Current Affairs 4 April 2019 Digest 3: UAE honours PM Narendra Modi with Zayed Medal; RBI cuts Repo Rate to 6%
Story 1: UAE honours PM Narendra Modi with Zayed Medal
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on April 4, 2019 honoured PM Narendra Modi with its highest decoration, Zayed Medal in recognition of his "pivotal role" in strengthening ties between the two nations.
The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan tweeted "We have historical and comprehensive strategic ties with India, reinforced by the pivotal role of my dear friend, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who gave these relations a big boost. In appreciation of his efforts, the UAE President grants him the Zayed Medal.”
The Zayed Medal is the highest decoration of the UAE awarded to kings, presidents and heads of states.
The honour has previously been conferred on the leaders of several countries including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Queen of the United Kingdom Elizabeth II.
India-UAE bilateral relations
India-UAE bilateral relations grew warm and strong after Prime Minister Modi paid a visit to the nation in 2015. Later, the Crown Prince visited India in 2017 as the Chief Guest for Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi.
Lately, the visit of the PM Modi to UAE in February 2018 helped in providing impetus to the relations. During the visit, both sides set an ambitious target of USD 100 billion in bilateral trade by the year 2020.
India and UAE are one of the largest trade partners for each other and have made robust investments bilaterally with bilateral trade amounting to almost USD 50 billion in 2017.
The UAE accounts for 8 percent of India's oil imports and is the fifth largest supplier of crude oil to India.
The country is also a part of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), which is headquartered in Gurugram, India and hosts a 3.3 million-strong Indian community, which amounts to the largest number of Indians outside India.
Indians also make up the largest ethnic group in the UAE making up roughly 27 percent of the total UAE`s residents.
Story2: First Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement 2019-20: RBI cuts Repo Rate to 6%
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on April 4, 2019 released its First Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement 2019-20.
After assessing the current and evolving macroeconomic situation in the economy, the six member- Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) decided to:
• Reduce the policy Repo Rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) by 25 basis points to 6 percent from 6.25 percent with immediate effect.
• Consequently, the Reverse Repo Rate under the LAF stands adjusted to 5.75 percent
• The Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate stand at 6.25 percent.
The MPC also decided to maintain the neutral monetary policy stance. The MPC voted 4:2 in favour of the 25 basis point cut.
The decision of the MPC was in consonance with the objective of achieving the medium-term target for Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation of 4 percent within a band of +/- 2 percent.
Highlights of the Monetary Policy
• Inflation remained below the RBI’s 4 percent target for 7 months but core inflation, excluding food and fuel.
• The CPI inflation was revised downwards to 2.4 percent in Q4 of 2018-19, around 2.9-3 percent in the first half of 2019-20 and 3.5-3.8 percent in the second half of 2019-20.
• The committee projected GDP growth of 7.2 percent in the financial year 2019-20.