FASTags:

  • FASTag is a device that employs Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology for making toll payments directly from the prepaid or savings account linked to it.
  • It is affixed on the windscreen of the vehicle and enables to drive through toll plazas, without stopping for cash transactions.
  • The tag can be purchased from Tag issuers and if it is linked to the prepaid account, then recharge/ top up can be made as per the requirement.
  • Benefits of using FASTag:
    • Cashless payment
    • Faster transit
    • Online recharge
    • SMS alerts
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What is ‘Swiss challenge’ approach?

Swiss challenge method is a process of giving contracts. Any person with credentials can submit a development proposal to the government. That proposal will be made online and a second person can give suggestions to improve and beat that proposal.

  • It is a method where third parties make offers (challenges) for a project within a designated period to avoid exaggerated project costs.

Swiss model: 

The government plans to adopt the ‘Swiss Challenge’ mode to invite bids for redeveloping the stations.

How Swiss model operates? 

  • First, the government will invite developers to submit their master plans.
  • After evaluating the proposals, the selected design will be uploaded over the Ministry of Railways website.
  • Financial bids will be invited and the developer quoting the highest upfront premium to be paid to the government will win the bid.
  • However, the project developer, who had originally submitted the plan, will be given an opportunity to match the bid amount.

The government will also ensure that the developer has prior experience in the field of passenger transportation such as railway stations, airports or ports or construction experience in the core sector.

Smart Cities

what are Smart Cities?

  • A ‘smart city’ is an urban region that is highly advanced in terms of overall infrastructure, sustainable real estate, communications and market viability.
  • It is a city where information technology is the principal infrastructure and the basis for providing essential services to residents.
  • There are many technological platforms involved, including but not limited to automated sensor networks and data centres.
  • In a smart city, economic development and activity is sustainable and rationally incremental by virtue of being based on success-oriented market drivers such as supply and demand.
  • They benefit everybody, including citizens, businesses, the government and the environment.

What are the core infrastructure in a Smart City?

  • According to the documents released on the Smart Cities website, the core infrastructure in a smart city would include:
  • Adequate water supply
  • Assured electricity supply
  • Sanitation, including solid waste management
  • Efficient urban mobility and public transport
  • Affordable housing, especially for the poor
  • Robust IT connectivity and digitalisation
  • Good governance, especially e-Governance and citizen participation
  • Sustainable environment
  • Safety and security of citizens, particularly women, children and the elderly
  • Health and education

Angel Investors VS Venture Capital

  • Business Angel Investors are individuals, often successful business people who are investing their own personal funds into a potentially rewarding business opportunity.
  • Whereas Venture Capital is invested by firms or companies that use other people’s money. They raise that money by offering investors a chance to take part in a fund that is then used to buy shares in a private company.
  • Business angels use their own money and venture capitalists use other people’s money affects their capacity for risk and of course an individual angel investor doesn’t have as much to invest as a venture capital firm.

Angel Investors Vs Venture Capitalists:

  • Angel investors invest mostly as individuals, while venture capitalists are business enterprises/ companies comprising of several individual investors.
  • Angel investors usually fund start-ups and new businesses where as Venture capital are seldom interested in early-stage, unless there are compelling reasons.
  • Angel investors invest their own money into businesses, but venture capitalists invest money contributed by several investors.
  • Because they are individuals, angel investors are usually unable or unwilling to fund businesses that require huge funds. Venture capitalists, on the other hand can fund businesses that require large funding, since they are holding funds from several individuals.
  • In addition to the invested funds, angel investors usually contribute personal experience and relevant contacts to the growth of businesses they invest in. Some venture capitalists don’t go this far.
  • Angel investors may be willing to “hands-off” your business if they have nothing relevant, aside the capital to contribute. But venture capitalists will always require board seats and complex deal terms including the ability to control subsequent financings.
  • Angel investors usually require very high Return On Investment (ROI) because they take very high risks by investing in new businesses that may tank. Venture capitalists usually contribute to already-growing businesses with reduced risk of failure, so they don’t require very high ROI.
  • Angel investors tend to believe in the entrepreneur and invest in them as a person. Venture capitalists being less emotional and more process involved mainly evaluate deals and make offers.
  • Angel investors allow for flexibility in deal structuring and financial decisions. venture capitalists are rigid.
  • An angel investor fund businesses for motives beyond financial gains (such as social responsibility and community involvement). A venture capitalist is obligated to maximize investors’ returns and outperform other venture capitalists, in order to attract even more investors.
  • Angels tend to avoid follow-up investments out of fear of losing more money, in case the business fails. Venture capitalists usually invest additional funds at later stages to assist with growth.
  • Angel investors are found in virtually all industries and have diversified portfolios. Venture capitalists are involved in limited industries (mostly technology) and they have limited portfolios.

Bitcoin

  • Bitcoin is a digital currency that is not supported by any country’s government or central bank.
  • It can be traded for services or goods with sellers who accept bitcoins as payment.
  • Bitcoin was first  introduced in October 2008. It was invented by an unidentified programmer, or group of programmers, under the name of Satoshi Nakamoto.
  • The system is peer-to-peer (person to person using bitcoins) and transactions take place between users directly, without an intermediary (like Bank).
  • Bitcoin transactions are seen by the entire network within a few seconds which are verified by network nodes  and are usually recorded into Bitcoin’s world wide ledger (record of transactions) called the blockchain, in the next block.
  • Bitcoin isn’t owned by anyone. Anyone can use it, but there isn’t a single company that is in charge of it.
  • So, Bitcoin payments are impossible to block, and bitcoin wallets can’t be frozen (unlike the currency we use that government can regulate).
  • Unlike government issued money, that can be inflated at will (by increasing or decreasing the money supply), the supply of bitcoin is mathematically limited to twenty one million bitcoins, and that can never be changed.
  • Bitcoins are impossible to counterfeit (as they are encrypted, hence also called Crypto-currency). Bitcoin’s price is determined by the laws of supply and demand.

Market Stabilization Bond

  • MSS bonds bear an interest rate that can boost banks’ income. This incentivizes banks to participate effectively in demonetization drive.
  • MSS as SLR bonds: MSS bonds can also be used to calculate banks’ mandatory bond holding.
  • MSS bonds does not increase Government’s fiscal deficit.
  • According to CRISIL, the stock of G-secs with the RBI, necessary to conduct reverse repo operations, is limited. So MSS is needed.

Monetary Policy Committee

  • MPC is headed by RBI governor, is a six-member panel, of which three members are from RBI and three are independent members selected by government. The independent members are experts in the field of economics, banking or finance.
  • The governor, however, will not enjoy a veto power to overrule the other panel members, but will have a casting vote in case of a tie. No government official will be nominated to the MPC.
  • MPC is expected to bring “value and transparency” to rate-setting decisions.
  • The MPC will meet four times a year to decide on monetary policy by a majority vote.
  • The committee was formed on the recommendation of Urjit Patel Committee, 2014.
  • MPC was constituted on many-heads-are-better-than-one approach and is expected to ensure that the decisions are not influenced by bias or lobbying.