National Current Affairs – UPSC/KAS Exams- 20th October 2018

MPC: majority chose status quo for repo


Topic: Indian Economy

In news:A majority of the monetary policy committee (MPC) members wanted the cumulative 50 basis points increase in repo rate in June and August to work its way through the economy and, hence, voted to maintain status quo in the rate in the fourth bi-monthly monetary policy review.

Monitory Policy Committee:

  • The Monetary Policy Committee of India is a committee of the Reserve Bank of India that 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 was created in 2016 to bring transparency and accountability in fixing India’s Monetary Policy.The monetary policy are published after every meeting with each member explaining his opinions. The committee is answerable to the Government of India if the inflation exceeds the range prescribed for three consecutive months.

Repo Rate and Reverse Repo Rate:

  • Repo rate is the rate at which the central bank of a country (Reserve Bank of India in case of India) lends money to commercial banks in the event of any shortfall of funds. Repo rate is used by monetary authorities to control inflation.
  • Reverse repo rate is the rate at which the central bank of a country (Reserve Bank of India in case of India) borrows money from commercial banks within the country. It is a monetary policy instrument which can be used to control the money supply in the country.


ASEAN Defence Ministerial Meet


Topic: India and Neighbourhood relations

 In news: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will attend two key meetings of the defence ministers of the ASEAN grouping in the upcoming meet.

 About ASEAN Defence ministerial Meet:

  • The ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) is the highest defence consultative and cooperative mechanism in ASEAN. The ADMM aims to promote mutual trust and confidence through greater understanding of defence and security challenges as well as enhancement of transparency and openness.


  • To promote regional peace and stability through dialogue and cooperation in defence and security;
  • To give guidance to existing senior defence and military officials dialogue and cooperation in the field of defence and security within ASEAN and between ASEAN and dialogue partners;
  • To promote mutual trust and confidence through greater understanding of defence and security challenges as well as enhancement of transparency and openness; and
  • To contribute to the establishment of an ASEAN Security Community (ASC) as stipulated in the Bali Concord II and to promote the implementation of the Vientiane Action Programme (VAP) on ASC.


  • The ADMM-Plus has become an effective platform for practical cooperation among the participating countries’ defence establishments.
  • Emulating this success, four live exercises were conducted in the second ADMM-Plus three-year cycle of 2014-2017, namely, the ADMM-Plus Humanitarian Mine Action and Peacekeeping Operations: Exercise Force 18 in Pune, India,, the ADMM-Plus Maritime Security and Counterterrorism Exercise in Brunei Darussalam and Singapore, the ADMM-Plus Military Medicine and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Exercise (AMHEx) in Chonburi Province, Thailand,and the ADMM-Plus Maritime Security Exercise: Exercise Mahi Tangaroa in Auckland, New Zealand from.

ADM Plus Countries:

  • The Plus country shall be a full-fledged Dialogue Partner of ASEAN;
  • The Plus country shall have significant interactions and relations with ASEAN defence establishment; and
  • The Plus country shall be able to work with the ADMM to build capacity so as to enhance regional security in a substantive way in order to promote capacity-building in the region in the fields of defence and security.
  • The ADMM-Plus countries include ten ASEAN Member States, namely, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam, and eight Plus countries, namely Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, ROK, Russian Federation, and the United States.

Source:The Hindu

Astana hosts seventh meeting of education ministers of SCO member states:


Topic: International Relations

 In news: The seventh meeting of education ministers of member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) was held in Astana, the Republic of Kazakhstan.

More on the Topic:

  • During the meeting, the heads of delegations focused on ensuring the implementation of the agreements reached in June 2018 at the Qingdao SCO Heads of State Council summit, with the aim of further expanding bilateral and multilateral cooperation as regards exchanges of lecturers and students, joint research projects, academic visits, language studies, professional education and youth exchanges.

Shanghai cooperation organization

  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), or Shanghai Pact,is a Eurasian political, economic, and security alliance, the creation of which was announced on June 2001 in Shanghai, China by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
  • The organisation has expanded its membership to eight countries when India and Pakistan joined SCO as full members June 2017 at a summit in Astana, Kazakhstan.
  • The Heads of State Council (HSC) is the supreme decision-making body in the SCO, it meets once a year and adopts decisions and guidelines on all important matters of the organisation. Military exercises are also regularly conducted among members to promote cooperation and coordination against terrorism and other external threats, and to maintain regional peace and stability.
  • The SCO is widely regarded as the “alliance of East”, due to its growing centrality in Asia-Pacific, and has been the primary security pillar of the region.
  • Being the world’s forefront regional organisation in economic power and political influence, and one of the world’s strongest military alliances, it is also the largest regional organisation in the world in terms of geographical coverage and population, covering three-fifths of the Eurasian continent and nearly half of the human population. At present, the SCO is one of the world’s most powerful and influential organisations.
  • With the growing power and enlargement of the organisation, its scope of unity and cooperation has expanded to many other areas, including education, science, technology, health care, environmental protection, tourism, media, sports, humanitarian and culture, while extending its principle to include global governance and fostering of international relationships.
  • It has been a major partner of ASEAN, with both of the organisations establishing a cooperation model for the peace, stability, development and sustainability of the Asian continent, and in the field of security, economy, finance, tourism, culture and environmental protection.
  • Because of its vast influence and power on the global stage, the organisation plays a prominent role in shaping international politics, governance and affairs, and maintains diplomatic missions throughout the world.

Source:The Hindu

NCW launches dedicated email to report sexual harassment at workplace


Topic:Government Initiatives

IN NEWS:The National Commission for Women has come out with a dedicated e-mail address to report instances of sexual harassment at workplace after several such complaints were made to the body by women who have narrated their ordeal under the ‘Metoo’ movement on social media.

 More on the Topic:

  • The NCW, in a statement, said it has received formal written complaints from various women about instances of sexual harassment at their workplace.
  • In light of the complaints received in the past few days, the National Commission for Women has decided to create a dedicated email ID to receive such complaints.
  • The NCW will be taking forward complaints of sexual harassment at workplace received on the mail so that appropriate action may be taken as per the law.

National Commission for Women

  • The National Commission for Women (NCW) is a statutory body of the Government of India, generally concerned with advising the government on all policy matters affecting women. It was established in January 1992 under the provisions of the Indian Constitution, as defined in the 1990 National Commission for Women Act.
  • The objective of the NCW is to represent the rights of women in India and to provide a voice for their issues and concerns.
  • The subjects of their campaigns have included dowry, politics, religion, equal representation for women in jobs, and the exploitation of women for labour. They have also discussed police abuses against women.
  • The commission regularly publishes a monthly newsletter, Rashtra Mahila, in both Hindi and English.


GI tag for Bihar’s Shahi Litchi


Topic: Intellectual Property Rights

In news: A Bihar’s famous Shahi Litchi has got Geographical Indication GI Tag. Shahi Litchi from Bihar registered as a GI. Muzzafarpur, Vai shali, Samastipur, Champaran, Begusarai districts and adjoing areas of Bihar have favourable climate for this fruit, uni unique due to attractive appearance and delicious pearly white aril.

GI Tag:

  • A geographical indication (GI) is a name or sign used on certain products which corresponds to a specific geographical location or origin (e.g. a town, region, or country).
  • India, as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 has come into force with effect from 15 September 2003.
  • GIs have been defined under WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights(TRIPS) Agreement as: “Indications which identify a good as originating in the territory of a member, or a region or a locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographic origin.
  • The GI tag ensures that none other than those registered as authorised users (or at least those residing inside the geographic territory) are allowed to use the popular product name. Darjeeling tea became the first GI tagged product in India.

Source:The Hindu

India, Japan to hold joint military drill

Topic: Defence Co-operation

In news: Indian and Japanese armies are going to hold their first-ever joint military exercise between November 1 and 14, which will include conducting tactical drills against likely urban threats.

 More on the Topic:

  • The military exercise named ‘DHARMA GUARDIAN-2018’ will be held between the Indian Army and Japan Ground Self Defence Force at Counter Insurgency Warfare School, Vairengte, in the state of Mizoram.
  • During the 14-day exercise, due emphasis will be laid on increasing inter-operability between forces from both countries. Both sides will jointly train, plan and execute a series of well-developed tactical drills for neutralisation of likely threats that may be encountered in urban warfare scenario.

Source:The Hindu

Indian-American awarded at White House for combating human trafficking

Topic: Awards and Honours

In news: An Indian-American woman has been honoured with a Presidential award by U.S. Secretary of State for her extraordinary contribution towards combating human trafficking in Houston.

 More on the Topic:

  • She is currently implementing Mayor Turner’s Anti-Human Trafficking Strategic Plan, which is the first comprehensive municipal response to human trafficking by a US city.
  • She is a past speaker at the United Nations World Humanitarian Summit and recently travelled to India and Canada at the request of the State Department to discuss municipal leadership in trafficking with the government officials.

Source:The Hindu 

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