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♦ Nandan Nilekani to head five-member RBI panel on digital payments
- The Reserve Bank of India has appointed a five-member panel headed by Nandan Nilekani to suggest ways to improve digital payments. The committee will submit its report in 90 days from its first meeting.
- Former Deputy Governor of RBI H.R. Khan, former Vijaya Bank MD and CEO Kishore Sansi, former Secretary of Information and Technology Aruna Sharma and Sanjay Jain, Chief Innovation Officer, Center for Innovation, Incubation & Entrepreneurship (CIIE), IIM Ahmedabad, are the other members of the panel.
- “To review the existing status of digitisation of payments in the country, identify the current gaps in the ecosystem and suggest ways to bridge them,” the terms of reference said.
- The panel would assess the current levels of digital payments in financial inclusion, suggest measures to strengthen the safety and security of digital payments, provide a road map for increasing customer confidence to use digital transactions, and suggest a medium-term strategy for deepening of digital payments.
♦ MoU on ‘India-Norway Ocean Dialogue’ exchanged
- Prime Minister Modi said that both the countries have vibrant trade ties.
- Appreciating the investment made by Norwegian firms in India, Prime Minister further hoped that the FDI and investments in other opportunities in India will continue.
- Anchor – Further the prime minister also welcomed cooperation between the two countries in the field of ocean economy.
- MoU were exchanged on India-Norway Ocean Dialogue.
- Later in the evening, Erna Solberg will also call on President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu. She will also deliver the Inaugural address at the Raisina Dialogue and will address India-Norway Business Summit.
♦ HDFC arm Gruh Finance to merge with Bandhan Bank
- Gruh Finance, the affordable housing finance arm of mortgage lender HDFC, will be merged with Bandhan Bank — the newest commercial bank. The move would help the latter to cut promoter stake from 82.3% to 61%.
- According to the deal, 568 equity shares of face value of ₹10 each of Bandhan Bank is to be issued for every 1,000 equity shares of a face value of ₹2 each of Gruh. The deal is subject to regulatory approvals. The swap ratio implies a 2.05% premium to the shareholders of Gruh. The combined entity is valued at ₹84,000 crore.
♦ Lok Sabha passes Citizenship (Amendment) Bill
- A bill seeking to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangaldesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan was passed by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.
- Piloting the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019, Home Minister Rajnath Singh told the Opposition that the bill was not against the provisions of the Constitution and would give succour to persecuted minorities in the three neighbouring countries of India.
- The Bill provides for according Indian citizenship to the Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of residence in India instead of 12 years even if they do not possess any documents.
♦ SC reinstates Alok Verma as CBI Director
- The Centre had taken a decision against Verma and CBI’s Special Director Rakesh Asthana after their feud become public as they made allegations of corruption against each other.
- The top court, however, restrained Verma from taking any major policy decision till the Central Vigilance Commission inquiry is over.
- The apex court also said that any further decision against Verma would be taken by the high-powered committee which selects and appoints CBI Director.
- It said the meeting of the committee should be convened within a week. By the verdict, the apex court has set aside the Centre’s decision of October 23 divesting Verma of his powers as CBI chief and sending him on leave.
- The judgement was pronounced by a bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph.
- Verma’s two-year tenure as CBI Director ends on January 31.
- The Centre had justified its decision to divest Verma of his duties and sending him on leave before the apex court saying he and Asthana were fighting like “Kilkenny cats”, exposing the country’s premier investigating agency to “public ridicule”.
♦ Retirement age for college faculty will be extended: CM Mamata Banerjee
- Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday announced that the retirement age for teachers in colleges and universities will be increased from 62 to 65 — 70 years in the case of vice-chancellors and pro vice-chancellors.
- The chief minister was delivering the convocation address during the annual convocation of Calcutta University at Nazrul Mancha.
- “We have taken a decision to increase the retirement age of professors in colleges and universities to 65 years from 62. Retirement age of vice chancellors and pro vice-chancellors has been increased to 70 years,” she said.
♠Vocabulary (The Hindu)♣
- MARE(NOUN): Woman
Synonyms: girl, female
Antonyms: man, boy
Example: She is a goodly more
- BESET(VERB): Bedevil (घावा करना)
Synonyms: beleaguer, besiege
Antonyms: clarify, explain
Example: Many social problems beset the UK.
- BROOK(VERB): Countenance (बहना)
Synonyms: tolerate, abide
Antonyms: disapprove, avoid
Example: I was reluctant to brook the use of force.
- RAPACIOUS(ADJECTIVE): Greedy (लालची)
Synonyms: acquisitive, avaricious
Antonyms: benevolent, generous
Example: He is a rapacious boy.
- SPECIOUS (ADJECTIVE): Misleading (दिखौवा)
Synonyms: deceptive, false
Antonyms: genuine, valid
Example: Because it was based on specious information, the study was flawed.
- DISINGENUOUS (ADJECTIVE): Not straightforward or candid (
Synonyms: unfair, cunning
Antonyms: frank, truthful
Example: He is disingenuous shopkeeper.
- DERISIVE (ADJECTIVE): Sarcastic (हास्यजनक)
Synonyms: cheeky, mocking
Antonyms: praising, respectful
Example: He gave a small derisive laugh at the ongoing discussion.
- ODIOUS (ADJECTIVE): Extremely unpleasant (घिनौना)
Synonyms: disgusting, horrid
Antonyms: attractive, delightful
Example: The girl said it was the most odious crime she had ever seen.
Dark side of the moon: on China’s moon mission
China joined a select group of countries with successful missions to the moon, when its spacecraft, Chang’e-4, successfully made a landing at ‘10.26 on January 3’, according to the China National Space Administration. It landed at a spot on the moon’s far side, the Von Kármán crater, which is untouched by earlier missions from earth. After landing, Chang’e-4, named after the Chinese moon goddess, relayed a close-up image of the ‘far’ side of the moon through the communication relay satellite Queqiao. The Queqiao satellite was launched last May by China for the very purpose of helping Chang’e-4 communicate with earth, as a direct communication with it is not possible from the moon’s far side, which never faces earth. The Chang’e-4 mission carries payloads, of which two are in collaboration with Germany and Sweden, respectively. The instruments include cameras, low-frequency radio spectrum analyser, lunar neutron and radiation dose detectors, and many more. Among other things, the mission could pave the way to setting up a radio telescope on the far side of the moon.
Considering that earth is right next door to the moon, we know precious little about it. Its formation and early evolution present mysteries which, if understood, could guide us in planetary studies, and help in understanding exoplanets. The near side, which faces earth, has dark patterns; the far side, turned away, is marked with circular spots that are craters formed by meteorite collisions. The moon’s near side is believed to have a thinner shell, so that when meteorites bombarded it they cracked its shell, releasing lava which gushed out and covered traces of the impact and left dark patches. Being thicker, the far side did not face such an erasure and bears the marks of the crater impacts. This mission could verify these theories and discover the reason behind these dichotomies. The moon’s far side also differs from the near side in that it is shielded from all the radio waves emanating from earth. Communication devices and satellites have made it too noisy for radio astronomers to easily and accurately interpret signals. The near side of the moon also suffers from this problem of noise. On the other hand, the far side is a quiet place and a haven for earthly aspirations to set up a radio telescope that could reveal astronomical mysteries, such as the structure of the universe shortly after the Big Bang. China has now joined the U.S. and the former USSR as the only countries to have made a “soft landing” on the moon. But beyond underlining China’s technological advances, Chang’e-4 could herald a new chapter in lunar exploration.
Question 1: Why is the side on which the spacecraft landed known as the far side of the moon?
A) it is never visible to earth
B) it is untouched by earlier missions
C) it is shielded from all radio active waves emanating from earth.
D) None of these
Question-2 Which according to the passage is true?
A) with the landing of China’s spacecraft the far side of the moon mystery’s will be solved
B) it will make the other side of the moon vulnerable to the radio active emanation from earth.
C) this mission could verify various theories and discover reason behind dichotomies.
D) None of these
Question 3 What is the meaning of soft landing on the moon as stated in the passage?
A)Crashing on the surface while landing.
B) Landing on the surface without destroying the vehicle
C) Using moons gravitational attraction for landing.
D) None of these
Question 4- how is the Chang’e 4 for satellite expected to communicate with the earth?
A) Through the low frequency radio spectrum analyzer.
B) Through the satellite which Chang’e-4 carried to moon
C) Through all the instruments that were loaded into the satellite.
D) None of these
Question 5- Chang’e-4 is expected to help in all the below except which of the following:
A) Knowing the structure of the universe after big bang theory
B) Setting up a radio telescope on far side of the moon
C) Guide us in planetary studies and help in understanding ex
D) None of these
Question 6: Select the word which is most nearly the SAME MEANING as the word printed in bold as used in the passage.
Question 7: Select the word which is most nearly the OPPOSITE MEANING as the word printed in bold as used in the passage.
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