Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 18 February 2023

RBI nod to be payment aggregators

GS Paper - 3 (Economy)

The payments arm of big technology companies Amazon and Google are among 32 firms that have been given in-principle approval by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to operate as online payment aggregators. Approvals have also been granted to Reliance Payment Solutions, a part of Reliance Jio Infocomm, and the payments platform of food delivery firm Zomato. The RBI has for the first time released a full list of the entities to which it has granted a payment aggregator licence, as well as those whose applications are still in process, and those whose applications it has rejected.

Who are payment aggregators?

  1. Online payment aggregators can onboard digital merchants and accept payments on their behalf after getting a licence from the RBI. The central bank introduced a framework for such entities in March 2020.
  2. Applications were invited until last September. Under the payment aggregator framework, only firms approved by the RBI can acquire and offer payment services to merchants, which bring them under the direct purview of the regulator.
  3. According to RBI rules, a company applying for aggregator authorisation must have a minimum net worth of Rs 15 crore in the first year of application, and at least Rs 25 crore by the second year.
  4. It also must fulfil the “fit and proper” criteria, and be compliant with global payment security standards.

Which are the entities that are yet to receive RBI’s approval?

  1. Among the applications for payment aggregators that remain under consideration are those of prominent Indian start-ups such as PhonePe and Dreamplug Paytech Solutions, the parent company of Cred.
  2. The applications of Paytm and the Naspers-owned PayU have been returned. This means these companies can continue to function as payment aggregators, but they cannot take on board new merchants until they receive RBI’s approval.
  3. The applications of Ola Financial Services and CAMS Payment Services among others have been rejected. These companies cannot function as payment aggregators.

What other action is RBI taking to regulate fintech firms?

  1. The RBI has prepared a “white-list” of digital lending apps in the country, which it might soon release.
  2. In order to curb rising malpractices in the digital lending ecosystem, the RBI last August issued guidelines for entities engaged in digital lending that stated that all digital loans must be disbursed and repaid through bank accounts of regulated entities only, without the pass-through of lending service providers (LSPs) or other third parties.
  3. Earlier this month, the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) banned 94 digital lending apps, including Indian startups such as LazyPay and Kissht. However, the ban on some of these entities was later revoked.


IAF develops indigenous 'Vayulink' platform

GS Paper - 3 (Defence)

The Indian Air Force has come out with an innovative solution that would help pilots to deal with bad weather and also provide them jammer-proof uninterrupted communication with the base station. Known as 'Vayulink', the data link communication uses the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) that is also known as NAVIC, to send radio communication to the base station when the signals are low.

More about Vayulink

  1. The important aspect of the technological solution is that it prevents fratricide or friendly fire.
  2. The IAF has put up a gallery on Vayulink to provide information about its platform at the India Pavilion in the ongoing Aero India 2023.
  3. Vayulink is an ad-hoc data link communication system, which when installed in an aircraft, gives the position of other aircrafts close by, encrypted traffic data over a secured channel.
  4. When the planes are flying close to any friendly forces on ground during a combat situation, the aircraft display gives the position of such forces on the ground including tanks and troops beneath.
  5. The advantage of the system is when you are going into combat, it prevents fratricide. It means, you are able to know where our ground forces are present.
  6. The Vayulink system also prevents aircraft collision, provides better combat teaming and helps plan real-time basis where multiple teams can get together and go towards the target coming from different areas.
  7. The system can also give the pilots data on the weather. When you are flying above the hills where there is no radio communication, the system can give you radio communication also.
  8. Vayulink is helpful for the Air Force, Army and Navy, while it can be given to government services as well since the technology has been made by the Indian Air Force.
  9. Vayulink has been developed by the IAF only and it is a very secure system.


Commissioning of ITER’s first phase

GS Paper - 3 (Energy)

The first phase of commissioning of the seven-nation International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), of which India is a part, at Cadarache in France is expected in 2028.


  1. India formally joined the ITER project in 2005 and is a 10 per cent stake holderITER-India is the nodal agency for the country’s participation in the $45-65 billion ITER project.
  2. AV Ravi Kumar, scientific officer and head, outreach division of the Gandhinagar-based Institute for Plasma Research (IPR), and Kartik Mohan, scientist of ITER-India, said that of the nine packages which are India’s share of the project, four have already been delivered.
  3. These are the cryostat (which is the world’s largest and heaviest component), the water cooling and heat rejection system, the in-wall shielding as well as the cryo lines and cryo distribution system. The remaining five are in the process of being delivered and are currently on schedule.
  4. IPR and ITER-India, which comes under the department of atomic energy, are participating in the five-day Maha Edu Fest, which began at the Lokseva e-school in Pune. The event is organised by the Indo Science Education Trust and the NM Foundation and Research Centre.
  5. The outreach division of IPR, which has set up this exhibition, has over 25 models, of which a majority are working interactive ones, depicting various forms of plasma, their many applications as well as models of ‘tokamak’ and details of the ITER project.
  6. Though IPR has two ‘tokamaks’ — which are essentially devices where hot plasma is generated, magnetically confined and studied — no fusion reaction is carried out in these machines.
  7. The studies carried out in these machines will help us learn more about hot plasma and how to sustain and control them, which are essential precursors to doing actual fusion reactions in the future.


Aadi Mahotsav Tribal Festival Inaugurated

GS Paper - 1 (Art and Culture)

The Prime Minister inaugurated the TRIFED’s Aadi Mahotsav tribal festival in New Delhi, saying that the coming together of the diverse tribal cultures of India at an event such as this one was “giving new heights to unity in diversity”. Today, India goes to some of the world’s biggest stages and presents the Adivasi culture as its own proudly— as a solution to global problems like climate change and global warming.  When people talk about sustainable development, we can proudly say that the world has a lot to learn from the Adivasis.

Tribal Development

  1. The country was now achieving new heights of progress by prioritizing the development of some of the underprivileged sections of society.
  2. The National Capital Region in Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to come to the tribal festival in large numbers and purchase as many different artefacts and tribal products as possible to encourage the artisans and crafts people.
  3. The government’s policies had benefitted tribal communities in the last eight or nine years, mentioning the setting up of over 3,000 Van DhanVikasKendras, 80 lakh self-help groups, the rise in Budget for tribal welfare over the years.
  4. The boost to the Eklavya Model Residential Schools for tribal children, and a rise in the number of forest products that the government was purchasing at Minimum Support Price (MSP).
  5. Villages that used to be connected with separatism and extremism are now connected with 4G.
  6. The youth, who used to get pulled into divisive efforts, are now accessing the Internet and becoming part of the mainstream. This is the stream of SabkaSaath, SabkaVikas, SabkaVishwas and SabkaPrayas which is reaching every citizen of the far-flung areas of the country.
  7. This is the sound of the confluence of Aadi and Aadhunikta (modernity), on which the soaring edifice of New India will stand.”

Science Education For Adivasis

  1. The demand for India’s tribal products is increasing. We are exporting to foreign countries. And among these are bamboo products, the demand for which is also rising.
  2. The bamboo-cutting and use was prohibited by law, Govt.brought bamboo under the category of grass and removed all such prohibitions”.
  3. Since language barrier was a problem for tribal children, his government’s New Education Policy addressed this and allowed for them to learn in their mother-tongues.

Cultural Practices

  1. Tribal dance forms such as PuruliaChhau from West BengalBaguramba from Assam,Panthi from ChhattisgarhTamangSelo from SikkimGusadi from Telangana and many others.
  2. The Aadi Mahotsav event was a representation of the country’s progress for 10 crore tribal population of the country.

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