NITI Aayog releases report on Digital Banks
⇒ NITI Aayog released report on Digital Banks & proposed a Licensing and Regulatory Regime for India, on 20 July 2022.
» NITI Aayog’s report makes a case and offers a template and roadmap for a licensing and regulatory regime for digital banks. It focuses on avoiding any regulatory or policy arbitrage and offers a level playing field to incumbents as well as competitors.
- The report was released by NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Suman Bery and CEO Parameswaran Iyer and Senior Adviser Anna Roy, in the presence of other officials.
» This report has been prepared by NITI Aayog based on inter-ministerial consultations.
The report recommends a carefully calibrated approach, comprising the following steps:
- Issue of a restricted digital bank licence (to a given applicant) (the license would be restricted in terms of volume/value of customers serviced and the like).
- Enlistment (of the licensee) in a regulatory sandbox framework enacted by the Reserve Bank of India.
- Issue of a ‘full-scale’ digital bank licence (contingent on satisfactory performance of the licensee in the regulatory sandbox, including salient, prudential and technological risk management).
The report also maps prevalent business models in this domain and highlights the challenges presented by the ‘partnership model’ of neo-banking—which has emerged in India due to a regulatory vacuum and in the absence of a digital bank licence.
» The methodology for the licensing and regulatory template offered by the report is based on an equally weighted ‘digital bank regulatory index’.
This comprises four factors—
- entry barriers
- business restrictions
- technological neutrality
The elements of these four factors are then mapped against the five benchmark jurisdictions of Singapore, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Malaysia, Australia and South Korea.
‘Mapping and Exchange of Good Practices’ initiative for mainstreaming millets in Asia and Africa
⇒ NITI Aayog and the World Food Programme (WFP), India, launched the ‘Mapping and Exchange of Good Practices’ initiative for mainstreaming millets in Asia and Africa on 19 July 2022 in a hybrid event.
- The initiative was launched in the presence of NITI Aayog Vice Chairperson Mr Suman Bery, WFP India Representative and Country Director Mr Bishow Parajuli, and others.
Representatives from ICAR, Central and state government departments, Krishi Vigyan Kendras, industry, Central and state agriculture universities, FPOs, NGOs, start-ups, academic and research institutions, and international organizations such as the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Food Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID), etc., also participated in the event.
» NITI Aayog VC Mr Suman Bery unveiled the web portal, which invites entries in three categories, namely – millet value chain, millet mainstreaming, and millet recipes. He mentioned, “NITI Aayog’s initiative to promote millets will bring about a transformational change in the nutritional status of the country.”
» State Governments from Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh, and NCT of Delhi shared the status, issues, concerns, challenges faced, best practices and initiatives taken by them in mainstreaming millets.
» They gave valuable suggestions like:
Demonstration of varieties of millets at KVKs to popularize millets, provide training on traditional cooking methods using millets, blending of millets with wheat flour for better adaptability amongst consumers, making the crop profitable for farmers, incentivizing lifting of produce from farmers at good prices, varietal development, etc.
Startup School India
⇒ Google announced the launch of Startup School India (SSI) as part of the Google for Startups initiative on 06 July 2022.
- This is a platform under which Google will bring together investors, successful entrepreneurs and programmers that startups from the smaller cities can to tap into and learn from the best.
- The idea of creating the Startup School India is to reach out to more and more startups in India. Google aims to reach out to at least 10,000 startups with this programme. With close to 70,000 startups, India is the third largest birthing ground for startups in the world.
- The SSI will be a nine-week program, delivered virtually. It will feature fireside chats between Google leaders and trailblazing collaborators from across the startup ecosystem spanning fintech, D2C, B2B and B2C e-commerce, language, social media & networking, job search and many more.
- The programme is aimed for startups that come from smaller cities and are looking for some knowledge sharing that will help them in their next stage.
- The curriculum will feature instructional modules on subjects like shaping an effective product strategy, deep dives on product user value, roadmapping & PRD development, building apps for Next Billion Users in markets like India, driving user acquisition and many more.
MoU between India and Namibia
⇒ Government of India and Government of the Republic of Namibia have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on wildlife conservation and sustainable biodiversity utilization, on 20 July 2022, for establishing the cheetah into the historical range in India.
» The MoU facilitates development of a mutually beneficial relationship to promote wildlife conservation and sustainable biodiversity utilization based on the principles of mutual respect, sovereignty, equality and the best interest of both India and Namibia.
The main thrust areas of MoU are:
- Biodiversity conservation with specific focus on conservation and restoration of cheetah in their former range areas from which they went extinct,
- Sharing and exchange of expertise and capacities aimed at promoting cheetah conservation in two countries,
- Wildlife conservation and sustainable biodiversity utilization by sharing good practices in
- Technological applications, mechanisms of livelihood generation for local communities living in wildlife habitats, and sustainable management of biodiversity.
- Collaboration in areas of climate change, environmental governance, environmental impact assessments, pollution and waste management and other areas of mutual interest.
- Exchange of personnel for training and education in wildlife management, including sharing of technical expertise, wherever relevant.
- Cheetah has a very special significance for the national conservation ethic and ethos. Bringing the cheetah back to India would have equally important conservation ramifications.
- The main goal of Cheetah reintroduction project in India is to establish viable cheetah metapopulation in India that allows the cheetah to perform its functional role as a top predator and provides space for the expansion of the cheetah within its historical range thereby contributing to its global conservation efforts.
- Surveys for 10 sites were conducted between 2010 and 2012. From the potential sites evaluated for the feasibility of establishing cheetah populations in India based on IUCN guidelines for reintroductions that consider species viability according to demography, genetics and socio-economics of conflict and livelihoods, Kuno National Park in the state of Madhya Pradesh was considered ready for receiving cheetah with the least management interventions since a lot of investments had been done in this Protected Area for reintroducing Asiatic lions.
- Cheetah presence locations from Southern Africa (South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe) were used along with relevant eco-climatic covariates to model equivalent niche space in India using Maximum Entropy Models.
- The action plan for cheetah translocations in Kuno National Park has been developed in compliance with IUCN guidelines and considering site assessment and prey density, current cheetah carrying capacity of Kuno National Park, among other criteria.
- While the current carrying capacity for Kuno National Park is a maximum of 21 cheetahs, once restored the larger landscape can hold about 36 cheetahs. The carrying capacity can be further enhanced by including the remaining part of the Kuno Wildlife Division (1,280 sq km) through prey restoration.
- Financial and administrative support to the cheetah reintroduction programme in India would be provided by MoEF&CC through NTCA. Participation of Government and corporate agencies through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) would be encouraged for additional funding at the State and Central level. The Wildlife Institute of India (WII), national and international carnivore/cheetah experts/agencies would provide technical and knowledge support to the programme.