Economy News-Daily Digest: 5 Key Updates
1. WhatsApp meets RBI rules, to store data locally
WhatsApp, which has been running a pilot of its payment service in the country with 1 million users has built a system which stores payments-related data locally in India to comply with the Reserve Bank of India’s guidelines. The RBI had, on April 5, said that all payment system operators in India must move to a system of storing transaction data within India by October 15. So far, WhatsApp is the only major overseas player to have confirmed compliance.
However, it is still not clear whether WhatsApp will get the regulatory approval from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) for a full-fledged roll out as it has not clarified whether such data is being shared with any third party like its parent Facebook. The ministry of electronics and IT had advised the NPCI to accord approval only once it clarifies whether it shares data with any third party.
2. Scientists develop first bio-electronic medicine
Researchers at the Washington University in the US developed a device that delivers regular pulses of electricity to damaged peripheral nerves in rats after a surgical repair process, accelerating the regrowth of nerves in their legs and enhancing the ultimate recovery of muscle strength and control.
The size of a dime and the thickness of a sheet of paper, the wireless device operates for about two weeks before naturally absorbing into the body, according to the study published in the journal Nature Medicine. The researchers envision that such transient engineered technologies one day could complement or replace pharmaceutical treatments for a variety of medical conditions in humans.
The technology, called “bioelectronic medicine,” provides therapy and treatment over a clinically relevant period of time and directly at the site where it’s needed, thereby reducing side effects or risks associated with conventional, permanent implants. “These engineered systems provide active, therapeutic function in a programmable, dosed format and then naturally disappear into the body, without a trace,” said John A Rogers from the Northwestern University in the US. “This approach to therapy allows one to think about options that go beyond drugs and chemistry,” Rogers said.
While the device has not been tested in humans, the findings offer promise as a future therapeutic option for nerve injury patients, researchers said.
For cases requiring surgery, standard practice is to administer some electrical stimulation during the surgery to aid recovery. However, until now, doctors have lacked a means to continuously provide that added boost at various time points throughout the recovery and healing process.
3. Cabinet approves merger of National Council for Vocational Training, NCVT and National Skill Development Agency, NSDA to establish National Council for Vocational Education and Training, NCVET
The Union Cabinet has approved the merger of the existing regulatory institutions in the skills space – National Council for Vocational Training (NCVT) and the National Skill Development Agency (NSDA) into the National Council for Vocational Education and Training (NCVET).
NCVET will regulate the functioning of entities engaged in vocational education and training, both long-term and short-term and establish minimum standards for the functioning of such entities. The Council would be headed by a Chairperson and will have Executive and Non-Executive Members. Since NCVET is proposed to be set up through merger of two existing bodies, the existing infrastructure and resources will be utilized for the most part. In addition, a few more posts will be created for its smooth functioning. The regulator will follow the best practices of regulatory processes, which will help ensure that it performs its functions professionally and as per the applicable laws.
This institutional reform will lead to improvement in quality and market relevance of skill development programs lending credibility to vocational education and training encouraging greater private investment and employer participation in the skills space. This in turn will help achieve the twin objectives of enhancing aspirational value of vocational education and of increasing skilled manpower furthering the Prime Minister’s agenda of making India the skill capital of the world.
Being a regulator of India’s skill ecosystem, NCVET will have a positive impact on each individual who is a part of vocational education and training in the country. The idea of skill-based education will be seen in a more inspirational manner which would further encourage students to apply for skill-based educational courses. This is also expected to facilitate the ease of doing business by providing a steady supply of skilled workforce to the industry and services.
4. Cabinet approves closure of National Jute Manufactures Corporation Ltd. and its subsidiary Birds Jute & Exports Ltd.
The Union Cabinet has approved the closure of National Jute Manufactures Corporation Ltd. (NJMC) and its subsidiary Birds Jute & Exports Ltd. (BJEL).
The decision will benefit the Government exchequer in reducing recurring expenditure incurred in operating both the sick CPSEs in running their activities. The proposal will help in closing loss making companies and ensuring release of valuable assets for productive use, or for generating financial resources for developmental progress.
5. hikes interest for gratuity funds to 8%
The Centre has notified a higher interest rate of 8% for the non-government provident, superannuation, and gratuity funds, effective from October 1.
The interest rate on these funds has been raised from 7.6%. The move comes on the back of a hike in small savings rates — by up to 40 basis points for some schemes — that was also made effective from October 1.