From RBI’s MPC meet, budget sessions to Gyanvapi Verdict: Here are key events of February 8 to watch out for; RBI’s MPC meeting; Budget sessions; Gyanvapi Verdict
India witnessed several important events on Monday, February 8, 2024, that had implications for the economy, politics, and society. Here are some of the key events that you should know about.
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RBI’s MPC meeting
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das-led Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) concluded its three-day review meeting on Thursday, with expectations of maintaining the status quo on short-term lending rates. The MPC decided to keep the policy repo rate unchanged at 6.5 per cent, while continuing to focus on withdrawal of accommodation to ensure that inflation progressively aligns to the target, while supporting growth. The MPC also revised its growth projection for 2023-24 to 7.0 per cent from 6.9 per cent earlier, citing continued strengthening of manufacturing activity, buoyancy in construction, and gradual recovery in the rural sector. However, the MPC also cautioned about the headwinds from the geopolitical turmoil, volatility in international financial markets and geoeconomic fragmentation that pose risks to the outlook.
The budget sessions of various state assemblies and the Parliament continued on Monday, with several important bills and discussions taking place. In Arunachal Pradesh, Chief Minister Pema Khandu presented a Rs. 578.50 crore deficit budget for 2024-25, focusing on health, education, infrastructure, and rural development. He also announced several welfare schemes, such as free electricity for BPL households, free sanitary napkins for girls, and free textbooks for students. In Telangana, the state assembly passed a resolution urging the Centre to confer Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award, on former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao, on the occasion of his centenary year. The resolution also demanded that the Centre rename the Hyderabad Central University after Rao. In West Bengal, Finance Minister Amit Mitra presented a Rs. 2.99 lakh crore budget for 2024-25, with no new taxes and a slew of populist measures, such as free ration for the poor, free travel for women in state-run buses, and a monthly allowance for widows and the disabled. Mitra also announced a 3 per cent hike in dearness allowance for state government employees and pensioners. In the Parliament, the Lok Sabha passed the Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020, which seeks to provide greater autonomy and flexibility to major ports in the country. The bill also aims to promote the expansion of port infrastructure and facilitate trade and commerce.
The Allahabad High Court on Monday dismissed a petition challenging a lower court order that allowed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct a survey of the Gyanvapi mosque complex in Varanasi. The petition was filed by the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid, the committee managing the mosque, which claimed that the lower court order violated the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, which prohibits any change in the religious character of places of worship as they existed on August 15, 1947. The high court, however, held that the lower court order did not amount to any change in the status quo of the mosque, and that the ASI survey was only for the purpose of finding out whether the mosque was built over a demolished temple, as alleged by a Hindu plainti