- ICICI Bank is the first private sector bank to launch Mobile Branch with ATM
About ‘Branch on Wheels’ – mobile branch with an ATM.
- First-of-its-kind initiative by any private sector bank in India.
- Objective: To provide basic banking services to the remote unbanked villages in the state.
- The branch would be operated on a van. It will be stationed at specific timings of the day in pre-identified, unbanked villages at specified locations.
- Would be equipped with a GPS tracking system, laptops with 3G connections, LED TV, a safe, a printer, public announcement system, an UV Lamp that detects forged cheques, a note counting-cum-authentication machine that identifies fake currency notes and a unique low-weight ATM.
- Offers a wide range of banking products and services viz. savings accounts, loans, cash deposit/withdrawal, account balance enquiries, statement printing and funds transfer/DD/PO collections, among others.
Note: Odisha is the third state where ICICI Bank has expanded its ‘Branch on Wheels’ network after Maharashtra in September 2013 and Chhatisgarh in February 2014.
About M-Pesa service
- A mobile money transfer and payment service that allows customers to transfer money to any mobile phone, remit money to any bank account, make utility payments, recharge of mobile, DTH payment and earn interest on deposits.
- Empowers the un-banked and under-banked sections of the population gain access to financial services through the mobile phone.
- This service will now be available across 202 Tehsils, 24 Districts through 1350 specially trained authorized agents including 73 Vodafone exclusive stores in Odisha.
Apart from Odisha, ‘M-Pesa’ has been rolled out in Delhi, Mumbai, West Bengal, Punjab, UP East, UP West, Bihar, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Assam & North East and Haryana. It will be made available across the country in a phased manner.
The Union Cabinet gave its nod for classifying Odia as a classical language to give impetus to scholarships in the language. It is the sixth Indian language to get such prestigious tag after Sanskrit, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam.
There has been a long-standing demand that Odia, which is one of the oldest languages and has no resemblance to Hindi, Sanskrit, Bengali, Telugu, etc, be declared as a classical language.
What is a ‘Classical Language’ ?
A classical language is a language with a literature (art of written work) that is classical. U.C.Berkeley linguist George L. Hart defined Classical Language as follows:
“It should be ancient, it should be an independent tradition that arose mostly on its own, not as an offshoot of another tradition, and it must have a large and extremely rich body of ancient literature.”
Classical languages are those which are ancient, of an independent nature and not a derivative of any other tradition. And based on above, Chinese, Sanskrit, Tamil, Hebrew, Greek and Latin are considered as the Classical Languages of the World. Of these only Chinese and Tamil are used by masses now.
In India, Tamil was the first to gain the Classical Language status, followed by Sanskrit in 2005. These two languages (Tamil and Sanskrit) are undoubtedly parental sources for many languages belonging to the Indo-European family and the Dravidian family of linguistic groups.
- (i) High antiquity of its early texts/recorded history over a period of 1500-2000 years;
- (ii) A body of ancient literature/texts, which is considered a valuable heritage by generations of speakers;
- (iii) The literary tradition should be original and not borrowed from another speech community;
- (iv) The classical language and literature being distinct from the modern, there may also be discontinuity between the classical language and its later forms or offshoots.
A committee of linguistic experts followed it up, and based on its recommendation classical status was conferred on Telugu and Kannada in 2008. Thus, the definition of classical languages has undergone several changes over the years and the latest criterion too is susceptible to changes.
Benefits of declaring Odia as classical language
- Two major annual international awards for scholars of eminence in Odia language.
- A ‘Centre of Excellence for Studies in Classical Languages’ can be set up.
- The University Grants Commission can be requested to create, to start with at least in Central Universities, a certain number of professional chairs for classical languages, for scholars of eminence in Odia language.
Which are the Classical Languages of India?
Languages thus far declared to be Classical are:
- Tamil (2004)
- Sanskrit (2005)
- Kannada (2008)
- Telugu (2008)
- Malayalam (2013)
- Odia (2014)
Odisha Legislative Assembly passed the Odisha Lokayukta Bill 2014, with provision of keeping Chief Minister, ex-Chief Ministers, other ministers and public servants under the purview of a six-member anti-corruption panel.
Excerpts of the provisions of the Odisha Lokayukta Bill 2014
- Members of the anti-corruption watchdog panel: The head of the panel and two members will be from judicial background while three others will be non-judicial members. From among three non-judicial members one would be women or scheduled caste, scheduled tribe or minority category on rotation basis.
- Minimum age of Lokayukta: 50 years.
- The Lokayukta will be chosen by a selection committee headed by the Chief Minister and comprising others including the Leader of the Opposition, speaker of Odisha assembly, Chief Justice of Odisha High Court or a judge nominated by him and an eminent jurist nominated by the Governor.
- The chairman of the Lokayukta would be appointed by the Governor on the recommendation of the selection committee.
- Lokayukta can inquire or direct an inquiry into any corruption related matters in the state.
- Removal and suspension of the chairperson and members of Lokayukta: they can be removed by the order of the Governor on the ground of misbehaviour. Before doing so, the Governor is required to refer the petition signed by at least 25 MLAs to the Orissa High Court.
- Under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 viz. Present chief minister, members of his council of ministers, former chief ministers and ministers, MLAs, chairpersons of municipalities, panchayat samitis, secretaries, directors and chairpersons of various government-run boards and corporations, contractors, supplying agencies, procurement farms, outsourcing agencies and non-governmental organizations receiving public funds, etc, would come under the purview of the Lokayukta.
- Penalty for those making false complaint: Imprisonment up to one year with fine which may extend up to Rs 1 lakh.
Note: Odisha became the first state to enact the law after the Central Act was passed in Parliament in December 2013.