1) RBI Releases Sixth Bi- Monthly Monetary Policy, Repo Rate Unchanged At 6%
- On February 7, 2018, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced Sixth Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy Statement for financial year 2017-18. This time too, the Policy Repo Rate has been kept unchanged.
- Post the Sixth Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy Statement announcement, the policy rates and reserve ratios are as follows:
Policy Repo Rate 6.00% Unchanged – since 2nd August 2017 Reverse Repo Rate 5.75% Unchanged – since 2nd August 2017 Marginal Standing Facility Rate 6.25% Unchanged – since 2nd August 2017 Bank Rate 6.25% Unchanged – since 2nd August 2017 Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) 4.00% Unchanged – since 9th February 2013 Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR) 19.50% With Effect from 14th October 2017
- Repo Rate has been kept unchanged at 6.00 per cent. Consequently, the Reverse Repo Rate at 5.75 per cent, marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate at 6.25 per cent too remains unchanged.
2) Commerce Ministry Launches Tools To Rank States, UTs On Startup Ecosystem
- On February 6, 2017, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Suresh Prabhu launched three tools – States and Union Territory Startup Ranking Framework, Compendium of Good Practices for Promoting Startups in India and the Startup India Kit – for ranking States and Union Territories (UTs) on startup ecosystem.
- Impact of each step initiated at the local level for building a strong Startup ecosystem will be measured under this framework.
- This framework has been developed on basis of the feedback collected from Startup ecosystem stakeholders’ viz. startup mentors, investors, incubators and accelerators.
- Steps taken for facilitating/promoting Seed funding and women entrepreneurship have been accorded higher weightage.
- Feedback on actions and initiatives undertaken by states/UTs has been taken into consideration. The actions and initiatives include having a startup cell, helpline, mobile or web portal for queries, size of the startup mentor network created by local government and the number of incubators
3) RBI To Link Base Rate With MCLR
The Reserve Bank of India will link the base rate with the MCLR from 1st of April 2018 to ensure expeditious transmission of its policy rate to borrowers. The RBI had introduced the Marginal Cost of Funds based Lending Rates (MCLR) system with effect from 1st April 2016, the Central bank observed that a large proportion of bank loans continue to be linked to Base Rate.
- According to the RBI Deputy Governor NS Vishwanathan, it has been decided to harmonize the methodology of determining benchmark rates by linking base rate to MCLR as it is more sensitive to policy rate signals.
4) GST rate on amusement parks and ballet etc, reduced from 28% to 18%.
- At 25th meeting of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council held in New Delhi on January 18, 2018, it was recommended that GST rate on services by way of admission to Amusement Parks may be reduced from 28% to 18%.
- The recommendation to reduce GST rate on entry to amusement parks was in response to requests received from several quarters that amusement parks promote social wellness and are avenues to attain fun and learning for children and their families in a real active entertainment.
- On January 25, 2018, a notification was issued giving effect to this recommendations of GST Council.
5) Nuclear-Capable Prithvi-II Missile Successfully Test-Fired
India successfully test-fired its indigenously developed nuclear capable Prithvi-II missile as part of a user trial by the Army from Integrated Test Range at Chandipur, in Odisha. It is a surface-to-surface missile and has a strike range of 350 km.
- Prithvi-II is capable of carrying 500-1,000 kilogram of warheads and is thrusted by liquid propulsion twin engines.
About Prithvi-II Missile in Brief-Inducted into the Armed forces of the country in 2003, the nine-metre-tall, single-stage liquid-fuelled Prithvi-II is the first missile to have been developed by the DRDO under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP).
6) Centre allocated Rs 5252 crore for railway infra development in Odisha
- Under Union Budget 2018, Central Government has allocated Rs 5252 crore for different railway projects in Odisha.
- This year’s allocation is the highest ever budgetary allocation for railway infra development in Odisha till date.
- In Union Budget 2017, budgetary allocation for railway infra development in Odisha was Rs. 5102 crore, while for 2016 , it was Rs. 4682 crore.
- Despite of highest budgetary allocation this year, Odisha State Government is not pleased because it had demanded Rs 6500 crore for the development of railway sector in the state.
7) South Asia Region Public Procurement Conference held in New Delhi
- 5th South Asia Region Public Procurement Conference is being held in New Delhi from 5th – 7th February, 2018.
- The Conference was inaugurated by Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley. It is being hosted by government of India through the Public Procurement Division (PPD) of the Ministry of Finance and All India Management Association (AIMA).
- It is being held under the auspices of the South Asia Region Public Procurement Network (SARPPN).
- SARPPN is sponsored and facilitated by the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Islamic Development Bank.
8) Assam to set up dedicated agency for business, investments
- On 6th February 2018, Google and NCERT signed an agreement to integrate ‘Digital Citizenship and Safety’ course in information and communication technology curriculum.
- The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) contains a curriculum on IT and communication technologies in its teachers training programme.
- Students from class I to XII will be trained using the curriculum developed jointly by NCERT and Google. Students from nearly 1.4 million schools in India will be trained.
- This curriculum has four themes – being smart, being safe, being a digital citizen and being future ready. No fee is charged by Google for this training.
9) Jhulan Goswami 1st Woman In The World To Take 200 ODI Wickets
Indian women’s cricket team pacer Jhulan Goswami has become the first woman in the world to take 200 wickets in ODI cricket.
Goswami achieved the feat playing in her 166th ODI against South Africa. Goswami had become the leading wicket-taker in women’s ODI in May 2017, overtaking former Australian pacer Cathryn Fitzpatrick’s record of 180 wickets.
10) Kathakali Maestro Madavoor Vasudevan Nair Passes Away
Kathakali maestro Madavoor Vasudevan Nair collapsed on stage and died while performing at Agasthyacodu Mahadeva Temple, Kerala. He was 89.
- A recipient of several awards, including Padma Bhushan, he was the follower of the Kaplingattu School, the particular style of south Kerala.