Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE
- July – September Quarter GDP Growth Rate
- Project Great Indian Bustard
- India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) 2019
- GM Crops
- Personality Rights
- Digit Yatra App
- Facts for Prelims
1 . GDP Growth rate – July Sept Quarter
Context: Manufacturing shrinks, slowing Q2 GDP growth to 6.3%
About the Report
- National Statistical Office (NSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation releases the estimates of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for different quarters
Details of the Report
- India’s GDP in the first half of 2022-23 was 5.7% larger than the comparable pre-COVID level.
- The April to June quarter of this fiscal had witnessed GDP growth of 13.5%, with GVA expanding 12.7%.
- For the first half of 2022-23, the Indian economy recorded 9.7% growth in GDP, compared with 13.7% in the same period last year, while GVA rose 9%, compared with its 12.8% surge.
- While growth in agriculture GVA quickened to 4.6% in the second quarter, from 4.5% in the preceding three months, manufacturing and mining GVA contracted 4.3% and 2.8%, respectively, in Q2 compared with a year earlier.
Key Positive Takeaways
- GDP Growth – Data confirms that the economy’s recovery from the pandemic continues and is on track to clock between 6.8% to 7% real GDP growth this year.
- Contact intensive Service Segment – A good indication is that among GVA components, the sharpest growth in Q2 was reported by the contact-intensive trade, hotels, transport, communication and services related to broadcasting segment, which surged 14.7%, followed by financial, real estate and professional services, which expanded 7.2%, and construction which grew 6.6%.
- Manufacturing sector above pre-pandemic level – Manufacturing sector has shown negative growth but manufacturing output was more than 6.3% over pre-pandemic levels.
- Barring consumer durables, production levels are well above pre-pandemic levels for most sectors, while in services, all but domestic air passenger traffic levels have reverted to 2019-20 trends.
- Bright spot amongst Global Economies – India’s growth rates in real terms of 9.7% in the first half of this year is well above the trend in other countries and is happening amid tightening global financial conditions and the commodity price shock since the Ukraine invasion by Russia.
- Manufacturing – Manufacturing sector’s negative growth is a disappointment’.
- Organised Sector – Low growth at small and medium enterprises and a drop in profits for the organised sector is a concern.
- Service Sector : The contact-intensive services segment was actually only 2.1% over pre-COVID levels.Therefore, the growth of 14.7% in trade, hotels, et. al. in 2QFY23 may not be considered unduly positive.
- Decline in Net Exports : With fears of a global growth slowdown and weaker currency, the decline in net exports will remain a cause of concern.
2 . Project Great Indian Bustard
Context: The Supreme Court recently sought the government’s response about evolving a ‘Project Great Indian Bustard’ conservation programme like the ‘Project Tiger’ to bring attention to the peril faced by the critically endangered bird species.
About the Great Indian Bustard (GIB)
- The Great Indian Bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps) is a large, endangered bird species found in India and some parts of Pakistan. It is a member of the bustard family, which includes the heaviest flying birds in the world
- The Great Indian Bustard (GIB) is the State bird of Rajasthan and is considered India’s most critically endangered bird.
- In India it is confined mostly to Rajasthan and Gujarat. Small populations occur in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
- The great Indian bustard can easily be distinguished by its black crown on the forehead contrasting with the pale neck and head. The body is brownish and the wings are marked with black, brown and grey.
- It is a flagship grassland species, representing the health of the grassland ecology.
- These birds are opportunist eaters. Their diet ranges widely depending on the seasonal availability of food. They feed on grass seeds, insects like grasshoppers and beetles, and sometimes even small rodents and reptiles.
- The Great Indian Bustard is a threatened species due to several factors. The loss and degradation of their habitat is the primary threat to the birds, as it reduces the availability of food and nesting sites. In addition, the birds are also threatened by accidental collisions with power lines and wind turbines, as well as hunting and poaching.
Need for such an intervention
- The earliest estimates show the population was about 1,260 in 1969, but has declined by 75% in the last 30 years. The overall population of the GIB totals 150 across the country, which includes about 128 birds in Rajasthan.
- Recently numerous deaths of Great Indian Bustards have been reported due to power transmission lines crisscrossing their habitat in Gujarat and Rajasthan.
- According to scientists, the GIBs are slow breeders and they build their nests on the ground. The species have also been subjected to hunting and egg collection in the past.
- There also has been a decline in prevailing habitat loss as dry grasslands have been diverted for other use.
- Historically, the GIB population was distributed among 11 States in western India but today the population is confined mostly to Rajasthan and Gujarat. Small populations are found in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
- Experts also warn of pesticide contamination and increase of populations of free-ranging dogs and pigs along with native predators (fox, mongoose, and cat), putting pressure on nests and chicks.
Why do power lines pose a threat?
There are several threats that have led to the decline of the GIB populations; however, power lines seem to be the most significant. There have been studies in different parts of the world where bustard populations have shown high mortality because of power lines such as Denham’s bustards in South Africa and the Great Bustard in Spain.
- Like other species of bustards, the GIBs are large birds standing about one metre tall and weighing about 15 to 18 kgs.
- The GIBs are not great fliers and have wide sideways vision to maximise predator detection but the species’ frontal vision is narrow.
- These birds cannot detect power lines from far and since they are heavy fliers, they fail to manoeuvre across power lines within close distances.
- The combination of these traits makes them vulnerable to collision with power lines.
- In most cases, death is due to collision rather than electrocution.
- A study by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) in 2020 recorded six cases of GIB mortality due to power-line collisions in Thar from 2017-20.
Steps already taken by the government
- Listed in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, in Appendix I of CITES, as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List, the GIBs enjoy the highest protection both in India and globally.
- Along with the attempts to mitigate impacts of power transmission lines on the GIB, steps have been taken for conservation breeding of the species.
- A total of 16 GIB chicks, artificially hatched from eggs collected from the wild, are being reared in the satellite conservation breeding facility at Sam in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan.
- The objective of ‘Habitat Improvement and Conservation Breeding of Great Indian Bustard-an integrated approach’ is to build the captive population of the GIBs and to release the chicks in the wild. The initiative is likely to take 20 to 25 years.
- Experts, including scientists from the WII, have called for removing all overhead powerlines passing through the GIB priority/critical areas in Rajasthan; the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change too has constituted a task force.
About Project Tiger
- Project Tiger is a tiger conservation program launched in 1973 by the Government of India. The aim of the project is to protect the tiger and its habitat, and to increase the number of tigers in the country through conservation efforts.
- Project Tiger has helped to increase the number of tigers in India, and has implemented measures such as establishing tiger reserves and implementing strict protection for the animals.
- Starting from nine (9) reserves in 1973-2016 the number is grown up to fifty (50). A total area of 71027.10 km2 is covered by these project tiger areas.
- The tiger reserves are constituted on a core/buffer strategy. The core areas have the legal status of a national park or a sanctuary, whereas the buffer or peripheral areas are a mix of forest and non-forest land, managed as a multiple use area. The Project Tiger aims to foster an exclusive tiger agenda in the core areas of tiger reserves, with an inclusive people oriented agenda in the buffer.
- Project Tiger is an ongoing Centrally Sponsored Scheme of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change providing central assistance to the tiger States for tiger conservation in designated tiger reserves.
- The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) is a statutory body of the Ministry, with an overarching supervisory / coordination role, performing functions as provided in the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
- Approval for new Tiger Reserve has to be provided by National Tiger Conservation Authority
- The project has also involved local communities in conservation efforts, and has worked to address the threats facing tigers, such as poaching and habitat loss.
3 . GM Crops
Context: The Supreme Court has expressed concern about the plight of thousands of women agricultural labourers in rural areas, traditionally engaged in de-weeding, who will be part of the human cost if the government permits the commercial cultivation of herbicide-tolerant crops such as GM mustard in India.
Background of the Case
- In October 2022, the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) recommended the environmental release of the genetically-modified (GM) mustard (Brassica juncea) variety DMH (Dhara Mustard Hybrid)-11 for the development of new generation hybrids, paving the way for the commercialisation of the country’s first GM food crop.
- Supreme court is considering the petition challenging decision of giving the go-ahead to environmental clearance for genetically modified (GM) mustard
- The government has said the GEAC approval to the Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants (CGMCP) came after an exhaustive review which began in 2010.
- The government also said that India was already importing oil sources from GM crops.
About Hybrid Mustard
- Hybridisation involves crossing two genetically dissimilar plant varieties that can even be from the same species. The first-generation (F1) offspring from such crosses tend to have higher yields than what either parent can individually give.
- Such hybridisation isn’t easy in mustard, as its flowers have both female (pistil) and male (stamen) reproductive organs, making the plants largely self-pollinating. Since the eggs of one plant cannot be fertilised by the pollen grains from another, it limits the scope for developing hybrids — unlike in cotton, maize or tomato, where this can be done through simple emasculation or physical removal of anthers.
- By genetic modification (GM). Scientists at Delhi University’s Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants (CGMCP) have developed the hybrid mustard DMH-11 containing two alien genes isolated from a soil bacterium called Bacillus amyloliquefaciens.
- The first gene (‘barnase’) codes for a protein that impairs pollen production and renders the plant into which it is incorporated male-sterile. This plant is then crossed with a fertile parental line containing, in turn, the second ‘barstar’ gene that blocks the action of the barnase gene. The resultant F1 progeny is both high-yielding and also capable of producing seed/ grain, thanks to the barstar gene in the second fertile line.
- The CGMCP scientists have deployed the barnase-barstar GM technology to create what they say is a robust and viable hybridisation system in mustard. This system was used to develop DMH-11 by crossing a popular Indian mustard variety ‘Varuna’ (the barnase line) with an East European ‘Early Heera-2’ mutant (barstar). DMH-11 is claimed to have shown an average 28% yield increase over Varuna in contained field trials carried out by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).
Supreme Court’s concerns regarding GM crops
- According to Supreme Court in rural areas, women are experts in removing weeds. They are a part of the labour force in agriculture in India. It brings them employment. With introduction of herbicide tolerant crops, these women might be rendered unemployed.
- The Supreme Court’s own Technical Expert Committee [TEC] had said that these GM crops were not meant for agriculture in the Indian context.
Other concerns flagged by experts regarding GM crops
- The widespread use of herbicide-tolerant crops would encourage farmers to spray chemical weed-killers, leaving toxic chemical residue in large amounts on the crops.
- With introduction of GM-Mustard. India’s 5,477 varieties of mustard would be at risk.
- The regulatory system under the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) which cleared the environmental release of Dhara Mustard Hybrid-11 (DMH-11), is riddled with conflict of interest.
- Department of Biotechnology had funded DMH 11 and was also part of the regulatory mechanism.
- The environmental release of the hybrid mustard variety was cleared despite warnings from the parliamentary committee and the Supreme Court’s Technical Expert Committee report calling for its ban.
- Hybrid crops, if released in the open fields, may contaminate other crops. This would trigger a chain reaction which would be irreversible.
- Some experts have called the testing of the GM crop “completely flawed”. They have also mentioned that there were no laboratories capable of doing the bio-safety tests.
- Most European countries have banned genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Their release now would present a grave bio-safety hazard situation.
4 . ICAP 2019
Context : From 2030 onwards, more than 160 to 200 million people could be exposed to a lethal heat wave in India every year, and around 34 million Indians will face job losses due to heat stress-related productivity decline. By 2037, the demand for cooling is likely to be eight times more than current levels, the World Bank has said in a report.
Key Findings of the Report
- Due to such climatic conditions it is imperative for India to deploy alternative and innovative energy efficient technologies for keeping spaces cool, this could open an investment opportunity of $1.6 trillion by 2040 besides reducing greenhouse gas emissions significantly and creating 3.7 million jobs.
- According to the report with the demand for cooling shooting up, there will be a demand for a new air-conditioner every 15 seconds, leading to an expected rise of 435% in annual greenhouse gas emissions over the next two decades. Thus, there is a need to shift to a more energy-efficient pathway which could lead to a substantial reduction in expected CO2 levels.
- The report proposes a roadmap to support New Delhi’s India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) 2019, through new investments in three major sectors: building construction, cold chains and refrigerants.
- Adopting climate-responsive cooling techniques as a norm in both private and government-funded constructions can ensure that those at the bottom of the economic ladder are not disproportionately affected by rising temperatures. The report suggests that India’s affordable housing program for the poor, the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), can adopt such changes on scale.
- It also proposed enacting a policy for district cooling which could lead to the consumption of 20-30% less power than the most efficient conventional cooling solutions. District cooling technologies generate chilled water in a central plant which is then distributed to multiple buildings via underground insulated pipes. This brings down the cost for providing cooling to individual buildings. Apart from this, guidelines for implementation of local and city-wide urban cooling measures such as cool-roofs should also be considered.
- To minimise rising food and pharmaceutical wastage during transport due to higher temperatures, the report recommends fixing gaps in cold chain distribution networks. Investing in pre-cooling and refrigerated transport can help decrease food loss by about 76% and reduce carbon emissions by 16%.
- Improvements in servicing, maintenance and disposal of equipment that uses hydrochlorofluorocarbons, alongside a shift to alternative options with a lower global warming footprint, are also recommended. This can create two million jobs for trained technicians over the next two decades and reduce the demand for refrigerants by around 31%.
About India Cooling Action Plan
- The India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) 2019 is a comprehensive plan aimed at reducing the increasing demand for cooling in India. The plan was developed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in collaboration with the Bureau of Energy Efficiency and other stakeholders. It was released in July 2019.
- India is experiencing a growing demand for cooling due to increasing urbanization, rising temperatures, and a growing middle class. This demand is expected to increase even further in the coming decades, putting additional strain on the country’s already-limited energy resources. The ICAP aims to address this challenge by promoting the use of energy-efficient cooling technologies and reducing the demand for cooling through behavior change and improved building design.
- Reduce cooling demand across sectors by 20% to 25% by 2037-38
- Reduce refrigerant demand by 25% to 30% by 2037-38
- Reduce cooling energy requirements by 25% to 40% by 2037-38
- Recognize “cooling and related areas” as a thrust area of research under national S&T Programme,
- Training and certification of 100,000 servicing sector technicians by 2022-23, synergizing with Skill India Mission.
- The following benefits would accrue to the society over and above the environmental benefits:
- Thermal comfort for all – provision for cooling for EWS and LIG housing
- Sustainable cooling – low GHG emissions related to cooling
- Doubling Farmers Income – better cold chain infrastructure – better value of produce to farmers, less wastage of produce
- Skilled workforce for better livelihoods and environmental protection
- Make in India – domestic manufacturing of air-conditioning and related cooling equipment’s
- Robust R&D on alternative cooling technologies – to provide push to innovation in cooling sector.
Measures undertaken under ICAP to achieve its objectives
- Developing a national cooling strategy and action plan.
- Establishing a National Cooling Coordination Committee to oversee the implementation of the ICAP.
- Strengthening the regulatory framework for cooling appliances and equipment.
- Promoting the use of natural refrigerants in cooling systems.
- Supporting research and development of new cooling technologies.
- Encouraging the use of energy-efficient building design and construction practices.
The ICAP also includes a financial component, with the goal of mobilizing investments of up to $5 billion in the cooling sector. This will be achieved through a combination of public and private funding, including the development of a Cooling Action Fund to support the implementation of the plan.
Overall, the India Cooling Action Plan is a significant step forward in addressing the growing demand for cooling in India. By promoting the use of energy-efficient technologies and natural cooling techniques, the plan has the potential to reduce the demand for energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve the quality of life for India’s citizens.
5 . Digi Yatra App
Context: Minister for Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia launched the technological initiative, called “Digi Yatra”, which will provide a seamless entry and embarkation process for air passengers at the airports in the national capital, Bangalore and Varanasi.
What is the initiative?
- Digi Yatra is facial recognition technology. It was unveiled in October 2018, and it was expected to be rolled out in March 2019. But there were delays including due to COVID-19.
- Passengers travelling from Delhi, Varanasi and Bengaluru will be able to use their face as a boarding pass from December 1 to enter these airports, to access the security check area and enter the boarding gate.
- Travellers will have to mandatorily provide their Aadhaar details to avail themselves of this service.
- The technology, however, is not available at airline check-in counters at the moment and is expected to be introduced at a later stage, said airport sources.
- The initiative is also expected to be operational at Hyderabad, Kolkata, Pune and Vijayawada by March 2023, and then gradually across various airports in the country.
- The service is voluntary in nature, and is currently available only for domestic flights.
Process to use the Digi Yatra App
- According to the Digi Yatra process, a passenger will first be required to download the Digi Yatra app on his phone, register with an OTP received on the Aadhaar-linked mobile number, upload Aadhaar details and a photo followed by uploading the boarding pass for the upcoming travel.
- This will now allow the passenger to enter the airport building after scanning the QR code on the digital boarding pass followed by a facial scan.
- Next, the passenger can gain access to the security area too with a mere face scan.
- The passenger will have to continue to use the traditional method for check-in and baggage drop, which involves a digital or a paper boarding pass along with other identity documents.
- The passenger’s identity details and personally identifiable information (PII) would be stored in a secure wallet in the passenger’s phone itself, instead of a centralised storage system that was proposed earlier.
- The uploaded data would utilise blockchain technology and all the data would be purged from the servers within 24 hours of use.
6 . Personality Rights
Context: The Delhi High Court recently passed an interim order to prevent the unlawful use of Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan’s name, image and voice. The court, through its order, restrained persons at large from infringing the personality rights of the actor.
What are personality rights?
- Personality rights refer to the right of a person to protect his/her personality under the right to privacy or property.
- These rights are important to celebrities as their names, photographs or even voices can easily be misused in various advertisements by different companies to boost their sales.
- Therefore, it is necessary for renowned personalities/celebrities to register their names to save their personality rights.
- A large list of unique personal attributes contribute to the making of a celebrity. All of these attributes need to be protected, such as name, nickname, stage name, picture, likeness, image and any identifiable personal property, such as a distinctive race car.
Are personality rights different from publicity rights?
- Personality rights are different from publicity rights.
- Personality rights consist of two types of rights —
- Firstly, the right of publicity, or the right to keep one’s image and likeness from being commercially exploited without permission or contractual compensation, which is similar (but not identical) to the use of a trademark.
- Secondly, the right to privacy or the right to not have one’s personality represented publicly without permission.
- However, under common law jurisdictions, publicity rights fall into the realm of the ‘tort of passing off’.
- Passing off takes place when someone intentionally or unintentionally passes off their goods or services as those belonging to another party.
- Often, this type of misrepresentation damages the goodwill of a person or business, resulting in financial or reputational damage.
- Publicity rights are governed by statutes like the Trade marks Act 1999 and the Copyright Act 1957.
Does the use of a name on the internet affect personality rights?
- The Delhi High Court in 2011 made an observation in the case of Arun Jaitley vs Network Solutions Private Limited and Ors., in which Mr.Jaitley filed a suit seeking permanent injunction against the defendants from misuse and immediate transfer of the domain name www.arunjaitley.com.
- The Court stated that “the popularity or fame of individual will be no different on the internet than in reality.”
- The Court decided in the favour of Mr. Arun Jaitley, stating that the name also falls in the category wherein it besides being a personal name has attained distinctive indicia of its own.
- Therefore, the said name due its peculiar nature/distinctive character coupled with the gained popularity in several fields whether being in politics, or in advocacy, has become a well-known personal name/mark under the trade mark law which ensures him the benefit to refrain others from using this name unjustifiably in addition to his personal right to sue them for the misuse of his name.
What about consumer rights?
- While celebrities are protected from commercial misuse of their name and personality, there have also been instances where the consumers are misled owing to false advertisements or endorsements by such personalities.
- Due to such cases, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs has made a notification in 2022 to keep a check on misleading adverts and endorsements of consumer products by imposing a penalty on the endorser.
7 . Facts for Prelims
Kirit Parekh Panel
- A government-appointed gas price review panel, led by Kirit Parikh on Wednesday submitted its report to the government, recommending a floor and ceiling price for legacy fields and complete pricing freedom starting January 1, 2026.
- The committee was tasked with suggesting a fair price to the end-consumer while ensuring a market-oriented, transparent and reliable pricing regime for India’s long-term vision for ensuring a gas-based economy.
- The panel has suggested linking the price of gas produced by state-owned firms from fields given to them on a nomination basis to imported crude oil prices rather than benchmarking them to gas rates in international markets. The rates thus arrived would be subject to a floor and ceiling.
- A fixed band of pricing for gas from legacy fields, which makes up for two-thirds of all-natural gas produced in the country, would ensure a predictable pricing regime for producers and at the same time moderate prices of CNG and piped cooking gas which has shot up by 70% since last year on the back of a surge in input cost.
- State producers Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Oil India Ltd (OIL) will be paid a price linked to imported oil but it will have a minimum or floor price of $4 per million British thermal unit and a cap or ceiling price of $6.5.
- The panel also recommended increasing the ceiling rate for the gas from legacy fields by 0.5 per mmBTU.
- The panel was in favour of not tinkering with the existing pricing formula for fields in difficult geology such as KG-D6 of Reliance Industries and bp plc.
- Such producers have marketing and pricing freedom which is constrained by an upper bound fixed by the government.
- The panel has suggested continuing with the cap for three years and giving total pricing freedom from January 1, 2026, by removing the cap.
- The panel also suggested including natural gas in the one-nation-one-tax regime of GST by subsuming excise duty charged by the central government and varying rates of VAT levied by state governments.
- To address state concern of loss of revenue, the panel was in favour of setting up a mechanism similar to the compensation cess regime that made good for any revenue loss that states incurred by way of giving their right to levy VAT and other taxes on goods and services in first five years of implementation of GST regime from July 1, 2017
- Also, the panel was in favour of moderation in rates of excise duty.
RBI’s modified digital lending norms
- The Reserve Bank’s modified guidelines on digital lending that seek to protect customers from exorbitant interest rates by certain entities and also check unethical loan recovery practices will come into effect shortly.
- Under the new norms, all loan disbursals and repayments are required to be executed only between the bank accounts of borrower and the regulated entities (like banks and NBFCs) without any pass-through/ pool account of the Lending Service Providers (LSPs).
- Also, any fees, charges, etc, payable to LSPs in the credit intermediation process shall be paid directly by RE and not by the borrower.
- While issuing the guidelines in August, the RBI had said the instructions are applicable to the ‘existing customers availing fresh loans’ and to ‘new customers getting onboarded’.
- Issuing a detailed set of guidelines for digital lending, the RBI mentioned the concerns primarily related to unbridled engagement of third parties, mis-selling, breach of data privacy, unfair business conduct, charging of exorbitant interest rates, and unethical recovery practices.
- The Reserve Bank’s regulatory framework is focused on the digital lending ecosystem of RBI’s Regulated Entities (REs) and Lending Service Providers (LSPs) engaged by them to extend various permissible credit facilitation services.
- Under the new norms, an automatic increase in credit limit without explicit consent of borrower is prohibited.
- RBI-regulated entities will have to ensure that they and the LSPs engaged by them have a suitable nodal grievance redressal officer to deal with FinTech/ digital lending-related complaints.
- Digital Lending Apps (DLAs) refer to mobile and web-based applications with user interface that facilitate borrowing by a borrower from a digital lender. DLAs will include apps of REs as well as operated by LSPs which are engaged by REs for extension of any credit facilitation services.
- India Stack refers to the ambitious project of creating a unified software platform to bring India’s population into the digital age.
- India Stack is a set of APIs that allows governments, businesses, startups and developers to utilize a unique digital Infrastructure to solve India’s hard problems towards presence-less, paperless, and cashless service delivery”
- India Stack is the largest open API in the world.
- Since its deployment, India has been organizing hackathons to develop applications for the APIs.
- India Stack is being implemented in stages, starting with the introduction in 2009 of the Aadhaar “Universal ID” numbers.
- The next stages were the introduction of eKYC (electronic Know Your Customer), which enables paperless and rapid verification of address, identity etc., followed by e-Sign, whereby users attach a legally valid electronic signature to a document, and UPI (Unified Payments Interface) enabling cashless payments, and most recently, Digital Locker, a platform for issuance and verification of documents & certificates.