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Committee on Digital Payments submits report to RBI; India delivers Mi-24 choppers to Afghanistan – Current Affairs

The Reserve Bank will now examine the recommendations of the Committee. If necessary, the bank will merge the recommendations with the recently released ‘Payment Systems Vision 2021’, published on May 15, 2019.

May 20, 2019 13:01 IST
RBI

Story 1: Nandan Nilekani Committee on Digital Payments submits its report to RBI

Nandan Nilekani-headed High-Level Committee on Deepening of Digital Payments on May 17, 2019 submitted its report to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)

The Committee submitted the report after much deliberation with the consultations and various stakeholders.

The Reserve Bank will now examine the recommendations of the Committee. If necessary, the bank will merge the recommendations with the recently released ‘Payment Systems Vision 2021’, published on May 15, 2019.

Note

The Reserve Bank of India released the 'Payment and Settlement Systems in India: Vision 2019 – 2021' for safe, secure, quick and affordable e-payment system. The Vision document states 36 specific action points and 12 specific outcomes.

The main agenda of the document is the 'no-compromise' approach towards safety and security of digital payment systems.

Committee’s Members and Terms of Reference

The RBI constituted a High-Level Committee on Deepening of Digital Payments on January 8, 2018 to encourage digitisation of payments under the Chairmanship of Nandan Nilekani, former Chairman of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI)
 
The Committee was asked to submit its report within a period of 90 days from the date of its first meeting.

The Members of the Committee are:

H.R. Khan, former Deputy Governor of Reserve Bank of India

Kishore Sansi, former Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer of Vijaya Bank

Aruna Sharma, former Secretary, Ministry of Information Technology and Steel

Sanjay Jain, Chief Innovation Officer of Center for Innovation, Incubation & Entrepreneurship (CIIE), IIM Ahmedabad

Process followed by the Committee

• It was tasked to review the existing status of digital payments in India, identify the current gaps in the payment system and suggest ways accordingly.

• It assessed the current levels of digital payments in financial inclusion.

• It undertook cross country analyses to identify best practices to be adopted for accelerating digitisation of the economy and boost financial inclusion.

• Accordingly, it recommended measures to strengthen the safety and security of digital payments in its report.

• It also worked on a road map for increasing customer confidence and trust while accessing financial services through digital modes

Story 2: India delivers a pair of Mi-24 helicopters to Afghanistan

India on May 16, 2019 delivered the first pair of Mi-24 attack helicopters to the Afghan Air Force, enabling the country to bolster its capabilities in counter insurgency operations.

The helicopters will also enhance the efficiency of the Afghan National Defence and Security Force in combating terrorism.

The attack helicopters were handed over by Vinay Kumar, Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan, to Acting Defence Minister Asadullah Khalid at the Kabul Air Force base.

India’s supply of helicopters to Afghanistan

These Mi-24 helicopters were delivered as replacement against four attack helicopters previously gifted by India to Afghanistan in 2015. These helicopters were purchased by India from Belarus.

For this purpose, India had signed a Tripartite Agreement to purchase the attack helicopters from Belarus and supply them to Afghanistan. India needs to supply two more such helicopters to Afghanistan.

Note: The supply of helicopters to Afghanistan comes at a crucial time when the country has been looking for funds and weapons to sustain its defence forces following the announcement of the United States to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan over the next three to five years.

Indian aid of USD 3 billion to Afghanistan

India has been one of the largest donors to Afghanistan. Since 2001, India has committed USD 3 billion in aid to the country. India first handed over the Mi-24 helicopters to Afghanistan in December 2015, drawn from the inventory of the Indian Air Force.

India had also gifted three Cheetal utility helicopters, manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), to Afghanistan.

About Mi-24 Helicopter

• The Mi-24 helicopter is a large gunship that is used for carrying out assault and transport missions.

• It can ferry up to eight people.

• It has been called "assault helicopter" because of its dual capabilities of firepower and troop-transport.

• The helicopter is produced by the Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant, a Russian designer and producer of helicopters.

• It has been in operations since 1972 by the then Soviet Air Force and over 30 other nations.