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12 February, 2020

26 Min Read

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Paper Topics Subject
GS-I Iranian Revolution, 1979 Modern History
Hampi World Heritage site Modern History
6th International Conference on Climate Services Human Geography
GS-II Sudan to handover Omar al-Bashir to ICC
Privilege Motion
Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2019
Manual scavenging related deaths in India
GS-III RBI to set up a new umbrella entity (NUE) Economic Issues
GS-I : Modern History
Iranian Revolution, 1979

Syllabus subtopic: History of the World will include events from 18th century such as Industrial Revolution, world wars, Redrawal of National Boundaries, Colonization, Decolonization, political philosophies like Communism, Capitalism, Socialism etc.— their forms and effect on the society.

 

Prelims and Mains focus: about the revolution; its causes and aftermath

 

News: Hundreds of thousands across Iran marked the anniversary of its 1979 Islamic Revolution on February 11 amid growing tensions between Tehran and the U.S.

 

About the 1979 Islamic Revolution

Iranian Revolution, also called Islamic Revolution, was a popular uprising in Iran in 1978–79 that resulted in the toppling of the monarchy on February 11, 1979, and led to the establishment of an Islamic republic.

 

Prelude to the revolution:

  • The 1979 revolution, which brought together Iranians across many different social groups, has its roots in Iran’s long history. These groups, which included clergy, landowners, intellectuals, and merchants, had previously come together in the Constitutional Revolution of 1905–11.

 

  • Efforts toward satisfactory reform were continually stifled, however, amid re-emerging social tensions as well as foreign intervention from Russia, the United Kingdom, and, later, the United States.

 

  • The United Kingdom helped Reza Shah Pahlavi establish a monarchy in 1921. Along with Russia, the U.K. then pushed Reza Shah into exile in 1941, and his son Mohammad Reza Pahlavi took the throne. In 1953, amid a power struggle between Mohammed Reza Shah and Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the U.K. Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) orchestrated a coup against Mosaddegh’s government.

 

  • Years later, Mohammad Reza Shah dismissed the parliament and launched the White Revolutionan aggressive modernization program that upended the wealth and influence of landowners and clerics, disrupted rural economies, led to rapid urbanization and Westernization, and prompted concerns over democracy and human rights. The program was economically successful, but the benefits were not distributed evenly, though the transformative effects on social norms and institutions were widely felt. Opposition to the shah’s policies was accentuated in the 1970s, when world monetary instability and fluctuations in Western oil consumption seriously threatened the country’s economy, still directed in large part toward high-cost projects and programs. A decade of extraordinary economic growth, heavy government spending, and a boom in oil prices led to high rates of inflation and the stagnation of Iranians’ buying power and standard of living.

 

  • In addition to mounting economic difficulties, socio-political repression by the shah’s regime increased in the 1970s. Outlets for political participation were minimal, and opposition parties such as the National Front (a loose coalition of nationalists, clerics, and non-communist left-wing parties) and the pro-Soviet Tudeh (“Masses”) Party were marginalized or outlawed. Social and political protest was often met with censorship, surveillance, or harassment, and illegal detention and torture were common.

 

  • For the first time in more than half a century, the secular intellectuals—many of whom were fascinated by the populist appeal of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a former professor of philosophy in Qom who had been exiled in 1964 after speaking out harshly against the shah’s recent reform program—abandoned their aim of reducing the authority and power of the Shia ulama (religious scholars) and argued that, with the help of the ulama, the shah could be overthrown.

 

  • In this environment, members of the National Front, the Tudeh Party, and their various splinter groups now joined the ulama in broad opposition to the shah’s regime. Khomeini continued to preach in exile about the evils of the Pahlavi regime, accusing the shah of irreligion and subservience to foreign powers. Thousands of tapes and print copies of Khomeini’s speeches were smuggled back into Iran during the 1970s as an increasing number of unemployed and working-poor Iranians—mostly new migrants from the countryside, who were disenchanted by the cultural vacuum of modern urban Iran—turned to the ulama for guidance. The shah’s dependence on the United States, his close ties with Israel—then engaged in extended hostilities with the overwhelmingly Muslim Arab states—and his regime’s ill-considered economic policies served to fuel the potency of dissident rhetoric with the masses.

 

  • Outwardly, with a swiftly expanding economy and a rapidly modernizing infrastructure, everything was going well in Iran. But in little more than a generation, Iran had changed from a traditional, conservative, and rural society to one that was industrial, modern, and urban. The sense that in both agriculture and industry too much had been attempted too soon and that the government, either through corruption or incompetence, had failed to deliver all that was promised was manifested in demonstrations against the regime in 1978.

 

Revolution

  • In January 1978, incensed by what they considered to be slanderous remarks made against Khomeini in Ettela'at, a Tehran newspaper, thousands of young madrasah (religious school) students took to the streets. They were followed by thousands more Iranian youth—mostly unemployed recent immigrants from the countryside—who began protesting the regime’s excesses. The shah, weakened by cancer and stunned by the sudden outpouring of hostility against him, vacillated between concession and repression, assuming the protests to be part of an international conspiracy against him. Many people were killed by government forces in anti-regime protests, serving only to fuel the violence in a Shia country where martyrdom played a fundamental role in religious expression. Fatalities were followed by demonstrations to commemorate the customary 40-day milestone of mourning in Shia tradition, and further casualties occurred at those protests, mortality and protest propelling one another forward. Thus, in spite of all government efforts, a cycle of violence began in which each death fueled further protest, and all protest—from the secular left and religious right—was subsumed under the cloak of Shia Islam and crowned by the revolutionary rallying cry Allahu akbar (“God is great”), which could be heard at protests and which issued from the rooftops in the evenings.

 

  • The violence and disorder continued to escalate. On September 8 the regime imposed martial law, and troops opened fire against demonstrators in Tehran, killing dozens or hundreds. Weeks later, government workers began to strike. On October 31, oil workers also went on strike, bringing the oil industry to a halt. Demonstrations continued to grow; on December 10, hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets in Tehran alone.

 

  • During his exile, Khomeini coordinated this upsurge of opposition—first from Iraq and after 1978 from France—demanding the shah’s abdication. In January 1979, in what was officially described as a “vacation,” the shah and his family fled Iran. The Regency Council established to run the country during the shah’s absence proved unable to function, and Prime Minister Shahpur Bakhtiar, hastily appointed by the shah before his departure, was incapable of effecting compromise with either his former National Front colleagues or Khomeini. Crowds in excess of one million demonstrated in Tehran, proving the wide appeal of Khomeini, who arrived in Iran amid wild rejoicing on February 1. Ten days later, on February 11, Iran’s armed forces declared their neutrality, effectively ousting the shah’s regime. Bakhtiar went into hiding, eventually to find exile in France.

 

 

Aftermath

  • On April 1, following overwhelming support in a national referendum, Khomeini declared Iran an Islamic republic. Elements within the clergy promptly moved to exclude their former left-wing, nationalist, and intellectual allies from any positions of power in the new regime, and a return to conservative social values was enforced.

 

  • The Family Protection Act (1967; significantly amended in 1975), which provided further guarantees and rights to women in marriage, was declared void, and mosque-based revolutionary bands known as komitehs (Persian: “committees”) patrolled the streets enforcing Islamic codes of dress and behaviour and dispatching impromptu justice to perceived enemies of the revolution. Throughout most of 1979 the Revolutionary Guards—then an informal religious militia formed by Khomeini to forestall another CIA-backed coup as in the days of Mosaddegh—engaged in similar activity, aimed at intimidating and repressing political groups not under the control of the ruling Revolutionary Council and its sister Islamic Republican Party, both clerical organizations loyal to Khomeini. The violence and brutality often exceeded that which had taken place under the shah.

 

  • The militias and the clerics they supported made every effort to suppress Western cultural influence, and, facing persecution and violence, many of the Western-educated elite fled the country. This anti-Western sentiment eventually manifested itself in the November 1979 seizure of 66 hostages at the U.S. embassy by a group of Iranian protesters demanding the extradition of the shah, who at that time was undergoing medical treatment in the United States. Through the embassy takeover, Khomeini’s supporters could claim to be as “anti-imperialist” as the political left. This ultimately gave them the ability to suppress most of the regime’s left-wing and moderate opponents.

 

  • The Assembly of Experts (Majles-e Khobregan), overwhelmingly dominated by clergy, put a new constitution to referendum the following month, and it was overwhelmingly approved. The new constitution created a religious government based on Khomeini’s vision of velayat-e faqih (Persian: “governance of the jurist”) and gave sweeping powers to the rahbar, or leader; the first rahbar was Khomeini himself. Moderates, such as provisional Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan and the republic’s first president, Abolhasan Bani-Sadr, who opposed holding the hostages, were steadily forced from power by conservatives within the government who questioned their revolutionary zeal.
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GS-I : Modern History
Hampi World Heritage site

Syllabus subtopic: Indian Culture - Salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

 

Prelims and Mains focus: about the SC judgement; about Hampi and its monuments

 

News: The Supreme Court confirmed the Karnataka government authorities’ decision to demolish restaurants, hotels, guest houses and other buildings constructed in Virupapura Gaddi, an oval islet formed by the Tungabhadra river and located west of the Hampi World Heritage site.

 

Reason

Spelling relief for conservationists and a victory for the State government, the SC Bench concluded that the constructions were in violation of the Mysore Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act of 1961.

 

About the SC judgement

  • Agreeing with the Karnataka High Court decision that the Hampi World Heritage Area Management Authority was empowered to order the demolition of the illegal buildings on the islet, the apex court ordered the authorities to proceed with their demolition work within a month of this judgment.

 

  • The court upheld the validity of a 1988 State notification that “clearly indicates the entire village of Virupapura Gaddi as a protected zone.” It said a place need not necessarily boast a monument to be protected.

 

  • The court further notes how the Archaeological Survey of India has itself recognised the historical importance of Virupapura Gaddi.

 

About Hampi

  • Hampi or Hampe (in Kannada), also referred to as the Group of Monuments at Hampi, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in east-central Karnataka, India.

 

  • It became the pilgrimage centre of the Hindu religion. It was the capital of Vijayanagara Empire in the 14th century.

 

  • Chronicles left by Persian and European travellers, particularly the Portuguese are saying that state Hampi was a prosperous, wealthy and grand city near the Tungabhadra River, with numerous temples, farms and trading markets.

 

  • By 1500 CE, Hampi-Vijayanagara was the world's second-largest medieval-era city after Beijing, and probably India's richest at that time, attracting traders from Persia and Portugal.

 

  • The Vijayanagara Empire was defeated by a coalition of Muslim sultanates; its capital was conquered, pillaged and destroyed by sultanate armies in 1565 (Battle of Tallikota), after which Hampi remained in ruins.

 

  • Hampi predates the Vijayanagara Empire; there is evidence of Ashokan epigraphy, and it is mentioned in the Ramayana and the Puranas of Hinduism as Pampaa Devi Tirtha Kshetra.

 

  • Hampi continues to be an important religious centre, housing the Virupaksha Temple, an active Adi Shankara-linked monastery and various monuments belonging to the old city.

 

Hampi has around 500 of monuments and other attractions. Some of them are named below:-

  1. Virupaksha Temple is the oldest and principal temple in Hampi. This temple located on the south bank of the river Tungabadra. It has been an important pilgrimage centre for the worshipers of lord Shiva.

 

2. Hampi Bazaar, also known as Virupaksha Bazaar, this street is located in front of the Virupaksha temple.

 

3. Courtesans' Street : Once the liveliest of all the temple streets in Hampi, the Courtesans' Street lies in front of the Achyuta Raya's Temple.

 

4. Achyuta Raya's Temple : This temple is an example of Vijayanagara style temple architecture in its most advanced form than any other temples in Hampi. The temple dedicated to Lord Tiruvengalanatha, a form of Vishnu.

 

 

5. Sasivekalu Ganesha : Thanks to the resemblance the giant monolithic Ganesha statue is locally called Sasivekalu (mustard seed) Ganesha. This is located on the southern foothill of the Hemakuta Hill.

 

6. Hazara Rama Temple : The first thing comes to mind on seeing this temple, or more precisely its walls, is the locally popular comic strips of Hindu mythology, Ramayana.

 

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GS-I : Human Geography
6th International Conference on Climate Services

Syllabus subtopic: Salient features of World’s Physical Geography.

 

Prelims and Mains focus: about the conference and its objectives; about the new forecast system by India and its significance

 

News: The Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), under the auspices of the Ministry of Earth Sciences of the Government of India, is hosting the 6th International Conference on Climate Services (ICCS6) in Pune, India from February 11-13, 2020.

 

Aim of the conference:

The conference aims to convene the international community of practice to:

  • Assess the current state of play in the design, implementation, and results/ impact of climate services
  • Share knowledge, lessons learned, and emerging examples of good practices
  • Identify gaps and challenges to be addressed in future work
  • Promote coordination and collaboration among climate service stakeholders

 

Significance

  • ICCS6 will develop connections between and among the range of actors that make up the climate services community, including those based at national and regional meteorological services, national and local governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, research institutes, and the private sector.

 

  • It provides a unique opportunity to share skills, experience, and expertise with an active climate services network.

 

New Climate Forecast System planned by India

  • The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) is planning a ‘decadal forecast’ system along the lines of the United Kingdom’s Met Office to ensure better predictability in the climate time scale.

 

  • The system, based on a coupled climate model, would first be taking shape in the form of a research programme to be taken up by IITM along with collaboration from the India Meteorological Department and other entities and would be operational only after its merits had been evaluated.

 

  • This is a new idea with more relevance to present climate forecasting needs. So, given the need for longer-range prediction for 10 or 20 years, MoES will be starting a new programme in the country using a coupled climate model by utilising signals emanating from deep oceans to predict decadal climate changes.

 

  • The World Meteorological Organization has set up global producing centres, coordinated by the U.K. Met Office, for annual to decadal projections that are already providing global-scale information.

 

Why is it required?

There were a number of gaps in the understanding of regional climate variability and its connections to global phenomena like Indian Ocean Dipole. Indian forecasters faced a challenge in maintaining the quality of climate observations, and there is a need on the part of researchers to develop applications for specific sectors based on the available climate forecast.

 

Significance of the new system

  • As there is a lot fundamental work on the decadal forecasting system that has already been done, India should not lag behind.

 

  • Once the system was established, it would initially function for long-range forecasting at the national level and the model, if successful, would later be downscaled to the state or even district-level.
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GS-II :
Sudan to handover Omar al-Bashir to ICC

Syllabus subtopic: Important International Institutions, agencies and fora - their Structure, Mandate.

 

Prelims and Mains focus: about ICC: powers and how it is different from ICJ

 

News: Sudan has agreed to hand over ousted autocrat Omar al-Bashir and others to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

 

Background

  • Bashir is accused of serious crimes in a conflict that broke out in Darfur in 2003 and led to the deaths of 300,000 people and the displacement of some 2.5 million others, according to the United Nations.

 

  • The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued two arrest warrants against Al-Bashir, in 2009 and 2010, on charges of committing war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur. Thus, the ousted president denied the charges and accused the ICC of being politicized.

 

What now?

  • Authorities said the former president, and others charged by the ICC, should appear at The Hague to face a tribunal.

 

  • The commitment came at peace talks between Sudan's government and rebel groups from the Darfur region.

 

  • If al-Bashir is handed over, it would be only the second time a country has surrendered a foreign leader to the ICC. Ivory Coast transferred former President Laurent Gbagbo in 2011 to The Hague, where he was acquitted last year of crimes against humanity charges linked to alleged involvement in post-election violence.

 

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GS-II :
Privilege Motion

Syllabus subtopic: Parliament and State Legislatures—Structure, Functioning, Conduct of Business, Powers & Privileges and Issues Arising out of these.

 

Prelims and Mains focus: about the privilege motion: procedure and role of speaker/chairperson; about SC judgement on reservations in job, promotions

 

News: Lok Sabha Speaker informed the House that he had received the notice of privilege motion moved by the Congress against Social Justice Minister for his statement on the Supreme Court order on the issue of reservation in promotion for Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs) and Other Backward Classes (OBC).

 

 

Why?

  • The Congress accused the minister of ‘misleading’ the House by stating that the case pertained to a decision of the Uttarakhand government in 2012 when the Congress was in power.

 

  • The Minister had also informed that the Centre was not a party to the case and assured that ‘appropriate steps’ would be taken.

 

  • Stating that it was a misleading argument, Congress MPs not only moved a privilege motion but also read out the names of advocates who represented the BJP government Uttarakhand in the Supreme Court. However, the Speaker cut him by short stating that the motion is under his consideration.

 

About Privilege Motion

Parliamentary privileges are certain rights and immunities enjoyed by members of Parliament, individually and collectively, so that they can “effectively discharge their functions”. When any of these rights and immunities are disregarded, the offence is called a breach of privilege and is punishable under law of Parliament.

 

Procedure

A notice is moved in the form of a motion by any member of either House against those being held guilty of breach of privilege. Each House also claims the right to punish as contempt actions which, while not breach of any specific privilege, are offences against its authority and dignity.

 

Rules governing the privilege motion

  • Rule No 222 in Chapter 20 of the Lok Sabha Rule Book and correspondingly Rule 187 in Chapter 16 of the Rajya Sabha rulebook governs privilege.

 

  • It says that a member may, with the consent of the Speaker or the Chairperson, raise a question involving a breach of privilege either of a member or of the House or of a committee thereof.

 

  • The rules however mandate that any notice should be relating to an incident of recent occurrence and should need the intervention of the House. Notices have to be given before 10 am to the Speaker or the Chairperson.

 

 Role of the Speaker/Chairman

  • The Speaker/RS chairperson is the first level of scrutiny of a privilege motion.

 

  • The Speaker/Chair can decide on the privilege motion himself or herself or refer it to the privileges committee of Parliament.

 

  • If the Speaker/Chair gives consent under Rule 222, the member concerned is given an opportunity to make a short statement.

 

Privileges committees in the Parliament

  • In the Lok Sabha, the Speaker nominates a committee of privileges consisting of 15 members as per respective party strengths. A report is then presented to the House for its consideration. The Speaker may permit a half-hour debate while considering the report. The Speaker may then pass final orders or direct that the report be tabled before the House.

 

  • A resolution may then be moved relating to the breach of privilege that has to be unanimously passed.

 

  • In the Rajya Sabha, the deputy chairperson heads the committee of privileges, that consists of 10 members.
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GS-II :
Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2019

Syllabus subtopic: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.

 

Prelims and Mains focus: about the key features of the bill and its significance

 

News: The Lok Sabha passed The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2019 by voice vote.

 

Background

The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Third Amendment) Bill, 2019 was introduced in Rajya Sabha on February 11, 2019 by the Minister of Tribal Affairs. It was passed by Rajya Sabha on February 13, 2019.

 

Key highlights of the Bill

  • The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950 specifies the tribal communities which are deemed to be Scheduled Tribes. The Bill amends Part 18 of the Order which specifies the Scheduled Tribes in Arunachal Pradesh.

 

  • The Bill inserts 5 entries for granting Scheduled Tribe status to these communities. These are:
  1. Galo
  2. Mishmi-Kaman (Miju Mishmi), Idu (Mishmi), Taraon (Digaru, Mishmi)
  3. Monpa, Memba, Sartang, Sajolang (Miji)
  4. Nocte, Tangsa, Tutsa, Wancho, and
  5. Tai Khamti.

 

  • The Bill removes reference to six tribes. These are: (i) Abor, (ii) Galong, (iii) Khampti, (iv) Mishmi (Idu, Taroon), (v) any Naga tribes, and and (vi) Momba. 

 

  • The Bill seeks to include the Parivara and the Talawara communities in the ST category to ensure they get reservation and other benefits provided by the government.

 

  • The Siddi tribes of Belagavi and Dharwad (Karnataka) would also be included in the category apart from those living in the Uttar Kannada districts. The amendments had been made in the list of the STs in Karnataka.

 

Demands raised by other parties

  • The Nationalist Congress Party demanded that the Dhangar community from Maharashtra be included in the ST.

 

  • The Congress (INC) said a comprehensive bill is required.

 

  • All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) said the government should take steps to make the process of inclusion easier.
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GS-II :
Manual scavenging related deaths in India

Syllabus subtopic: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.

 

Prelims and Mains focus: about the features of manual scavenging act; about NCSK; data related to manual scavengers; efforts made by the govt to curb it

 

News: The number of people who died while cleaning sewers and septic tanks in the country increased by almost 62% from 68 in 2018 to 110 in 2019, according to a reply given by the Social Justice and Empowerment (SJE) Ministry to the Lok Sabha.

 

Background

Manual scavenging is banned under the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013.

 

 

Data on number of manual scavengers across the country

  • A total of 14,559 manual scavengers had been identified by Municipalities and Gram Panchayats in 13 States from 2013-2014 till January 31, 2020.

 

  • Apart from that, a national survey was conducted in 194 districts in 18 States where 48,345 manual scavengers were identified till January 31, taking the total to 62,904.

 

The National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK) had received reports about the death of people cleaning sewers and septic tanks. These cases were reported from 18 States and Union Territories, while 13 States and UTs submitted “nil reports”.

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GS-III : Economic Issues
RBI to set up a new umbrella entity (NUE)

Syllabus subtopic: Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development and Employment.

 

Prelims and Mains focus: about the functions and eligibility criteria for setting up of NUEs; other guidelines issued by RBI

 

News: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has proposed to set up a new pan-India new umbrella entity (NUE) or entities focussing on retail payment systems with a minimum paid-up capital of Rs 500 crore.

 

Functions of the new entity

  • The proposed entity will set up, manage and operate new payment systems especially in the retail space comprising of, but not limited to ATMs, white label PoS, Aadhaar-based payments and remittance services, develop payment methods, standards and technologies, monitor related issues and internationally, take care of developmental objectives like enhancement of awareness about the payment systems.

 

  • It will operate clearing and settlement systems, identify and manage relevant risks such as settlement, credit, liquidity and operational and preserve the integrity of the system, monitor retail payment system developments and related issues in the country and internationally to avoid shocks, frauds and contagions that may adversely affect the system and the economy in general.

 

Eligibility criteria to apply as promoter/promoter group

  • As per the RBI, no single promoter or promoter group should have more than 40 per cent investment in the capital of the entity.

 

  • The promoters should upfront demonstrate capital contribution of not less than 10 per cent — Rs 50 crore — at the time of making an application for setting up of the entity.

 

  • The promoter or the promoter group shareholding should be diluted to a minimum of 25 per cent after 5 years of the commencement of business.

 

  • A minimum net worth of Rs 300 crore should be maintained always.

 

  • The entity eligible to apply as promoter or the promoter group for the NUE should be ‘owned and controlled by residents’ with 3 years’ experience in the payments ecosystem as Payment System Operator (PSO) or Payment Service Provider (PSP) or Technology Service Provider (TSP).

 

  • The shareholding pattern should be diversified. Any entity holding more than 25 per cent of the paid-up capital of the NUE will be deemed to be a promoter.

 

Regulations for setting up of NUEs

  • The NUE should conform to the norms of corporate governance along with ‘fit and proper’ criteria for persons to be appointed on its board.

 

  • The RBI retains the right to approve the appointment of directors as also to nominate a member on the board of the NUE.

 

  • The application for setting up the NUE should contain a detailed business plan covering the payment systems proposed to be set-up or operated along with other documents to duly establish its experience in the payments ecosystem.

 

  • A proposed organisational strategy in terms of fulfilling its responsibility as an umbrella entity should also be given in the business plan. Such an entity will be a company incorporated in India under the Companies Act, 2013. The Company may be a ‘for-profit’ or a Section 8 company as may be decided by it.
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