General Awareness for UPSC, SSC, Banking: January 22, 2017

President’s Ordinance clears way for Jallikattu

The President of India and the Governor of Tamil Nadu gave their nod to an ordinance allowing the bull-taming sport of Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu. This marks the end of a five-day protest by students and youth across the state. Jallikattu will now take place after a gap of three years on January 23, 2017, across Tamil Nadu.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam is expected to inaugurate a Jallikattu event in Alanganallur, Madurai district, which is famous for the sport. In other areas, ministers from respective regions will inaugurate the sport.

Highlights:

  • The assent for the ordinance (amending the PCA Act) has been obtained from the President and the Governor also.
  • Draft Bill to replace the ordinance and amend the PCA Act paving the way for holding Jallikattu without any hindrance will be introduced and adopted in the Assembly session, which begins on January 23.
  • The sport was banned by the UPA government in 2011 on grounds of cruelty against animals. In May 2014, the ban was reinforced by the Supreme Court, stating that bulls cannot be used as performing animals including bullock-cart races. Since then, people have been urging the central government to take steps to allow the sport.
  • This time around, thousands of students took to the streets and camped at locations like Marina Beach in Chennai for more than five days, unwilling to relent till the state and the central government had to take steps to revoke the ban.

India’s inputs in IPCC report

The next report of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) due in 2018 will carry India’s inputs on climate change assessment generated by an indigenous modelling system.

Highlights:

  • India’s inputs were not given in the last five IPCC reports because so far we were relying on climate change models developed by other countries. Now we have our own model.
  • The IPCC reports highlight the causes and impact of global warming and climate change on regions across the world.
  • The statistical and high performance computing systems employed by India had consistently improved weather prediction and climate projection capabilities.
  • The country’s climate change modelling was set to improve further with the acquisition of a 10 Peta Flop super computer by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, in June this year.
  • “IITM is upgrading from the 1.2 Peta Flop machine which no longer matches our requirements. The tender for the new computer will be floated next week. It will be the most powerful supercomputer in the country.”
  • IPCC models suggested an increase in extreme temperatures, decrease in the number of rainy days, and increase in the intensity of rainfall during the monsoon. This, he said, would have serious implications for agriculture, requiring a shift to short duration varieties and steps to harvest and store rainwater.

SWIFT security framework for banks

Rising instances of cyber attacks on banks had led to SWIFT, the global network that enables trillions of dollars transfers each day, to introduce a Customer Security Framework that mandates its member banks to upgrade their systems or face the threat of naming and shaming among other member banks.

Highlights:

  • Under this framework, banks have to adhere to 16 mandatory controls and 11 advisory controls, and requires each bank to confirm compliance on an annual basis.Banks which fail to adhere to these controls will be reported to the Reserve Bank of India as well.
  • There are certain mandates that we are making within the community now and if they don’t comply with it, we will be publishing their names in the system.
  • SWIFT India started engaging banks to generate awareness about the new framework.
  • This framework will be released to member banks by the first quarter of the next financial year. While SWIFT will start collecting details on these mandatory controls from Q2 2017, the enforcement of mandatory requirements will start from January 2018.
  • SWIFT will then conduct inspections from internal and external auditors to ensure compliance of these controls.
  • Implementation of these standards will also increase security awareness and education in the on-going fight against cyber-related wire fraud.
  • In the last eight months, at least four government-owned banks were hit by hackers to create fake trade documents that may have been used to raise finance abroad or facilitate dealings in banned items.
  • As per the audit done with the current member banks, SWIFT has observed that there is a significant opportunity to strengthen the transaction banking channels of Indian banks.

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