1. RBI rate cut likely to spur growth
- Reserve Bank of India (RBI)’s six-member monetary policy committee chaired by RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das released its 6th Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy.
The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of RBI decided to reduce 0.25 basis points in the Policy Rates with immediate effect.
The Change in Policy rates are as follows:
|Policy Rates||6th Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy(Feb 2019)||5th Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy(Dec 2018)|
|Reverse Repo Rate||6.00%||6.25%|
|Marginal Standing Facility Rate||6.50%||6.75%|
|Reserve Ratios||6th Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy(Feb 2019)||5th Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy(Dec 2018)|
|Cash Reserve Ratio(CRR)||4%||4%|
|Statutory Liquidity Ratio(SLR)||19.25%||19.5%|
- RBI Projected the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth for the year 2019-20 at 7.4%, While the GDP growth is at 7.2-7.4 per cent in H1, and 7.5 per cent in Q3.
- Inflation was fallen 18 months low in December at 2.2% and it is expected to remain at 2-3.4% in H1-2019-20 and 3.9% in Q3-2019-20.
Monetary Policy Committee of India
- The Monetary Policy Committee of India formed in 2016 is responsible for fixing the benchmark interest rate in India.
- The meetings of the Monetary Policy Committee are held at least 4 times a year and it publishes its decisions after each such meeting.
- The committee comprises six members – three officials of the Reserve Bank of India and three external members nominated by the Government of India.
- They need to observe a “silent period” seven days before and after the rate decision for “utmost confidentiality”.
- The Governor of Reserve Bank of India is the chairperson ex officio of the committee.
- Decisions are taken by majority with the Governor having the casting vote in case of a tie.
- The current mandate of the committee is to maintain 4% annual inflation until March 31, 2021 with an upper tolerance of 6% and a lower tolerance of 2%.
- The committee is answerable to the Government of India if the inflation exceeds the range prescribed for three consecutive months.
2. Govt. forms panel on regional transport planes
- The government has set up a committee for the development of regional transport aircraft for commercial use in the country.
- This is part of the road map being prepared by the government for domestic manufacturing of aircraft.
- The panel is tasked with the “creation of a special purpose vehicle for the development of regional transport aircraft.
- A separate committee of experts has also been formed to explore manufacturing of aircraft, helicopters and associated equipment within the country.
- Currently, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited is the only entity that produces aircraft and helicopters for military and non-military purposes.
3. Kerala to get country’s 2nd longest rail tunnel
- Recently a10.7-km railway line, including a 9.02-km tunnel, has been proposed to connect the upcoming Vizhinjam International Multipurpose Deepwater Seaport to the railway network.
- The 9.02-km tunnel, mooted by Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd (KRCL) from near the Balaramapuram station on the Kanyakumari-Thiruvananthapuram railway line, will be the second longest railway tunnel in the country.
- The 11.26-km Pir Panjal rail tunnel, connecting Banihal and Hillar Shahabad, is the longest.
About Vizhinjam seaport project:
- It is Kerala government ambitious project which was initiated 25 years ago in 1991 to build a deepest and natural draft port near Kovalam beach in Thiruvananthapuram.
- It is an all-weather port located on Southern tip of Indian Peninsula which is just 10 nautical miles from the International Shipping Lane which makes it capable for tapping Indian transshipment cargo which is largely handled by Colombo.
- The port is gifted with a natural seawater depth of up to 24 m as close as one nautical mile from the seacoast which will enable it attract the largest container vessels.
- It has a strategic importance due to its location; the project is located at the tip of Indian Peninsula gives it extra advantage to carter cargo service to the eastern and western coast lines of India and central location with respect to South Eastern Countries.
4. Siamese fighting fish : Thailand national aquatic animal
- Thailand named the tiny, eye-catching, colourful fin plumaged Siamese fighting fish as its aquatic animal.
- It will help to boost the conservation and breeding of the same.
- Siamese fighting fish is the native of Mekong basin of Thailand and is mostly found in the Chao Phraya river in Thailand.
- The Siamese fighting fish was registered as intangible cultural heritage in 2013.
- The IUCN status of fish is Vulnerable.
5. Macedonia signed an accord to join NATO
- Macedonia signed an accord to join NATO to become the 30th member of the NATO military alliance.
About North Atlantic Treaty Organization
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization also called the North Atlantic Alliance.
- It is an intergovernmental political and military alliance between 29 North American and European countries.
- The organization implements the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed on 4 April 1949.
- NATO constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party.
- NATO’s Headquarters are located in Haren, Brussels, Belgium, while the headquarters of Allied Command Operations is near Mons, Belgium.
Note: NATO’s purpose is to guarantee the freedom and security of its members through political and military means.
- POLITICAL– NATO promotes democratic values and enables members to consult and cooperate on defence and security-related issues to solve problems, build trust and, in the long run, prevent conflict.
- MILITARY –
- NATO is committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes.
- If diplomatic efforts fail, it has the military power to undertake crisis-management
- These are carried out under the collective defence clause of NATO’s founding treaty –Article 5 of the Washington Treaty or under a United Nations mandate, alone or in cooperation with other countries and international organisations.
6. India jumps 8 place to 36th on international IP index 2019
- US Chambers of Commerce released the annual International IP Index of top 50 economies in the world
- India climbed 8 positions up to the 36th rank and USA in the index.
Highlight of Index
- Pakistan is at 47th spot and Venezuela is at the last place.
- In 2018, India’s rank was 44th of 50 countries, the increase in the rank is dedicated to the various reforms made to the better alignment of India’s IP environment ,and one of the reforms, was the agreement with Japan to initiate a Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH).