1. NPCI GETS RBI NOD TO OPERATE BHARAT BILL PAYMENT SYSTEM
- National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the umbrella organisation for all retail payment systems, has received a final nod from the Reserve Bank of India to function as the Bharat Bill Payment Central Unit (BBPCU) and operate the Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS).
WHAT IS BBPS ?
- Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) is an integrated bill payment system in India offering interoperable and accessible bill payment service to customers through a network of agents, enabling multiple payment modes, and providing instant confirmation of payment.
- National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) will function as the authorised Bharat Bill Payment Central Unit (BBPCU), which will be responsible for setting business standards, rules and procedures for technical and business requirements for all the participants.
- The Committee headed by RBI Executive Director G. Padmanabhan was set up in 2013 to study the feasibility of implementation of Giro based Payment Systems. It had estimated that over 30,800 million bills amounting to Rs.6223 billion are generated each year in the top 20 cities in the country.
- It was felt that integrated bill payment system is required in the country that could offer interoperable and accessible bill payment services to customers through a network of agents, allow multiple payment modes, and provide instant confirmation of payment.
- This should also serve as an efficient, cost-effective alternative to the existing systems and enhance consumer confidence and experience.
WHAT IS NPCI ?
- It is the umbrella organisation for all retail payment systems in India, which aims to allow all Indian citizens to have unrestricted access to e-payment services.
- Founded in 2008, NPCI is a not-for-profit organisation registered under section 8 of the Companies Act 2013.
- The organisation is owned by a consortium of major banks, and has been promoted by the country’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India.
- Its recent work of developing Unified Payments Interface aims to move India to a cashless society with only digital transactions.
- It has successfully completed the development of a domestic card payment network called RuPay, reducing the dependency on international card schemes.
2. SUPREME COURT STAYS ELECTION COMMISSION’S ORDER ON MADHYA PRADESH MINISTER
- The Supreme Court stayed the Election Commission’s order disqualifying Madhya Pradesh minister Narottam Mishra for three years for filing wrong account of his poll expenditure in 2008 elections by not disclosing the amount spent on paid news.
- As per Section 7(b) of the Representation of the People Act, Narottam Mishra, a senior minister in the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government, stands debarred from being a member of the state legislature and also from contesting polls for three years from the date of the issuance of the disqualification order.
KNOW ABOUT REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLE ACT
- The Representation of People Act, 1951 is an act of Parliament of India to provide for the conduct of elections of the Houses of Parliament and to the House or Houses of the Legislature of each State, the qualifications and disqualifications for membership of those Houses, the corrupt practices and other offences at or in connection with such elections and the decision of doubts and disputes arising out of or in connection with such elections.
- The Act was enacted by the provisional parliament under Article 327 of Indian Constitution, before the first general election.
- The act has been amended several times, but some of the notable amendments include
- the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act, 1966 (47 of 1966), which abolished the election tribunals and transferred the election petitions to the high courts whose orders can be appealed to Supreme Court. However, election disputes regarding the election of President and Vice-President are directly heard by the Supreme Court.
- the Representation of the People (Amendment and Validation) Act, 2013 .
The Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was introduced by Varun Gandhi in Lok Sabha.
- India’s first unmanned tank developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has been rolled out of the Chennai lab.
- It has three variants – surveillance, mine detection and reconnaissance.
- Muntra-S has been developed for unmanned surveillance missions, whereas Muntra-M is built for detecting mines. Muntra-N, on the other hand, will be deployed in areas where nuclear radiation or bio weapon risk is high.
4. EXPERIMENTAL PROJECT OF CHINA ON METHANE HYDRATE IN SOUTH CHINA SEA
- China has successfully produced natural gas from methane hydrate, also known as “flammable ice”, in an experimental project in the South China Sea.
- A drilling platform deployed off the coast of the southeastern Chinese city of Zhuhai for 60 days produced a total of 309,000 cubic metres of natural gas, a record extraction volume from gas hydrate.
WHAT IS METHANE HYDRATE ?
- Methane clathrate , also called methane hydrate, hydromethane, methane ice, fire ice, natural gas hydrate, or gas hydrate, is a solid clathrate compound (more specifically, a clathrate hydrate) in which a large amount of methane is trapped within a crystal structure of water, forming a solid similar to ice.
- Originally thought to occur only in the outer regions of the Solar System, where temperatures are low and water ice is common, significant deposits of methane clathrate have been found under sediments on the ocean floors of the Earth.
- Methane clathrates are common constituents of the shallow marine geosphere and they occur in deep sedimentary structures and form outcrops on the ocean floor.
- Methane hydrates are believed to form by migration of gas from deep along geological faults, followed by precipitation or crystallization, on contact of the rising gas stream with cold sea water.
- By lowering the pressure or raising the temperature, the hydrates break down into water and methane – a lot of methane. One cubic metre of the compound releases about 160 cubic metres of gas, making it a highly energy-intensive fuel.
- Methane hydrates are thought to have the potential to be a revolutionary energy source that could be key to future energy needs – likely the world’s last great source of carbon-based fuel. Vast deposits exist basically underneath all oceans around the the globe, especially on the edge of continental shelves.