PM rejects scope for third party mediation in Kashmir
Prime Minister Narendra Modi categorically rejected any scope for third party mediation between India and Pakistan on Kashmir, saying the two countries can discuss and resolve all issues bilaterally and “we don’t want to trouble any third country.”
Mr. Modi made these remarks while interacting with the media alongside U.S. President Donald Trump, who ahead of his meeting with the Prime Minister had said that he will discuss the Kashmir issue with him on the sidelines of the G7 summit in the French town of Biarritz.
Manmohan Singh continues to have Z+ security: MHA
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Monday said former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh continued to have Z plus security, a day after The Hindu reported that the Special Protection Group (SPG) would be withdrawn from his security detail shortly.
An MHA spokesperson said, “The current security cover review is a periodical and professional exercise based on threat perception that is purely based on professional assessment by security agencies. Dr. Manmohan Singh continues to have a Z+ security cover.”
RBI showers ₹1.76 lakh crore bonanza on government
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) at its board meeting on Monday decided to transfer a whopping ₹1.76 lakh crore to the Centre — including interim dividend of ₹28,000 crore paid in February — which is likely to address the precarious fiscal situation of the government to a great extent.
The ₹1.76 lakh crore includes the central bank’s 2018-19 surplus of ₹1.23 lakh crore and ₹52,637 crore of excess provisions identified as per the revised Economic Capital Framework (ECF) adopted at the Board meeting.
G7 pledges $20m to fight record Amazon fires
The G7 nations have agreed to spend more than $20m to fight record fires tearing through the Amazon rainforest, an initiative Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro said treated his country like a “colony or no-man’s land”.
The presidents of France and Chile announced the pledge at the G7 summit in the French town of Biarritz on Monday, with the French leader, Emmanuel Macron, saying: “We must respond to the call of the forest which is burning today in the Amazon.”
Microchipping for native Chippiparai dogs in Tamil Nadu- B. Kolappan
An aquiline snout, a slender and streamlined body with long legs and the tail extending like a snake, Chippiparai, the native breed of Southern Tamil Nadu, is an ace runner and hunter.
Even though their prominence faded with the advent of exotic breeds, there is a growing interest in local breeds now and the Veterinary College and Research Institute, Tirunelveli, has embarked on creating a database of the Chippiparai, which has already gained distinction as a universal donor of canine blood.
Ensure plastic ban or face action UP govt to officials
The Uttar Pradesh government on Monday said strict action would be taken against officials if it was found that banned plastic was being sold in any area of Lucknow from next month. Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Awasthi said he would inspect the areas in the city to ensure the implementation of the plastic ban.
After Saturday, strict action will be taken against any police station incharge, civic official, commercial tax officer, magistrate and circle officers of the state capital if sale of the banned plastic was seen in their areas.
Centre’s help needed to check LWE’
Reiterating the Odisha government’s commitment to the strategy of proactive security and sustained holistic development of Left Wing Extremism-affected areas to contain the menace, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday urged the Centre to provide full support to his government in this regard.
The well-calibrated security response and targeted developmental and confidence building initiatives of the State government have gradually brought about a very significant improvement in the situation. The strength of the Maoist cadres operating in the State had reduced substantially.
Plea in Supreme Court seeks online RTI portals in States
The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre and 25 States to respond to a writ petition for a direction to establish Right to Information (RTI) web portals across all States to enable citizens, especially those living abroad, to file RTI applications online.
The Central government established an online RTI portal whereby any Indian citizen, including Non-Residential Indians (NRIs), can apply for information under the RTI Act with the desired Ministry or Department under the Central government. An applicant can also pay the requisite fee through online payment in this portal and submit the RTI application, the petition said.
Chandrayaan-2 scans Mitra crater
Chandrayaan-2’s orbiter or mother spacecraft has zeroed in on a crater on the moon named after 20th century’s acclaimed radio physicist Sisir Kumar Mitra. Images of the crater are among the second set of pictures of the northern craters sent by the orbiter.
The Mitra crater is on the edge of another crater. The pictures were taken by the Terrain Mapping Camera-2 around 2. 15 p.m. on August 23. The orbiter was then around 4,300 km from the moon, the Indian Space Research Organisation said in its update on Monday.
Amit Shah meets CMs on steps to curb Maoists
Union Home Minister Amit Shah reviewed the security situation in the 10 States affected by leftwing extremism.
Mr. Shah said Left-wing extremism had no place in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of “New India”. He said these extremist organisations were against “democratic institutions”, used violence and prevented development in the least developed regions of the country.
Rupee breaches 72-a-dollar mark
The rupee crashed about 59 paisa to hit 72.25 intraday after some major currencies, including the Chinese yuan, suddenly weakened against the dollar. But later, the rupee cut losses to close at 72.02, down 0.5% from its previous close.
The rupee’s depreciation came despite the surge in domestic equities after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced several measures on Friday to boost the slowing economy.
Reasons, implications of repo rate cut
On August 7, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced a cut of 35 basis points in the repo rate, which is the rate at which the RBI lends to the banking system.
On August 21 (that is, 14 days since the decision), as is the norm, the RBI released the minutes of the MPC’s deliberations. The importance of the minutes lie in the details they provide about how different MPC members view the state of the Indian economy, and what they believe is the key area of concern.
The MPC is made up of six members — three nominated by the Union government (Chetan Ghate, professor at the Indian Statistical Institute, Pami Dua, Director of Delhi School of Economics, and Ravindra Dholakia, former professor at IIM-Ahmedabad), and three representing the RBI (Governor Shaktikanta Das, B P Kanungo, and Michael Patra). The MPC meets every two months to review the monetary policy stance of the RBI.
Benign inflation trajectory
The MPC is mandated by law to ensure that retail inflation stays within a band of two percentage points of the target inflation rate of 4%. Since inflation has been well below the 4% mark, the MPC members have found it logical to repeatedly vote for rate cuts since February.
With inflation worries out of the way for the time being, all members focussed on economic growth concerns. They quoted extensively from a whole bunch of RBI surveys that suggest that growth is under pressure.
As chart 1 shows, professional forecasters project GDP growth to be less than 7% this financial year. The chances of touching 8% — either in the current fiscal or in the next — are almost non-existent. Similarly, as chart 2 shows, consumer confidence has worsened; even where it is positive, it is less so since the last survey. Chart 3 shows a similar story for business sentiment. Chart 4 shows how inventory-to-sales ratios are on their way up, thanks to the dip in sales.