Current Affairs 2017 - April

India’s Forex reserves increase by $1.25 billion

According to the Reserve Bank of India’s weekly statistical supplement, India’s foreign exchange (Forex) reserves have increased by $1.25 billion to reach $371.13 billion from $369.88 billion as on April 21, 2017. The current reserves are just short of a lifetime high of USD 371.99 billion reached in the week to September 30, 2016.

Components

The components of India’s Foreign Exchange Reserves include:

  • Foreign currency assets (FCAs)
  • Gold
  • Special Drawing Rights (SDRs)
  • RBI’s Reserve position with International Monetary Fund (IMF)

FCAs constitute the largest component of the Forex Reserves. It was augmented by $1.23 billion to $347.48 billion as on April 21, 2017. FCAs consist of US dollar and other major non-US global currencies. It also comprises of investments in US Treasury bonds, bonds of other selected governments, deposits with foreign central and commercial banks.

The gold reserves stand at $19.86 billion.

SDRs’ value has increased $5 million to $1.45 billion.

RBI’s reserve position with the IMF stands to $2.33 billion.

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Plan for common Engineering entrance exam put on hold

The Ministry of Human Resources and Development has put on hold the plan for conducting a single entrance test for admission to engineering courses throughout the country till a consensus is reached with the states. The ministry feels that without reaching consensus, the purpose of having a common engineering entrance exam would not be served. Also, the ministry wants to discuss the possibility of having common counselling provisions with the states.

However, it is not fully clear whether the consultation with the states will delay the implementation of the plan in 2018. As per the sources, as soon as the consensus is built among the states, the centre will work out the modalities of implementing the plan.

Background

Recently, the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) had passed a regulation to hold a national-level common engineering entrance exam from 2018. But, it was vehemently opposed by states like West Bengal and Tamil Nadu.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Development wants to conduct a common test for admission to engineering courses similar to that of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for medical and dental colleges introduced last year.

At present, various exams are held for admitting students to engineering courses. For instance, the CBSE conducts JEE-Mains exam every year, for which over 11 lakh students appear. Several states have their own tests. In addition, several private colleges have their own entrance examinations. In India, there are over 3,300 approved engineering colleges with an annual intake of around 16 lakh students. So, the government feels that there should be a single common entrance examination for admission to engineering courses.

AICTE

AICTE is a statutory body established in November 1945. It comes under the aegis of Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resources Development. AICTE is a national-level council for technical education responsible for planning and coordination of technical education and management of education system in the country. It accredits graduate and post graduate programs at Indian institutions.

 

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