Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Sarat Chandra IAS Current Affairs of 1st April-2021

Topics

  • ‘Inflation at worrisome levels, oil prices will keep up pressure’
  • Exercise Vajra Prahar
  • Sabar tribe
  • Promoting Innovations in Individuals, Startups and MSMEs (PRISM)
  • retains 4% inflation target for RBI’s rate panel for 2021-26

 

Inflation at worrisome levels, oil prices will keep up pressure’

Context:Inflation has breached comfort levels and assumed ‘worrisome’ proportions in India, Moody’s Analytics said in a note on Asia’s inflation worries driven by rising oil prices.

  • Stressing that India’s retail inflation has been breaching the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) 4% inflation target for the past eight months, the financial intelligence firm said India and Philippines are the two notable exceptions – in Asia – where inflation is beyond the comfort level.

Key points

  • Volatile food prices and rising oil prices led India’s CPI (consumer price inflation) to exceed the upper band of 6% several times in 2020, inhibiting the RBI’s ability to keep accommodative monetary settings in place during the height of the pandemic.
  • Higher fuel prices will keep upward pressure on headline CPI and keep the RBI from offering further rate cuts.
  • India is expected to retain its current retail inflation targeting framework for monetary policy, with a target of 4% and a margin of 2% above and below that.
  • The framework is due to be revised from April 1 this year. The government is reportedly mulling small amendments, including increasing flexibility in exceptional times.
  • Terming the rise in India’s retail inflation worrisome, the firm said India’s core CPI (excluding food, fuel and light prices) rose to 5.6% in February from 5.3% in January, even as food and beverage price inflation quickened to 4.3% from 2.7%.
  • Food is a key driver of inflation, representing 46% of the CPI basket.

 

Exercise Vajra Prahar

Context:Recently, the 11th edition of Exercise VAJRA PRAHAR 2021 was conducted at Special Forces Training School located at Bakloh, Himachal Pradesh.

About Exercise Vajra Prahar

  • It is an Indo-US Joint Special Forces exercise.
  • It is conducted alternatively between India and the United States to share the best practices and experiences in areas such as joint mission planning and operational tactics.
  • It is an important aspect of deepening bilateral defence cooperation between India and USA.
  • The exercise began in 2010 but there was a gap of three years between 2012 and 2015.
  • Its aim is to promote military relations between the two countries by enhancing interoperability and mutual exchange of tactics between Special Forces.
  • The objective of the joint training is to:
    • Share the best practices between the two armies;
    • Develop joint strategies by sharing expertise of conducting operations in a counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism environment and
    • Capitalise on the rich repository of experiences of each other armies

 

Sabar Tribe

  • It is a tribal group from West Bengal.
  • This was one among the tribes which were notified by the British in 1871 as “criminals”.
  • Though they were denotified after independence, the stigma remained and they faced trouble whenever crimes were committed in their vicinity.
  • They face the major challenge of hunger, malnutrition and liver problems caused by excessive consumption of liquor.
  • These are a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG).
    • PVTGs are more vulnerable among tribal groups, with a declining or stagnant population, low level of literacy, pre-agricultural level of technology and are economically backward. They generally inhabit remote localities having poor infrastructure and administrative support.
    • In 1973, the Dhebar Commission created Primitive Tribal Groups (PTGs) as a separate category, which was renamed as PVTGs in 2006.

 

Promoting Innovations in Individuals, Startups and MSMEs (PRISM)

Context:The Union Minister for Science & Technology inaugurates the Event for Publicity of the PRISM (Promoting Innovations in Individuals, Startups, and MSMEs) scheme.

  • PRISM (Promoting Innovations in Individuals, Start-ups and MSMEs) scheme aims at to support individual innovators which will enable to achieve the agenda of inclusive development – one of the thrust areas of XIIthfive year plan (2012-2017).
  • It would also provide support to institutions or organizations set up as Autonomous Organization under a specific statute or as a society registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 or Indian Trusts Act, 1882 leading to development of state-of-art new technology solutions aimed at helping MSME clusters.

Sectors Covered: The proposals under the scheme will be accepted for the following sectors:

  • Green technology
  • Clean energy
  • Industrially utilizable smart materials
  • Waste to Wealth
  • Affordable Healthcare
  • Water & Sewage Management and
  • any other technology or knowledge-intensive area.

 

Govt. retains 4% inflation target for RBI’s rate panel for 2021-26

Context:The Centre has decided to retain the inflation target of 4%, with a tolerance band of +/- 2 percentage points for the Monetary Policy Committee of the RBI for the coming five years.

  • The inflation target for the period April 1, 2021, to March 31, 2026 has been kept at the same level as it was for the previous five years. Economists welcomed the continuity in the framework
  • The range of 2%-6% as a flexible inflation target has worked reasonably well and continuing with the same target would not disturb the monetary policy framework as such going forward.
  • Inflation may have breached the 6% mark a few times recently, but this has been during an exceptional situation in the economy.
  • The decision puts to rest speculation about the government considering a looser inflation target to enable a more growth-oriented focus in monetary policy.
  • RBI had in a report in February stressed that “the current numerical framework for defining price stability” was appropriate for the next five years.

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