IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 5th April 2019
(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)
RBI monetary policy
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains Paper III – Indian Economy, issues related to growth, mobilization of resources, etc.; Macro economy: Banking, Monetary Policy
- RBI’s monetary policy committee (MPC) reduced the policy repo rate by 25 basis points (bps) to 6% to boost growth.
- It means that RBI aims to ease the availability of credit. Banks, however, remain non-committal about paring down their lending rates.
- The MPC cited concerns over growth as it lowered the GDP forecast to 7.2% for the current financial year from 7.4% projected in the February policy.
- RBI said the output gap remained negative and the domestic economy was facing headwinds, especially on the global front.
Do you know?
- Output gap refers to the difference between the actual output of the economy and its maximum potential.
RBI maintained the ‘Neutral stance’
- Neutral stance means the RBI would have the flexibility to either increase or decrease the policy rates by taking into account the macroeconomic conditions.
- Under this stance, key policy rates would move in either direction.
- Usually, this policy is adopted when the inflation rate is stable.
Many had hoped that it would soften its policy stance to “accommodative”, signalling future cuts to lower the cost of loans, spur investment and spending, and shield the domestic economy from a slowdown, especially as central banks in other major economies have taken a dovish stance in response to slowing global growth. However, that didn’t happen.
What is Repo rate?
- Repo rate is the rate at which the central bank (RBI) lends money to commercial banks in the event of any shortfall of funds.
- Repo rate is used by monetary authorities to control inflation.
- RBI increases the repo rate during inflation and decreases it during deflation.
What happens when RBI decreases repo rate?
- In order to cure depression and lack of effective demand, central bank decreases repo rates and lends to commercial banks at a reduced rate.
- Because of reduced rates, commercial banks can acquire funds at a lower cost and in order to acquire new consumers and markets they pass their benefit of lower cost to consumers by decreasing their prime lending rates on loans and advances.
- Since, lending rates are reduced by banks, credit is cheap and this induces people to venture in new business activities and purchase of capital goods leading to increased demand for capital goods and increased employment rates.
Women activists join hands against liquor use in elections
Part of: GS Mains I and II – Society; Role of women; Role of NGOs/CSOs; Social issue
- Female anti-liquor activists formed human chains in Odisha to create awareness against the use of liquor during election campaign.
- For the last three decades, women from the state are continuing their crusade against liquor menace under the banner of ‘Nari Mahasangh’.
- The women who participated in the human chains were farmers and daily wagers who are the worst sufferers of liquor addiction of men in their families.
UAE’s top honour for PM Modi
- UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has awarded Prime Minister Narendra Modi the country’s highest civilian award, ‘the Order of Zayed’.
- Previous recipients of the Order of Zayed include Russian President Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, British Queen Elizabeth II, and former Pakistan President Musharraf.
Do you know?
On the similar lines, PM Modi has been honoured with various awards and accolades since the time of taking the hold of premiership of the country in 2014.
- PM Narendra Modi was conferred (on January 14, 2019) with the first-ever Philip Kotler Presidential Award. (https://thewire.in/business/modi-wins-first-ever-philip-kotler-presidential-award-but-what-is-it-exactly)
- The Seoul Peace Prize Committee on October 24, 2018 conferred the 2018 Seoul Peace Prize on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for his contribution to international cooperation and fostering global economic growth.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on September 26, 2018 awarded with the prestigious UN Champions of the Earth Award 2018, the highest environmental honour of the United Nations.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on February 10, 2018 conferred with the ‘Grand Collar of the State of Palestine’ by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, recognising his contributions in promoting relations between India and Palestine.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on June 4, 2016 conferred with the Amir Amanullah Khan Award, the highest civilian honour of Afghanistan.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on April 3, 2016 conferred with the Saudi Arabia’s highest civilian honour ‘King Abdulaziz Sash’ by King Salman bin Abdulaziz at the Royal Court of Saudi Arabia.
TOPIC: General studies 1 and 4
- Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India
- Effects of globalization on Indian society
- Ethics in private and public relationships
- Human Values; Ethical concerns and dilemmas
- Strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance
India’s twisted moral compass
- The Indian community in other countries is admired for its success. Our civilizational achievements underscore our capabilities. Yet, India lags far behind the developed world on various parameters of success.
- We are a nation where we have so many corrupt politicians and intelligent people defending them; where our business organizations commonly follow immoral practices and a society with twisted moral compass.
Based on ancient texts that form part of the basis of Indian civilization, moral clarity ought to be our strength.
- The discourse between Arjuna and Krishna (in the Gita) emphasizes doing one’s duty—dharma—even if it means going to war against one’s family.
- In Ramayana, Ram has many dharmas—that of a king, husband and son—with a clear hierarchy among them.
- The dharma of a king takes priority for a king over his dharma as a husband and father. The emphasis on dharma aims to encourage principle-centric behaviour.
- Vibhishana followed dharma and chose the side of good over evil. He even betrayed his brother.
However, today, in the hierarchy of moral values, we consider loyalty towards family, friends and society as the most important—something not entirely consistent with the teachings in our ancient texts.
What are the major factors that have led to reshuffling of hierarchy of values (between ancient times and now)?
- Among many factors, one major factor for the above change can be attributed to “loyalty” towards the community and caste given highest value, over all others.
- For any society, survival is paramount. For survival, loyalty towards the community becomes critical.
- Over time, because of numerous invasions by external forces, loyalty must have been recognized and rewarded, which must have resulted in the consolidation of loyalty as the highest value, over all others. Only after loyalty is accounted for would other values kick in.
The caste system could be one example.
- Though we don’t live under an existential threat any longer, our culture seems to have internalized our misplaced priorities.
- We see intelligent people defending the indefensible simply because the culprit happens to be their leader or from their community. For them, the good of the country comes after loyalty obligations are satisfied.
- Ideally, we should first root for the country and then support appropriate individuals.
- In the business world too, one should analyse a company’s strategy with ethical conduct as a consideration. Loyalty to the firm should come later.
Concept of Ethical Fading
- Ethical fading occurs when the ethical aspects of a decision disappear from view.
- This happens when people focus heavily on some other aspect of a decision, such as profitability or winning.
Ills in our society, including those in business and politics, can be traced partly to this above ethical aspect and confused hierarchy of values.
Connecting the dots:
- Social values are more important than economic values. Discuss the above statement with examples in the context of inclusive growth of a nation.
- What do you mean by Ethical fading? What factors impinge on the impartial functioning and moral fibre of a public official?
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY/DEFENCE
TOPIC: General studies 3
- Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
- Security challenges and their management in border areas
- Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
Outer Clarity: On India’s space programme doctrine
- Recently, ISRO launched the country’s first electronic surveillance satellite, EMISAT.
- Along with it, as many as 28 small satellites of international customers were also put in space as secondary riders.
- With EMISAT, India just forayed into the realm of space-based electronic intelligence (ELINT).
- ELINT will add teeth to situational awareness of the Armed Forces as it will provide location and information of hostile radars placed at the borders.
- According to defence scientists, one satellite for ELINT will not suffice and the country may need to have at least three more working in tandem. And this could be the beginning of a new set of space-based military surveillance.
Do you know?
- An estimated 150 military satellites may be hovering all over Earth right now.
- These satellites can locate where radars are; figure out what signals they send out in order to enable right actions; eavesdrop on radar communication; and much more.
Power in space
- In the space era, “the forces need many things based in space, such as for electronic intelligence, signal intelligence, communication intelligence, and image intelligence.”
- Today, everything is in space, which adds the fourth dimension to the forces.
- A well-equipped satellite perched high up is an asset that can generate vast information vital for the country’s defence against attacks from outside.
- India is assiduously putting in place a space military architecture. Over the next few months, as many as eight satellites are expected to be launched, strengthening the defence dimension.
- Therefore, the government should articulate much more clearly the doctrinal aspects of the space programme, as well as the deterrence sought to be achieved by it.
Need for clarity or clear doctrine of the space programme
- New Delhi aspires to take a bigger lead in forging a global and legally binding instrument to prevent militarisation of space.
- It expects to play a role in the future in the drafting of international law on prevention of an arms race in space.
- Therefore, India must communicate its peaceful intentions just as it showcases its capabilities.
- A clear doctrine of its space programme would contribute to a better understanding among countries and reduce the chances of wrong inferences being drawn in crisis situations.
- Since, there is no global regulatory regime to address the growing militarisation in space (regulatory vacuum), India has legitimate reasons to develop deterrence for the security of its space-based assets.
Connecting the dots:
- Can space weapons play big role in India’s grand strategy? Will India come out with an official white paper on space weapons?
- Space is considered to be the fourth frontier. Any effort to weaponise it would pose serious security threats to the world as whole. Do you agree? Examine India’s preparedness to tackle such threats.
Jobs or doles: which is the way forward?
Making democracy meaningful
Making sense of NYAY
Languages and civilization
The central bank’s circular was designed to tackle India’s NPAs