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Insights Daily Current Events, 03 June 2015

Insights Daily Current Events, 03 June 2015

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RBI lowers repo rate to 7.25 per cent

The Reserve Bank of India in its second bi-monthly policy, announced recently, has reduced the policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) by 25 basis points from 7.5% to 7.25% with immediate effect. It has also lowered its growth estimate for this fiscal to 7.6% flagging the risks of a below-par monsoon and higher inflation by early next year.

Key rates:

  • Repo Rate- 7.25%
  • Cash reserve ratio (CRR): 4.0% of net demand and time liabilities (NDTL)
  • Reverse repo rate: 6.25%
  • Marginal standing facility (MSF): 8.25%

Key terms:

Cash reserve Ratio (CRR) is the amount of funds that the banks have to keep with the RBI. If the central bank decides to increase the CRR, the available amount with the banks comes down. The RBI uses the CRR to drain out excessive money from the system.

Repo Rate is the rate at which the RBI lends money to commercial banks. It is an instrument of monetary policy. Whenever banks have any shortage of funds they can borrow from the RBI. A reduction in the repo rate helps banks get money at a cheaper rate and vice versa. The repo rate in India is similar to the discount rate in the US.

Reverse Repo rate is the rate at which the RBI borrows money from commercial banks. An increase in reverse repo rate can prompt banks to park more funds with the RBI to earn higher returns on idle cash. It is also a tool which can be used by the RBI to drain excess money out of the banking system.

Marginal standing facility (MSF) rate is the rate at which banks borrow funds overnight from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) against approved government securities.

Sources: The Hindu, RBI.

 

Scientists document ‘virgin births’ of endangered sawfish in Florida

Scientists have documented in Florida a series of “virgin births,” reproduction without mating, in a critically endangered sawfish species pushed to the brink of extinction by over-fishing and habitat destruction.

  • Scientists say that for the first time the phenomenon called parthenogenesis has been seen in a vertebrate in the wild. They also say that some females may be resorting to asexual reproduction because smalltooth sawfish numbers are so low that mating opportunities may not exist

Parthenogenesis:

It is a type of asexual reproduction in which the offspring develops from unfertilized eggs.

  • In parthenogenesis, a female’s egg cell can develop into a baby without being fertilized by a male’s sperm cell.
  • In making an egg cell, a precursor cell divides into four cells. The one that eventually becomes the egg cell retains key cellular structures and the gel-like cytoplasm. The other three hold extra genetic material.
  • In parthenogenesis, one of those cells essentially acts as a sperm cell and fuses with the egg. This fertilized egg possesses about half the mother’s genetic diversity, a trait allowing parthenogenesis to be detected through genetic testing.

Smalltooth sawfish:

  • Also known as the wide sawfish, it is a sawfish of the family Pristidae.
  • It is found in shallow tropical and subtropical waters in coastal parts of the Atlantic, including the Mediterranean. Smalltooth sawfish are born and live for about three years in southwest Florida estuaries before moving into ocean coastal habitats.
  • The species is listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List.
  • They have a flattened shark-shaped body and a long, flat snout with pairs of teeth on the side used to find, stun and kill prey. They grow up to 18 feet long.
  • Their population collapse follows habitat loss and unintentional over-fishing, being caught in nets targeting other species.
  • They received U.S. federal endangered species protection in 2003.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.

 

India scores a mixed bag

According to a new study that ranks countries on how the rule of law is experienced by citizens, India figures in the top 50 countries in the world for an effective criminal justice system.

  • The study is named “The Rule of Law Index 2015” and is released by the U.S.-based World Justice project. It analysed 102 countries worldwide using a survey of over a 1,000 respondents from three big cities, along with local legal experts, in each country.
  • It measures how the rule of law is experienced in practical, everyday situations using 47 indicators across eight categories — constraints on government powers, absence of corruption, open government, fundamental rights, order and security, regulatory enforcement, civil justice, and criminal justice.

Details of the Study:

  • According to the Index, India’s overall rule of law performance places it in the third position out of six countries in the South Asian region, 10th out of 25 among lower middle income countries, and 59th out of 102 countries worldwide.
  • The top overall performer in Index 2015 was Denmark while in the South Asia region, the top performer was Nepal.
  • India’s performance for criminal justice places it at 44 rank globally, Number 1 in South Asia and number 4 among lower middle income countries.
  • The ranking in civil justice for India is 88 globally, third in South Asia and 19th among lower middle income countries.
  • India ranks high in the category of Open Government, placing it 37th globally and at three among lower middle income countries.
  • In the category of order and security, India is placed at 90 worldwide, fourth in South Asia and 20 among lower middle income countries.

Sources: The Hindu.

 

Khoya Paya web portal

The government of India recently launched the Khoya Paya web portal.

About the Portal:

  • The Khoya Paya portal is a citizen based website to exchange information on missing and found children.
  • It has been developed by the Ministry of Women and Child Development and the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY).
  • The Khoya Paya website is an enabling platform, where citizens can report missing children, as well as sightings of their whereabouts without wasting much time.
  • The ‘Found’ children can also be reported on this web portal. The reporting can be done through text, photographs, videos and other means of transmitting and uploading information to the KhoyaPaya site.
  • Information about missing and sighted children can be uploaded at Khoyapaya.gov.in.

The missing children are a cause of deep concern not only for the Government but also for the child protection institutions, society and above all for the parents. These children are vulnerable to the mental and physical assault which leads to mental trauma for these children. Most of the missing children are trafficked for labour, for sexual exploitation, abducted, or kidnapped, or due to crimes against children. They could be runaways from home, or simply be lost. This is the reason that it is not only important to get the information related to these missing children, but it is equally important that the information is exchanged speedily to locate the children. The Khoyapaya web portal will facilitate in the speedy reporting of missing and found children.

Jharkhand tops the list of states which see cases of missing children and those of child trafficking. These children mostly end up working as child labour in big cities or are thrown into sex trade. In almost all these cases, the families of such children are extremely poor, illiterate and can’t even afford three meals a day.

Sources: PIB.

 

IAP HealthPhone programme

The government of India recently launched the IAP HealthPhone programme.

Details of the programme:

The IAP HealthPhone programme is the world’s largest digital mass education programme for addressing the malnutrition in women and children. It is a public-partnership initiative that leverages the increasing penetration of mobile phones in the country to educate over 6 million girls and women between 13 and 35 years of age and their families on better health and nutrition practices by 2018.

  • This programme is launched by the Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) in partnership with the Ministry of Women and Child Development, UNICEF and supported by Vodafone India.
  • This programme aims to tackle the challenge of malnutrition in mothers and children across India.
  • The programme will achieve its objectives by widely promoting and distributing four re-edited videos from the Poshan (nutritional videos) series, jointly produced by Ministry of Women and Child Development and UNICEF in 18 Indian languages. The Poshan videos address issues of status of women, the care of pregnant women and children under two, breastfeeding and the importance of balanced diet, health and simple changes in nutritional care practices that can notably enhance nutritiona levels.
  • The three-year campaign by IAP HealthPhone is expected to benefit the health of 60 million children in India born by 2025 and will be transformative for India’s fight against malnutrition.

Sources: PIB.

Insights Secure Prelims 2015

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