Daily Current Affairs : 7th June

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Cabinet Committees
  2. RBI Interest Rate cut
  3. Anti Defection Law
  4. New START Pact
  5. Art & Culture – Sarod, Kathak, National School of Drama
  6. Shortwave Transmission
  7. Facts for Prelims : NEFT/RTGS, Fiscal Performance Index

1 . Cabinet Committees

Context : Under the Transaction of Business Rules, the Government has reconstituted Cabinet Committees. These include – Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, Cabinet Committee on Accommodation, Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs, Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs, Cabinet Committee on Security, Cabinet Committee on Investment and Growth and Cabinet Committee on Employment and Skill Development. 

About Cabinet Committees

  • Prime minister sets up different cabinet committees with select members of the cabinet and assigns specific functions to such committees for smooth and convenient functioning of the government.

Need of Cabinet Committees

  • The executive works under the Government of India Transaction of Business Rules, 1961. These Rules emerge out of Article 77(3) of the Constitution, which states: “The President shall make rules for the more convenient transaction of the business of the Government of India, and for the allocation among Ministers of the said business.”
  • The Rules mandate the minister-in-charge of a department (ministry) to dispose of “all business allotted to a department under” him or her.
  • When the subject of a case concerns more than one department”, no decision can be taken until all such departments have concurred, or, failing such concurrence, a decision thereon has been taken by or under the authority of the Cabinet.
  • The Prime Minister constitutes Standing Committees of the Cabinet and sets out the specific functions assigned to them. He can add or reduce the number of committees.
  • Ad hoc committees of ministers, including Groups of Ministers, may be appointed by the Cabinet or by the Prime Minister for specific matters.

Key Committees

  • Appointments: This panel makes appointments to posts of the three service chiefs, Director General of Military Operations, chiefs of all Air and Army Commands, Director General of Defence Intelligence Agency, Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister, Director General of Armed Forces Medical Services, Director General of Ordnance Factories, Director General of Defence Estates, Controller General of Defence Accounts, Director of Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, Solicitor-General, Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, Chairman and Members of the Railway Board, Chief Vigilance Officers in Public Sector Undertakings and Secretariat posts of and above the rank of Joint Secretary in the Central Government. This Committee decides on all important empanelments and shift of officers serving on Central deputation.
  • Accommodation: The Cabinet Committee on Accommodation determines the guidelines or rules with regard to the allotment of government accommodation. It also takes a call on the allotment of government accommodation to non-eligible persons and organisations as also the rent to be charged from them. It can consider the allotment of accommodation from the General Pool to Members of Parliament. It can consider proposals for shifting existing Central Government Offices to locations outside the capital.
  • Economic Affairs: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs is supposed to review economic trends, problems and prospects “for evolving a consistent and integrated economic policy”, coordinate all activities requiring policy decisions at the highest level, deal with fixation of prices of agricultural produce and prices of essential commodities. It considers proposals for investment of more than Rs 1,000 crore, deal with industrial licensing policies and review rural development and the Public Distribution System.
  • Parliamentary Affairs: The Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs draws the schedule for Parliament sessions and monitors the progress of government business in Parliament. It scrutinises non-government business and decides which official Bills and resolutions are to be presented.
  • Political Affairs: The Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs addresses problems related to Centre-state relations. It also examines economic and political issues that require a wider perspective but have no internal or external security implications.
  • Security: The Cabinet Committee on Security deals with issues relating to law and order, internal security and policy matters concerning foreign affairs with internal or external security implications. It also goes into economic and political issues related to national security. It considers all cases involving capital defence expenditure more than Rs 1,000 crore. It considers issues related to the Department of Defence Production and the Department of Defence Research and Development, Services Capital Acquisition plans and schemes for procurement of security-related equipment.

2 . RBI Interest Rate cut

Context : The benchmark interest rate of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) fell below 6% for the first time since 2010 as the central bank’s monetary policy committee (MPC) cut repo rates by 25 basis points (bps) to 5.75% in order to address growth concerns. The stance of the policy has also been changed from neutral to accommodative, which means a hike in interest rates is ruled out going forward.

Details about the MPC decisions

  • Monetary Policy Committee unanimously cut repo rate — the rate at which it lends to banks — by 25 basis points from 6 per cent to 5.75 per cent.
  • The bank also changed the monetary policy stance from neutral to accommodative.
  • The reverse repo rate and bank rate have been adjusted at 5.50 and 6.0 per cent respectively.
  • The bank also lowered the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth forecast for 2019-20 to 7 per cent from 7.2 per cent in earlier projection.
  • Inflation projection has been raised to 3-3.1 per cent for April-September and 3.4-3.7 per cent for the second half of the year.
  • RBI has decided to do away with charges levied on RTGS and NEFT transactions, banks will be required to pass this benefit to their customers.

Effects of Rate Cut

  • Repo rate is the interest at which RBI lends money to other commercial banks in exchange for government securities.
  • After a rate cut, the commercial banks can withdraw money from the central bank at a lower interest rate. Therefore, the interest rates on loans are likely to decline
  • Home loans, personal loans, and auto loans are set to get cheaper for the public at large, as the lenders prepare to transfer the benefits to their customers
  • It can also increase money supply in the economy, Increase in demand of goods & Increase in GDP growth rate
  • It may also have an impact on inflation

Policy Stances of RBI

Accommodative Stance

  • Accommodative stance means the central bank is telling the market to expect a rate cut anytime
  • Usually, this policy is adopted when there is slowdown in the economy.

Neutral stance

  • Neutral stance doesn’t have any particular meaning. This means anything can happen anytime means the RBI would have the flexibility to either increase or decrease the policy rates

Tight and Calibrated Tightening stance

  • Tight – It indicates an impending rate hike
  • Calibrated Tightening – RBI would either keep the rates constant or increase the rates.

About Monetary Policy Committee

  • Section 45ZB of the amended RBI Act, 1934, also provides for an empowered six-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to be constituted by the Central Government .
  • The Government, accordingly, constituted the six member MPC in September 2016.
  • The Monetary Policy Committee shall consist of:
    • the Governor of the RBI;
    • Deputy Governor of the RBI in charge of Monetary Policy;
    • one officer of the RBI to be nominated by the Central Board; 
    • three persons to be appointed by the Central Government 
  • The Monetary Policy Committee has been entrusted with the statutory duty to determine the Policy Rate required to achieve the inflation target.
  • The Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Department(MPD) assists the MPC in formulating the monetary policy.
  • Under the amended RBI Act, the 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 of the RBI has a second or casting vote.
  • The decision of the Monetary Policy Committee is binding on the RBI and the RBI shall publish a document explaining the steps to be taken by it to implement the decisions of the Monetary Policy Committee

3 . Anti Defection Law

Context : Legislature Secretary V. Narasimha Charyulu issued a bulletin stating that the Speaker had taken note that the 12 Congress MLAs were deemed to have been merged with the TRSLP as per Tenth Schedule of the Constitution.

What is the anti-defection law

  • The anti-defection law sought to prevent such political defections which may be due to reward of office or other similar considerations.
  • The Tenth Schedule was inserted in the Constitution in 1985. It lays down the process by which legislators may be disqualified on grounds of defection by the Presiding Officer of a legislature based on a petition by any other member of the House.
  • A legislator is deemed to have defected if he either voluntarily gives up the membership of his party or disobeys the directives of the party leadership on a vote. 
  • This implies that a legislator defying (abstaining or voting against) the party whip on any issue can lose his membership of the House.  The law applies to both Parliament and state assemblies.

Exceptions under the law

  • The law allows a party to merge with or into another party provided that at least two-thirds of its legislators are in favour of the merger. In such a scenario, neither the members who decide to merge, nor the ones who stay with the original party will face disqualification.

Other Features

  • The law provides for a member to be disqualified if he ‘voluntarily gives up his membership’. However, the Supreme Court has interpreted that in the absence of a formal resignation by the member, the giving up of membership can be inferred by his conduct. In other judgments, members who have publicly expressed opposition to their party or support for another party were deemed to have resigned
  • Decision of the Presiding Officer is subject to judicial review 


  • The anti-defection law seeks to provide a stable government by ensuring the legislators do not switch sides. However, this law also restricts a legislator from voting in line with his conscience, judgement and interests of his electorate. Such a situation impedes the oversight function of the legislature over the government, by ensuring that members vote based on the decisions taken by the party leadership, and not what their constituents would like them to vote for.
  • Political parties issue a direction to MPs on how to vote on most issues, irrespective of the nature of the issue. Several experts have suggested that the law should be valid only for those votes that determine the stability of the government (passage of the annual budget or no-confidence motions

Way Forward

  • Various expert committees have recommended that rather than the Presiding Officer, the decision to disqualify a member should be made by the President (in case of MPs) or the Governor (in case of MLAs) on the advice of the Election Commission.
  • This would be similar to the process followed for disqualification in case the person holds an office of profit (i.e. the person holds an office under the central or state government which carries a remuneration, and has not been excluded in a list made by the legislature).

4 . New START Pact

Context : Russia was prepared to drop a nuclear weapons agreement treaty with the U.S. and warned of “global catastrophe” if Washington keeps dismantling a global arms control regime.

About New START

  • New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) is a nuclear arms reduction treaty between the United States and the Russian Federation with the formal name of Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms. It was signed on 8 April 2010 in Prague and, after ratification entered into force on 5 February 2011. It is expected to last at least until 2021.
  • New START replaced the Treaty of Moscow (SORT), which was due to expire in December 2012. Its name is a follow-up to the START I treaty, which expired in December 2009, the proposed START II treaty, which never entered into force, and the START III treaty, for which negotiations were never concluded.
  • Terms of Treaty
    • Under terms of the treaty, the number of strategic nuclear missile launchers will be reduced by half.
    • The treaty limits the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550
    • It will also limit the number of deployed and non-deployed inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) launchers, submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) launchers, and heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments
    • A new inspection and verification regime will be established, replacing the SORT mechanism.
    • It does not limit the number of operationally inactive stockpiled nuclear warheads that remain in the high thousands in both the Russian and American inventories

5 . Art & Culture


  • The word Kathak has been derived from the word Katha which means a story. Kathakars or story-tellers, are people who narrate stories largely based on episodes from the epics, myths and legends. It probably started as an oral tradition. Mime and gestures were perhaps added later on to make the recitation more effective. Thus evolved a simple form of expressional dance, providing the origins of what later developed into Kathak as we see it today.
  • The Vaishnavite cult which swept North India in the 15th century. and the resultant bhakti movement contributed to a whole new range of lyrics and musical forms. The Radha-Krishna theme proved immensely popular alongwith the works of Mirabai, Surdas, Nandadas and Krishnadas.
  • With the coming of the Mughals, this dance form received a new impetus. A transition from the temple courtyard to the palace durbar took place which necessitated changes in presentation
  • The nineteenth century saw the golden age of Kathak under the patronage of Wajid Ali Shah, the last Nawab of Oudh. He established the Lucknow gharana with its strong accent on bhava, the expression of moods and emotions. The Jaipur gharana known for its layakari or rhythmic virtuosity and the Benaras gharana are other prominent schools of Kathak dance.
  • Distinct dance form :
    • Being the only classical dance of India having links with Muslim culture, it represents a unique synthesis of Hindu and Muslim genius in art.
    • Kathak is the only form of classical dance wedded to Hindustani or the North Indian music.

National School of Drama

  • The National School of Drama is one of the foremost theatre training institutions in the world and the only one of its kind in India.
  • It was set up by the Sangeet Natak Akademi as one of its constituent units in 1959.
  • In 1975, it became an independent entity and was registered as an autonomous organization under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860, fully financed by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.


  • The sarod  is a stringed instrument, used mainly in Hindustani music.
  • Along with the sitar, it is among the most popular and prominent instruments.

6 . Short Wave Transmission

Context : If Prasar Bharati has its way, All India Radio will have to stop all global short wave (SW) transmissions — 80 years after it began international broadcasting in 1939. AIR is resisting the move, arguing that this will curtail its global reach.

About Shortwave Transmission

  • Shortwave radio has a huge range – it can be received thousands of miles from the transmitter, and transmissions can cross oceans and mountain ranges.
  • Shortwave radio overcomes boundaries, whether geographical or political. SW transmissions are easy to receive, too: even cheap, simple radios are able to pick up a signal.
  • Turning on an SW radio, you can access through the broadcast of other countries as well. Thus, it earned the nickname ‘world band radio’

About AIR Short wave transmissions

  • There are about 46 SW transmitters that beam both domestic and external services. Of these, 28 are used for external services alone. Barring three that were recently installed, all the others will have to be shut down over the next six months. The external services go out to 150 countries in 13 Indian languages and 15 foreign languages.
  • National Channel of All India Radio located in Delhi broadcasted programmes which were heard on Medium Wave and also on Short Wave
  • The Regional Channels, broadcast largely on the Medium Wave frequency
  • Local radio stations serve small communities, showcase local culture and broadcast area specific programmes for the benefit of the community. The transmission is in the FM mode

Medium Wave and Frequency Modulation (FM)

  • Medium-wave radio is generally used for transmission to local and regional areas. With a medium transmission range, it can reach isolated areas with a strong, reliable signal.
  • FM provides a short-range signal – generally to anywhere within sight of the transmitter, with excellent sound quality. It can typically cover the area of a small city or large town – making it perfect for a radio station focusing on a limited geographical area speaking into local issues. While shortwave and medium-wave stations can be expensive to operate, a license for a community-based FM station is much cheaper. 

7 . Facts for Prelims


  • NEFT : National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) is a payment system that facilitates one-to-one funds transfer. Using NEFT, people can electronically transfer money from any bank branch to a person holding an account with any other bank branch, which is participating in the payment system. The NEFT transactions can be carried out in bulk and repetitively.
  • RTGS : Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) is another payment system in which the money is credited in the beneficiary’s account in real time. This fund transfer method is typically used to transfer enormous sum of money.
  • IMPS : IMPS is an abbreviation for Immediate Mobile Payment Services, which is an instant inter-bank funds transfer system. This funds transfer method is more customer-centric than the other two as it allows the remitter to transfer funds using their smartphones.

Fiscal Performance Index

  • Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has launched a Fiscal Performance Index (FPI) to assess state and central budgets.
  • The Index incorporates qualitative assessments of revenue expenditure, capital expenditure, revenues, fiscal prudence and the level of public debt arrive at a more holistic picture of fiscal performance than the fiscal deficit to GDP ratio according to the CII. 
  • Index will consider expenditure on infrastructure, education, healthcare and other social sectors beneficial for economic growth compared to other revenue expenditure. It will also consider tax revenues a more sustainable source of revenues for the government as compared to one-time income sources 
  • A single criterion such as the ‘fiscal deficit to GDP ratio’ does not tell us anything about the quality of the Budget. Hence, the Government should use multiple indicators to measure the quality of Budgets at the Central and the State levels rather than a single indicator 

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