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Today's Headlines - 04 December 2022

NPCI extends UPI market cap deadline

GS Paper -3 (Economy)

National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has extended the deadline for Unified Payments Interface (UPI) for market leaders; PhonePe and Google Pay to meet the market cap deadline of 30% to 31 December 2024. The earlier deadline to meet the market cap norms was 31 December 2022.

 

More about the news:

  1. Taking into account the present usage and future potential of UPI, and other relevant factors, the timelines for compliance of existing TPAPs (Third Party Application Providers) who are exceeding the volume cap, is extended by two (2) years, that is, till December 31, 2024 to comply with the volume cap.
  2. The extension means that PhonePe and Google Pay – the two biggest players with market share of 47% and 34% as of October – will get two more years to adhere to NPCI’s guideline. Paytm, the third biggest player in the segment, has a market share of 15%.
  3. As per NPCI data, UPI transactions, which had crossed Rs. 10 trillion in May in value terms, stood at Rs. 11.90 trillion in November compared to Rs. 12.11 trillion a month ago.
  4. If the deadline is not extended, it would be detrimental to the incredible Indian digital payments growth story.
  5. The guidelines requiring each UPI third-party app to adhere to a 30 percent transaction volume cap were first introduced in November 2020 to ensure that UPI volumes do not get concentrated in the hands of a few players. These three players, currently, make up for 96% of monthly UPI volumes.
  6. Other players such as Amazon Pay, WhatsApp Pay, and others have a negligible share because users have chosen to stick with one of the top three UPI apps.

Impact of the guidelines:

  1. The implementation of the guidelines will be a positive for Paytm, as it stands to gain. However, for PhonePe and Google Pay, it is a setback.
  2. It raised concerns about how players could reduce market share.
  3. The burden is on other existing and new UPI players to invest more to increase their own UPI market share.

 

U.S. designates ‘countries of particular concern’

GS Paper - 2 (International Relations)

The United States has designated 12 countries, including China, Pakistan and Myanmar, as "countries of particular concern" for the current status of religious freedom in these nations.

More about the news:

  1. The US says, around the world, governments and non-state actors harass, threaten, jail, and even kill individuals on account of their beliefs.
  2. In some instances, it stifles individuals’ freedom of religion or belief to exploit opportunities for political gain. This sow division, undermine economic security, and threaten political stability and peace.
  3. Other countries which are ‘Countries of Particular Concern’ under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 for having engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom includes the People’s Republic of China, Cuba, Eritrea, Iran, Nicaragua, the DPRK, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan .
  4. While Algeria, the Central African Republic, Comoros and Vietnam on the ‘Special Watch List’ for engaging in or tolerating severe violations of religious freedom
  5. It also designated al-Shabab, Boko Haram, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Houthis, ISIS-Greater Sahara, ISIS-West Africa, Jama’atNusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin, the Taliban, and the Wagner Group based on its actions in the Central African Republic as "Entities of Particular Concern".
  6. These designations are keeping with our values and interests to protect national security and to advance human rights around the globe.

Significance of this move

  1. Countries that effectively safeguard this and other human rights are more peaceful, stable, prosperous and more reliable partners of the United States.
  2. It will continue to carefully monitor the status of freedom of religion or belief in every country around the world and advocate for those facing religious persecution or discrimination.
  3. It will also regularly engage countries about our concerns regarding limitations on freedom of religion or belief, regardless of whether those countries have been designated.
  4. It welcomes the opportunity to meet with all governments to address laws and practices that do not meet international standards and commitments, and to outline concrete steps in a pathway to removal from these lists.

Effort at putting India:

  1. There were massive lobbying effortsby groups like Indian American Muslim Council and pressures from organisations like the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom to designate India as a Country of Concern.

 

Vanuatu relocate Villages over Rising Seas

GS Paper - 3 (Environment and Ecology)

Vanuatu, a low-lying Pacific island nation, plans to relocate around a dozen villages to avert potential climate catastrophe due to rising sea levels. A threat arising out of rising sea levels, the country has decided to draw up plans to relocate around “dozens of villages” - that inhabit long-established communities - within the next two years.

 

Threat

  1. The major population of Vanuatu was impacted after Cyclone Pam whipped across the capital Port Vila in 2015, claiming lives. The cyclone affected crops and left thousands homeless.
  2. Vanuatu is ranked as one of the countries most susceptible to natural disasters like earthquakes, storm damage, flooding and tsunamis, according to the annual World Risk Report.

Global Scenario

  1. Representing Vanuatu, Regenvanu attended the UN's COP27 summit in Egypt last month and inked an imperative deal to assist vulnerable countries in dealing with the adversaries of climate change through an appropriate fund.
  2. There is a consensus - among the countries concerned about climate change - to keep the global limit well within the ambit of 1.5 degrees Celsius.

 

Revolutionary AI chatbot

GS Paper -3 (Science and Technology)

The (AI) Research Company OpenAI announced ChatGPT, a prototype dialogue-based AI chatbot capable of understanding natural language and responding in natural language. It has since taken the internet by storm, with people marvelling at how intelligent the AI-powered bot sounds.

 

More about the news

  1. It iscapable of giving solutions to complex problems directly almost like a personal know-all teacher; some called it a replacement for Google.

 

  1. The dialogue format makes it possible for ChatGPT to answer follow-up questions, admit its mistakes, challenge incorrect premises, and reject inappropriate requests.

 

What is ChatGPT? 

  1. It is based on GPT-3.5, a language model that uses deep learning to produce human-like text. While the older GPT-3model only took text prompts and tried to continue on that with its own generated text.
  2. It is more engaging, much better at generating detailed text and can even come up with poems.
  3. Its unique characteristic is memory. The bot can remember earlier comments in a conversation and recount them to the user.
  4. OpenAI has only opened up the bot for evaluation and beta testing but API access is expected to follow next year. With API access, developers will be able to implement ChatGPT into their own software.

How does it work?

  1. It is almost like texting an acquaintance over WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. We can enter a simple prompt or request, such as asking ChatGPT to write a brief news report.
  2. Users can refine the prompt, add or subtract details, or encourage ChatGPT to learn from previous answers.

Usage:

  1. The potential use cases for such a tool are practically limitless.
  2. It cantackle a range of assignments, from writing a sensitive condolence letter and explaining string theory in a child-friendly way to translating tax forms and providing first aid to a choking baby.

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