GS Paper I- History and Geography of the World and Society.

WEF Launches Global Centre For Cybersecurity.

Background

  • In a bid to safeguard the world from hackers and growing data breaches — especially from nation-states — the World Economic Forum (WEF) on 24th January, 2018 announced a new Global Centre for Cybersecurity.
  • Headquartered in Geneva, the centre will become operational from March, 2018.
  • Alois Zwinggi, Managing Director, WEF, said that Cybersecurity has been the most pressing issue of our times. We badly need a platform to ward off cyber criminals. The centre will help bring all the stakeholders together in achieving that.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • Zwinggi added that they need to collaborate with the governments as well as international organisations. To begin with, they will reach out to key industry players and G-20 countries to make this platform a success for dialogue and real-time action on cyber threats.
  • Cyber breaches recorded by businesses are on the rise. In the last five years, these have almost doubled to an average of 130 breaches per business in 2017.
  • As a borderless problem, urgent action is needed to create a safe operating environment for new technologies like Artificial Intelligence, robotics, drones, self-driving cars and the Internet of Things (IoT), the WEF said.

Sources- The Hindu.

GS Paper II- International Relations.

10 ASEAN Leaders Attend India’s Republic Day Celebration On 26th January, 2018.

Background

  • India on 26th January, 2018 celebrated its 69th Republic Day with its customary display of military might and cultural diversity in a parade that saw the rare attendence by heads of state and government from 10 Southeast Asian countries in a major departure from established practice.
  • Leaders of countries representing the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) took the stage along with their host, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as President Ram Nath Kovind took the salute in New Delhi.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • The invite to leaders from Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore, Myanmar, Thailand, Brunei, the Philippines and Malaysia comes at a time when India is celebrating 25 years of partnership with the economically vibrant Asean.
  • On 25th January, 2018, Modi hosted all 10 Asean leaders at a commemorative summit with the theme Shared Values, Common Destiny during which the two sides agreed to scale up maritime cooperation and outlined a road map for future partnership that included an enhancement of physical and digital connectivity besides increased economic linkages.
  • India’s outreach to Asean comes as many countries in the world and Asia in particular are looking warily at the rise of an aggressive China. With China being a major trading partner of the 10-member grouping and many of the Asean members locked in maritime disputes with Beijing, these nations seem keen to broaden their linkages with countries such as India.
  • PM Modi said that India and Asean nations have relations free from contests and claims. They have a common vision for the future, built on commitment to inclusion and integration, belief in sovereign equality of all nations irrespective of size, and support for free and open pathways of commerce and engagement.
  • Indians have always looked East to see the nurturing sunrise and the light of opportunities. Now, as before, the East, or the Indo-Pacific region, will be indispensable to India’s future and our common destiny. The Asean-India partnership will play a defining role in both. And, in Delhi, Asean and India renewed their pledge for the journey ahead, the PM added.

Sources- Livemint.

GS Paper III- Economic Development.

Now, Payments And Small Finance Banks Can Offer Atal Pension Yojana.

Background

  • The Centre’s social security scheme for the aged — the Atal Pension Yojana (APY) — will now also be available at small finance and payments banks, the Finance Ministry said on 26th January, 2018.
  • To strengthen the existing channels of APY distribution, it is felt that these new payments banks and small finance banks will provide a boost to the outreach of subscribers under APY.
  • The APY was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 9, 2015, as the first ever guaranteed pension product, open to all citizens between the ages of 18 and 40 years.
  • It provides a minimum guaranteed pension of ₹1,000 to ₹5,000 per month, after the age of 60 years, depending on the monthly contribution made by a subscriber.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • At present, the APY has over 84 lakh subscribers and overall assets of ₹3,194 crore.
  • Earlier this month (January, 2018), the pension regulator — Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority — had conducted a workshop on the scheme and discussed the implementation of the scheme with the banks.
  • The Finance Ministry noted that participation in APY also provides a sustainable fee income to banks though an incentive of ₹120-150 per account.
  • The Reserve Bank of India had given licence to 11 payments banks and 10 small finance banks. Of these, nine small finance banks — including Ujjivan, Janalakshmi and Equitas — and four payments banks, which include Airtel Payments Bank and Paytm Payments Bank, have already started operations.

Sources- The Hindu Business Line.