Government Policies Current Affairs - 2020

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Home Ministry notifies new SoPS for refilling of ATMs

Union Home Ministry has issued new Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) for cash refilling of automated teller machines (ATMs) after certain time period. It comes in view of rising incidents of attacks on cash vans, cash vaults, ATM frauds and other internal frauds leading to increased sense of insecurity. It will come into effect from 8 February 2019. There are over 8,000 privately owned cash vans operating across country, operated by non-bank private agencies, and they handle over Rs. 15,000 crore daily on behalf of banks.

Features of new SoPs

It sets deadline of replenishing cash in ATMs before 9pm in cities and 6pm in rural areas. In case of Naxal-hit districts notified by central government, e deadline will be 4pm. It makes mandatory on private agencies handling these operations to collect money from banks in first half of the day and transport them in armoured vehicles.

The agencies should provide private security for cash transportation with requisite number of trained staff. Every cash van must have one driver, two armed security guards, two ATM officers or custodians. One armed guard must sit in front along with driver and another in rear portion of van during transit. The cash van should not carry cash of more than Rs. 5 crore per trip. Each of cash boxes shall be secured to floor with separate chains and locks that can be opened only by using separate keys kept with different custodians.

During loading or unloading of cash, nature’s call, tea or lunch break, at least one armed security guard should remain present with cash van at all times. The eligible ex-serviceman must be preferably appointed for providing security for cash transportation.

No private security agency should appoint anyone for cash transportation with verification of person including police, Aadhaar and residence verifications, previous employer check, credit history check and fidelity insurance. Every cash transportation operation should be carried out only in secured cash vans fitted with GPS tracking device.

The cash van shall be provided with small CCTV system with at least five days recording facility and three cameras installed in front, rear and inside of cabin. The cash van shall be equipped with hooter, fire extinguishers and emergency lights to ensure quick reaction in case of attack. It should also be equipped with security alarm with GSM based auto-dialer along with motorised siren.

Private security agency should carry out cash handling, including counting, sorting, and bundling activities shall in secured premises in accordance with specific guidelines. These premises should be designed to include two physically independent areas, one for general office purpose and other for secured cash processing and handling activities. It should also accommodate space for cash deposit, collection, sorting, counting and delivery and dispatch on secured cash vans.

FSSAI constitutes B Sesikeran committee to review food labelling standards

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has constituted three-member committee to look into draft food labelling and display regulations-Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations 2018. The committee will be headed by B Sesikeran, former director of National Institute of Nutrition (NIN)and comprises of current NIN director Hemalatha and AIIMS’ endocrinologist Nikhil Tandon.

Key Facts

FSSAI had released draft Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations 2018 in April 2018. It had proposed mandatory red-label marking on such packaged food products which are high in fat, sugar and salt contents. The front-of-the-pack red label mark was aimed to make consumers more aware about healthy and unhealthy food products. But, Union Health Ministry had put on hold on the draft regulations, after industry stakeholders had expressed concerns, citing that it may have an adverse impact on evolving packaged food industry. So address their concerns, FSSAI has decided to set up committee of experts with health and nutrition background to look into t draft regulations.


India can learn from best practices from the other countries such as Denmark, Norway and Singapore on labelling and trans-fat regulations. Consultation process started by FSSAI is seen as an attempt to begin dialogue among stakeholders on proposed draft labelling regulations. Moreover, recently, several companies had pledged to FSSAI’s Eat Right Movement and have made voluntary commitments to reduce salt, sugar and fat in their products. FSSAI in future is likely to push more and more companies to make similar voluntary commitments.