- Recently, 97 pilot whales were stranded in Western Australia, and unfortunately, 51 of them have already died.
- Pilot whales refer to species of the genus Globicephala, which translates to 'round head.'
- These marine mammals are characterized by their bulbous head and thick, curved dorsal fin.
- There are two species of pilot whales:
- Short-finned pilot whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus), found in tropical and warm-temperate regions.
- Long-finned pilot whale (Globicephala melas), mainly found in colder waters.
- Pilot whales inhabit open waters but are sometimes spotted near coastal areas.
- They are typically nomadic in their movements.
- These whales form social groups of between 20 and 100 individuals.
- The social groups of pilot whales are matrilineal, meaning they are organized around the female members of the group.
- The information about "Purbashree on Wheels" was provided in a written reply in Rajya Sabha.
- "Purbashree on Wheels" is a mobile outlet of the Purbashree e-commerce portal.
- The Purbashree website serves as a platform to showcase handicraft products from the northeastern states of India.
- The products featured on the Purbashree website are handmade and made from natural fibers, promoting eco-friendly and sustainable living.
- "Purbashree on Wheels" facilitates direct purchases from artisans, connecting them directly to customers.
- The initiative supports artisans by providing them with necessary facilities to showcase and sell their products.
- "Purbashree on Wheels" is implemented by the North Eastern Handicrafts and Handloom Development Corporation (NEHHDC).
- NEHHDC was incorporated in 1977 and operates under the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region.
- The initiative covers crafts from various northeastern states, including Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura.
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released a draft circular in early July, seeking comments from stakeholders on a proposal for credit and debit card interoperability.
Mandate for Card Issuers
- Card issuers will be required to provide multiple choices of card networks for customers.
- This includes credit cards, debit cards, and prepaid cards.
- Customers will have the option to choose their preferred card network at the time of card issuance and also at a later date.
- The proposal aims to address the issue of limited customer choice in card networks.
Proposal for Multiple Network Cards
- The RBI is proposing to introduce multiple network cards to increase competition and enhance customer options.
Issuers to Avoid Restrictive Agreements
- Card issuers will be discouraged from entering into restrictive agreements that limit customer choices.
- The current lack of card network choice in India includes limited options such as American Express, Diners Club International, Mastercard, RuPay, and Visa. The proposal aims to address this limitation.
- The proposed changes are expected to be implemented from October 1.
- For existing customers, the option to choose multiple card networks will be available at the time of amendment or renewal.
- For new customers, the provisions will be applied by default.
- Outstanding credit cards saw a 1.43% month-on-month increase, reaching 87 million in May.
- Debit cards also saw a 0.7% increase month-on-month, reaching 974 million.
- The increase in card usage is attributed to higher awareness and sufficient infrastructure for face-to-face and online transactions.
- Credit card transactions on e-commerce platforms saw an 11% increase, with a 10.8% increase in transaction volume.
- The CEO of Bank of Baroda predicts that e-commerce spends will surpass physical spends, and there will be a transition to "virtual cards."
- The emergence of UPI (Unified Payments Interface) has become a medium for both physical and digital transactions, enabling easier cash flow management.
- The rise in card payments is driven by new digital-focused companies and a growing customer base in tier 3 and 4 cities.
- Features such as tokenization and EMI (Equated Monthly Installments) have contributed to the increase in card usage.
- Providing choice in card options is expected to boost the payment ecosystem in India.
- The latest update on the world economic outlook has been released.
- The global economy has weathered recent challenges, including the collapse of banks in the United States and Switzerland.
- The IMF projects a global economic expansion of 3% in 2023, reflecting a 20 basis points upgrade.
- Concerns and risks continue to persist despite the projected growth.
- Chief economist Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas advises caution due to existing challenges.
- Risks remain tilted downwards, posing potential threats to the economic outlook.
Two Largest Economies
- The United States economy has slowed down considerably and faces uncertainty amid global and domestic headwinds.
- The pandemic-era surpluses have depleted due to cash transfers during COVID-19 and a cost-of-living crisis.
- China's economy has also experienced a considerable slowdown and faces uncertainty from global and domestic factors.
- The post-reopening rebound has fizzled due to a contraction in the real estate sector, weakening consumption, and slumping overseas export demand.
- The Euro area has been impacted by a Ukraine-war induced gas price spike and a decelerating momentum in key economies such as Germany and France.
- Eurozone business output experienced its fastest rate fall in eight months, raising concerns about the possibility of a deeper downturn in the region.
- Inflation rates have been above central banks' targets, leading to demand-retarding monetary tightening measures.
Russia's Termination of Black Sea Grain Deal
- Russia's termination of the Black Sea grain deal has the potential to lead to a 15% increase in grain prices, impacting low-income African economies.
Debt Vulnerabilities in Frontier Economies
- There is a need for a global debt resolution initiative to address debt vulnerabilities in frontier economies.
Lopsided Growth Risks
- Lopsided growth risks could have a significant impact on the global economic edifice, potentially causing imbalances and disruptions.
- The World Economic Forum is the organization providing the world economic outlook and analysis.
The Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Bill, 2023 is a significant piece of legislation set to be discussed during the ongoing Monsoon Session.
Decriminalisation of Offences
- Aims to decriminalise approximately 180 offences that are currently covered under 42 different laws.
- The offences span across several domains, including environment, agriculture, media, industry, trade, publication, and others that impede the ease of doing business.
Replacement of Imprisonment with Monetary Fines
- Seeks to replace the clauses of imprisonment with monetary fines for offenders.
- Offenders found guilty of certain offences will be required to pay fines instead of facing imprisonment.
Removal of Offences and Penalties under the Indian Post Office Act, 1898
- All offences and penalties outlined in the Indian Post Office Act, 1898, will be removed.
Changes in Grievance Redressal Mechanisms
- Proposes changes in the grievance redressal mechanisms, introducing one or more Adjudicating Officers.
- Adjudicating Officers will be responsible for determining penalties and conducting inquiries into violations.
- These officers will have the authority to summon individuals for providing evidence.
Compounding of Offences
- Introduces the concept of compounding of offences in some provisions.
- Compounding will allow offenders to settle cases by paying a prescribed fee or penalty without going through a lengthy legal process.
Periodic Revision of Fines and Penalties
- Proposes periodic revision of fines and penalties for various offences listed in specified Acts.
- The revision will increase the minimum amount by 10% every three years.
The Indian Forest Act, 1927
- Current offences related to trespassing, permitting cattle to trespass, cutting timber, or causing damage in a reserved forest are punishable with up to 6 months of jail or a fine up to Rs 500, or both.
- The Bill removes the imprisonment clause and imposes a fine of up to Rs 500 along with compensation for damage to the forest.
- The jail term clause for burning trees near a reserved tree is also removed.
- JPC suggests increasing the penalty from Rs 500 to Rs 5,000 for certain violations of the Act.
The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981
- Lapses in compliance with air pollution control provisions will be liable for a penalty of up to Rs 15 lakh, replacing the current jail term of up to six years and a monetary penalty.
The Information Technology Act, 2000
- Section 66A, which provides punishment for sending offensive messages or false information through a communication service, will be removed.
- Breach of confidentiality and privacy will attract a penalty of Rs 5 lakh, replacing the current punishment of imprisonment up to two years, a fine up to Rs 1 lakh, or both.
- Disclosing personal information in breach of a lawful contract will be punishable with a penalty of up to Rs 25 lakh, replacing the current imprisonment and/or fine.
The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986
- Inadvertent compliance breaches, being unaware of excess discharge of pollutants under Sections 7 and 9 of the Act, will be penalized with Rs 1 lakh to Rs 15 lakh, replacing the current imprisonment of five years and a fine of Rs 1 lakh.
The Copyright Act, 1957
- The penalty for making false statements for deceiving or influencing an authority or officer will be omitted. The current punishment is imprisonment, a fine, or both.
The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988
- Using a motor vehicle without a valid permit will face a jail term of up to six months. The Bill omits the compulsion of paying a fine of Rs 10,000.
The Railways Act, 1989
- The punishment clause for beggars caught begging or selling goods without a permit in a railway carriage or at a railway station is removed.
- Illegal hawkers may face a jail term of up to one year or a fine of a maximum of Rs 2,000, or both.
The Cinematograph Act, 1952
- Unauthorised tampering of an already certified film will be punishable with up to three years in jail, a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh, or both.
- Showing an adult movie (A-rated) to a minor may be penalized with a fine of up to Rs 10,000.
The Patents Act, 1970
- Wrongly claiming a patent on an article sold will result in a penalty of up to Rs 10 lakh, and a further penalty of Rs 1,000 per day for a continuing claim.
The Agricultural Produce (Grading & Marking) Act, 1937
- Unauthorised marking of an article with a grade designation mark and its sale will be penalized with a fine of Rs 5 lakh.
The Trade Marks Act, 1999
- Falsely representing a trademark as registered may be penalized with a fine of Rs 25,000 to Rs 1 lakh.
The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006
- For the sale of unsafe food, the Bill proposes imprisonment for three months with a fine of up to Rs 3 lakh, which is higher than the current punishment.
- Providing misleading or false information may be punishable by a fine extending to Rs 10 lakh.
The High Denomination Bank Notes (Demonetisation) Act, 1978
- The Bill decriminalizes offences under the Act and suggests its repeal as it has outlived its utility.
- The primary objectives of the Jan Vishwas Bill are to reduce the compliance burden and promote ease of living and doing business in the country.
- The bill seeks to achieve its goals by decriminalizing minor offences under 42 Acts, replacing imprisonment with monetary fines, and making changes to grievance redressal mechanisms.
- The Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Bill, 2023 was tabled by the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry last year.
- It was then referred to a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC), which subsequently gave its report.
- Most of the recommendations made by the JPC have been accepted and incorporated into the bill.