Category: Science & Technology

Unified Payments Interface

Raghuram Rajan left his Governorship of the Reserve Bank of India, but during his tenure a project had initiated, called Unified Payments Interface, in a step towards a cashless economy for the country. Fortunately, unlike most Government projects, this one is coming true.

The Unified Payments Interface (U.P.I.) is a simple yet effective method of carrying out financial transactions between the consumer and the merchant, between two individuals or between two banks, both online and offline. It removes the hassles of credit card details, e-wallet passwords, banking details etc. Aiming to promote a more user-friendly transaction system. Many of the leading banks of the country like Canara Bank, Axis Bank, ICICI Bank have already adopted the usage of U.P.I. and integrated it into their existing systems of payments.

To acquire the application, all you have to do is download the application from your relevant mobile application store. Usage of smart phones is increasing everyday in the country, with the number at an estimate of 1 billion. U.P.I. can help bring every single of these users under a single method of payment and of course, uninterrupted transactions 24/7, 365 days a year (Current popular methods of transactions like National Electronics Funds Transfer, N.E.F.T. are not functional on bank holidays. Whereas U.P.I. will be.). The current limit to the transaction is Rs.1 lakh which will be increased later when the system has been successfully adopted by the people.

Banks are authorized to levy a small fee on conducting transactions online, nothing like this has been done for U.P.I., yet.

U.P.I consists of a virtual address that is set up by the user itself. The virtual address can be anything, from your phone number to any kind of character combination that you want. All you have to do while conducting a transaction is send the virtual address to the person sending the funds. Only after confirming on both ends will the transaction be carried out therefore the system is secure from malpractices.

The broader objective for the government is also achieved. The most important issue, tax evasion can be alleviated using this system. Since the R.B.I. is aiming for a cashless economy, every single rupee that you or anybody who spends using this system is tracked, even transactions as low as Rs.100 will be recorded and therefore the accused cannot claim otherwise. Therefore, the U.P.I. will not only fight tax evasion but also increase the revenue of the state. As the finance minister, Arun Jaitley said,“Tax rates can be lower if Tax evasion is lower.”

It is a step in the right direction, innovative ideas like these are what are required. Only if we provide a different, more liberal and consumer friendly market will the dream of ‘Make in India’ come true. We have to be different, show the world that we can and have the capability to develop the country and only then will companies and manufacturing will take place and increase the development of our economy.

Priyamvad Rai

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Feeding the billions

According to the latest United Nation’s reports, of the 7.2 billion people living on this planet 2.1 billion of them do not have enough food to eat.

Crop production in many countries has plateaued for many years, but the rise in population hasn’t. In recent years, the world has witnessed many failed seasons of crop production. Yet, there hasn’t been a famine anywhere, except for the countries in the African Continent.

It is not only food scarcity that has to be taken into account, or increasing food production. It is very essential that the governments of the world also remember famine’s brother, malnutrition. While it is important to increase the food production in the world, it is also important to have a variety in the production of crops. Along with it comes another obstacle, farm land. Majority of the world’s farming land has already been cultivated upon and increase in production for the crops via expansion of cultivable land is not an option.

Solution for this problem is to increase production of crops from the existing lands, increasing the productivity of land. Which means, producing more food from the same amount of land as before. Various agricultural technologies and methods are being developed for this very purpose. One such technology is, High Yield Variety seeds or H.Y.V. seeds. These seeds are genetically enhanced to increase the amount of crop that is produced from normal seeds provided by nature. They are also termed as ‘Miracle seeds’ as they not only increase the amount of production, but they are water economizing i.e. they use less water and labor intensive. Which means more employment can be generated from the use of these seeds.

The disadvantage of H.Y.V. seeds is that they are very difficult to manage. Farmers will have to be trained and educated and along with it, ready to use expensive inputs of insecticides, pesticides and fertilizers. They are also less resistant to droughts and floods and therefore require more protection. Due to the labor intensity required, the cost of production goes up making it an expensive method of increasing food production.

International cooperation among the countries is the most important solution. Free and fair trade relations along with transparency in innovations in agricultural technology is key to achieving global food security.

Currently the people are living in an illusion that there will always be enough food and is oblivious to the problems related to agriculture in the world. But they should know that if 2.1 billion are not being fed, then they too can be just as easily not get food. But if there’s a spark, even a tiny one and the world comes into mutual agreement and cooperation, then not only will the 2.1 billion be fed, they will be well fed.

Priyamvad Rai

Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant

On Wednesday, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister Jayalalithaa dedicated the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant to the nation after 28 long years.

Originally the plan was signed by the then Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi and President of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev in the year 1988. It marked the beginning of development of nuclear power in India. But the agreement soon came to a halt when the Soviet Union dissolved in the year 1991 and it was revived only after a decade later in the year 2000, under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. The project has faced a lot of opposition and protest over the years on issues ranging from it being a deterrent to the ecological balance of its surroundings to the river dispute that it faced. Many pressure groups have also questioned the safety of the plant and whether appropriate precautions are being taken or not. But facing all of that, the power plant has finally succeeded.

First unit of the power plant has a capacity of 1000 megawatts, Tamil Nadu has a share of 465mw in the total power generation. There will be five more units which will be set up in the future which have the capacity of 1000mw each. In the year 2015, the International Atomic Energy Agency had stated that nuclear energy has only a 4% contribution in the power generation in the country. Kudankulam project is the first major step towards the use of nuclear power in India as it is the highest power generating nuclear plant in India.

Not only is the project a landmark in the energy development program of India, it is also symbolic of the relation between the two countries, India and Russia. The latter has been a huge support to India on countless occasions. Many joint ventures from power projects to defense projects like missile programmes. The two countries have been in close relations ever since Russia was the Soviet Union and during the Cold War when India was friendless in an ever growing hostile world. India and Russia have very deep ties that goes back decades and the relationship is treasured by both countries.

Indeed the completion of the project is one of the major developments that has been done in the tenure of the Narendra Modi government. But this is a historical moment for India and we shouldn’t look at it in a political way and accept this development as a nation just like the two leaders said, “The Kudankulam Nuclear Plant is for the nation.”

Priyamvad Rai