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The Hindu & Indian Express


News 1: Monetary tools alone cannot tame inflation

Background:

  • Nirmala Sitharaman in the meet “Taming Inflation”, spoke about the monetary tools role in controlling inflation. She expressed that while an increase in interest rate forms a critical part in controlling inflation but cannot be the only component. Both monetary and fiscal policy need to work together to reduce inflation.

Monetary policy:

  • Monetary policy in India has a primary objective of maintaining price stability while keeping in mind the objective of growth.

Important tools used:

  • Repo Rate: The interest rate at which the Reserve Bank provides liquidity under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) to all LAF participants against the collateral of government and other approved securities.
  • Reverse Repo Rate: The interest rate at which the Reserve Bank absorbs liquidity from banks against the collateral of eligible government securities under the LAF. Following the introduction of SDF, the fixed rate reverse repo operations will be at the discretion of the RBI for purposes specified from time to time.
  • Standing Deposit Facility (SDF) Rate: The rate at which the Reserve Bank accepts uncollateralised deposits, on an overnight basis, from all LAF participants. The SDF is also a financial stability tool in addition to its role in liquidity management. The SDF rate is placed at 25 basis points below the policy repo rate. With introduction of SDF in April 2022, the SDF rate replaced the fixed reverse repo rate as the floor of the LAF corridor.
  • Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) Rate: The penal rate at which banks can borrow, on an overnight basis, from the Reserve Bank by dipping into their Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR) portfolio up to a predefined limit (2 per cent). This provides a safety valve against unanticipated liquidity shocks to the banking system. The MSF rate is placed at 25 basis points above the policy repo rate.
  • Liquidity Adjustment Facility (LAF): The LAF refers to the Reserve Bank’s operations through which it injects/absorbs liquidity into/from the banking system. It consists of overnight as well as term repo/reverse repos (fixed as well as variable rates), SDF and MSF. Apart from LAF, instruments of liquidity management include outright open market operations (OMOs), forex swaps and market stabilisation scheme (MSS).

News 2: Longest­ reigning monarch of U.K., Elizabeth II, dead

Background:

  • Queen Elizabeth II, who died on Thursday, broke many records as monarch, becoming an enduring symbol of the country over which, she reigned for 70 years even as it changed beyond recognition, losing its empire and undergoing social upheaval.
  • Queen Elizabeth was Head of State of the United Kingdom and 14 Commonwealth realms.

Commonwealth:

  • The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 56 independent and equal countries. It is home to 2.5 billion people and includes both advanced economies and developing countries. 32 of our members are small states, including many island nations. 
  • The Commonwealth’s roots go back to the British Empire. But today any country can join the modern Commonwealth. The last two countries to join the Commonwealth were Gabon and Togo in 2022.

News 3: Naga team continues talks on Constitution

Background:

  • The Government of India is ready to incorporate the Yehzabo, the Naga Constitution, into the Indian Constitution and has agreed for a civil and cultural flag for the Nagas, a senior government official said on Thursday.

Persistent demand

  • The Centre is engaged in discussions with the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) and seven Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) to find a solution to the Naga political issue. 
  • The Isak-Muivah faction, the key player in the Naga peace talks, has been demanding a separate Constitution and a separate flag for the Nagas.
  • The NSCN-IM also demands creation of ‘Greater Nagaland’ or Nagalim by integrating Naga-dominated areas in neighbouring Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh and uniting 1.2 million Nagas.

Naga peace accord:

  • On August 3, 2015, a year after the Narendra Modi-led BJP government came to power, the NSCN(I-M) group signed a framework agreement in the presence of the Prime Minister.
  • In this agreement, the Government of India recognised the unique history, culture and position of the Nagas and their sentiments and aspirations.

Nagas:

  • The Nagas are not a single tribe, but an ethnic community that comprises several tribes who live in the state of Nagaland and its neighbourhood. Nagas belong to the Indo-Mongoloid Family.

More on Naga Insurgency:- Read Here


News 4: 39 exotic animals seized in India

Background:

  • The Assam Police on Thursday seized 39 exotic animals from two Delhi-registered SUVs that travelled from the Mizoram-Myanmar border and were bound for Siliguri in northern West Bengal.

CITES:

  • CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species.
  • It is a multilateral treaty to protect endangered plants and animals from the threats of international trade.
  • It was drafted as a result of a resolution adopted in 1963 at a meeting of members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The convention was opened for signature in 1973 and CITES entered into force on 1 July 1975.
  • It is also known as Washington Convention
  • Located at Geneva, Switzerland

News 5: India ranks 132 in HDI as score drops

Background:

India ranks 132 out of 191 countries in the Human Development Index (HDI) 2021, after registering a decline in its score over two consecutive years for the first time in three decades. The drop is in line with the global trend since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic during which 90% of the countries have fallen backward in human development.

Human Development Index (HDI):

  • The United Nations Development Programme releases the Human Development Report, where HDI is a part of it.
  • The concept of Human Development Index was developed by Amartya Sen and Mahbub-ul-Haq and was further used by UNDP to measure a country’s development. 
  • The Human Development Index (HDI) is a summary measure of average achievement in key dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, being knowledgeable and having a decent standard of living. 
  • It is calculated using four indicators — life expectancy at birth, mean years of schooling, expected years of schooling, and the Gross National Income (GNI) per capita.

 

Human development Index categories of countries:

Greater than 0.800 Very High
Between 0.700 – 0.799 High
Between 0.550 and 0.699 Medium
Lower than 0.549  Low

 

Top 5 countries in HDI ranking: Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Hong Kong, Australia

Reasons behind slippage of various countries from their ranking:

  • COVID – 19
  • War in Ukraine
  • Environmental challenges

India’s position:

  • India’s HDI score of 0.633 places it in the medium human development category, lower than its value of 0.645 in 2018, indicating a reversal in progress.
  • In India’s case, the drop in HDI from 0.645 in 2018 to 0.633 in 2021 can be attributed to falling life expectancy at birth — 70.7 years to 67.2 years. India’s expected years of schooling stand at 11.9 years, and the mean years of schooling are at 6.7 years. The GNI per capita level is $6,590.
  • The report lauded India for bridging the human development gap between men and women faster than the world and this development has come at a smaller cost to the environment. India’s investment in health and education, helped it come closer to the global human development average since 1990

Gender Inequality Index:

  • The index measures inequality in achievement between women and men in three dimensions — reproductive health, empowerment and the labor market.
  • A low GII value indicates low inequality between women and men, and vice-versa.
  • India has, however, shown a slight improvement in its Gender Inequality Index value in the latest report as compared to the 2020 index (0.490 vs 0.493), after gender inequality worsened between 2019 and 2020 (0.486 vs 0.493).

About UNDP:

  • UNDP’s mandate is to end poverty, build democratic governance, rule of law, and inclusive institutions. UNDP works in 170 countries and territories to eradicate poverty and reduce inequality.
  • Headquarter: New York

News 6: Odisha govt. cancels shrimp culture leases inside Bhitarkanika

Background:

  • The Odisha government has canceled leases granted to two aquaculture companies for shrimp culture over a sprawling area inside Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary, which is famous for crocodile conservation and thick mangrove forests.

About Bhitarkanika Wildlife sanctuary:

  • Bhitarkanika wildlife sanctuary is the 2nd largest mangrove ecosystems of India.
  • It is the breeding place for the endangered salt water crocodiles which are the prime attractions of the sanctuary. 
  • The Gahirmatha Beach which forms the boundary of the sanctuary in the east is the largest colony of the Olive Ridley Sea Turtles.
  • The sanctuary lies in the estuarial region of Brahmani-Baitrani with Bay of Bengal lying in the East.
  • Bhitarkanika Mangrove is a Ramsar designated site.

News 7: Spent N-fuel storage should be worked out

  • The Supreme Court has said the problem of storing spent nuclear fuel from the Kudankulam nuclear power plant has to be “worked out”, possibly with the help of experts from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) and officials.

Nuclear plants in India:

  • Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant is the largest nuclear power station, situated in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu.
  • Away from Reactor facility is located away from the reactor but is located within the plant’s premises.

Atomic Energy Regulatory Board:

  • Established: 1983 under Atomic Energy Act, 1962
  • Headquarter: Mumbai
  • Objective: The mission of the AERB is to ensure the use of ionising radiation and nuclear energy in India does not cause undue risk to the health of people and the environment.

NPCIL:

  • Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) is a Public Sector Enterprise under the administrative control of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), Government of India.
  • Objective: Operating atomic power plants and implementing atomic power projects for generation of electricity in pursuance of the schemes and programmes of the Government of India under the Atomic Energy Act, 1962.
  • NPCIL also has equity participation in BHAVINI, another PSU of Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) which implements Fast Breeder Reactors programme in the country. NPCIL is responsible for design, construction, commissioning and operation of nuclear power reactors.

News 8: Cheetah relocation to Kuno National Park, Madhya Pradesh

Background:

  • The Asiatic Cheetahs went extinct in India in 1952 and now is a critically endangered species surviving only in Iran.

Cheetah reintroduction:

  • The ‘African Cheetah Introduction Project in India’ was conceived in 2009 with a plan to introduce the Cheetah. 
  • The main goal of the Cheetah reintroduction project in India is to establish a viable cheetah metapopulation in India that allows the cheetah to perform its functional role as a top predator and provides space for the expansion of the cheetah within its historical range thereby contributing to its global conservation efforts.

African Cheetah:

  • IUCN status: Vulnerable
  • CITES status: Appendix – I
  • Physical characteristics: Bigger in size compared to Asiatic Cheetah

News 9: Supreme Court collegium discusses judges’ appointment

Collegium system:

  • Collegium system has evolved through judgements of Supreme Court and is not an act of Parliament or a provision of the Constitution.
  • Third Judges Case (1998): Supreme Court on the President’s reference (Article 143) expanded the Collegium to a five-member body, comprising the CJI and four of his senior-most colleagues.

Issues associated with Collegium system:

  • No accountability to collegium systems as judges select their own judges.
  • There is no official procedure or written manual regarding selection of judges, absence of selection criteria and unequal representation of women, has made the process opaque , which ultimately makes it undemocratic.
  • The system has not been able to prevent large vacancies in appointments of judges.

News 10: 10% quota for EWS: SC will examine if law violates basic structure

Background:

  • A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, hearing petitions against the 10 per cent quota for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in government jobs and admissions, will examine whether the Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act, by which it was introduced, violates the basic structure of the Constitution.

The 103rd constitutional amendment act, 2019

  • The 103rd Amendment inserts Articles 15 (6) and 16 (6) in the Constitution to provide up to 10% reservation to EWS other than backward classes, SCs and STs in higher educational institutions and initial recruitment in government posts.
  • Article 15(6) empowers states to make special provision for advancement of any EWS other than those mentioned in clauses (4) and (5) and to make a special provision on their admission to educational institutions — including aided or unaided private — other than the minority educational institutions referred to in clause (1) of Article 30. This will be in addition to existing reservation and subject to a maximum of 10 percent of the total seats in each category.
  • Article 16 (6) empowers the State to make any provision for reservation of appointments or posts in favor of any EWS other than classes mentioned in clause (4), in addition to the existing reservation and subject to a maximum of 10 percent of the posts in each category.

News 11: Inauguration of Kartavya path

  • The revamped Central Vista Avenue (Rajpath) was renamed as Kartavya path. As per the NDMC resolution, Kartavya Path includes the erstwhile “Rajpath and Central Vista lawns”
  • Kartavya path covers the areas from Netaji statue to Rajpath bhavan and the statue of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was unveiled on this occasion.
  • Kartavya path was previously named as Kingsway and it was conceptualized by Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker in honor of King Edward VII.

Other important news:

Gogra Hotsprings:

  • India and China on Thursday announced that their Armies have begun to disengage from Patrolling Point-15 in the Gogra-Hotsprings area of eastern Ladakh
  • Gogra Post is east of the point where the Chang Chenmo river takes a hairpin bend coming southeast from Galwan Valley and turning southwest. Gogra Post are close to the boundary between two of the most historically disturbed provinces (Xinjiang and Tibet) of China.

Google doodle on Bhupen Hazarika

Bhupen Hazarika is an Assamese singer, composer, and filmmaker and he was also known as ‘Bard of Brahmaputra’.


 

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