24, June 2017

  1. ‘MERIT’

Source: PIB

A web portal- MERIT (Merit Order Despatch of Electricity for Rejuvenation of Income and Transparency) was recently launched by the Ministry of Power.

Key facts:

  • The portal has been developed by Ministry of Power in association with POSOCO and Central Electricity Authority.
  • The portal displays extensive array of information regarding the merit order of Electricity procured by State(s) such as daily state-wise marginal variable costs of all generators, daily source-wise power purchases of respective states/UTs with source-wise fixed and variable costs, energy volumes and purchase prices.
  • The web-portal also give information regarding reasons for deviation from merit order such as must run conditions, transmission constraints etc.

The advantages of “Merit” Portal are as follows:

  • Empowerment of the Consumer and participative governance.
  • Transparent information dissemination pertaining to marginal variable cost and source wise purchase of electricity.
  • Promotes economy and efficiency in operations.
  • Demystifies the utility portfolio and its complexity.
  • Optimization of the power procurement costs.
  • Facilitates renewable integration and handling of the variability and uncertainty of renewables.
  • Indication of supply side reliability, adequacy, and cost of power procurement.

  1. Government launches VAJRA scheme

Source: PIB

In a bid to bring together the Indian scientists abroad and India-based researchers for conducting joint researches in India, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has launched a scheme named ‘Visiting Advanced Joint Research Faculty’ (VAJRA).

Key facts:

  • The Visiting Advanced Joint Research (Vajra) faculty scheme is a dedicated programme for foreign scientists and academicians, with emphasis on non-resident Indians, persons of Indian origin and overseas citizens of India to work as adjunct faculty in the government-funded academic and research institutions.
  • Under this scheme, scientists or senior researchers abroad – of Indian origin or otherwise – can collaborate with faculties here.
  • Under the scheme, foreign researchers would receive endowments at par with those in their own countries. The endowments for faculties would be US $15,000 in the first month of residency and US $10,000, for the remaining months.
  • The idea of the scheme is to bring the best of the world to India and conduct research here. The broad areas of research like energy, health, advance material and others would be promoted under the scheme.

  1. City Liveability Index

Source: PIB

The Ministry of Urban Development has launched the ‘City Liveability Index’ for measuring the quality of life in 116 major cities including smart cities, capital cities and cities with a population of above one million each.

City Liveability Index

  • In a first of its kind Index to be introduced in the country, cities will be assessed on a comprehensive set of 79 parameters to capture the extent and quality of infrastructure including availability of roads, education and health care, mobility, employment opportunities, emergency response, grievance redressal, pollution, availability of open and green spaces, cultural and entertainment opportunities etc.
  • The Index is a Common Minimum Reference Framework to enable the cities know where they stand in terms of quality of life and the interventions required to improve the same.

  1. Panel to oversee progress in UN’s SDG

Source: The Hindu

The Centre will soon set up a high-level committee headed by Chief Statistician of India to oversee the country’s progress towards UN’s Sustainable Development Goals aimed at ending poverty, fighting inequalities and tackling climate change.

  • A dashboard is also being developed with technical support from the UN Development Programme (UNDP) to “strengthen the mechanism” for monitoring progress on these global goals.
  • Data collected by private agencies may be considered for monitoring the SDGs, particularly since a number of the goals are not directly linked to the Centre’s provision of public services.


  • The SDGs are a set of 17 goals and 169 targets aimed at resolving global social, economic and environmental problems.
  • These new SDGs replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which were adopted in 2000 and expire this year.
  • Aiming to encompass almost every aspect of human life, the main themes of the SDGs are ending poverty, tackling inequality and combating climate change.
  • According to the UN’s own estimates, achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets meant to transform the world will require over 250 billion dollars annually for the next 15 years.

The United Nations defines sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.

  1. M-banking now under ombudsman’s purview

Source: The Hindu

Widening the scope of its Banking Ombudsman Scheme, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has included complaints relating to mis-selling and mobile banking in its purview. The amended Banking Ombudsman Scheme will come into force from July 1.

Key facts:

  • The scheme now includes deficiencies arising out of sale of insurance/mutual fund/other third party investment products by banks.
  • Under the amended Scheme, a customer would also be able to lodge a complaint against the bank for its non-adherence to RBI instructions with regard to mobile banking/ electronic banking services in India.
  • The pecuniary jurisdiction of the Banking Ombudsman to pass an Award has been increased from existing Rs 10 lakh to to Rs 20 lakh.
  • Compensation not exceeding Rs 1 lakh can also be awarded by to the complainant for loss of time, expenses incurred as also, harassment and mental anguish suffered by the complainant.

Banking Ombudsman

  • Banking ombudsman is a quasi judicial authority, created to resolve customer complaints against banks relating to certain services provided by them.
  • The Ombudsman is a senior official, who has been appointed by the Reserve Bank of India to address grievances and complaints from customers, pertaining deficiencies in banking services.
  • It covers all kinds of banks including public sector banks, Private banks, Rural banks as well as co-operative banks.

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