02 APRIL 2021
Daily Current Affairs based on ‘The Hindu’ newspaper as per the syllabus of UPSC Civil Services Examination (Prelims and Mains) compiled by Mrs. Bilquees Khatri.
|1.||GS III: ECONOMY – POLICY||No interest cut on small savings|
|2.||GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA – ASIA||Pakistan freezes plan to allow imports from India|
|3.||GS : AWARDS||Dadasaheb Phalke for Rajinikanth|
|4.||GS II: MULTILATERAL||BIMSTEC meet skirts Myanmar violence|
GS III: ECONOMY – POLICY
No interest cut on small savings
- Hours after notifying significant cuts in small savings instruments’ returns for this quarter, the government backtracked and reversed the sharp rate cuts that sent the Public Provident Fund (PPF) return to a multi-decade low.
- The rates notified on 31st March for the April to June 2021 quarter were 40 basis points (0.4%) to 110 basis points (1.1%) lower on different instruments.
- This is the first time that the Centre has scrapped the notified interest rates on small savings schemes after switching to a quarterly interest rate setting system for them, beginning April 2016.
- The ongoing Assembly elections may have influenced the government to rethink the rate cut following a sharp backlash overnight on various social media platforms about the middle class being squeezed further even as retail inflation, and fuel and LPG cylinder prices, are soaring.
- The government resets the interest rate on small savings instruments every quarter, but this round of cuts was significant after three quarters of the rates being left untouched. The last round of reductions was in the April to June quarter of 2020, when small savings rates had been cut between 0.5% and 1.4%.
GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA – ASIA
Pakistan freezes plan to allow imports from India
- Just a day after announcing its plan to allow import of cotton and sugar from India, the Pakistan government on 1st April 2021 said it was “deferring” the decision and linked any “normalisation” in ties to moves by New Delhi on Jammu and Kashmir.
- The U-turn was seen as an embarrassment for the Imran Khan government and, in particular, for the newly appointed Finance Minister Hammad Azhar, who had addressed a press conference announcing clearances by the Economic Coordination Council (ECC) for imports from India, which have been suspended since August 2019.
- “An impression was emerging that ties with India are moving towards normalisation and trade has been opened. We had a discussion on this, and the unanimous view of the Cabinet was that until the unilateral decisions taken by India on August 5, 2019, are not reconsidered, it would be impossible to normalise relations with India,” Mr. Qureshi said.
- While New Delhi has made it clear that it will not reverse decisions on Article 370 from a slew of measures taken in August 2019, both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have publicly said that the Statehood of Jammu and Kashmir, which has been downgraded to a Union Territory at present, would be restored at an “appropriate” time.
- The Ministry of External Affairs declined to comment, both on the earlier decision to open imports, and the latest one to defer any easing of trade ties.
GS : AWARDS
Dadasaheb Phalke for Rajinikanth
- The Centre announced the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award for Rajinikanth for his contribution as an actor, producer and screenwriter.
- Instituted in 1969, the award is the highest honour for an artiste in Indian cinema.
- It is presented annually at the National Film Awards Ceremony by the Directorate of Film Festivals, an organisation of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
- The award was decided by a jury of five members — Asha Bhonsle, director Subhash Ghai, Mohanlal, Shankar Mahadevan and actor Biswajeet Chatterjee.
- After Amitabh Bachchan received the award in 2018, there had been no nominee for the past three years.
- The decision comes five days ahead of the Assembly election in Tamil Nadu, where the superstar has a huge fan following.
- Three years after taking the first step towards politics, Rajinikanth recently announced that he would not be taking the plunge after all, citing failing health as a reason.
- The BJP had hoped for a tie-up with his proposed political party.
GS II: MULTILATERAL
BIMSTEC meet skirts Myanmar violence
- India expressed commitment about taking the Bay of Bengal community to “new heights”.
- The statement was made by External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar at the ministerial meet of the BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation), which was held virtually.
- The meeting drew participation from all the seven-member States, including Myanmar which is witnessing a large-scale crackdown against anti-military protesters.
- Cohesion among the members has been difficult to achieve mainly because of the Rohingya refugee crisis which created bitterness between Myanmar and Bangladesh.
- This affected the working of the organisation to some extent as it could not develop a common charter.
- However, Mr. Jaishankar announced that the organisation will soon have the common set of rules and goals.
- 1st April 2021 meeting, the 17th BIMSTEC Ministerial, chaired by Sri Lanka, however, avoided any reference to Myanmar’s current crisis.