POLITY & GOVERNANCE
Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:
Indian Constitution [Paper-I]: Indian Constitution and its salient features
Why in News?
Union Home Ministry has relaxed the provisions for Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) card holders that made it compulsory for those aged above 50 and below 20 to renew their cards on renewal of their passports.
News in Detail
- Several OCI card holders were not able to travel to India due to this and many were stopped by airlines and immigration authorities at various airports due to the mismatch.
- According to a recent Home Ministry order, an OCI card holder is required to re-register each time a new passport is issued till 20 years of age and once after 50 years of age. This is not mandatory in the age group of 21-50 years.
- In order to facilitate OCI cardholders, the requirement has been relaxed till June 30, 2020, according to the union home ministry instructions dated December 17, 2019, but they will have to carry old and new passports.
- An Overseas Citizen of India, or OCI, is a category introduced by the government in 2005.
- Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) of certain categories as specified in the Citizenship Act, 1955 are eligible for being OCI cardholders.
- Some of the benefits for PIO and OCI cardholders were different until 2015, when the government merged these two categories.
Who is an OCI?
- Ministry of Home Affairs defines an OCI as a person who was a citizen of India on or after January 26, 1950; or was eligible to become a citizen of India on that date; or who is a child or grandchild of such a person, among other eligibility criteria.
- According to Section 7A of the OCI card rules, an applicant is not eligible for the OCI card if he, his parents or grandparents have ever been a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh.
Benefits for OCI cardholders
- OCI cardholders can enter India multiple times and get a multipurpose lifelong visa to visit India.
- They are exempted from registering with Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) no matter how long their stay.
- If an individual is registered as an OCI for a period of five years, he/she are eligible to apply for Indian citizenship.
- At all Indian international airports, OCI cardholders are provided with special immigration counters.
- OCI cardholders can open special bank accounts in India, buy non-farm property and exercise ownership rights.
- They can also apply for a driver’s license and PAN card.
- However, OCI cardholders do not get voting rights, cannot hold a government job and purchase agricultural or farm land.
- They cannot run for public office either, nor can they travel to restricted areas without government permission.
Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:
Economy [Paper-II]: Structure of Indian Banking and Non- Banking Financial Institutions and reforms
- Reserve Bank of India (RBI) introduced a new type of semi-closed prepaid payment instrument (PPI), which can be used only for purchase of goods and services up to a limit of Rs 10,000.
- Money will be loaded or reloaded in the new PPI only from a bank account for making digital payments such as bill payments, merchant payments, etc.
- The new PPI could be issued on the basis of essential minimum details sourced from the customer.
- The central bank, in its monetary policy statement on December 5, 2019 had proposed to introduce a new type of PPI to give impetus to small-value digital payments as well as for enhanced user experience.
What is PPI?
- It is as an instrument that facilitates purchase of goods and services, including financial services, remittance facilities, etc., against the value stored on such instruments.
- These payment instruments are licensed and regulated by the Reserve Bank of India.
What are the various types of PPIs?
Presently, three types of PPIs are issued in the country – closed system PPIs, semi-closed system PPIs and open system PPIs – which can be issued in the form of cards and mobile wallets.
Closed System PPIs
- These PPIs are issued by an entity for facilitating the purchase of goods and services from that entity only and do not permit cash withdrawal.
- As these instruments cannot be used for payments or settlement for third party services, the issuance and operation of such instruments is not classified as payment system requiring approval / authorisation by the RBI.
- The most common example of a closed system PPI is a brand-specific gift card. Such cards, physical or otherwise, can be used only at specific locations, and cannot be used to transfer funds from one account to another.
Semi-closed System PPIs
- These PPIs are issued by banks (approved by RBI) and non-banks (authorized by RBI) for purchase of goods and services, including financial services, remittance facilities, etc., at a group of clearly identified merchant locations / establishments which have a specific contract with the issuer (or contract through a payment aggregator / payment gateway) to accept the PPIs as payment instruments.
- These instruments do not permit cash withdrawal, irrespective of whether they are issued by banks or non-banks.
- E-wallets like Oxigen and Mobikwik examples of semi-closed PPIs. These are not restricted to a single entity.
- Instead, these can be used for purchase of any kind of goods and services from a merchant, as well as to transfer money to someone.
Open System PPIs
- These PPIs are issued only by banks (approved by RBI) and are used at any merchant for purchase of goods and services, including financial services, remittance facilities, etc.
- Cash withdrawals at ATMs / Points of Sale (PoS) terminals / Business Correspondents (BCs) are also allowed through such PPIs.
- A travel card is a type of open system PPI. It can be used for all types of spending and for cash withdrawal from ATMs.
FACTS OF THE DAY
- Kerala police launched a new project called ‘Nizhal’ to assure help for women and senior citizens across the state.
- With ‘Nizhal’ project, women and senior citizens can dial the emergency number 112 to seek help during night.
- Women who got stranded on road during night and senior citizens left alone at home can contact police by dialling 112.
- Under ‘Nizhal’ project, people from any part of the state can seek help of the police through the command centre which functions for 24 hours.
- If a person presses his mobile phone’s power button thrice, the phone will automatically dial the emergency number 112. Police will contact the person soon to assure help.
- A mobile application named ‘112 India’ is also available on play store for this purpose.
- People have to press the panic button on this app to communicate with the command centre of Nizhal project. From this, the police will be able to trace the person’s location.
BASHEER AWARD 2019
- Noted writer Padmanabhan has won the Basheer Award 2019.
- His collection of stories titled ‘Maraya’ was selected for the 12th Basheer Award by the Vaikom Muhammad Basheer Memorial Trust at Thalayolaparambu, Kottayam.
- The award carries a purse of Rs 50,000, certificate and a memento designed by C. N. Karunakaran.
- The award will be presented on January 21 on the occasion of Muhammad Basheer’s birthday at the Basheer memorial at Thalayolaparambu.
SWADESHABHIMANI KESARI AWARD 2018
- M.S. Mani, the former editor-in-chief of Keralakaumudi, was honoured with the 2018 Swadeshabhimani-Kesari award.
- The award instituted by Kerala state government comprises Rs 1 lakh, statuette designed by Kanayi Kunhiraman and citation.
- Mani was recognized for the highest media honour of Kerala govt for his active involvement as a senior in the media sector.
- ‘Radio Kerala’ is a radio station on the internet platform conceived by the Information and Public Relations Department, Kerala.
- The 24-hour radio station was recently launched by Kerala Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran in Thiruvananthapuram.
- Through this initiative, the state government can disseminate information on the development works and various projects among the public along with a slew of entertainment and information programmes.
- The Information Public Relations Department (IPRD) is the nodal agency of the Government of Kerala to disseminate information to the public through print and electronic media on government policies, programmes, schemes, initiatives and achievements.
- It functions as an interface between the government and the public and also serves to provide feedback to the government on people’s reaction as reflected in the media.
- The online radio, radio.kerala.gov.in, is available as a mobile app.
- Sethuraman Panchanathan was nominated by President Trump as the next director of the National Science Foundation.
- Panchanathan, 58, would succeed France Cordova when her six-year term as the NSF Director ends in 2020.
- The National Science Foundation (NSF) is a US government agency that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering. Its medical counterpart is the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
MISS UNIVERSE 2019
- South Africa‘s Zozibini Tunzi has been crowned Miss Universe for the year 2019.
- Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, from the Philippines, presented Tunzi with the crown.
BBC SPORTS PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR 2019
- England cricketer Ben Stokes has been voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2019.
- He played a crucial role in the Cricket World Cup finals match against New Zealand.
RESOLUTION AGAINST CAA
- Kerala Legislative Assembly passed a resoultion demanding scrapping of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019.
- Thus, Kerala became the first state in India to take the legislature route to register its opposition to the CAA law.
- In another resolution, Kerala Assembly has requested the Centre to include extension of reservation for Anglo Indian community in Lok Sabha and State Assemblies for 10 years from January 26, 2020 under the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Sixth Amendment) Bill, 2019.
ATAL KISAN-MAZDOOR CANTEEN
- Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar inaugurated the state’s first Atal Kisan-Mazdoor canteens at the Karnal grain market.
- At this canteen, farmers and labourers coming to the mandi will get a Veg-thali comprising four chapatis, rice, dal and seasonal vegetable, all for Rs 10.
- The canteens are named after former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
80TH SESSION OF INDIAN HISTORY CONGRESS
- The 80th session of the Indian History Congress (IHC) was held at Kannur, Kerala, between 28th and 30th December 2019.
- Founded in 1935, the Indian History Congress (IHC) is the largest association of professional historians in South Asia.
- It has about 35000 members of which over 2000 delegates participate in its session every year.
- Its main objective is to promote secular and scientific writing of history.
PADMAPRABHA LITERARY AWARD 2019
- Noted short story writer and screenwriter Santhosh Echikkanam has been selected for Padmaprabha Literary Award 2019 instituted by the Padmaprabha Foundation.
- The award comprises a purse of Rs 75,000, a sapphire-studded plaque and a felicitation letter.
- The Padmaprabha Award for excellence in literature was instituted in 1996.