Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 06 September 2023

UPI QR Code-CBDC interoperability

GS Paper - 3 (Economy)

With banks enabling the interoperability of Unified Payments Interface’s (UPI) Quick Response (QR) code with their central bank digital currency (CBDC) or e application, users of retail digital rupee will be able to make transactions by scanning any UPI QR at a merchant outlet. Merchants can also accept digital rupee payments through their existing UPI QR codes. This integration of UPI and CBDC is part of the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) ongoing pilot project on pushing the retail digital rupee (e-R).

What is interoperability?

  • Interoperability is the technical compatibility that enables a payment system to be used in conjunction with other payment systems, according to the RBI.
  • Interoperability allows system providers and participants in different systems to undertake, clear and settle payment transactions across systems without participating in multiple systems.
  • Interoperability between payment systems contributes to achieving adoptionco-existenceinnovation, and efficiency for end users.

What is UPI QR code-CBDC interoperability?

  • Interoperability of UPI with the digital rupee means all UPI QR codes are compatible with CBDC apps. Initially, when the pilot for the retail digital rupee was launched, the e-R users had to scan a specific QR code to undertake transactions.
  • However, with the interoperability of the two, payments can be made using a single QR code.
  • The digital rupee issued by the RBI, or the CBDC, is a tokenised digital version of the rupee.
  • The e is held in a digital wallet, which is linked to a customer’s existing savings bank account. UPI is directly linked to a customer’s account.

How will it benefit customers and merchants?

  • The interoperability of UPI and CBDC will ensure seamless transactions between a customer and merchant without having the need to switch between multiple digital platforms.
  • It will allow a digital rupee user to make payments for their daily needs, such as groceries and medicines, by scanning any UPI QR codes at any merchant outlet.
  • Even merchants are not required to keep a separate QR code to accept the digital rupee payments. They can accept CBDC payments on their existing QR code.

What is a QR code?

  • Quick Response (QR) code consists of black squares arranged in a square grid on a white background, which can be read by an imaging device such as a camera.
  • It contains information about the item to which it is attached, according to the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).
  • QR code is an alternate contactless channel of payments. It allows merchants or businesses to accept payments from their customers directly into their bank accounts.

Revamped ‘Adopt a Heritage 2.0’ programme

GS Paper - 1 (Art and Culture)

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) launched a revamped version of the ‘Adopt a Heritage’ programme apart from an Indian Heritage app and an e-permission portal.

More about the Programme

  • Initially launched in 2017 under the Ministry of Tourism, in collaboration with the ASI which invited corporate stakeholders to adopt from over 3,000 protected monuments spread across the country, ‘Adopt a Heritage 2.0’, is the upgraded version of ‘Adopt a Heritage’ programme.
  • The programme encourages corporate stakeholders to utilise their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds to enhance facilities at historically-important monuments.
  • The app, on the other hand, provides a comprehensive guide to monuments under ASI’s ambit. It lists historical structures along with pictures, public facilities available on site and geo-tagged locations.
  • The e-permission portal has been designed to simplify and speed up the process for acquiring approvals for photographyfilming, and developmental initiatives concerning heritage monuments, with the goal of expediting the permission-granting process.
  • The Adopt a Heritage 2.0 has incorporated a host of changes to the programme after a leaner management and supervision structure for the partner agencies, clear guidelines for semi-commercial activities and detailed scope of work and amenities required for monuments was proposed in the earlier version. 1,000 additional monuments have also been added to the list for adoption.
  • In the updated programmemore freedom has been given to companies such as the option to either adopt a monument in whole and develop its tourism infrastructure, or provide a particular amenity such as drinking water facility or cleaning services for one or several sites.

Your personal data online

GS Paper - 3 (ITC)

Recently, India notified its personal data protection framework as a law, signalling the beginning of a new era of privacy legislation in the country. Provisions of the Digital Personal Data Protection Act, 2023 will come in force in a few months, after the Centre has allowed enough transition time to the industry, with users of these platforms — you — experiencing several new notices and rights, as prescribed in the law.

When can an entity process your personal data?

  • There are broadly two circumstances under which entities — both government and private — can process an individual’s personal data: (i) There has to be clear consent for such processing; and (ii) for certain “legitimate uses”.
  • When an entity is processing your personal data for which you have consented, it has to be accompanied by a notice, which is to be made available in all 22 languages of Schedule 8 of the Constitution.
  • You can directly consent to businesses, and the government can process your personal data, or alternatively use a consent manager.

What happens to your personal data that was collected before this law came into existence?

  • Any entity that has collected a person’s personal data before the Act came into being should give her a notice about the personal data in its possession “as soon as it is reasonably practicable”.

The notice should include:

  • The personal data an entity is processing and the purpose for such processing;
  • The way in which a user can withdraw their consent;
  • The means of grievance redressal
  • However, the contents of this notice have been significantly diluted from previous iterations of the many data protection Bill drafts in the last five years.
  • For instance, the Act doesn’t require companies to state the duration for which they will store personal data, if it will be shared with third-parties, and if it will be sent to a foreign jurisdiction.

There are exemptions to consent requirements as well:

  • The Act says that the government can exempt itself and its instrumentalities from adhering to any and all provisions of the law that relate to processing of personal data.

Will your rights be restricted in any way?

  • Broadly, there are three major roadblocks that impose restrictions, or limit the rights prescribed in the provisions of the law from applying to individuals. These are as follows:
  • Government exemptions: In the interest of national security, friendly relations with other governments and public order among others, many of the provisions of the Act, including rights afforded to citizens will no longer be applicable.
  • The way we have prepared the law, it has adequate safeguards for citizens. A lot of the fear against the government’s power comes from citizens’ experience with previous governments. But that is not the case today. People have a lot of trust in our government, IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said.
  • Processing of data for legitimate uses: Neither the government nor private companies need to seek informed consent from citizens for certain legitimate uses.
  • For the government, this includes processing personal data for offering subsidies and certificates, responding to a medical emergency, for national security, and during natural disasters.
  • Private entities can assume consent when an individual has not expressly denied her consent.