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August 05, 2020

Best Books for IBPS PO X Exam Preparation 2020

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Friends, the official notification of IBPS PO / MT X for the year 2020 has been released today. So here we are presenting you the list of useful books for your preparation. All the Best :)

Important Books for IBPS PO X 2020 (Preliminary and Main)

Quantitative Aptitude / Data Analysis & Interpretation :

  • Magical Book on Quicker Maths by M Tyra 
    • Reason for buying this Book : This book is helpful to learn new short tricks if you are preparing your self )
    • Link to buy this book : Click HERE to buy this book
  • Quantitative Aptitude For Competitive Examinations by RS Aggrawal
    • Reason for buying this book : This has been a standard book for quantitative aptitude from many years. This book consists of a number of practice problems with detailed explanations. The problem with this book is, this book follows traditional approach and it doesn't focus on shortcut methods. Still I highly recommend this book for clearing basics of each topic.
    • Link to buy this book : Click HERE to buy this book
  • Fast Track Objective Arithmetic by Rajesh Verma (Arihant) Latest Edition 2020
    • Reason for buying this Book : This Book also consists lots of shortcut techniques for each topic, but you can't start your preparation with this book because the intro parts of the topics are not good. So you should buy this book after clearing the basic concepts.
    • Link to buy this book : Click HERE to buy this book
  • How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CAT by Arun Sharma
    • Reason for buying this Book : Bit expensive book but worth the price. Useful for beginners as well as the people who want to practice DI problems of higher difficulty level. 
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IBPS PO X 2020 : Should I Apply or Not ?

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The much awaited notification from the IBPS for the recruitment of Probationary Officers for the year 2020 (IBPS PO X) has been released. Usually, when the IBPS releases these types of recruitment notifications, we get mails and messages from our readers asking about preparation plan and study materials. But this time our inbox started to get flooded with questions asking "Whether to Apply or not". So we've decided to shed some light on this issue. Of-course, people have some strong reasons to ask this question. They are :
  1. Vacancies : There are very less number of vacancies. To be precise, there are hardly One thousand posts with major banks like Bank of Baroda, Central Bank of India and Indian Overseas Bank reporting Zero vacancies. 
  2. Application Fee : Usually IBPS used to charge Rs. 100/- from reserved and Rs. 600/- from General for Probationary Officers as application fee. But this time the amount got increased to Rs. 175/- for reserved and Rs. 850/- for general. 
  3. Rumors about Privatization of Banks : During the last week of July 2020, a news article has surfaced in famous Indian dailies stating 'the Indian government is planning to overhaul the banking industry and as part of it, the govt is looking to privatize more than half of its state-owned banks to reduce the number to 5.
These 3 reasons put our future banking aspirants in a dilemma whether to apply for IBPS PO X or not. 

Well, before going into further details, I want to ask you a simple question. Do we have any other options ? Things were different till February 2020. Now everything got changed. Getting the notification is itself is a big deal. If you really need a job and you have no choice, you have to do what you have to do. You should apply for it even if you don't like the number of vacancies they are going to offer. After all, you only need one job. No matter how many vacancies they have.

If you closely observe the vacancies of previous IBPS PO notifications, you will realize that the number of vacancies have been gradually decreasing. In earlier notifications (IBPS I, II & III) there were around 20K+ vacancies. For IBPS IV the number became 16k, for IBPS V 12k, later 8k, 4k and for IBPS PO IX there were only 4336 vacancies. So one thing is clear. You can't expect more than 4 thousand vacancies. In coming notifications too the number may reduce further to a 3 number digit. So a good aspirant always tries to grab the opportunity.

Next reason, High Application Fee. Of-course, increasing 250 rupees all of a sudden is not advisable. But they may have their own reasons to do so. They may need to maintain social distancing while conducting the exam, so need to conduct exams for lesser number of people, which results to more exam centers and more working days. They may need to provide free masks and sanitizers in exam halls. Whatever the reason is, the fee is unavoidable.

The third reason is the news on Privatization. As of now, it is just a rumor. The government is THINKING (not planning) about this option. So even if it is finalized, it will take at-least 2 more years to do so. By then you will be settled in your dream job comfortably. So it won't make much difference to your professional or personal life. Nobody comes to you and ask you to resign.

So I strongly advise you to apply [No, IBPS is not giving any money to us for saying this. Trust me ;) ]

And by the way, better think twice before applying in the following cases.
  • Have you completed at least 50% of the syllabus of IBPS PO X ?
    Try to set your excitement (or nervous butterflies) aside for the moment. Remain calm, and simply look at the facts. How good are you in all the subjects ? Atleast the major 3 for preliminary examination ? (English Language, Quantitative Aptitude and Reasoning Ability). Have you completed 50% of syllabus atleast ? If the answer is “yes,” great! . But if the answer is “no”, then you need to think before applying. 
  • What, if Anything, Is Still Making You Feel Like You should not apply ?
    If you’re staring right at the facts, and you’re still feeling that you shouldn't apply, then better talk to your loved ones (not the guy who sits besides you and always feel jealous of your success). Then decide.
One more thing. The competition will be very high this time. You really need to work hard. At the end, as I already said, you only need one job, Good Luck :)

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August 04, 2020

IBPS PO X Recruitment Notification 2020 Released

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Finally a Good News guys, the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS) has released the Official Notification for the recruitment of Probationary Officers / Management Trainees in various Nationalized Banks for the year 2021-2022. There are 1167 vacancies in total. You can apply online from 5th August 2020 to 26th August 2019. Preliminary Online Exam will be held during the Month of October 2020 (3rd October, 10th October and 11th October 2020). Main Online Exam will be held on 28th November 2020. The application fee for IBPS PO X has been increased from previous years' i.e., Rs. 175/- for SC/ST/PWBD Candidates and Rs. 850/- for General. Check complete details below. All the Best :)
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August 03, 2020

Essay on Merger of Banks - Is Bigger Always Better ?

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Merger is a process of bringing two or more separate business entities under common ownership through a series of legal and administrative measures. Bank merger is an event in which previously distinct banks are consolidated into one institution. When a merger occurs, an independent bank loses its charter and becomes a part of an existing bank with one headquarters and is driven by a unified control. Mergers in Indian banking have been initiated through the recommendations of Narasimhan Committee II.

The issue has been in the news recently as the Union Cabinet approved the merger of Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank with Bank of Baroda (BoB). Following the merger of these state-owned banks, BoB will become the third largest bank in terms of assets in India.

Post liberalization, there have been several mergers such as merger of New Bank of India with Punjab National Bank, Bharat Overseas Bank with Indian Overseas Bank, Times Bank with HDFC and various subsidiaries of State Bank of India with the parent bank. The characteristics of each of these mergers were different from the others.

Indian banks are facing tough competition from their international counterparts, as the foreign banks with huge capital base are able to offer loans to borrowers at attractive rates that make the Indian banks vulnerable to economic shock and consequent instability. These issues need to be addressed through strengthening of the capital base of such banks, which is possible only through mergers and acquisitions.

Merger of banks is one of the solutions for the ills of Indian Public Sector Banks (PSBs). Before further mergers, the government has to work on other issues faced by the PSBs which are responsible for the increasing Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) and inefficiency. Some of these issues are political interference in appointments of higher officials in PSBs, the ever increasing responsibility of PSBs in providing credit facilities to agriculture; capital intensive risky sectors such as steel, cement etc. frequent loan waivers by government, all of which deteriorates the credit culture in India. Other hidden issues such as long gestation period of projects, lack of timely environmental clearances for projects, lack of thorough study of the business before disbursing loans and poor debt recovery architecture In the country also aggravate the problems of PSBs.

Therefore, government has to resolve these issues to make PSBs financially more efficient because, if a big bank fails after merger then it will be disastrous for the country's economy, just as it happened in the USA at the time of the 2008-09 financial recession.

To enter the global financial market and to survive in the high-risk field of competition with foreign banking giants, Indian banking industry badly needs consolidation. The most commonly adopted method of consolidation of banks is merger. Merger of two weak banks or merger of a weak bank with a strong bank is said to be the faster and less costly way to improve profitability. Also, it is a better idea to have one big, healthy, strong and productive bank than to have several ailing and laggard banks. One more major motive behind the mergers in banking industry is to achieve economies of scale and scope. As the size increases, the efficiency of the system also increases because the large operations enable the banks to bring down the operative cost substantially, which in turn facilitates the banks to offer better rates to its customers. Along with diversified activities, mergers enable the banks to extend the business to various segments at many locations across the country and the globe. Hence, the risks are spread across various regions and segments, which protect the banks from an adverse business cycle or an unexpected financial crisis.

Some difficulties are encountered in a merger. For instance, there is confusion and lack of clarity among employees. Despite new positions being created, a considerable number of positions are abolished with the merger, resulting in a number of people becoming jobless. Besides, with staff from all participating banks coming under the same banner, there will be surplus staff at many branches, which will lead to transfers to previously understaffed branches, usually remote locations. This can sometimes trigger widespread discontent.

The number of bank branches certainly increased after a merger, which makes it difficult for the head office of the merged entity to regulate and monitor all activities. Besides, the different workplace cultures coming into contact are bound to cause some clashes in the beginning before they begin to adapt. Further, bank merger brings the best and the worst of the merged banks together, which means weaknesses of the banks will also initially get into the system before they can be weeded out.

There is always a risk of isolating the customer base immediately after a merger. First of all, there is the fear about the security of money deposited, especially in a time when cybercrimes are rampant. Secondly, banking policies sometime change, along with technological platforms and that may not go down well with the customer base, especially with long term and elderly customers. Sometimes such customers react emotionally to such changes and banks must be prepared to lose some customers after such a transition.

The idea of bank mergers has been around since at least 1991, when former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor M Narasimham recommended that the government merge banks into a three-tiered structure, with three large banks with an international presence at the top.

In 2014, the PJ Nayak panel suggested that the government either merge or privatise state-owned banks. The government hopes that state-owned banks will achieve economies of scale and operational efficiency, while managing risks in a better way after merging. Mission Indradhanush for banks is a seven-pronged plan launched by Government of India to resolve issues faced by Public Sector Banks. Many of the measures taken under this mission were suggested by the PJ Nayak Committee on banking sector reforms.

Bank mergers and acquisitions are complex procedures with the possibility of extraordinary payoffs. Hence, it is important that the banks and government handle the nitty gritties of this pivotal transformation with care. All the benefits and dangers must be weighed properly for a successful merger or acquisition.

The merger of State Bank of Saurashtra and State Bank of Indore with State Bank of India had unveiled the merger process among public sector banks and more are following. It is time to look for synergy driven mergers. Banks can reap the benefit of consolidation only when the issues such as redeployment of surplus staff, integration of technology platforms, systems and procedures and cultural issues are addressed suitably.

Difficult Words with Meanings :

  • Consolidated brought together
  • Charter official document permitting a bank to start business as a bank
  • Liberalisation financial and licensing changes made in India starting in 1991
  • Parent original
  • Addressed solved
  • Ills problems
  • Non-performing assets class of loans or advances that are in default or in arrears
  • Capital intensive requiring a large amount of money
  • Credit culture sum of the policies, practices and experiences in giving credit or loans
  • Gestation time to completion from the start
  • Debt recovery architecture legal process required to recover debts which are unpaid
  • Laggard falling behind others
  • Economies of scale having in costs gained by having a large number of customers
  • Discontent unhappiness
  • Weeded out removed
  • Isolating making unhappy
  • Synergy having similar or same goals

shared by Nisheeta Mirchandani

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July 14, 2020

Essay : Digital Revolution - 5G Technology in India

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Is India Ready for 5G Technology ?

The methods of communication between humans, their methods of acquiring knowledge, working, thinking and other interactions have all changed in recent years due to the availability of the interne supported by the worldwide mobile revolution. The current level of technology which has been standardized in mobile communication is termed '4G' or 4th generation. But the current work ethos and expectations of people demand a better technology in which they can connect to multiple wireless technologies, networks, terminals and applications, all simultaneously. The situation also demands that we should be able to switch between each of them and still remain compatible with earlier technology generation devices such as 4G, 3G or even 2G. This latest technology has been named as 5G, or 5th generation wireless systems.

5G networks may be defined as advanced mobile communication technology networks which will have low latency, meaning that they will be optimized to process a very high volume of data messages with minimal delay or latency. These networks are designed to support operations that require almost real-time access to rapidly changing data. Some of the characteristics of and performance expected from such networks includes: upto 10 GBPS (Gigabits per second) peak data rate: a hundred times improvement over 4G networks, 1-millisecond latency, 1000X bandwidth per unit area, upto 100X number of connected devices per unit area compared with 4G, 99.999% availability, 100% coverage, 90% reduction in network energy usage, very low power consumption by devices and very high network reliability through the use of superior router and switch technology.

The above information is tentative, as the actual features of 5G technology are yet to be finalized. As the system will be used all over the world ultimately, the specifications will be spelt out by the specialized agency of the United Nations that is responsible for issues that concern information and communication technologies, called the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). It is likely that these specifications will be finalized before the end of 2019 so that the technology can be launched in 2020 in some countries. 

To understand the need for 5G technology, we should understand how its features are an improvement over the speed and features of 4G and 3G technology. To be labelled as 3G, a network is required to meet a set of technical standards for speed and reliability, and must offer peak data transfer. rates of at least 200 KBPS (kilo-bits per second). However, current 3G networks offer peak data transfer rates of 2 MBPS (megabits per second) or more. On the other hand, a 4G network must offer peak data rates of at least 100 MBPS for high mobility users such as those traveling in cars, trains etc. The speed of 4G networks should increase to at least 1 GBPS for low mobility users such as pedestrians and stationary users. In contrast, 5G networks will offer peak data rates of at least 10 GBPS.

Due to the increased speed, 5G networks will support high speed applications such as Internet of Things (IoT), which are either not available or available in rudimentary form in 4G or 3G networks. Such networks will enable a massive improvement in Telemedicine technologies, enable effective remote surgery, enable self-driving cars, open up new possibilities in Drone technology and also make home broadband customers happier as their network speed will become more than three times faster. 5G will enable critical control of remote devices, broadband experience anywhere and anytime, as well as smart vehicles, transport and infrastructure. It will help incorporate Artificial Intelligence (AI) into our daily lives. 

There are a number of critical requirements to be fulfilled for a 5G network to replace a 4G network. This includes the requirements for handsets to be used. An important requirement for the 5G network is backward compatibility with 4G and 3G handsets. This means that older 4G and 3G handsets should be usable on a 5G network, of course with reduced functionality and speed. Similarly, a 5G handset should be usable on older networks with reduced speed and functionality. 

Another requirement for 5G networks is that they should be able to support all communication needs from low power LANs to WANs with the right latency and speed. Thus they must be designed to allow simple virtual network configurations to better align network costs with applications needs. This new approach will allow 5G mobile network operators to be used for IoT applications by being able to deliver cost effective solutions for low broadband, low power applications. 

The 5G handsets will be significantly different from the current 4G handsets, according to most manufacturers of handsets. Although no manufacturer has finalised the design of these handsets because the specifications of 5G networks have not yet been frozen by ITU, some features not available in 4G handsets will be required. Some of these are as follows :
  • Distributed Antenna System To maintain the data speed required for 5G, handsets will have a number of antennas in them, instead of a single antenna in 4G handsets, for receiving the data and processing it faster. 
  • Additional Cameras and a Projection System For Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) applications such as online games and IoT functionality, the handsets will need a projection system and additional cameras.
There are a number of challenges in deploying the 5G networks. New equipment with faster computing and data transfer ability will need to be developed by the mobile service providers. It will be then used to upgrade their underlying hardware countrywide in order to provide 5G speeds. As this can't happen overnight, they would use the 4G infrastructure to eventually migrate to 5G. However, the frequency allocation for 5G networks is in a different frequency band than 4G, being in the millimeter wave region, i.e. from 28 GHz to 100 GHz. In addition, new software applications (called 'Apps') will need to be developed to provide the additional functionality which 5G provides. Thus, ev( n when 5G networks are deployed, it will take the telecom companies abcut two years to achieve the speeds and functionality 5G promises. 

India is getting ready to welcome the advent of 5G technology networks in the country. The Government of India has established a forum to develop the roadmap for the launch of this technology in 2020. It has also allocated 2224 crores for the creation of a 5G testbed to be established in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and an IIT. The government has already started providing high speed broadband internet services in rural and urban areas. Under the Smart Cities Project of the Union Government, a number of cities have been identified to be developed as 'Smart Cities' and one village in the state of Rajasthan has been selected for development as a 'Smart Village'. These will require 5G technology networks for proper and efficient functioning. The IoT applications of 5G networks will need to be extensively used in such places.

Private sector telecom operators are also gearing up to launch 5G services within six months of being allocated the necessary spectrum for this purpose. However, these' service providers will need to upgrade the basic networks from microwave to fibre, as fibre has an immensely larger data carrying capacity. The existing microwave technologies can no longer support the required capacities. In addition, mobile network operators will need to deploy more cell sites to bring 5G applications to every user. Therefore, current Indian telecom networks have to travel a long road ahead to meet the requirements of 5G. They need to overall their networks to leverage the full potential and vast possibilities of 5G technology. 

A bright future awaits India after implementation of 5G networks starts, as this technology will enhance the capabilities of the people significantly by taking care of routine tasks. The analytical Indian minds can then start finding solutions to more complex problems such as rising environmental pollution, effective management of waste and other similar issues.

Difficult Words with Meanings :
  • Standardised made as a standard to be followed by all users
  • Ethos atmosphere
  • Compatible able to be used
  • Real-time to be used as soon as it is generated
  • Peak maximum at any time
  • Router and switch critical equipment used in networks
  • Tentative temporary and may be changed later on
  • Spelt out finally given
  • High mobility moving at great speed
  • Internet of Things connection of computing devices with objects through the internet to enable these objects to be controlled from far away
  • Telemedicine diagnosis and treatment of patients from far way by using technology
  • Remote far away
  • Broadband a high-capacity transmission technique
  • Smart able to operate without human intervention
  • Artificial Intelligence computer systems which can perform tasks requiring human intelligence
  • Backward compatibility ability to be used with earlier versions of the system
  • Virtual network network allowing control of computing devices through the internet
  • Align Match
  • Antenna aerial
  • Augmented Reality computer-generated images and sounds that integrate the real world
  • Virtual Reality computer-generated images and sounds that are entirely self-contained
  • Upgrade bring up to a higher level
  • Countrywide throughout the country
  • Migrate shift
  • Forum group of experts
  • Roadmap plan of action
  • Testbed equipment used for testing new machinery
  • Microwave wireless technology currently in use
  • Fibre cable technology with high capacity using glass fibres 
shared by Nisheeta Mirchandani
 
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July 11, 2020

Letters for IBPS & SBI PO Descriptive Paper 2020 : Manager's Letter to Customer Regarding Opening of an Account in Bank

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Letter : Assume that you are a Branch Manager of State Bank of India (SBI), Ameerpet Branch, Hyderabad. You received a letter from customer named Aamir asking about the necessary papers and other details required to open a Saving Bank Account in your branch. Write a letter to him giving the necessary information.

Letter Format from Branch Manager to Customer


Dear Aamir,

Refer to your letter dated 10th July 2020, we are enclosing the necessary forms for opening a Savings Bank Account. Kindly return them to us after completion. To hasten the opening of your account, it is advised you to visit the Bank personally with forms provided you. The forms should be duly filled in, so that necessary formalities can be completed on the spot.

For the best services,


Yours Faithfully,
Branch Manager
State Bank of India (SBI)
Ameerpet Branch
Hyderabad



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Essay : Indian Government's Digital Platforms playing Important Role during Covid 19 crisis

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It is imperative for governments to provide accurate, useful and upto-date information to people, particularly through times of crisis. During COVID-19 pandemic, Indian government’s use of digital technology and providing information on national portals, mobile apps or through social media platforms is the game changer to reach to the masses. Timely information, direct money transfer to the poor, needy and vulnerable groups can help save many lives and at this point the digital apps developed by the government are playing an important role in responding to the crisis. The Prime Minister also while addressing the nation on 12th May, 2020 gave a call for ‘self-reliant India’ and mentioned how with direct benefit transfer during corona crisis, government has been able to transfer funds directly to the actual beneficiary accounts and able to curb corruption and leakages.

Aarogya Setu App

The ‘Aarogya Setu’ App enables people to assess themselves the risk for their catching the coronavirus infection. It calculates this based on people’s interaction with others, using cutting-edge bluetooth technology, algorithms and artificial intelligence. Once installed in a smartphone through an easy and user-friendly process, the app detects other devices with Aarogya Setu installed that come in the proximity of that phone.

The App can then calculate the risk of infection based on sophisticated parameters if any of these contacts is tested positive. The App is helping the government to take necessary and timely steps for assessing risk of spread of COVID-19 infection, and ensuring isolation where required. The App’s design ensures privacy-first and the Government, after apprehensions from some people has assured users about the data safety and security of the app. The personal data collected by the App is encrypted using stateof-the-art technology and stays secure on the phone till it is needed for facilitating medical intervention and is available in 11 languages.

Chatbot

The Government of India has launched a WhatsApp chatbot so that the citizens can get instant and authentic answers to all of their queries related to the Coronavirus pandemic. Users have to drop a ‘Hi’ on the number +91-9013151515 or can call on the MyGov Corona Helpdesk to get answers to pertinent queries such as the symptoms of the deadly disease, nearest COVID-19 testing facility.

Corona Kavach

It is a COVID-19 tracker application, created by the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. This application provides users with realtime location of infected users who have activated the ‘Kavach’ feature.

COVID-19 Feedback

This application has been developed by the centre to get direct feedback from people who have undergone coronavirus treatment in the country.

COVID-19 National Helpline

A 24x7 National Helpline number +91-11-23978046 and toll-free number 1075 have been launched where people can access corona related information by the government. Also, the centre has an e-mail id: ncov2019@gov.in to attend to queries of people related to the disease.

SAMPRAC

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed an app called ‘SAMPRAC’ to enable tracking people under quarantine. It is a software that includes an app that can be installed on the smart phones of the infected COVID-19 patients. It is a server-side application that is used by the state authorities to track the patients. The system enables geofencing, AI-based automated face recognition (between selfie taken during registration and subsequent selfies sent by the patient), and would have the capability to display the information to the state officials on a map which can be colour-coded to depict hotspots and containment zones. Honest usage of this app can give them an option of home isolation instead of isolation in a government facility. It is expected to drastically reduce the overhead of tracking every patient under home isolation, thereby reducing the load on the state machinery. The officials can easily track the violators and can also perform random checks. The violators would be show  in red on a map if they break the geo-fence or their selfie(s) does not match; in blue if their smartphones stop sending periodic updates; and in green if everything is found satisfactory.

Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT)

It is a scheme by Government of India to transfer the benefits and subsidies of various social welfare schemes like LPG subsidy, MNREGA payments, old-age pension, scholarships etc. directly in the bank account of the beneficiary. The government’s technology-driven direct benefit transfer (DBT) has been crucial in implementing PM Garib Kalyan Yojana that was rolled out to provide relief to the poor and vulnerable amid the COVID-19 crisis.

About 20 crore women from low income groups having Jan Dhan account were given direct benefit transfer of Rs. 500/- per month for free with Rs. 10,025 crore already transferred. During the lockdown, direct benefit transfer of Rs. 2,000 each was provided to 8.19 crore beneficiaries under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM KISAN) scheme. 8 crore beneficiaries of Ujjwala LPG scheme have been offered 3 cylinders free of cost. 2.20 crore building and construction workers received financial support worth Rs. 3,950 crore because of DBT. Besides, 6.81 free cylinders reached Ujjwala Yojana beneficiaries  and over 12 lakh EPFO holders benefitted from the withdrawal of non-refundable withdrawal advance, which amount to Rs. 3,360 crore.

SAHYOG

The Survey of India (SoI) has developed an e-platform that collects geotagged information on the nation’s critical infrastructure in order to help the government and public health agencies take critical decisions in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic situation. The platform has geo-located information of hospitals, testing labs, quarantine camps, containment and buffer zones as well as information on biomedical waste disposal sites. The mobile based application, called SAHYOG, works as a key tool in helping community workers carry out the government’s objectives of door-to-door surveys, contact tracing, deliveries of essentials items and to create focused public awareness campaigns. This platform and app have been created to enhance the efforts of the government in improving its response system at this crucial time. The platform strengthens the public health delivery system of the State and central governments and subsequently provides the necessary geospatial information support to citizens and agencies dealing with the challenges related to health, socio-economic distress, and livelihood challenges.

Some other technology apps developed by the government and playing an important role during COVID- 19 crisis are :

Bhim App

BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money) is an Indian mobile payment app developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), based on the Unified Payments Interface (UPI). It was launched on 30th December, 2016 and helps in facilitating e-payments directly through banks as a drive towards cashless transactions. Transactions on BHIM are nearly instantaneous and can be done 24/7 including weekends and bank holidays. BHIM also allows users to check the current balance in their bank accounts and to choose which account to use for conducting transactions, although only one can be active at any time.

RuPay

It is a card scheme, conceived and launched by the National Payments Corporation of India to fulfil the Reserve Bank of India’s vision to have a domestic, open and multilateral system of payments. RuPay facilitates electronic payment at all Indian banks and financial institutions. IRCTC Through the mobile app by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) consumers need not stand in long queues and can book e-tickets from home. GeM It is an e-commerce portal or the government e-Marketplace, which has been created to allow government departments to buy their requirements from various vendors without cash or physical payments. 

UMANG App

UMANG (Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance) is a Government of India all-in-one single unified secure multi-channel multi-platform multi-lingual multiservice freeware mobile app for accessing over 1,200 central and state government services in multiple Indian languages over Android, iOS, Windows and USSD (feature phone) devices, including services such as AADHAAR, Digi Locker, Bharat Bill Payment System, PAN, EPFO services, PMKVY services, AICTE, CBSE, tax and fee or utilities bills payments, education, job search, tax, business, health, agriculture, travel, Indian railway   tickets bookings, birth certificates, e-District, e-Panchayat, police clearance, passport, other utility services from private companies and much more.

SWAYAM

It is an online education programme initiated by the Government of India to achieve the principles of education policy by providing access, equity and quality. The objective of this effort is to take the best teaching learning resources to all, including the most disadvantaged. The Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds (SWAYAM) seeks to bridge the digital divide for students who have hitherto remained untouched by the digital revolution and have not been able to join the mainstream of the knowledge economy. It is done through a platform that facilitates hosting of all the courses, taught in classrooms from Class 9 till postgraduation to be accessed by anyone, anywhere at any time. More than 1,000 specially chosen faculty and teachers from across the country have participated in preparing these courses which are available free of cost. These courses are of great help to learners as they have been designed by one of the best faculties from India and follow four quadrant approach to learning.

Thus, by installing and using the government apps, Indian citizens can save time, money as these apps are proving to be of great help during COVID-19 pandemic, playing a significant role in responding and reaching to the needy and vulnerable groups.

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July 10, 2020

How to Make Good Decision for Success

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Every Success or failure is the result of decisions made or not made. No wonder then decision-making is the most important taks a person takes at work or in life. An organization can flourish only when its people makes and execute good decision in a finely and effective manner.

Today, with the deluge of information at their disposal, people are much better equipped to make quality decisions. But even then due to certain unseen thinking traps and organisational bottle-necks decision makers often falter paving the way to bad decisions and poor outcomes.

Since bad decisions more often then not prove to be costly, it is important for you to spot the traps and bottle-necks beforehand and devise ways to overcome or fix them.

Awareness about different thinking process that we can get into can help us guard against them. Quite often we tend to give more weight to the first information that we receive. Initial impression or past experiences tend to colour our thought over a subject.

This can be highly misleading at times. Therefore, while trying to arrive at conclusion you must always approach a problem from different angles.

Focus on your goals and objectives. Ask yourself if your current stand will take you to your goals or is it likely to become a barrier in future. It is an absolute emergency. But sometimes it become too late.

Selection gets tougher as the number of choices increase. But laziness to choose can cost you much more. Force yourself to choose instead of sticking to status quo.

Information always forms the basis for your awareness. You must train your eyes to spot the right information at the right time to make the right decisions. For this purpose, you must constantly question your assumptions and look for conflicting evidence.

A good decision yields good results only when it is quickly and effectively implemented. You must also focus on getting the buy in for your decision from all quarters. Clear accountability is essential for sucessful implementation. To bring the decision into action, you must define without any ambiguity and confusion what needs to be done when and by whom. The information about what works is always present before you. All you must do is to carefully gather, process and use the information without succumbing to psychological biases. Good luck :)

Sagar Chandra Vadlamani

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July 09, 2020

Essay : Aadhar Card - A Necessity or a Burden

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Essay on AADHAAR A necessity or an obligation?

The government made it mandatory in March 2016 for an individual to link Aadhaar number with bank account, PAN number, mobile number and receipt of benefits from other government services. The Aadhaar had not been mandatory for government schemes till that time.

The Aadhaar programme was initiated in 2009 by the Government of India and comes under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. The Aadhaar data is collected by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), a statutory body. Aadhaar is the world's largest biometric identification system with 1.23 billion holders as of 18th March, 2019. The Aadhaar is a 12 digit number assigned by UIDAI. Aadhaar is generated when an individual's biometric data (photograph, iris scan and fingerprint) and demographic (name, date of birth, address) information is provided. The Aadhaar is issued free of cost. It acts as an identification proof and (by many agencies) as proof of residence. Aadhaar, however, is not a card of citizenship; therefore even migrants can obtain it.

The government had intended to make Aadhaar mandatory for all government services and for availing benefits of government welfare schemes. The mandatory use of Aadhaar can have the benefits like 
  1. It can help the government in better identification of government schemes; bogus 'ghost' beneficiaries can be eliminated. 
  2. It can help government save crores of rupees which are lost due to leakages and corruption. 
  3. The Aadhaar will provide an identification card to the people mostly from rural and poor background who lack proper documents and in the wake of this are not able to avail many government benefits. The Aadhaar will provide these people an identification document to open a bank account, to avail loans, to get passport etc. 
  4. The Aadhaar will help in bringing transparency, efficiency and efficacy in the system. The quality of services and reach of the services to the beneficiaries will both improve. 
  5. Government initiatives such as DigiLocker, BHIM App, DBT scheme, pensions etc. can be availed if one has an Aadhaar number. 
Aadhaar is seen as a necessity because it can prove to be a milestone in improving the quality of our services and schemes and also reduce the cost of subsidies. It is because of these benefits that the government is stressing on making Aadhaar mandatory and also brought the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016. Originally, the Aadhaar card was supposed to be voluntary, but this Bill made enrollment compulsory if one wanted to avail benefits from government services. The Bill contained a blanket 'national security' clause, a clause bound to induce misuse. This provision and other provisions in the Aadhaar Act made various persons file writ petitions in the Supreme Court against it, as they felt that the Aadhaar was more of a burden on them and had been forced on them.

In its judgement on all these writ petitions given on 26th September, 2018, the Supreme Court declared the Aadhaar to be constitutional and said that it could be brought in as a money bill. The court also ruled that the use of Aadhaar for welfare schemes should continue and also upheld the validity of linking Aadhaar to PAN cards. However, the court held that linking of Aadhaar numbers to bank accounts was unconstitutional.

The majority judgement of the court also struck down Section 57 to the Aadhaar Act of 2016, holding that private companies cannot insist on Aadhaar numbers from citizens to provide services. This is good news for people fed up of being asked to produce an Aadhaar everywhere they go, at banks, phone companies or even to access private buildings.

When the Aadhaar programme was initiated in 2009, it was said that the enrollment under Aadhaar will be voluntary but, with the Aadhaar Act, it had been made mandatory for linking with bank accounts, which was not acceptable to many in a democratic country India. There are people who have many other identity proofs such as driving licence, office IDs, PAN card, passport etc. They do not feel the need of another identity card. They see Aadhaar as an unnecessary pain for them.

Apart from viewing Aadhaar as a burden, it is also a cause of concern for some of them. Many people are concerned about privacy, of their personal information, as Aadhaar number generation requires biometric information too. They fear that their personal information can be misused by the state in normal circumstances and by non-state actors and other countries in case of cyber attacks and cyber crimes. At present, India does not have adequate infrastructure to ensure the safety of the online information/data received under the Aadhaar project. 

The concerns of the citizens about their privacy, misuse of data, leakage of information etc. are some of the points which hinder total acceptance of Aadhaar by people. That is why the Aadhaar Bill was challenged in the Supreme Court. Despite all the concerns, Aadhaar is seen as an important initiative and a unique opportunity for improving our government system, our quality of services and service delivery. It is a move towards more citizen-centric governance and a move to make the life of people easier. 

Difficult Words with Meanings :

  • Statutory permitted by law
  • Biometric identification automatic identification of a living person by using the person's physical characteristics
  • Iris scan electronic scan of the eye for identification
  • Demographic identification details like name, date of birth etc
  • Migrants people from other countries who have shifted their residence to India
  • Ghost having a false identity
  • Leakages sums of money removed illegally
  • Transparency clarity
  • Efficacy capacity to produce the desired effect
  • DBT Direct Benefit Transfer for hanging out government subsidies
  • Citizen-centric based on the needs of the people.

shared by Nisheeta Mirchandani

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July 08, 2020

Memory Techniques for Competitive Exam Preparation (Top 6 Tips to Study Fast & Easily)

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Many competitive exam aspirants have been asking us to share memory techniques to study fast and remember everything easily. So today we are sharing some techniques which will be useful for your exam preparation. Happy Reading :)

Top 6 Mnemonic Techniques for competitive exam preparation

Although it can be the easiest to remember those things that you understand well, sometimes you must rely on rote memory. Mnemonic techniques are more specific memory aids. The following techniques can be used to facilitate such memorization.

1. Acronyms

Acronym is a method in which you form acronyms by using the first letter from a group of words to form a new word. This is particularly useful when remembering words in a specified order.
Acronyms are very common in ordinary language and in many fields. Some examples of common acronyms include NBA (National Basketball Associations), SCUBA (Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus), BTUs (British Thermal Units), and LASER (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation). What other common acronyms can you think of? The memory techniques in this section, for example, can be rearranged to form the acronym "SCRAM" (Sentences/acrostics, Chunking. Rhymes & songs. Acronyms, and Method of loci).

I have used acronyms extensively during my student years. to a very useful end result, For example I used the acronym BHAJSAB to remember the important rulers from the Mughal dynasty — Babar, Humayun, Akbar, Jehangir, Shahjahan. Aurangzeb and Bahadui Shah Zafar.

Let us suppose that you have to memorize the names of four kinds of fossils for geology : I) Actual remains, 2) Petrified, 31 Imprint, and 4) Moulds or casts. Take the first letter of each item you are trying to remember: APIM. Then, arrange the letters so that the acronym resembles a word you are familiar with: PAIM or IMAP.

Although acronyms can be very useful memory aids, they do have some disadvantages. Firstly, they are useful for rote memory, but do not aid comprehension. Be sure to differentiate between comprehension and memory, keeping in mind that understanding is often the best way to remember. Some people assume that if they can remember something, then they must "know" it, but memorization does not necessarily imply understanding. A second problem with acronyms is that they can be difficult to form; not all lists of words will lend themselves equally well to this technique. Finally, acronyms, like everything else, can be forgotten if not committed to memory.

2. Sentences/Acrostics

Acrostics are quite like acronyms, in the sense you use the first letter of each word you are trying to remember. Instead of making a new word, though, you use the letters to make a sentence.

Here are some examples : 

My Dear Aunt Sally (mathematical order of operations: Multiply and Divide before you Add and Subtract).

King Phil Came Over for the Genes Special (Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Genus, Species) can be used by the biology students to remember classification of plants and animals.

In medical college one commonly used acrostics to remember the names of the eight wrist bones is — She is too pretty, try to catch her.

Can you think of other examples? Like acronyms, acrostics can be very simple to remember and are particularly helpful when you need to remember a list in a specific order. One advantage over acronyms is that they are less limiting. If your words don't form easy-to-remember acronyms, using acrostics may be preferable. On the other hand, they can take more thought to create and require remembering a whole new sentence rather than just one word (as is the case with acronyms). Otherwise, they present the same problem as acronyms in that they aid memorization but not comprehension.

Exercise : Practise Using Acrostics
  • Try making up a sentence (acrostic) to remember the five mnemonic techniques discussed in this section. 
  • Now come up with acrostics for the main sections of a chapter from one of your textbooks. 

3. Rhymes & Songs

Rhythm, repetition, melody, and rhyme can all aid to memory. Are you familiar with Homer's Odyssey? If you are familiar with the book, then you know that it is quite long. That is why it is so remarkable to realize that storytellers who would rely solely on their memories would narrate this epic, along with many ancient Greek stories. The use of rhyme, rhythm, and repetition helped the storytellers remember them. You can use the same techniques to remember information from courses. For example, even the simple addition of familiar rhythm and melody can help. Do you remember learning the alphabet? Many children learn the letters of the alphabet to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." In fact, a student demonstrated how she memorized the quadratic formula (notorious among algebra students for being long and difficult to remember) by singing it to a familiar tune!

Using these techniques can be fun, particularly for people who are creative. Rhymes and songs draw on your auditory memory and may be particularly useful for those who can learn tunes, songs, or poems easily. Like the other techniques in this section, however, they emphasize rote memory, not understanding. Also, when devising rhymes and songs, don't spend too much time creating them. Use these techniques judiciously and don't let them interfere with your studying. 

4. Method of Loci

The Loci method was used by ancient Greek orators to remember their speeches. In modern parlance, it is also called the Journey Method. It combines the use of organization, visual memory, and association. Before using the technique, you must identify a common path that you walk. This can be the walk from your dorm to class, a walk around your house, whatever is familiar. What is essential is that you have a vivid visual memory of the path and objects along it.

Once you have determined your path, imagine yourself walking along it, and identify specific landmarks that you will pass. For example, the first landmark on your walk to campus could be your dorm room, next may be the front of the residence hall, next a familiar statue you pass, etc. The number of landmarks you choose will depend on the number of things you want to remember. Once you have determined your path and visualized the landmarks, you are ready to use the path to remember your material. This is done by mentally associating each piece of information that you need to remember with one of these landmarks. For example, if you are trying to remember a list of mnemonics, you might remember the first—acronyms--by picturing SCUBA gear in your dorm room (SCUBA is an acronym).

You do not have to limit this to a path. You can use the same type of technique with just about any visual image that you can divide into specific sections. The most important thing is that you use something with which you are very familiar.

Exercise: Method of Loci 
  1. If someone reads a list of unrelated words to you, just once, how many do you think you could remember? Give it a try. Have someone read a list of 10 words to you at a slow but steady pace (about 1 word per second). Rather than using any of the memory techniques presented here, simply try to concentrate on the words and remember them. How many words did you remember ? 
  2. Now take a few minutes to identify a path or object that you can use in the method of loci. Familiarize yourself with each of sections of your path or object. Mentally go through each of the loci (locations) and visualize them as best as you can. Remember, it is important to be able to visualize and recall each location readily. Once you have done this, have your friend read you a different list of words. This time, try to create visual images of the words associated with one of the locations. This may not come easy at first, but with practice you should be able to create these visual images more readily. If you find that you are facing difficulty in coming up with the images quickly, practise on some more lists until you have improved. Chances are, when you become familiar v. ith using this technique, you will be able to remember many more words (maybe all 10 items). 

5. Chunking

This is a technique generally used when remembering numbers, although the idea can be used for remembering other things as well. It is based on the idea that short-term memory is limited in the number of things that can be contained. A common rule is that a person can remember 7 (plus or minus 2) "items" in short-term memory. In other words, people can remember between 5 and 9 things at one time. You may notice that local telephone numbers have 7 digits. This is convenient because it is the average amount of numbers that a person can keep in his or her mind at one time.

When you use "chunking" to remember, you decrease the number of items you are holding in memory by increasing the size of each item. In remembering the number string 64831996, you could try to remember each number individually, or you could try thinking about the string as 64 83 19 96 (creating "chunks" of numbers). This breaks the group into a smaller number of "chunks." Instead of remembering 8 individual numbers, you are remembering four larger numbers. This is particularly helpful when you form "chunks" that are meaningful or familiar to you (in this case, the last four numbers in the series are "1996", which can easily be remembered as one chunk of information). 

6. Practice Makes A Man Perfect (or closer to it anyway)

Okay, it may not be a mnemonic, but repeating is still a great memory aid. Remember the children's game "I'm going on a picnic and I'm bringing...." As each new object is added, the old objects are repeated. People can often remember a large number of objects this way. When remembering a list of things, you might try a similar concept. Once you are able to remember 5 items on your list without looking, add a 6th, repeat the whole list from the start, add a 7th, and so on. It can be quite intimidating to see long lists, passages, or equations that you are expected to commit to memory. Break up the information into small bits that you can learn, one step at a time, and you may be surprised at how easy it can be. You might even utilize grouping techniques, like those discussed earlier, to form meaningful groups that you can learn one at a time.

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