Current Affairs 5th April, 2019

PRELIMS SCORE BOOSTER

1. RBI cuts benchmark interest rate again, lowers GDP forecast to 7.2%

Image result for 1. RBI cuts benchmark interest rate again, lowers GDP forecast to 7.2%

The monetary policy committee of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for the second consecutive time cut the benchmark lending rate by 25 basis points to 6%.

In details

  • The committee cited concerns over growth as it lowered the GDP forecast to 7.2% for the current financial year from 7.4% projected in the February policy.

  • The central bank said the output gap remained negative and the domestic economy was facing headwinds, especially on the global front.

  • Output gap refers to the difference between the actual output of the economy and its maximum potential.

  • The need is to strengthen domestic growth impulses by spurring private investment that has remained sluggish.

Image result for RBI cuts benchmark interest rate again, lowers GDP forecast to 7.2%

Flexible Inflation Targeting Framework (FITF)

  • Now there is a flexible inflation targeting framework in India (after the 2016 amendment to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Act, 1934).

  • The amended RBI Act provides for the inflation target to be set by the Government of India, in consultation with the Reserve Bank, once every five years.

  • Current Inflation Target: The Central Government has notified 4 percent Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation as the target for the period from August 5, 2016, to March 31, 2021, with the upper tolerance limit of 6 percent and the lower tolerance limit of 2 percent.

  • Factors that constitute a failure to achieve the inflation target:

  • The average inflation is more than the upper tolerance level of the inflation target for any three consecutive quarters

  • The average inflation is less than the lower tolerance level for any three consecutive quarters.

Monetary Policy Committee (MPC)

  • Now in India, the policy interest rate required to achieve the inflation target is decided by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).

  • MPC is a six-member committee constituted by the Central Government (Section 45ZB of the amended RBI Act, 1934).

  • MPC is required to meet at least four times in a year. The quorum for the meeting of the MPC is four members.

  • Each member of the MPC has one vote, and in the event of an equality of votes, the Governor has a second or casting vote.

  • The resolution adopted by the MPC is published after the conclusion of every meeting of the MPC.


2. Adichanallur site belongs to a period between 905 and 696 BC

Image result for Adichanallur site

Carbon dating of samples excavated from the Adichanallur site in Thoothukudi district has revealed that they belonged to the period between 905 BC and 696 BC.

In details

  • The March 18, 2019, carbon dating report of samples that were sent to Beta Analytic Testing Laboratory, USA, was submitted to the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court.

  • A Division Bench observed that this proved Adichanallur was one of the earliest ancient sites in Tamil Nadu.

  • Based on the carbon dating report, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has to take a decision whether it was going to excavate on its own or the Centre would permit the State to excavate the site.


Adichanallur site

  • The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) started digging the site in February 2004, about 100 years after the last excavation activity there.

  • It is an extraordinarily large urn-burial site spread over 114 acres (45.6 hectares) on a low, rocky hillock on the right bank of the Tamiraparani River.

Related image

  • A total of 157 burial urns were found, 57 of them intact and 15 with complete human skeletons inside.

  • Many of the urns, especially those that contained human skeletons, were covered with another urn, in what is called a “twin-pot” system.

  • They had been buried after cutting the rock in circular pits, into which the urns were lowered in a three-tier formation.

  • The earliest burials formed the lowermost tier, which left enough space above to accommodate future burials.



3. CCMB have discovered a new enzyme

Image result for new enzyme

Scientists at CCMB have discovered a new enzyme which helps in breaking cell walls of bacteria and hence, offers a potential for a new drug delivery route to arrest the anti-bacterial resistance.


About the news

  • Researchers discovered that by blocking ‘scissors enzyme’ from functioning, new ways to target microbes could be found, leading to a new wave of antibiotic drug.

  • Other bacteria, too, have the same enzyme working on cell division as the cell wall is fundamental for bacterial growth and division.

  • The new enzyme offers a potential for a new drug delivery route to arrest the anti-bacterial resistance through existing antibiotic drugs.

  • It opens up fresh ways to target microbes, leading to a new wave of antibiotic drugs.

Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology:

Related image

  • The Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CCMB) is a premier research organization which conducts high quality basic research and trainings in frontier areas of modern biology.

  • It was set up initially as a semi-autonomous Centre on April 1, 1977 with the Biochemistry Division of the then Regional Research Laboratory (presently, Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, IICT) Hyderabad.

  • It is located in Hyderabad and operates under the aegis of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

  • It is designated as “Centre of Excellence” by the Global Molecular and Cell Biology Network, UNESCO.


4. Health Ministry forms a Solidarity Human Chain

Image result for Health Ministry forms a Solidarity Human Chain

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare along with World Health Organization (WHO) formed a Solidarity Human Chain as part of the World Health Day celebrations to reaffirm their commitment to bridging gaps and working collaboratively towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

World Health Day

  • In 1948, the First World Health Assembly called for the creation of a "World Health Day".

  • Since 1950, World Health Day has been celebrated on the 7th of April of each year.

  • The objective of World Health Day is to raise global awareness of a specific health theme to highlight a priority area of concern for the World Health Organization (WHO).

  • The theme of World Health Day 2019 is Universal Health Coverage: Everyone, Everywhere.



India's move towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC)

Image result for Universal Health Coverage (UHC)

  • Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (2008): It covers the cost of secondary-level hospitalization.

  • National Program for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, CVDs and Stroke (NPPCDS)

  • National Urban health Mission: It provides health care to urban population. Later NRHM and NUHM were clubbed into National Health Mission

  • In addition, there are a number of state-specific schemes. Some involve running free diagnostics facilities and offering free medicines; others are government-funded health insurance schemes in several states.

  • Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna (AB-PMJAY): Launched on 23rd September 2018.


5. UAE’s top honour for PM Narendra Modi

Image result for UAE’s top honour for PM Narendra Modi

About the news

  • UAE President has awarded Prime Minister Narendra Modi the country’s highest civilian award, "the Order of Zayed"

  • The award is given in recognition of the "pivotal role" he played in strengthening ties between the two nations.

  • UAE’s highest civilian decoration, the Order of Zayed, is awarded to those who contribute to international leadership in strengthening relations with the country.