UPSC Civil Services Daily Current Affairs 2nd March 2022
Topics for the day:
- Digital lending and issues associated
- West unleashes SWIFT ban on Russia
- Samarth Ramdas
- PM Gati Shakti
Digital lending and issues associated
- Reserve Bank cancelled the Certificate of Registration (CoR) issued to P C Financial Services Pvt Ltd, New Delhi, which was primarily engaged in mobile app-based lending operations through an app called ‘Cashbean’
Why was the PC Financial license cancelled?
- The RBI said the CoR of the company has been cancelled on account of supervisory concerns such as gross violations of RBI directions on outsourcing and knowing your customer norms.
- The company was also found to be charging usurious rates of interest and other charges to its borrowers in an opaque manner
- It was also indulging in unauthorized use of logos of the RBI and Central Bureau of Investigation for recovery from the borrowers in gross violation of the Fair Practices Code.
RBI panel recommendations:
- A Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Working Group (WG) on digital lending, including lending through online platforms and mobile apps submitted its recommendations in 2021.
- A separate legislation should be enacted to oversee such lending.
- Setup a nodal agency to vet the Digital Lending Apps.
- A Self-Regulatory Organisation should be set up for participants in the digital lending ecosystem.
- Develop certain baseline technology standards and compliance with those standards as a pre-condition for offering digital lending solutions.
- Disbursement of loans should be made directly into the bank accounts of borrowers and servicing of loans should be done only through the bank accounts of the digital lenders.
- All data collection must require the prior consent of borrowers and come ‘with verifiable audit trails’ and the data itself ought to be stored locally.
What are the issues wrt digital lending apps?
- They attract borrowers with promise of loans in a quick and hassle-free manner.
- But, Excessive rates of interest and additional hidden charges are demanded from borrowers.
- Such platforms adopt unacceptable and high-handed recovery
- They misuse agreements to access data on the mobile phones of the borrowers.
West unleashes SWIFT ban on Russia
- Russia was cut off from the global bank payments system in retaliation for their invasion in Ukraine by US and the EU.
- The assets of Russia’s central bank are also expected to be frozen, constraining Moscow’s ability to access its overseas reserves.
- Prior to this, only one country had been cut off from SWIFT – Iran. It resulted in it losing a third of its foreign trade.
- The move against Russia is only partly implemented for now, with only some Russian banks being covered.
- The option of expanding it further to a pan-country ban is something that the US and its allies are holding back as a further escalatory move.
- These are expected to badly hit a country that is heavily reliant on the SWIFT platform for its key natural resources trade, especially the payments for its oil and gas exports.
What is SWIFT?
- The SWIFT system stands for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication and is a secure platform for financial institutions to exchange information about global monetary transactions such as money transfers.
- While SWIFT does not actually move money, it operates as a middleman to verify information of transactions by providing secure financial messaging services to more than 11,000 banks in over 200 countries.
- Based in Belgium, it is overseen by the central banks from eleven industrial countries:Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States, besides Belgium.
- SWIFT code is used when the transfer between two banks happens internationally as we use IFSC codes for the domestic transfers i.e. financial transactions within the geographical territory of India.
- For ex.Suppose a customer of a Bank of America of New York Branch want to send money to the ICICI bank account in Bengaluru, he can approach the Bank of America’s New York Branch with the account number of ICICI to which the money needs to be deposited and ICICI Banks Swift Code for the Bengaluru branch. Bank of America’s New York Branch will send the payment message to the ICICI Bengaluru branch over the secure SWIFT network. Once ICICI ‘s Bengaluru branch receives the SWIFT message about the incoming payment, it will clear and credit the money to the account.
- Recently Maharashtra Governor claimed saint Samarth Ramdas was the guru of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj
More about saint Ramdas :
- Samarth Ramdas was also known as Sant (saint) Ramdas or Ramdas Swami.
- He was an Indian Marathi Hindu saint, poet, philosopher, writer and spiritual master born in 1608. He was a devotee of Hindu deities Rama and Hanuman.
- Ramdas lived at the same time as Saint Tukaram.
- His literary works include Karunashtake, Dasbodh, Yuddhakand, Sunderkand etc
- Ramdas is not deemed a pacifist. His writings include strong expressions encouraging nationalism to counter aggressive Muslim invaders.
- He built Hanuman temples in towns and villages to teach youth the value of exercise and to rally them to battle the enemy.
- He emphasized the warrior’s position in society. Samartha Ramdas Swami built numerous study centers throughout the country.
- He recognized the significance of women’s roles in a harmonious society. He promoted women into positions of power and encouraged them to participate in religious work.
- He had 18 devoted female followers. Among them, Wennabai,Akkabai were well known.
- Ramdas founded the Samarth sect to reintroduce spirituality into society.
- Ramdas was a devotee of Madhvacharya and his Dvaita Vedanta philosophy.
- He had contempt for caste and creed distinctions. He was an outspoken supporter of the eradication of social classes
- Ramdas served an inspiration for several Indian thinkers, historians and social reformers from 19th and 20th-century, including Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Rajwade, Keshav Hedgewar, and Ramchandra Ranade.
PM Gati Shakti
- Prime Minister Modi called on the private sector to partner with the government in infrastructure development under the PM Gati Shakti, aimed at coordinated development of infrastructure with a view to lower logistics costs in line with developed countries.
- He also encouraged the private sector to use data available on the Gati Shakti portal, which offers 400 layers of geospatial data including information on existing and planned infrastructure, forest land, and industrial estates.
What is PM Gati Shakti ?
- Gati Shakti scheme or National Master Plan for multi-modal connectivity plan, aims at coordinated planning and execution of infrastructure projects to bring down logistics costs.
About the Scheme :
- The Gati Shakti scheme will subsume the Rs 110 lakh crore National Infrastructure Pipeline that was launched in 2019.
- Besides cutting logistics costs, the scheme is also aimed at increasing cargo handling capacity and reducing the turnaround time at ports to boost trade.
- It also aims to have 11 industrial corridors and two new defence corridors – one in Tamil Nadu and other in Uttar Pradesh.
- It aims at extending 4G connectivity to all villages
- It aims at adding 17,000 kms to the gas pipeline network
- It will help in fulfilling the ambitious targets set by the government for 2024-25, including expanding the length of the national highway network to 2 lakh kms, creation of more than 200 new airports, heliports and water aerodromes.
- It takes an Integrated Approach: It intends to bring together 16 infrastructure related Ministries. This will help in removing long-standing issues such as disjointed planning, lack of standardisation, problems with clearances, and timely creation and utilisation of infrastructure capacities.
- It involves the creation of a common umbrella platform called Gati Shakti Digital Platform through which infrastructure projects can be planned and implemented in an efficacious manner by way of coordination between various ministries/departments on a real-time basis.
UPSC Civil Services Daily Current Affairs 2nd March 2022
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