- Inflation targeting is a monetary policy in which a central bank has an explicit target inflation rate for the medium term and announces this inflation target to the public.
- It will have price stability as the main goal of monetary policy.
- Many central banks adopted inflation targeting as a pragmatic response to the failure of other monetary policy regimes, such as those that targeted the money supply or the value of the currency in relation to another, presumably stable, currency.
- It will lead to increased transparency and accountability.
- Policy will be linked to medium/long term goals, but with some short term flexibility.
- With inflation targeting in place, people will tend to have low inflation expectations. If there was no inflation target, people could have higher inflation expectations, encouraging workers to demand higher wages and firms to put up prices.
- It also helps in avoiding boom and bust cycles.
- If inflation creeps up, then it can cause various economic costs such as uncertainty leading to lower investment, loss of international competitiveness and reduced value of savings. This can also be avoided with targeting.
- The North Atlantic Aerosols and Marine Ecosystems Study (NAAMES) is an interdisciplinary investigation resolving key processes controlling marine ecosystems and aerosols that are essential to our understanding of Earth system function and future change.
- NAAMES is funded by the NASA Earth Venture Suborbital Program and is the first EV-S mission focused on studying the coupled ocean ecosystem and atmosphere.
- NAAMES consists of four, combined ship and aircraft field campaigns that are each aligned to a specific event in the annual plankton lifecycle. The North Atlantic Aerosols and Marine Ecosystems Study (NAAMES) studies the world’s largest plankton bloom and how it gives rise to small organic particles that leave the ocean and end up in the atmosphere, ultimately influencing clouds and climate.
Road Safety Trust Fund
- UN has launched road safety trust fund aimed at spurring action to help save lives in road accidents.
- The United Nations Road Safety Trust Fund aims to accelerate progress in improving global road safety by bridging the gaps in the mobilization of resources for effective action at all levels.
- The Fund will mobilize resources from governments, intergovernmental or non-governmental organizations, the private sector, philanthropic organizations and individuals.
- UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) will be the secretariat for the Trust Fund.
- The Trust Fund will support efforts along the five pillars of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety, which include strengthened road safety management capacities, improved safety of road infrastructure and broader transport networks, enhanced safety of vehicles, improved behaviour of road users and improved post-crash care.
- India is planning to coordinate with China and other Asian countries to voice against the “Asian Premium” being charged by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
- Soon, the countries will chalk out the strategy that would result in getting better price from OPEC countries.
- Asian Premium is the extra charge being collected by OPEC countries from Asian countries when selling oil.
- The premium is determined in large part by the official selling prices (OSPs) set by Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, and Kuwait, which supply about 15 percent of the world’s crude among them.
- They set differential prices against benchmarks on a monthly basis, adjusting them to account for regional variations.
Financial Action Task Force
- The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 on the initiative of the G7.
- It is a “policy-making body” which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in various areas.
- The objectives of the FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
Babur Weapon System-1 (B)
- Pakistan has successfully test fired an enhanced version of indigenously-built Babur cruise missile.
- ‘Babur Weapon System-1 (B)’ is a low-flying, terrain-hugging missile, which carries certain stealth features and is capable of carrying various types of warheads. It can deliver conventional and non-conventional weapons with a range of 700 kilometres.
- It incorporates advanced aerodynamics and avionics that can strike targets both at land and sea with high accuracy.
- It is equipped with the Terrain Contour Matching (TERCOM) and all time Digital Scene Matching and Area Co-relation (DSMAC) technologies, which enable it to engage in various types of targets with pinpoint accuracy even in the absence of GPS navigation.
Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger
- For each language, the Atlas provides its name, degree of endangerment (see below) and the country or countries where it is spoken.
- Gondi is in the ‘vulnerable’ category.
- The ‘Himalayas’ can be divided into the following sub-divisions – Kashmir Himalayas, Himachal and Uttaranchal Himalayas, Darjeeling Himalayas, Arunachal Himalayas and Eastern Hills and Mountains (they are known by different local names – ex: Patkai Bum, Naga Hills, Lushai Hills etc.)
Micro Solar Dome (MSD)’ or ‘Surya Jyoti’
- A green energy initiative of the Department of Science and Technology.
- The MSD is a day-and-night lighting single device unique in its features, that has a transparent semi-spherical upper dome made of acrylic material which captures the sunlight and the light passes through a sun-tube having a thin layer of highly reflective coating on the inner wall of the passage. There is a shutter in the bottom of the lower dome which can be closed, if light is not required in the daytime. It is leak proof and works throughout the day and 4 hours continuously after sunset (in the case of PV-Integrated MSD). There are two types of MSDs – PV Integrated and non-PV Integrated.
Regional Oil Spill Contingency Plan
- The Union Cabinet recently approved signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and SACEP for cooperation on the response to Oil and Chemical Pollution in the South Asian Seas Region.
- Indian Coast Guard (ICG) will be the Competent National Authority and national operational contact point for implementation of “Regional Oil Spill Contingency Plan” under the MoU and shall respond to oil and chemical spills on behalf of Government of India. Further, ICG Maritime Rescue. Coordination Centres (MRCCs) will be the national emergency response centre for marine incidents.
- In order to promote and support protection, management and enhancement of the environment in the South Asian region, the Governments of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka (same as SAARC membership) established the SACEP in 1982 in Sri Lanka.
- The SACEP jointly with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) developed a “Regional Oil Spill Contingency Plan” to facilitate international co-operation and mutual assistance in preparing and responding to a major oil pollution incident in the seas around the Maritime States of Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
- Indian troops deployed along the disputed Sino-India border in the Himalayan range of the Arunachal sector have increased their patrolling at a tri-junction of India, China and Myanmar to prevent a repeat of a Doklam-like standoff.
- The tri-junction is located around 50 km from Walong, India’s easternmost town in Arunachal Pradesh, near the Tibet region.
- After the tri-junction in Doklam in the Sikkim sector, this is the most important tri-junction along the Sino-India border.
Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana
- PMRPY has been in operation since August, 2016.
- In this scheme, Government is paying the 8.33% contribution of Employers to the Employees’ Pension Scheme (EPS) in respect of new employees (who have joined on or after 1st April 2016) having a new Universal Account Number (UAN), with salary up to Rs. 15,000/- per month.
- The scheme has a dual benefit i.e. on the one hand the employers are incentivized for increasing the employment base of workers in the establishments, and on the other hand a large number of workers will find jobs in such establishments.
- A direct benefit is that these workers will have access to social security benefits of the organized sector.