◾ In an unscheduled press briefing Wednesday, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said the Monetary Policy Committee has unanimously voted to raise key interest rates. Citing inflationary pressures and geopolitical tensions, the central bank announced a hike in repo rate by 40 basis points (bps) to 4.40 per cent with immediate effect.
◾ With the rate hike, the EMIs on home, vehicle and other personal and corporate loans are likely to go up. The surprise move also sent markets into a tailspin, with the BSE Sensex closing 1,306.96 points or 2.29 per cent down at a two-month low of 55,669.03.
◾ Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is on a three-day visit to Europe, Wednesday attended the second India-Nordic summit in Denmark that primarily focused on post-pandemic economic recovery, climate change, renewable energy and the evolving global security scenario. Before attending the summit, PM Modi held separate bilateral talks with the prime ministers of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.
◾ As the row over removal of loudspeakers continues across the country, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray has said that his party workers will continue to play the Hanuman Chalisa outside mosques until all loudspeakers are removed.
◾ Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, justifying his government’s decision to remove unauthorised loudspeakers, said they were causing inconvenience and noise pollution, adding “everyone either removed (the loudspeakers) voluntarily or gave their consent for removal.”
◾ And now, the big sports story of the day: The BCCI has banned journalist Boria Majumdar for two years for “threatening and intimidating” India wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha. The Indian Express had reported on April 23 that the BCCI was set to ban Majumdar after its three-member committee found Majumdar guilty of “bullying” Saha.
◾ #ExpressView: Possible undoing of Roe vs Wade in US will not just curtail right to abortion. It will signal a dangerous backsliding on hard-won freedoms.
◾ Days after turning down the Congress’ offer to join the party, Prashant Kishor has been laying the ground for a new political front in Bihar. Some, however, see Kishor as letting his ambition get away with him, in believing that he can win elections now with his “seminar model” of politics.
◾ A ban order issued by the administration against a mutt ritual in Mayiladuthurai near Trichy has triggered a controversy, with rationalists and Hindutva groups taking positions on either side. While K Veeramani, president of the Dravidar Kazhagam, called the ritual “a violation of human rights”, rationalists in the state sought for the practice to be abolished like in the case of hand-pulled rickshaws.
◾ New data from the office of the Registrar General of India show that about 4.75 lakh more deaths were registered in the country in 2020 compared to the previous year. The data are part of information contained in the Civil Registration System for 2020. What does the data say about coronavirus deaths, and why do they not tell the full story of India’s Covid toll? We explain.
◾ After three unsuccessful attempts at disinvesting its stake in Pawan Hans Ltd, the government has approved the sale of the helicopter services provider along with management control to Star9 Mobility Pvt Ltd. What is Pawan Hans, why is it being sold, and what happens here onward? Read here.