RBI Must Not Ignore Inflation


Despite being legally mandated to keep inflation in check, RBI has persisted with easy monetary policy, even as inflationary pressures have increased. We need to understand why, and what could be the repercussions.

Inflation problem in India

  • For most of the past two years, CPI (consumer price index) inflation has been hovering close to the 6 per cent upper threshold of the RBI’s target band.
  • Inflation averaged 6.1 per cent during the pandemic period (April 2020 to June 2021), despite a massive collapse in aggregate demand.
  • Then in January 2022, as food prices recovered, headline inflation once again crossed the upper threshold of the inflation targeting band.
  • Inflationary pressures do not seem to be diminishing either. Instead, they continue to build up.
  • The standard measure of inflation “in the pipeline” is WPI (wholesale price index) inflation, since price increases at the wholesale level tend to translate into retail inflation in due course.
  •  Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has resulted in a sharp increase in global commodity prices, including prices of crude oil, edible oils, and fertilisers.
  • Indian firms are already adapting to this situation, passing on commodity price increase to retail prices.

Issues with RBI’s stance

  • Standard economics gives us a guide for how central banks should react in a situation like this.
  • Two conditions: It says that monetary policy should accommodate the first round of commodity price increase, but only under certain conditions, notably that inflation is initially on target, and expectations are firmly anchored.
  • But neither condition holds at present. Inflation is already too high, and so are expectations.
  • An argument is nonetheless being made that monetary policy should not be tightened when inflation is driven by supply-side factors, as it can adversely impact growth.

Why RBI is ignoring inflationary pressure?

  • The problem seems to be that governments all over the world are worried about growth.
  • The US Federal Reserve has been slow to raise rates even as inflation has reached a four-decade high. The European Central Bank has been even slower to react.
  • In India, monetary policy also suffers from a strong fiscal dominance.
  • As a result, not only is the RBI expected to support growth, it is also expected to keep the government’s borrowing costs in check, which is in direct conflict with its inflation targeting objective.

Implications of RBI ignoring inflationary pressure

  • Aggressive reduction in interest rates
  • Impact on credibility of the RBI
  • If the public sees the RBI consistently ignoring inflation, expectations can rapidly get unanchored, and then it becomes very costly to bring it down.

Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, 2022


The bill that would allow the police and prison authorities to collect, store and analyse physical and biological samples, including retina and iris scans, was introduced in the Lok Sabha.

Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill

  • It authorises law enforcement agencies to collect, store and analyse physical and biological samples of convicts and other persons for the purposes of identification and investigation in criminal matters.
  • It seeks to repeal the Identification of Prisoners Act 1920 
  •  Provides access to a limitedcategory of persons whose body measurements can be taken.
  • Any state government OR Union Territory administration may notify an appropriate agency to collect, preserve and share the measurements of a person of interest in their respective jurisdictions.

Key features of the Bill

  • Define “measurements”: To include finger impressions, palm-print and foot-print impressions, photographs, iris and retina scan, physical, biological samples and their analysis, etc.;
  • Empower the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB): To collect, store and preserve the record of measurements and for sharing, dissemination, destruction and disposal of records;
  • Empower a Magistrate: To direct any person to give measurements; a Magistrate can also direct law enforcement officials to collect fingerprints, footprint impressions and photographs in the case of a specified category of convicted and non-convicted persons;
  • Empower police or prison officers: To take measurements of any person who resists or refuses to give measurements
  • Authorises police to record signatures, handwriting or other behavioural attributes: Referred to in section 53 or section 53A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, for the purposes of analysis.

Notable feature: Maintenance of Record

  • The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) will be the repository of physical and biological samples, signature and handwriting data that can be preserved for at least 75 years.
  • The record of these measurements will be retained in digital or electronic form for a period of seventy-five years from the date of collection.
  • The court or Magistrate, for reasons to be recorded in writing, can direct agencies to maintain the records.
  • The records are to be destroyed in the case of any person who has not been previously convicted of an offence punishable under any law with imprisonment for any term.

Issues with the Bill

  • Un-constitutionality:  will be debated against Article 20(3) of the Constitution, which is a fundamental right that guarantees the right against self-incrimination.
  • Violation of Article 21:  seeks to apply these provisions to persons held under any preventive detention law.
  • Legislative competence of Centre:  beyond the legislative competence of Parliament as it violated fundamental rights of citizens, including the right to privacy.
  • Contentious provisions:  proposes to collect samples even from protesters engaged in political protests.
  • Lack of clarity: Several provisions are not defined in the Bill itself. For instance, the statement of objects says it provides for collection of measurements for “convicts and other persons” but the expression “other persons” is not defined.
  • Other: While the jurisprudence around the right to be forgotten is still in an early stage in India, the Puttaswamy judgment discusses it as a facet of the fundamental right to privacy.

States can identify Minorities: Centre


In an affidavit filed in the top court, the Union Ministry of Minority Affairs said “state governments can also declare a religious or linguistic community as a ‘minority community’ within the state”.

Why in news?

  • The Centre was responding to a petition filed stating that the followers of Judaism, Baha’ism and Hinduism — who are the real minorities in Ladakh, Mizoram, Lakshadweep, Kashmir, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Punjab and Manipur.
  • They however cannot establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
  • The government’s affidavit explained that Parliament and State legislatures have concurrent powers to enact laws to provide for the protection of minorities and their interests.

Various states on Minorities

  • The Centre gave the example of how Maharashtra notified ‘Jews’ as a minority community within the State.
  • Again, Karnataka notified Urdu, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Marathi, Tulu, Lambadi, Hindi, Konkani and Gujarati as minority languages within the State.

Who are the Minorities?

  • Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Jain and Zorastrians (Parsis) have been notified as minority communities under Section 2 (c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.
  • As per the Census 2011, the percentage of minorities in the country is about 19.3% of the total population of the country.
  • The population of Muslims are 14.2%; Christians 2.3%; Sikhs 1.7%, Buddhists 0.7%, Jain 0.4% and Parsis 0.006%.
  • Minority Concentration Districts (MCD), Minority Concentration Blocks and Minority Concentration Towns, have been identified on the basis of both population data and backwardness parameters of Census 2001 of these areas.

Defining Minorities

  • The Constitution recognizes Religious minorities in India and Linguistic minorities in India through Article 29 and Article 30.
  • But Minority is not defined in the Constitution.
  • Currently, the Linguistic minorities in India are identified on a state-wise basis thus determined by the state government whereas Religious minorities in India are determined by the Central Government.
  • The Parliament has the legislative powers and the Centre has the executive competence to notify a community as a minority under Section 2(c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act of 1992.

Article 29: It provides that any section of the citizens residing in any part of India having a distinct language, script, or culture of its own, shall have the rights of minorities in India to conserve the same. Article 29 is applied to both minorities (religious minorities in India and Linguistic minorities in India) and also the majority. It also includes – rights of minorities in India to agitate for the protection of language.

Article 30: All minorities shall have the rights of minorities in India to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. Article 30 recognises only Religious minorities in India and Linguistic minorities in India (not the majority). It includes the rights of minorities in India to impart education to their children in their own language.

Article 350-B: Originally, the Constitution of India did not make any provision with respect to the Special Officer for Linguistic minorities in India. However, the 7th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1956 inserted Article 350-B in the Constitution. It provides for a Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities appointed by the President of India. It would be the duty of the Special Officer to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards provided for linguistic minorities under the Constitution.

Detecting Microplastics in Human Blood

A study by researchers from The Netherlands has found Microplastics in blood samples. About half of these were PET (polyethylene tertraphthalate) plastics, which is used to make food grade bottles.

What are Microplastics?

  • Microplastics are tiny bits of various types of plastic found in the environment.
  • The name is used to differentiate them from “macroplastics” such as bottles and bags made of plastic.
  • There is no universal agreement on the size of microplastics. It defines microplastic as less than 5mm in length.
  • However, for the purposes of this study, since the authors were interested in measuring the quantities of plastic that can cross the membranes and diffuse into the body via the blood stream.
  • Hence they agreed on an upper limit on the size of the particles as 0.0007 millimetre

Health hazard of microplastics

  • It is not yet clear if these microplastics can cross over from the blood stream to deposit in organs and cause diseases.
  • The report point out that the human placenta has shown to be permeable to tiny particles of polystyrene ( 50, 80 and 24 nanometre beads).
  • Experiments on rats where its lungs were exposed to polystryrene spheres (20 nanometre) led to translocation of the nanoparticles to the placental and fetal tissue.
  • Oral administration of microplastics in rats led to accumulation of these in the liver, kidney and gut.
  • Further studies have to be carried out to really assess the impact of plastics on humans.

What are Articulated All-Terrain Vehicles?

The Indian Army has issued a Request For Information (RFI) for the supply of Articulated All-Terrain Vehicles to be deployed in Ladakh and Kutch.

What are Articulated All-Terrain Vehicles?

  • Articulated ATV is a twin cabin, tracked, amphibious carrier for off road mobility.
  • The special design of this equipment exerts low ground pressure on the soil and a pull-push mode of locomotion between two cabins facilitates mobility over varied terrains like snow, desert and slush.
  • A ballistic protection in the cabin body ensures protection to troops travelling in it from small arms fire.
  • They can reach where wheeled vehicles cannot due to deep snow, slush or marshy terrain and can be very effective for patrolling and rapid deployment in operational situations.

Utility of these vehicles

  • These vehicles are very useful to move troops or supplies in snow-bound terrains and in marshy/sandy environments.
  • The Indian Army wishes to use these vehicles in the snow-bound areas of Ladakh and in the marshy terrain of the Rann of Kutch

Malabar Rebellion

  • The Malabar Rebellion in 1921 started as resistance against the British colonial rule and the feudal system in southern Malabar but ended in communal violence between Hindus and Muslims.
  • There were a series of clashes between Mappila peasantry and their landlords, supported by the British, throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • It began as a reaction against a heavy-handed crackdown on the Khilafat Movement, a campaign in defence of the Ottoman Caliphate by the British authorities in the Eranad and Valluvanad taluks of Malabar.
  • The Mappilas attacked and took control of police stations, British government offices, courts and government treasuries.

Who was Variyankunna Kunjahammed Haji?

  • He was one of the leaders of the Malabar Rebellion of 1921.
  • He raised 75000 natives, seized control of large territory from the British rule and set up a parallel government.
  • In January 1922, under the guise of a treaty, the British betrayed Haji through his close friend Unyan Musaliyar, arresting him from his hideout and producing him before a British judge.
  • He was sentenced to death along with his compatriots.


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