- 25 February 2023
- By GyanOk
Daily Current Affairs Notes for 25 February 2023
7-year-old Prince from Bhutan becomes first digital citizen of the country
Bhutan has taken a step towards modernising its digital infrastructure. The Himalayan kingdom has just found its first-ever digital citizen.
Bhutan has initiated a move to upgrade its digital infrastructure and has achieved a significant milestone by introducing its inaugural digital citizen. The Bhutan National Digital Identity (NDI) mobile wallet has granted digital citizenship to His Royal Highness The Gyalsey (Prince) Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck, making him the first digital citizen of Bhutan. By leveraging advanced technology, the system ensures that citizens can access secure and credible credentials to verify their identity.
As per media reports, India has been unwaveringly backing Bhutan in its quest to build a robust digital infrastructure. The two countries have joined forces on several technological ventures, including the establishment of Bhutan's third international internet gateway. To decrease operational costs, the Indian government has offered concessional rates for the initiative. Bhutan's 'Digital Drukul' flagship scheme has facilitated the installation of an optical fibre backbone at the village level in all 20 districts of the nation. As Bhutan strives to enhance its digital capabilities, this recent progress signifies a significant achievement in its path towards a digital future.
About the Bhutan NDI
The Bhutan NDI operates on the principles of the "self-sovereign identity" model, which is underpinned by the Decentralised Identity (DID) technology framework. This approach empowers individuals to exert greater authority over their personal data, enabling them to restrict access to it and safeguard their privacy. The development of Bhutan NDI was made feasible through a collaboration between GovTech Bhutan and DHI InnoTech, a Bhutan-based firm. Ujjwal Dahal, the company's director, hailed the initiative as a "crucial" and "innovative" undertaking.
NPS rule change: Know all the changes for subscribers from April 1, 2023
NPS rule change: The National Pension System (NPS), a market-linked, defined contribution plan run by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority.
NPS rule change
The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) manages the National Pension System (NPS), a defined contribution plan that is linked to the market. The scheme offers affordable social security to residents, with contributions made by both employers and employees. Additionally, the plan is low-cost and tax-efficient.
NPS rule change: Key Points
- Starting from April 1, 2023, the PFRDA has made it mandatory for users to upload specific documents.
- The objective behind this action is to streamline and expedite the process of receiving annuity payments after exiting the NPS.
- As per a circular dated February 22, 2023, the PFRDA has declared that the submission of the required documents will be mandatory from April 1, 2023, in the best interests of subscribers. The purpose is to facilitate the timely disbursement of annuity income and provide subscribers with additional benefits.
Ease in NPS Withdrawal Procedure
- The PFRDA removed the need for a separate proposal form to choose the annuity plan upon exiting the pension fund. The decision was made to simplify the withdrawal process for NPS subscribers.
- The pension board had conveyed that the withdrawal form submitted by NPS subscribers will be deemed as a proposal for an annuity plan.
- It is important to note that NPS subscribers are currently required to utilize a minimum of 40% of the total accrued corpus to purchase an annuity plan at the time of maturity. The remaining 60% of the NPS corpus can be withdrawn in a lump sum.
Changes for NPS subscribers from FY24:
The PFRDA has directed subscribers, as well as any affiliated nodal offices, POPs, or corporates, to upload the following documents on the designated Central Record Keeping Agency (CRA) user interface: NPS exit/withdrawal form, proof of identity and residence as mentioned in the withdrawal form, evidence of a bank account, and a copy of the PRAN card. This new regulation will come into effect from April 1, 2023, for the next fiscal year.
Exit Request Processing by Subscriber (Govt./Non-Govt.) – Paperless Mode
- a) Upon initiating an online exit request, the subscriber will access the CRA system.
- b) At the moment of initiating the request, the subscriber will receive relevant notifications regarding the authorization of the request by nodal office/POP, as well as options for e-Sign/OTP authentication.
- c) the CRA system will automatically populate the subscriber's information from the NPS account, including address, bank details, nominee information, and other relevant information.
- d) The subscriber will be able to select the annuity parameters, allocate the fund percentage, and determine the lump sum amount.
- e) If the subscriber's bank account is registered with CRA, online bank account verification (penny drop facility) will be used to verify it.
- f) When initiating an exit request, the subscriber must upload KYC documents (identification and address proof), a copy of their PRAN card or ePRAN, and bank documentation
- g) The scanned documents must be legible, with readable text on the images.
- h) The subscriber authorises the request by choosing one of the two paperless choices listed below:
1) OTP Authentication – Unique OTPs will be delivered to users’ mobile numbers and email addresses.
2) e-Sign: With Aadhaar, subscribers will e-Sign the request.
About National Pension Scheme (NPA):
The National Pension System (NPS) is a retirement savings plan that operates on a defined contribution basis and is voluntary in nature. It encourages individuals to save systematically throughout their working lives and make informed decisions about their future. The NPS aims to inculcate a savings habit for retirement and provide a sustainable solution to ensure adequate retirement income for every Indian citizen.
The NPS is a retirement savings plan that combines individual savings into a pension fund. Professional fund managers, regulated by the PFRDA, then invest the fund in diversified portfolios, which may include shares, corporate debt obligations, government bonds, and bills, in accordance with approved investment guidelines. Over time, the contributions increase and accrue based on the profits earned from these investments.
Subscribers of the NPS have the option to utilize their accumulated pension wealth to purchase a life annuity from a PFRDA-approved Life Insurance Company upon retirement, in addition to withdrawing a portion of the accumulated pension wealth as a lump sum, if they choose to do so.
Uttarakhand govt inks deal for ropeway at Yamunotri Dham
The Uttarakhand government has signed a contract to construct a 3.38 km ropeway from Janki Chatti in Kharsali to Yamunotri Dham.
Ropeway at Yamunotri Dham
The Uttarakhand government has awarded a contract to SRM Engineering Solutions Pvt. Ltd. and FIL Industries Pvt. Ltd. to construct a 3.38 km ropeway from Janki Chatti in Kharsali to Yamunotri Dham at a cost of Rs 166.82 crore. The new ropeway will significantly reduce travel time from the current 2-3 hours to just 20 minutes, providing a convenient mode of transport for pilgrims who currently have to trek 5.5 km to reach Yamunotri Dham from Kharsali. The contract was signed by the Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board in the presence of Chief Minister Shri Pushkar Singh Dhami.
Specification of the ropeway
- The construction of the ropeway connecting Kharsali village to Yamunotri Temple in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand is taking place through a public-private partnership (PPP) model.
- The ropeway will span a distance of 3.38 km (aerial distance) and will be built at an altitude of 10,797 feet, with an estimated cost of Rs 166.82 crore.
- The lower terminal of the ropeway at Kharsali will be constructed on approximately 1.78 hectares of land, while the upper terminal near Yamunotri Temple will be built on about 0.99 hectares of land.
- The ropeway, which will utilize the Mono-Cable Detachable Gondola system technology, is designed to have a minimum capacity of 500 PPHPD (persons per hour per direction).
Necessity For Ropeway
Yamunotri Temple, located in the Himalayas, is a significant pilgrimage site for Hindus and is part of the Char Dham, which includes Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath. Every year, thousands of devotees visit the small mountain village to pay their respects at the Yamunotri Temple. The Char Dham Yatra pilgrimage, which runs from May to October, begins at Yamunotri and continues on to Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath.
The Yamunotri Temple, located in a narrow gorge near the source of the Yamuna river, is dedicated to Yamuna, which is considered the second-most sacred river in Hinduism after the Ganges. Devotees can reach the temple, situated at an altitude of around 3,233 meters above sea level, by walking, riding a palanquin, or riding a pony from Kharsali in Janki Chatti. The trek to the temple is steep and covers a distance of about 3 km, taking approximately 3 hours.
The proposed ropeway project will significantly reduce travel time to just 15-20 minutes and provide a picturesque aerial view of the beautiful landscape that features icy peaks, glaciers, and hot springs. The project will not only shorten the distance to the Himalayan temple but also alleviate the burden on pilgrims, particularly the elderly, who face the strenuous task of trekking to reach the temple.