GA- 06 Dec 2017
Fifth Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2017-18
- The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Dec 06 has decided to maintain status quo and keep its key interest rate, the repo rate, unchanged at 6 per cent in its fifth bi-monthly policy review of the fiscal year.
- It had last cut rates by 25 bps four months earlier in its August review.
- The six member monetary policy committee voted on the basis of a majority for a pause. Dr. Chetan Ghate, Dr. Pami Dua, Dr. Michael Debabrata Patra, Dr. Viral V. Acharya and Dr. Urjit R. Patel were in favour of the monetary policy decision, while Dr. Ravindra H. Dholakia voted for a policy rate reduction of 25 basis points.
- The RBI retained its GDP projections for the year at 6.7 per cent with risks evenly balanced.
- On inflation outlook, the RBI projected that it would be in the region of 4.3% to 4.7% in Q3 and Q4 this fiscal.
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International Solar Alliance becomes Treaty-based International Intergovernmental organization
- The International Solar Alliance (ISA) became treaty-based international intergovernmental organization on 6th December 2017 with the ratification by Guinea as the 15th country.
- ISA is first treaty-based international government organisation to be based in India.
- The ISA is brainchild of India, jointly launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande in November 2015 in Paris on sidelines of COP-21 of UN Climate Conference.
- The ISA, headquartered in India, has its Secretariat located in the campus of National Institute of Solar Energy, Gwalpahari, Gurgaon, Haryana.
- It aims at addressing obstacles to deployment at scale of solar energy through better harmonization and aggregation of demand from solar rich countries lying fully or partially between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn.
- As of date, 46 countries have signed and 19 countries have ratified the Framework Agreement of ISA.
Centre passes notification, allows NGT to form one-member benches
- The Union Environment Ministry has allowed NGT Chairperson to “constitute a single-member bench” in “exceptional circumstances”.
- It has amended National Green Tribunal (Practices and Procedure) Rules, 2011 and issued notification.
- This move will address festering problem of vacancies in NGT.
- According to earlier rules, NGT bench consisted of “two or more members” with at least one judicial member and another expert.
- The tribunal has three courts in its principal Bench in Delhi and four zonal Benches — in the east, west, central and south to encompass all States and Union Territories — and faces the prospect of functioning with less than one-third of its sanctioned strength of 20.
MP passes bill awarding death for rape of girls aged 12 or less
- The Madhya Pradesh Assembly has unanimously passed Dand Vidhi (Madhya Pradesh Sanshodhan) Vidheyak, 2017 that will see rapists of girls 12 years or below being hanged till death.
- With this, Madhya Pradesh becomes first state where those convicted of such rapes will face the gallows.
- The Bill will now be sent to the President for his assent, after which it will become a law.
- The bill proposes death penalty or a minimum term of 14-year rigorous imprisonment or life imprisonment till death for raping girls aged 12 or less.
- It also increases minimum punishment for gang rape of girls aged 12 or less to 20 years rigorous imprisonment.
Supreme Court allows Trump travel ban to go into full effect
- The US Supreme Court has allowed President Donald Trump’s travel ban to take full effect pending appeal, for people coming from six Muslim-majority countries.
- As a result of the Supreme Court’s ruling, Trump’s travel ban, which restricts travel to the US by people from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Chad without bona fide connections to the US, can take full effect while legal challenges proceed.
- The travel ban is the third version of a contentious policy that Trump first sought to implement a week after taking office in January.
3rd DRC-NITI Aayog Dialogue held in Beijing
- The 3rd edition of the Dialogue between the NITI Aayog and the Development Research Council of China, the DRC- NITI Aayog Dialogue was held in Beijing.
- The meeting was co-chaired by Vice Chairman NITI Aayog, Dr. Rajiv Kumar, and Mr Li Wei, President (Minister), DRC.
- The two sides agreed that in the year 2018, the 4th NITI Aayog DRC-Dialogue annual meeting will be held in India.
- The dialogue took place under the MOU between NITI Aayog and the Development Research Centre (DRC), State Council of the China.
- The MoU was signed during the visit of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to China in May 2015.
- This was the 3rd Dialogue between the two sides.
- The 2nd Dialogue was held in New Delhi in November, 2016.
International conference on Climate Change held in Nepal
- The International conference on climate change was inaugurated by Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari in Nepal.
- The conference titled ‘Resilient Hindu Kush Himalaya: Developing Solutions towards a Sustainable Future for Asia’ aimed to draw attention towards adverse effects of global warming in Hindu Kush mountain range.
- It was organized by Nepal’s Ministry for Environment in collaboration with International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).
- It aimed at developing solutions for a sustainable future for Asia that could withstand the impacts of climate change.
UAE and Saudi Arabia form new group, separate from GCC
- The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia have formed new economic and partnership group named Joint Cooperation Committee, separate from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
- This move that could undermine six-member GCC amid Saudi led Arab countries diplomatic crisis with Qatar as half of countries members are boycotting Qatar, accusing it for supporting and funding terrorism.
- It will be headed by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE’s deputy prime minister and minister of presidential affairs, will serve as the Deputy Chairman of the committee.
- GCC is a political and economic alliance of six countries in Arabian Peninsula: Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE.
Godrej Aero gets new contract for BrahMos missile airframes
- Godrej Aerospace has won order from BrahMos Aerospace Pvt. Ltd. (BAPL) for supply of additional 100 units airframe fuel management systems for BrahMos Air-Launched Cruise Missile.
- Godrej Aerospace is unit of Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd. It has been associated with BrahMos since 2000 and most recently it had completed supply of its 100th airframe for the missile.
- The world’s fastest anti-ship cruise missile in operation, Brahmos is a supersonic cruise missile developed by BrahMos Aerospace, a joint-venture between Russia’s Mashinostroyenia and India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
- It operates on ‘fire and forget principal’ and is capable of being launched from land, sea, sub-sea and air against sea and land targets.
- It is two-stage missile, the first one being solid and the second one ramjet liquid propellant.
Akash missile tested with indigenous radio frequency seeker
- The Surface to Air Missile (SAM) AKASH was successfully tested with indigenous radio frequency seeker against target UAV Banshee from Launch Complex-III at ITR Chandipur.
- During the test, radars, telemetry and electro-optical systems along coast had tracked and monitored all the health parameters of the missile.
- This was the first supersonic surface-to-air missile (SAM) with indigenous seeker that has been test fired.
- With this success, India has achieved the capability of making any type of SAMs.
Yuvraj Singh launches UNICEF-ICC’s adolescent campaign
- Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh will be promoting a UNICEF sports initiative for youngsters in South Asia, which will also have the ICC’s backing.
- Yuvraj launched the “Power of Sports to Shape the Future of Adolescents” campaign in South Asia.
Saudi crown prince tops Time Person of the Year readers’ poll
- Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been voted the Time magazine readers’ Person of the Year, despite spearheading the continued bombardment of Yemen, leading to the starvation of its citizens.
- The award goes to those who “for better or worse” influenced the year.
- He scored 24 percent of the vote, with the #MeToo movement against sexual assault and harassment.
- Bin Salman overtook Hillary Clinton, Vladimir Putin and even the Pope to be crowned the people’s choice, winning far more votes than the three combined.
Mujeeb Zadran becomes the first male International cricketer from the 21st century
- Mujeeb-ur-Rehman Zadran, a 16-year-old off-spinner from Afghanistanm, becomes the first male cricketer born in the 21st century to play on the International stage.
- He was born in Khost, Afghanistan on March 28, 2001.
- With his debut against Ireland, Mujeeb became the ninth-youngest to make his debut in ODI cricket and is also the youngest to feature for Afghanistan.
Syrian boy wins Children’s Peace Prize
- Mohamad Al Jounde from Syria has been awarded the International Children’s Peace Prize for his efforts to ensure rights of Syrian refugee children Al Jounde set up a school together with his family in a Lebanese refugee camp that currently provides 200 children with education.
- He received the prize from Malala Yousafzai, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for her work for children’s rights.
Dinesh K Sarraf appointed as Chairman of PNGRB
- The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has appointed former CMD of ONGC Dinesh K Sarraf as new Chairman of Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB).
- He replaces S Krishnan, who had demitted office in August 2015.
- They will have 5-year term or till the age of 65, whichever is earlier.
Rahul Singh appointed as new president of NRAI
- Rahul Singh, Founder & CEO of The Beer Café, has taken over as the new President of the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) in New Delhi.
- The appointment was made unanimously after Riyaaz Amlani, CEO & MD, Impresario Entertainment & Hospitality Pvt. Ltd.
- The NRAI represents independent & chain of Restaurant/Bars/Café owners and operators of India.
Russia banned from 2018 Winter Olympics
- Russia was banned from the 2018 Winter Games by the International Olympic Committee over its state-orchestrated doping programme, but clean Russian athletes will be allowed to compete under an Olympic flag.
- The sanction was the toughest ever levelled by the IOC for drug cheating and came just 65 days ahead of the Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
- The IOC also banned Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko — who was sports minister during the Sochi Games — for life.