why in News?
The asset size of ESG (Environment, Social, and Governance) Fundshas grown nearly five times to Rs 12,300 crore over the last couple of years. The demand and growth for ESG funds in Asia, especially in India, has been overwhelming, it is 32%.
It is a kind of Mutual Fund and is used synonymously with sustainable investing or socially responsible investing.
The ESG fund shortlists companies that score high on the environment, social responsibility, and corporate governance, and then looks into financial factors.
Therefore, the key difference between the ESG funds and other funds is ‘conscience., the ESG fund focuses on companies with environment-friendly practices, ethical business practices, and an employee-friendly record.
The fund is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Board of India(SEBI).
Factors Behind ESG Growth:
Greater policy focus on aspects such as cleanliness, skill development, expanded healthcare coverage, and education indicates potential public investment in this social development and environmentally sensitive sectors of the economy.
There is increasing awareness and understanding among younger investors.
Modern investors are re-evaluating traditional approaches and looking at the impact their investment has on the planet.
The United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UN-PRI)(an international organization) works to promote the incorporation of environmental, social, and corporate governance factors into investment decision-making.
As ESG funds gain momentum in India, companies will be forced to improve governance and ethical practices.
As the policy framework changes, companies that do not alter business models or become more environmentally sustainable could have their revenue and profits impacted in the long term.
Alongside the greater attention on issues such as climate risk, emissions, supply chains, labour rights, anti-corruption,, certain concerns have been flagged as well.
Greenwashing is one of the top concerns, is considered an unsubstantiated claim to deceive consumers into believing that a company’s products are environmentally friendly.
PLI Scheme for Semiconductor Goods
Why in News?
The Centre sanctioned Rs. 76,000 crores under the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme to encourage the manufacturing of various semiconductor goods within India.
The scheme comes amid an inadequate supply of semiconductor chips in the global market.
Under the PLI scheme, the Centre will offer financial support to companies that want to manufacture semiconductor goods in India.
The subsidy will bring down the production costs of companies manufacturing such goods, and thus encourage them to set up new factories and other facilities.
It is seen as an attempt to build a strong semiconductor industry that would put an end to the country’s reliance on imports and help in the creation of jobs(over 1 lakh new jobs either directly or indirectly).
Further, increased spending by the Government on such schemes is also seen as a step to boost demand in the economy.
The Centre, by offering subsidies to businesses, can play a crucial role in developing India as a global hub for electronic goods.
Critics argue that the burden of subsidies (to encourage any industry) falls on taxpayers.
Further, subsidies can lead to the misallocation of resources.
Investment decisions in a market economy are generally dictated by the preferences of consumers.
Projects that would otherwise not be undertaken by businesses due to lack of demand from consumers, however, may suddenly become viable when the Government subsidises part of the production costs.
These projects may be viable only as long as taxpayers are forced to fund the required subsidies.
Finally, the risk of cronyismis high when politicians and bureaucrats get to decide which company or sector receives subsidies.
The UV index is produced at the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA).
The UV index tells you how much UV radiation of different wavelengths is aroundat ground levelon a given day.
In 2002, the WHO devised the UV index in an effort to make people around the world more aware of the risks.
The index boils down several factors into a single number that gives you an idea of how careful you need to be in the sun.
A score of
1 or 2 is low,
3 to 5 is moderate,
6 or 7 is high,
8 to 10 is very high,
11 and above is extreme.
Factors – The UV index reported is usually the daily maximum– that’s the highest it will be all day.
How high it gets depends on factors, including your location, the time of year, amount of cloud cover, and ozone & pollution in the atmosphere.
The index tends to be higher closer to the Equator and at high altitudes.
Another reason is the ‘hole’ in the ozone layer.
Finally, the air in the southern hemisphere generally has less smoke, dust, and other small particle pollution than in the northern hemisphere.
While this makes the air nicer to breathe, pollution does absorb or block some UV radiation.
Despite changing in different locations, the UV level is also changing over time. The UV levels have increased in recent decades.
Abhyas: HEAT System
DRDO has successfully conducted the flight test of Indigenously developed Abhyas from Integrated Test Range (ITR), Chandipur off the coast, Odisha.
Abhyas is a High-speed Expendable Aerial Target (HEAT) System developed to meet the requirement of aerial targets of the Indian Armed Forces.
It is designed for autonomous flying with the help of an autopilot.
It was developed indigenously by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), a Bengaluru-based DRDO laboratory.
It is controlled from a ground-based controller and indigenously developed MEMS-based Inertial Navigation System.
It also has the Flight Control Computer that helps it to follow the pre-designated path in a fully autonomous mode.
It is powered by two boosters which provided the initial acceleration during the launch and a small turbojet engine is used to sustain high subsonic speed with long endurance.
Steller’s Sea Eagle
Along way from its home in Asia, a rare Steller’s Sea eagle was spotted around Taunton River, Massachusetts.
Steller’s sea eagles (Haliaeetus pelagicus) are especially revered in Japan, where they are known as O-washi.
They are native to Russia, China, Korea, and Japan.
They are believed to breed only in far eastern Russia, along with the coasts and surrounding islands of the Sea of Okhotsk and the Bering Sea.
Each winter, many Steller’s sea eagles migrate from their breeding grounds to Japan and Korea or even farther afield.
Other individuals do not migrate, but simply move to open water as winter approaches.
Open water provides these eagles with their main food sources along coastlines and lakes. Like other eagles, Steller’s also steal food from other birds.
Olive Ridley turtles
Why in News?
Scientists have resumed the Project of tagging Olive Ridley turtles at Rushikulya rookery along the Odisha coast.
About the Project
It is a collaborative project of the Zoological Survey of India in association with the Odisha Forest and Environment Department.
The project of tagging of the Olive Ridleys is being carried out at three mass nesting sites — Gahirmatha, Devi River mouth, and Rushikulya.
The project is being undertaken after a span of about 25 years.
The tagging of the turtles will help in finding the extent of travel and location of the turtles.
The tags on the turtles are also uniquely numbered, containing details such as the name of the organisation, country code, and email address. If researchers in other countries come across the tagged turtles, they will email their location in longitude and latitude.
Moreover, the metal tags attached to turtles are non-corrosive, and they do not harm their body and can be removed later.
It is one of the major rivers in the state of Odisha.
The river originates at the Daring Badi hills of the Eastern Ghats range.
The place from where the river originates, Daring Badi is called the ‘Kashmir of Odisha’.
The river meets the Bay of Bengal at Puruna Bandha in Ganjam.
It is one of the principal distributaries of Mahanadi.
It flows through Jagatsinghpur district and Puri district across Odisha state in India and joins the Bay of Bengal.
National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL) regains the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accreditation
Why in News?
National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL) has regained the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accreditation.
What is the National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL)?
NDTL is a premier analytical testing & research organization established as an autonomous body under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
It is the only laboratory in the country responsible for human sports dope testing.
What is the significance of NDTL getting back the accreditation?
NDTL accreditation was suspended in 2019 because of its failure to comply with global standards.
During the suspension period, urine samples collected by National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) were being sent primarily to the WADA-accredited lab in Doha.
The process had made the anti-doping program very expensive for the country because of the significant cost involved in sending samples abroad.
Hence, getting back the accreditation will reduce the cost and will be a boost to India’s efforts to achieve the highest global standards of excellence in sport.