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Daily Current affairs 09 March 2019

UPSC Prelims 2020


Sl. No.


The Hindu

Page No.


Forest Surveys



Road through Rome?



White Label ATMs



CII Employment Survey



UIDAI to levy fees for verification





  1. Forest Surveys – (The Hindu, Page – 07)


Prelims: Environment & Biodiversity


Forest Surveys in India



Criticism of the state of forest survey report 

  • The increase in forest cover includes forests converted to commercial plantations, degraded and fragmented forests
  • Forest cover does not consider the fragmentation of forests. 
  • India’s forests have degraded over past 100 year 



Highlights of the state of forest report 2017 

  • It is a biennial report 
  • It is published by Forest survey of India 
  • India posted a marginal 0.21% rise in forest cover between 2015 and 2017.
  • India has about 7,08,273 sq. km. of forest, which is 21.53% of the geographic area of the country (32,87,569 sq. km.). 


Target forest cover 

Indian aims at having 33% of its area under forest cover. This has been the goal of government since 1988 forest policy. 


Tree Cover 

It is an estimated area comprising of tree patches, which are less than one hectare and trees outside the recorded forest. 




  1. Road through Rome? – (Page - 09)

Area of interest

Mains: GS-II  in International Relations


Belt and Road Initiative



  • Italy is preparing to become the first of the G7 group of industrialised nations to endorse China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
  • Italy is expected to sign an MoU to participate in BRI during a visit of President Xi Jinping in March, 2019.
  • So therefore, it is yet to be seen the extent of Italian participation in BRI and so consider this news as being in transition.


What is meant by BRI membership?

  • BRI is considered as a international club without formal members. The BRI is not a multilateral organisation and has no protocol for admitting members. It is also not a trade pact that imposes clear rules on participants in return for trade benefits.
  • By signing a MOU, a country does not become a 'member' of the BRI, nor does it necessarily become entitled to the construction of China-funded infrastructure projects.
  • However, it may lead to China funded projects that a recipient country intends for and China agrees to. These projects if connected to the larger BRI infrastructure through Eurasia, then that project would then be considered as part of BRI.


Benefits for Italy:

  • It portrays Italy as an investment destination for Chinese investors and to other investors who may see Chinese investment into Italy as good benchmark of Italian economy.
  • It showcases Italy as an alternative to the EU’s larger economies.


Benefits to China:

  • China's investment has largely been concentrated in Eastern and Central Europe. Italy now allows China to move into Southern Europe.
  • Italy's acceptance of BRI dilutes the stand of G7 and EU against the debt infrastructure practices that China follows under BRI.
  • It is now for the first time that a non-Western country may emerge as a major investor in an earlier colonial European country.


  1. White Label ATMs (The Hindu, Page 14)


Prelims: Indian Economy


ATMs and its types


Context of the Article

In order to enhance the viability of White Label ATMs (WLA), it has been decided to allow the WLA Operators to : -

  • Buy wholesale cash, above a threshold of 1 lakh pieces of any denomination, directly from the RBI
  • Source cash from any scheduled bank, including Cooperative Banks and Regional Rural Banks.

What are White Label ATMs (WLAs)?

  • Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) which are set up, owned and operated by non-bank entities are called "White Label ATMs" (WLAs).
  • Prior to WLAs only banks were permitted by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to set up ATMs.
  • Tata Communications Payment Solutions Limited (TCPSL) is the first company authorized by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to open White Label ATMs in the country.
  • It got launched under the brand name 'Indicash'.

Operational Guidelines

  • Non-bank entities are permitted to set up WLAs in India, after obtaining approval from RBI under the Payment and Settlement Systems (PSS) Act 2007.
  • WLA operator is entitled to receive a fee from the banks for the use of ATM resources by the banks customers.
  • They are not permitted to charge bank customer directly for the use of WLAs.
  • Government has permitted Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) up to 100%, under the automatic route.

Bank Owned ATMs

Brown Label ATMs

White Label ATMs

  • Such ATMs are set up and owned by the bank itself.
  • Bank is responsible for their overall operation and maintenance.
  • Banks are given responsibility of Cash Management, Network Connectivity, Security etc.


  • These ATMs work on cost-sharing concept.
  • The Bank needs to take care of cash management and network connectivity while a service provider (Non-Banking Entity) provides for the ATM machine.
  • The Bank's logo is displayed on such ATMs.
  • These ATMs enable the Banks to reduce their operation cost since they need not buy the ATM machines.


  • These ATMs are completely owned and managed by Non-Banking entity.
  • The entire gamut of operations including ATM hardware, Cash Management, Network Connectivity, Security etc is looked after by the non-banking entity.
  • Further, these ATMs have the right to use their own logo.



Personal Notes









  1. CII Employment Survey  (The Hindu, Page-01)


Prelims: Indian Economy

Mains: GS Paper III in Indian Economy and various Issues


Employment in India



  • According to the survey conducted by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Job creation by the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) sector saw a growth of 13.9 percent in the past four years.
  • Recently, the NSSO’s Periodic Labour Force survey (PLFS) Report had highlighted that the unemployment rate in India stood at a 45-year-high of 6.1 per cent in 2017-18.
  • Hence, the Findings of the CII survey is contrary to the NSSO’s Survey.


  • The CII survey covered 1 lakh MSMEs and it showed that there has been a 13.9 percent increase net jobs additions over the past four years, which is a 3.3 percent increase per annum in these four years.
  • The CII report showed that Maharashtra, Gujarat and Telangana posted the highest figures in terms of job growth in the MSME sector.
  • The top job creating segment in the MSME sector was hospitality and tourism segment, followed by textiles.
  • The micro enterprises were the largest job creators. In terms of states, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Telangana were the largest job creators
  • There are signs of higher growth expectations on employment for the next three years. The optimism towards job growth is based on government initiatives like the 2 per cent interest rate subvention given to all MSMEs and recently implemented Trade Receivable e-Discounting System (TReDS). These moves are expected to drive future growth in the MSME sector, leading to more employment.


5. UIDAI to levy Fess for Verification (The Hindu, Page-07)


Prelims: Indian Polity & Governance


Aadhaar Verification


  • Business organisations will now need to shell out ₹20 for each customer verification
  • 50 paise for authentication of each transaction done using Aadhaar
  • Government entities and the Department of Posts will be exempt from authentication transaction charges
  • The scheduled commercial banks engaged in providing Aadhaar enrolment and update facilities shall be exempt from authentication transaction charges.