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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 28th March 2020

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  • March 28, 2020
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 28th March 2020

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Measures taken up by RBI

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Economy

In News: 

  • In the recent meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), several measures were taken up in a move to fight the economic impact of the countrywide lockdown to check the spread of novel coronavirus. 

Key takeaways:

  • It allowed the equated monthly instalments (EMIs) to be deferred by three months
  • Since non-payment will not lead to non-performing asset classification by banks, there will be no impact on credit score of the borrowers.
  • The repo rate was reduced to by 75 bps to 4.4% while the reverse repo rate was cut by 90 bps point to 4%.
  • Reduced reverse repo rate will help banks to lend more rather than keeping their excess liquidity with the RBI.
  • RBI has also reduced the cash reserve ratio of banks, thus increasing liquidity.

Important value additions: 

Monetary Policy Committee

  • It is responsible for fixing the benchmark interest rate in India. 
  • The meetings are held at least 4 times a year. 
  • The committee comprises six members – three officials of the Reserve Bank of India and three external members nominated by the Government of India.

Repo Rate

  • It is the rate at which the Reserve Bank of India lends money to commercial banks in the event of any shortfall of funds.
  • It is used by monetary authorities to control inflation.

Reverse Repo Rate

  • It is the rate at which the Reserve Bank of India borrows money from commercial banks of the country. 
  • It can be used to control the money supply in the country.

Cash Reserve Ratio

  • It is the share of a bank’s total deposit that is mandated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to be maintained with the latter in the form of liquid cash.

Kavutheendal ceremony

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-I – Art and Culture

In News: 

  • Kavutheendal ceremony, a part of the Meena Bharani festival, was recently performed at Sri Kurumba Bhagavathy Temple in Kerala. 

Key takeaways:

  • The ceremony usually sees huge number of devotees. 
  • Amidst the coronavirus lockdown, the ceremony was performed by a representative of the Velan community, without the presence of any devotee. 

Important value additions:

Kavutheendal ritual

  • It is considered as the largest congregation of oracles in the world. 
  • This ritual is based on the notions of purity/impurity inherent in Brahminical Hinduism.

Velan community

  • The community belongs to scheduled caste that lives mainly in Kerala. 

Sri Kurumba Bhagavathy Temple

  • It is a Hindu temple at Kodungallur of Kerala state in India. 
  • It is dedicated to the goddess Bhadrakali, a form of Maha Kali worshipped in Kerala. 
Kavutheendal ceremony

Kavutheendal ceremony

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kodungallur_Bhagavathy_Temple


Tribal rituals for lockdown

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-I – Art and Culture

In News: 

  • Various tribal communities of Arunachal Pradesh performed rituals to observe lockdown in the wake of coronavirus pandemic. 

Key takeaways:

  • Arr-Rinam was performed by the Galos community
  • The Adi community performed Motor ritual. 
  • The Nyishi community observed Arrue involving self-quarantine. 

Important value additions:

Galos community

  • They belong to the Tani group inhabiting Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, besides Tibet.
  • Only the Galos maintain genealogy through given names.
  • The Galos perform Popir dance. 
  • They have been recognized as a Scheduled Tribe under the constitution. 

Adi community

  • They are one of the most populous groups of indigenous peoples in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. 
  • Their prime festivals are Aran, Donggin , Solung, and Etor.
  • The majority of Adi traditionally follow Donyi-Polo religion. 

Nyishi community

  • It is the largest ethnic group in Arunachal Pradesh
  • The Nyishi language belongs to the Sino-Tibetan family. 
  • Polygyny is prevalent among the Nyishi. 

Homam ceremony performed

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-I – Art and Culture

In News: 

  • Homam ceremony was recently performed at Srikalahastheeswara Devasthanam

Key takeaways:

  • The Homam is generally performed to ensure prosperity and well-being at the global level and health and longevity at the individual level. 
  • This time it was particularly performed to undo the negative effects of coronavirus.

Important value additions:

Srikalahastheeswara Devasthanam

  • The temple is famous across the world for performing ‘Rahu Ketu Puja’ every day to fight the ‘toxic’ effect of Rahu and Ketu, the ‘rogue serpents’ among the pantheon of Hindu gods.
  • This is the only Saivite shrine in the country to remain open during the solar and lunar eclipse. 
Homam ceremony performed

Homam ceremony performed

Image source: Click here


Corona kavach

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II- Governance; Health

In News: 

  • Recently, the details of air travellers were leaked online raising privacy concerns. 

Key takeaways:

  • A forward of a list containing details of the passengers was received on number of social media platforms, which were forwarded further. 
  • The list included names, passport numbers, flight details, mobile phone numbers and addresses of all travellers. 
  • Apart from the threat of violence, each person on the list may be vulnerable to a number of crimes, like online fraud, electronic impersonation or identity theft
  • Beta app Corona Kavach has raised some red flags due to this leak. 

Important value additions:

Corona Kavach

  • It is a beta-version app by the Ministry of Electronic and Information Technology.
  • It is an app designed to track the location of COVID-19 infected people and alert subscribers when they come near their locations. 
  • It has already been downloaded by more than 100,000 people. 
  • It is mandatory for all COVID-19 patients to download the app to track their whereabouts.

(MAINS FOCUS)


ECONOMY

Topic: General Studies 3:

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment. 

COVID-19: RBI announces measures

After Finance Ministry announced the 1.7 Lakh Crore relief package, the RBI also has come up a slew of measure to help the economy tide over distress caused by COVID-19 pandemic. 

Do You Know?

  • Since February 2020, RBI has pumped in ₹2.8-lakh crore in the system through various market interventions (like LTRO, OMO)
  • US Federal bank has reduced its interest rates to near zero to shore up liquidity in its financial system

Relief measures announced by RBI are:

  • Repo Rate: cut by 75 basis points to 4.4% – To ease credit lending in the economy
  • Reverse Repo rate: Reduced by 90 basis points to 4% 
  • Cash Reserve Ratio(CRR): Reduced by 100 basis points to 3% of net demands and time liabilities – will inject ₹1.37-lakh crore into the system
  • Accommodation under Marginal Standing Facility to be increased from 2% to 3% of SLR. This will release Rs 1.37 lakh crore into the system.
  • All term Loan repayment: Moratorium i.e. Temporary halt of three months on payment of instalments 
  • Long term repo operations will be carried out by RBI to inject liquidity to the tune of ₹1 lakh crore 
  • The cumulative liquidity boost provided by RBI through above measures amounts to ₹3.74-lakh crore

Impact of RBI’s actions

  • Compliments the efforts of government to address the economic upheaval caused by COVID-19 pandemic
  • Reduction of Repo rate lowers the cost of capital 
  • Reduction of Reverse Repo will disincentivise banks from parking their funds with the RBI
  • Prevent credit market dislocation
  • Relief to all retail & corporate borrowers who are finding it difficult to service their loans during this crisis period
  • Protects against defaults & banks’ rising NPAs
  • Ensures ample liquidity and narrows the credit spreads of corporates
  • It reflects the RBI’s willingness to listen to problems faced at ground level and its effort to resolve them.
  • Adaptability: RBI has stated that it will not shy away from using both conventional and unconventional measures in future to adapt to the evolving situation
  • Helps in reassuring Public trust in the Banking system during this crisis period

Challenges

  • Monetary Transmission: To ensure quick liquidity transmission to the larger economy and not just to investment grade companies. 
  • Consequences of heightened liquidity like Inflation which needs to tackled in future
  • Fresh investment will be the last thing on the minds of businessmen who are currently grappling with unsold inventory & disrupted supply chain
  • Inadequate action by RBI to ease the corporate securities market (suggestion is direct buying of Corporate Bonds like US Fed)
  • There could be a sharp rise in bad loans a few quarters after the end of the moratorium 
  • RBI has stopped short of providing material relief measures for medium and small enterprises, which are likely to bear the brunt of shutdown

Connecting the dots:

  • Abenomics that includes Negative Interest rates
  • How central banks can ensure smoother & quicker monetary transmission?

JUDICIARY

Topic: General Studies 2:

  • Structure, organization and functioning of the Judiciary 

Judicial Administration Reform

Context: Criticism on Supreme Court about delay in hearing of crucial cases due to its inefficient administrative functioning. 

Allegations on Supreme Court

  • Critical cases like those concerning personal liberty, law and order and Democratic functioning, are posted after long intervals 
  • The Government is being granted a luxury of time to respond. 
  • Example: Kashmir notification (Article 370), Citizenship Amendment Act, Electoral bonds

Impact of Judicial inaction on significant cases

  • Fait accompli can be created due to lack of judicial action in such cases where immediacy is pre-eminent.
  • Adds fuel to perception that judicial inaction is due to executive influence
  • Erodes public trust on apex court
  • Increases backlogs in Judiciary

What are the possible reasons causing this situation?

  • CJI has been given the onerous dual charge of heading both the administrative and judicial functions of the court.
  • Increasing number of cases has made handling both these tasks difficult
  • Some of the administrative functions carried out by CJI includes:
    • All service-related matters of the SC’s 2,500 employees
    • Issue office orders to streamline the registry 
    • Supervise measures for security and infrastructure
    • Chair committees
    • Interview candidates for the various courts, etc
  • Inadequate capabilities & training of Junior officers under CJI who handle these tasks

Possible Solution – CEO

  • A chief executive officer – an independent professional who is equipped with the day-to-day management of the Court and is not beholden to the judges in any way
  • CEO will be charged with the entire mission of running the Court, so that the judges can concentrate on adjudication of cases
  • It will reduce the burden on CJI which will lead to faster resolution of cases.

Challenges ahead

  • CEO needs to be given adequate operational autonomy to ensure efficiency in management of Court’s administrative functioning
  • He/she should be answerable to a committee of the Court, comprising judges and bar representatives

Conclusion

Resolution of significant cases in a time-bound manner is crucial for robust functioning of Democracy

Connecting the dots:

  • Judicial Vacancies in India – Its impact and challenges
  • Need for digitisation of Judicial process as a part of Judicial reform

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)

Note: 

  • Correct answers of today’s questions will be provided in next day’s DNA section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers. 
  • Comments Up-voted by IASbaba are also the “correct answers”.

Q 1.Consider the following statements:

  1. Monetary Policy Committee fixes the benchmark interest rate in India. 
  2. The meetings are held at least two times a year. 

Which of the above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q 2.Consider the following statements:

  1. Kavutheendal ritual is considered as largest congregation of auricles in the world. 
  2. The ceremony is performed by the representative of Velan community.

Which of the above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q 3. Which is the largest ethnic group in Arunachal Pradesh?

  1. Adi 
  2. Nishi 
  3. Galos 
  4. Ahom

Q 4. Consider the following statements

  1. Srikalahastheeswara Devasthanam is famous for performing ‘Rahu Ketu Puja’. 
  2. This is the only Saivite shrine in the country which remains open during the solar and lunar eclipse. 

Which of the above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

ANSWERS FOR 27th March 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 D
2 C
3 B
4 D

Must Read

About UP government’s action on anti-CAA protesters & its impact:

The Hindu

About Lockdown in the wake of COVID-19:

The Indian Express

About Agriculture & impact of COVID-19:

The Indian Express

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