Current Affairs – June, 2019

Latest Current Affairs June, 2019 with Current Affairs, news summary on current events of National and International importance of June, 2019 for Banking, SSC, CLAT, UPSC, State PCS, IBPS, Railways and other Competitive Examinations.

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EQUIP: 5-year Vision Plan on Quality Education by HRD Ministry

The Higher Education Department of the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development has finalized and released a 5-year Vision Plan titled as Education Quality Upgradation and Inclusion Programme (EQUIP).

About EQUIP

This Vision Plan by HRD Ministry is in accordance with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s direction for finalizing a 5-year Vision plan for each Ministry.

10 Focus Areas: EQUIP report has been prepared after a detailed exercise done by Experts covering following ten areas:

  1. Strategies for expanding access
  2. Towards global best teaching/learning process
  3. Promoting Excellence
  4. Governance reforms
  5. Assessment, Accreditation & Ranking systems
  6. Promotion of research & innovation
  7. Employability & entrepreneurship
  8. Using Technology for better reach
  9. Internationalisation
  10. Financing higher education

Expert Groups: For aforementioned focus areas 10 Expert Group drawn from senior academicians, administrators and industrialists suggested over 50 initiatives that would transform country’s higher education sector completely.

Goals set for Higher Education Sector by Expert Group are-

  1. Doubling Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) and resolving geographically and socially skewed access to higher education institutions in India.
  2. Promoting India as a global study destination.
  3. Upgrade Quality of Education to global standards.
  4. Positioning minimum 50 Indian institutions among Top-1000 Global Universities.
  5. Promote Research & Innovation ecosystems for positioning India in Top-3 countries globally in matters of knowledge creation.
  6. Introducing governance reforms in higher education for well-administered campuses.
  7. Accreditation of all institutions for assurance of quality.
  8. Doubling employability of students passing out of higher education.
  9. Harnessing education technology for expanding reach and improving pedagogy (method and practise of teaching).
  10. Achieving a quantum increase in investment in higher education.

Way Forward

For each of the initiatives mentioned the Expert Groups have recommended modalities for implementation, investments and timelines. This proposal would now be taken for inter-departmental consultations and appraisal through EFC (Expenditure Finance Committee) mechanism before being taken to Cabinet for approval.

India’s Forex reserves rise to a record high of $426.42 billion

As per the data revealed by Reserve Bank of India (RBI), India’s foreign exchange (Forex) reserve rose to a life-time high of $426.42 billion (in week to 21 June 2019) after it surged by $4.215 billion boosted by higher foreign portfolio investments (FPI) and a stable rupee.

Key Highlights

Background: Earlier, the Forex reserves had scaled a record high of $426.028 billion in week to 13 April 2018. Since then it had been fluctuating and had even fallen by more than $35 billion, as monetary authority had been heavily intervening in market to salvage Indian rupee, which was worst performing currency in Asia throughout 2018.In previous reporting week (prior to June 21), reserves had declined by $ 1.358 billion to $422.2 billion.

India’s reserve position with International Monetary Fund (IMF) also rose by $9.6 million to $3.354 billion.

Reason: This rise in reserves was on account of increase in foreign currency asset, which is a major component of overall foreign exchange reserves of the country.

Foreign Currency Assets: expressed in terms of dollars includes effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US units such as British pound, the Japanese yen and euro held in forex reserves. In reporting week of 21 June, foreign currency assets increased by $4.202 billion to $398.649 billion.

Gold Reserves: remained unchanged at $22.958 billion.

Special Drawing Rights (SDR): with IMF increased by $4.2 million to $1.453 billion. India’s reserve position with the fund also rose by $9.6 million to $3.354 billion..

Significance: According to market experts, with $427 billion, reserves can take care of imports for almost 10 months.

About Foreign Reserves

It is the reserve assets held by a central bank of country in foreign currencies which can act as a buffer and can help economy in challenging times. It can also be used to back liabilities on their own issued currency and to influence monetary policy of the country. Almost all countries across the world, regardless of size of their economy, hold significant forex reserves.

Importance: Forex reserves are one of the key revenue earning sources for a country central bank, which invests money in foreign government bonds and also with IMF and other secure investment class.

India’s FOREX Reserves includes components:

  1. Foreign currency assets (FCAs)- It constitutes largest component of Indian Forex Reserves and are expressed in US dollar terms.
  2. Gold Reserves
  3. Special Drawing Rights (SDRs)
  4. Reserve Tranche Position (RTP) of RBI with International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Higher forex reserves are must for a fast-growing economy such as India with higher imports and lower export earnings.

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