After rivers, Madhya Pradesh government to auction dams for sand mining
After auctioning sand mines in rivers, the Madhya Pradesh government is set to do the same for four major reservoirs of the state. If dams are auctioned for sand mining, MP would be the first state in the country to do so. Earlier, Maharashtra had decided to auction dams for sand mining, but stepped back after initiating the process.
The MP government has proposed sand mining contracts in Bargi Dam, Tawa Dam, Indira Sagar Dam and Bansagar. It has been cleared at the secretaries’ committee level and had to go to the cabinet for final clearance. This is the second major step by the cash-starved Congress government after auctioning sand mines last month, taking it back from gram panchayats allotted by the earlier BJP government.
The State government made some major changes in its mining policy this year. After the new policy, sand mining leases were allotted for three years in the state. Till last year, the lease used to be for one year only. Mines allotted this year would be renewed in 2022. Once allotted, the contractor would pay the increased royalty of 10 per cent per year and continue to operate the mines for three years.
The new mining policy has continued with the earlier government’s directive for a complete ban on mechanized mining from the quarries along Narmada river. As many as 1,438 mines have been identified in the state and of them 400 were new mines.
● India stands as fifth worst country in terms of biometric use
The Britain-based tech research firm Comparitech reported that India is the fifth worst country in terms of extensive and invasive use of biometric data. Before India stands China, Malaysia, Pakistan, and the US. India shared the fifth position along with Taiwan, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
The researchers analyzed 50 countries to find out where biometrics are being taken, the reason for the collection of the biometric data, and the process of the data storage.
The countries were marked out of 25.
A high score secured by a country shows an extensive and invasive use of biometrics and surveillance.
A low score shows better restrictions and regulations regarding biometric use and surveillance.
● Climate emergency has been named as the 2019 Word of the Year
Oxford Dictionaries has named climate emergency as the 2019 Word of the Year. The word was chosen from an all-environmental shortlist that also included climate action, climate denial,eco-anxiety, extinction and flight shame.
The Word of the Year citation highlights a word or expression that is shown through usage evidence to reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the passing year.
The word will have lasting potential as a term of cultural significance. The words that were chosen recently include toxic, youthquake, post-truth and vape.
- Armed Forces Flag Day: 07 December
Armed Forces Flag Day was observed across the country on 7th of December.
The day honours the martyrs and Armed Forces personnel, who safeguard the motherland.
The day is dedicated towards the collection of funds from people for the welfare of the Armed Forces personnel.
The fund collected on this day is also used for the welfare of the serving personnel and ex-servicemen.
- Exercise INDRA 2019 to be conducted from Dec 10-19
Exercise INDRA 2019, a joint tri-services exercise between India and Russia, will be conducted from December 10-19, simultaneously at Babina (near Jhansi), Pune and Goa.
The INDRA series of exercise began in 2003 and the first joint tri-services exercise was conducted in 2017.
The exercise will consist of a five day training phase consisting of a comprehensive training curriculum.
The contingents of both the countries will share expertise and their professional experience.
● RBI allows 24X7 NEFT transactions from 16 December
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said that the online money transfer allowed online money transfer through National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) will be available 24×7 from 26 December 2019. The move by RBI aims to promote digital transactions in the Country
The new NEFT transfer system will be available on all days of the year, including holidays.
RBI has set the NEFT transactions in hourly batches.
For weekdays, the timing set for the the batches are from 8.00 am to 7.00 pm.
On the first and third Saturdays, the settlement will be allowed from 8 am to 1 pm.
● RBI released Guidelines for on tap Licensing of SFBs
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released Guidelines for ‘on tap’ Licensing of Small Finance Banks (SFBs) in the Private Sector after making few changes. The previous guidelines were released on 27 November 2014.
Major changes from the earlier Guidelines on Small Finance Banks are:
The new guidelines stated that the minimum paid-up voting equity capital or net worth requirement should be Rs.200 crore
As per the new guidelines, licensing window will be open on-tap
For Primary (Urban) Co-operative Banks (UCBs), which want to transit into Small Finance Banks (SFBs), the initial requirement shall be Rs.100 crore. It should be increased to Rs.200 crore within five years from the date of commencement of business.
Upon the commencement of operations, the SFBs will be given scheduled bank status immediately and will have general permission to open banking outlets.
Payments Banks can be transit into SFB after five years of operations if they are otherwise eligible as per these guidelines.