GS Paper I- Indian Heritage, Culture, History and Geography of the World.

India Donates 16,000 Books To Historic Jaffna Library Besides Other Assistance.

Background-

  • India has expressed willingness to further partner Sri Lanka’s Northern Provincial administration in development initiatives, emphasising the need for a clear economic programme identifying specific areas.
  • Indian High Commissioner Taranjit Singh Sandhu called on Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran in Jaffna, the former’s first visit to the Tamil-majority north after assuming charge in Colombo in January, 2017.

What is Important –

  • Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Taranjit Singh Sandhu handed over as many as 16,000 books to the iconic Jaffna public library.
  • The collection will be kept at the ‘India Corner’ in the library, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated during his maiden visit in 2015. The titles cover topics ranging from culture, literature, philosophy, politics to science, according to Chief Librarian Suganthy Sadasivamoorthy.
  • The new books, mostly in Tamil, will add to the library’s existing collection of nearly 1,00,000 books sourced over the last three decades. In June 1981, the library lost many of its precious titles and manuscripts when an organised mob of Sinhalese set fire to the building. Today, the white-coloured imposing structure — renovated and rebuilt in the late 1990s under President Chandrika Kumaratunga — draws scores of students and researchers.
  • Ms. Sadasivamoorthy said that there is a lot of interest in Indian literature and culture among students and researchers in Jafna.
  • A Thanjavur-based organisation, the Karanthai Tamil Sangam, collected the books for donation to the library. The donors have photocopied some titles on the work of Hindu revivalist Arumuga Navalar, copies of which were destroyed in the 1981 fire.
  • India has been engaging with Sri Lanka’s Tamil political leadership for decades and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar have repeatedly stressed on the need for unity among Tamil politicians, even as the Tamil leadership engages Colombo over political and economic matters.
  • India has been involved in key infrastructure projects in the north in the post-war years, building 46,000 homes in the island’s north and east and helping restore the railway line from Omanthai to Pallai, with a $800 million line of credit. These are part of India’s $2.6 billion commitment for development assistance to Sri Lanka, including $390 million as grants, for projects all over the island.
  • Currently, the Indian side appears keen on working with the Northern Provincial Council, on economic development, skills training and job creation.
  • In a ceremony held on 30th June 2017, the faculties of Agriculture and Engineering at the Kilinochchi campus of University of Jaffna, built with an Indian grant of LKR 600 million, were dedicated.
  • This donation will increase India’s cultural ties with Sri Lanka.

GS Paper II- Constitution, Polity.

Venkaiah Naidu Becomes The New Vice-President Of India

Background-

  • Mr. Venkaiah Naidu, the candidate of the BJP, has been elected as the 15th vice-president of India on 5th August, 2017.
  • He secured a total of 516 votes as against Opposition candidate Gopalkrishna Gandhi’s 244.

Highlights Of The Event-

  • V. Naidu thanked the prime minister and all the party leaders after the confirmation of his win.
  • He said that he will seek to utilise the vice-presidential institution to strengthen the hands of the president and uphold the dignity of the uppper house.
  • Opposition candidate sri Gopal Krishna Gandhi also congratulated Naidu, wishing him all the best.
  • The poll saw a 98.21 per cent polling, which is one of the highest.
  • Contextually, Rajya Sabha members like Mary Kom and former Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar cast their vote during the Vice-Presidential election in New Delhi.
  • However, Lok Sabha MP Chhedi Paswan was debarred from voting because of an interim order from Supreme court on a disqualification petition.

On 4th August, 2017, the PM had met the MPs of NDA and other supporting parties at the GMC auditorium in the Parliament House complex in order to secure the victory of Sri Naidu.

GS Paper III- Economic Development.
RBI Cuts Key Interest Rate By 25 bps to 6%.

Background

  • The RBI has reduced the key policy rate or the repo rate by 25 basis points to 6% in its third monetary policy review on 2nd August, 2017 as retail inflation softened.
  • This is the second rate cut by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) since its inception in October, 2016.

Key Points Of This Development-

  • The decision of the MPC is consistent with a neutral stance of monetary policy in consonance with the objective of achieving the medium-term target for consumer price index (CPI) inflation of 4% within a band of +/- 2% while supporting growth.
  • As a result of the repo rate cut, the reverse repo rate is adjusted to 5.75% and the Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate to 6.25%.
  • Among the MPC members, Chetan Ghate, Pami Dua, Viral V. Acharya, and Urjit R. Patel were in favour of the monetary policy decision, while Ravindra H. Dholakia voted for a policy rate reduction of 50 basis points and Michael Debabrata Patra voted for status quo.

The rate cut comes amid controversy as the nation faces the onslaught of floods and crops are damaged in many places, leading to a price-rise.