- The RBI’s decision to infuse rupee liquidity through long term foreign exchange swap, a first of its kind in liquidity management policy, is likely to boost investments by foreign portfolio investors under the voluntary retention route (VRR).
- The central bank will conduct dollar-rupee buy/sell swap action of $5 billion for a three-year tenor, on March 26.
- Such a swap route has been explored by various emerging market economies as an effective tool to manage liquidity.
- Apart from liquidity infusion, the move will boost the country’s foreign exchange reserves and is likely to support the exchange rate.
- Introduced on March 1 by RBI, the VRR for investments by foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) is subject to a minimum retention period of three years from the date of allotment.
- Investments under VRR (by all FPIs taken together) are capped at ₹40,000 crore for government securities and ₹35,000 crore for corporate debt securities.
World Happiness Report
- Indians are not as happy in 2019 as they were in 2018 and the country figures at 140th place, seven spots down from last year’s 133, on UN World Happiness Report- 2019.
- The list is topped by Finland for the second year in a row.
- The report was released on March 20, which has been designated as the World Happiness Day by the UN General Assembly.
- According to the report, the overall world happiness has fallen over the past few years, which has mostly been fuelled by a sustained drop in India, which came in 140th place this yea
- The UN’s annual World Happiness Report ranks the world’s 156 countries on “how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be”.
- Pakistan is ranked 67th, Bangladesh 125th and China is placed at 93rd position.
- People in war-torn South Sudan are the most unhappy with their lives.
- Of the 10 million new tuberculosis (TB) cases reported globally in 2017 by the World Health Organisation, 2.74 million were from India, showing a marginal reduction from 2.79 million in 2016.
- Despite TB incidence in the country being 204 cases per 1,00,000 in 2017, the government has set a highly ambitious target of “eliminating TB by 2025”, five years ahead of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target.
- US announced that the it should recognise Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
- Golan Heights is an area seized from Syria and annexed in a move never recognised by the international community.
- Israel occupied the Golan Heights, West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 Six-Day War. It later annexed the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem in moves never recognised by the most countries.
- AFINDEX-19 is the inaugural Africa-India Field Training Exercise.
- 18 nations are participating in this exercise.
- The activities includes demonstrations and training on establishing & functioning of Mine Action Center, identification and survey of contaminated areas, mechanical and manual demining, disposal of improvised explosives devices and air causality disposal.
- The exercise is focusing on exchange of best practices amongst the participating nations, team building and tactical level operations in conduct of Humanitarian Mine Assistance and Peace Keeping operations based on the guidelines issued by the United Nations.
- Tea exports may end at a level of over 240 million kg in 2018-19.
- Confederation of Independent States (CIS) region include Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan and is the single largest importer at over 50 million kg.