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CURRENT AFFAIRSTHE HINDU : AUGUST 2019

Daily Current Affairs : 8th August 2019 : The Hindu News Analysis



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RBI reduces the repo rate to help reverse growth slowdown

RBI opted to break the convention by reducing the Repo Rate by 35 basis points (bps) to 5.4% as it focused monetary policy measures on helping revive demand to tackle a deepening economic slowdown.




This is the first time that the RBI has moved rates by a figure that is not a multiple of 25 bps. A percentage point comprises 100 bps.

What is Repo Rate?

It is the rate at which RBI lends to its clients generally in lieu of government securities. A reduction in this helps the commercial banks to get money at a cheaper rate whereas an increase in repo rate discourages the commercial banks to get money as the rate increases and becomes expensive.

What is Reverse Repo Rate?

It is the rate at which RBI borrows money from the commercial banks. An increase in the repo rate will increase the cost of borrowing and lending of the banks which will discourage the public to borrow money and will encourage them to deposit.

As the rates are high the availability of credit and demand decreases resulting to decrease in inflation. This increase in repo rate and reverse repo rate is a symbol of tightening of the policy.

Centre put forward plan for coastal zone management


The draft Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF) is a part of World Bank-funded project. The document lays down guidelines for coastal States to adopt when they approve and regulate projects in coastal zones.

The document was prepared by the Society for Integrated Coastal Management, a Ministry-affiliated body. According to the report, Integrated coastal zone management has to be a continuous process rather that a "one-off" investment action.

As for now, three coastal States, i.e., Gujarat, Odisha and West Bengal, have prepared Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plans with support from the World Bank.

Key Activities Proposed under the draft plan :


  • Mangrove afforestation/shelter beds, 
  • Habitat conservation activities such as restoration of sea-grass meadows, 
  • Eco-restoration of sacred groves, 
  • Development of hatcheries, 
  • Rearing/rescue centres for turtles and other marine animals, 
  • Creation of infrastructures for tourism, 
  • Restoration and recharge of water bodies, 
  • Beach cleaning and development, and other small infrastructure facilities.



Hong Kong Crisis 2019

Hong Kong is facing its worst crisis since the city was handed over to the Beijing by Britain in 1997.

What is happening in Hong Kong?

These protests are a part of the 2019 Hong Kong anti-extradition bill protests which are a series of ongoing demonstrations in Hong Kong against the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill proposed by the government of Hong Kong.

The legislation was proposed in February 2019 by the Security Bureau in response to a murder that occurred in Taiwan in 2018 in which the suspect had fled to Hong Kong.

What will happen if the Bill is enacted?

If enacted, the bill would allow local authorities to detain and extradite people who are wanted in countries or territories that Hong Kong does not have extradition agreements with, including mainland China and Taiwan.

Opponents of the legislation fear that it would place Hong Kong residents and visitors under the jurisdiction of mainland courts (which are controlled by the Communist Party of China) and apply not only to criminals, but political dissidents as well.



On 22nd anniversary of the territory's handover from the United Kingdom in 1997, i.e. 1st of July, over 190,000 people (550,000 estimated by organisers) participated in the annual pro-democracy protest.

A portion of these demonstrators split from the march and broke into the Legislative Council Complex, and vandalized the government and pro-Beijing symbols in the chamber.


UNIDO and National Institute of Solar Energy to work together for skill development program

They are planning to work together for skill development program for different level of beneficiaries in solar thermal energy sector.

The agreement recently signed is a part of the on-going MNRE-GEF-UNIDO project which is implemented jointly by UNIDO and is a project to support capacity building and skill development of technical manpower in the Concentrated Solar Thermal Energy Technologies (CST). 

These CST are being used to replace conventional fossil fuels e.g. coal, diesel, furnace oil etc. and help to save costs and emissions in the industrial process heat applications.

About UNIDO

It is a specialized agency of United Nation whose mission is to accelerate and promote inclusive and sustainable industrial development in member states.

It is Headquartered in Vienna, Austria.

It is also a member of United Nation Development Group.

As of  January 2017, 168 States are Members of UNIDO. The estimated total volume of UNIDO operations for the biennium 2012–2013 is €460 million, the value of technical cooperation delivery in 2012 amounted to $189.2 million.


An alternative to Plastics : Mexico's Cactus

A packaging material that is made from the plant has been developed by a Mexican researcher and is offering a promising solution to one of the world’s biggest pollution conundrums.

The cacti used for the experiments come from San Esteban, a small town on the outskirts of Guadalajara, where they grow by the hundreds.

San Esteban is located in Jalisco state where, starting 2020, single-use non-recyclable plastic bags, straws and other disposable items will be banned.



Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts in Mexico possess a variety of climates as well as a huge mass of cacti.

These regions are home to a number of landscape features that are responsible for the differences in characteristics of the various cacti, including their shape, height and ability to produce flowers.

Cacti are able to thrive in these dry, arid climates that are inhospitable to many other plant species.


NON-BANKING FINANCE COMPANIES (NBFCs) : RBI proposes new norms

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has put forward new measures in order to increase credit flow to the NBFCs in order to overcome the on-going liquidity crunch in the sector.




New measures that are put forward by the RBI includes :


  • Reserve Bank of India has increased the cap on a bank's exposure to a single NBFC to 20% of its Tier-1 capital from 15% now.
  • Bank lending to registered Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) for on-lending to Agriculture up to Rs. 10 lakhs; Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) up to Rs. 20 lakhs and Housing up to Rs 20 lakh per borrower to be classified as the priority sector lending.


QUICK FEEDS


  • Pakistan expelled the Indian High Commissioner and suspended the bilateral trade in response to the decision of scrapping of Article 370 which grants special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
    • Ajay Bisaria is India's High Commissioner in Islamabad.
  • Heracles inexpectatus is the name of the gaint parrots that lived about 19 mn years ago.

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