In RBI’s monthly bulletin of November, it has started 'nowcasting' or 'the prediction of the present or the very near future of the state of the economy'.
The very first “nowcast” predicts that India’s economy will contract by 8.6% in the second quarter (July, August, September) of the current financial year.
This pace of contraction is considerably slower than the 23.9% decline in the real GDP during the first quarter.
However, the contraction of Q2 is crucial because it implies that India has entered a “technical recession” in the first half of 2020-21— for the first time in its history.
It is a phase when the GDP contracts from one quarter to another.
When a recessionary phase sustains for long enough, it is called a recession.
During a recession, a significant decline in economic activity spreads across the economy and can last from a few months to more than a year.
When real GDP has declined for at least two consecutive quarters.
17th ASEAN-India Summit held
Recently, India participated in the 17th ASEAN-India Virtual Summit.
The current Chair of ASEAN is Vietnam.
The summit focused on measures to recover from the economic turmoil triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic and ways to further broad-base strategic ties.
India placed the ASEAN at the centre of India’s Act East policy.
It held that a cohesive and responsive ASEAN is essential for security and growth for all in the region.
India highlighted the importance of strengthening convergence between India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) and the ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific, to ensure a free, open, inclusive and rules-based region.
It also highlighted the importance of cooperation by ASEAN for the Security And Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) Vision.
India would explore ways to increase trade despite its exit from the 15-nation RCEP agreement in 2019.
India affirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace in the South China Sea.
It also underscored the importance of cooperation and regular exchanges in the field of traditional medicines as a source of healthy and holistic living.
India called for an early review of ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIGA), which is pending for a long time.
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
It is a regional grouping that promotes economic, political, and security cooperation.
It was established on 8th August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration).
Founding members: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
Present Ten Members: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Chairmanship rotates annually, based on the alphabetical order of the English names of Member States.
It is India’s 4th largest trading partner with about USD 86.9 billion in trade.
New Species of frog in Andaman found
Recently a group of scientists has reported a new genus of treefrog from the Andaman Islands called Striped Bubble-nest frog.
Striped Bubble-nest frog
Biological name: Rohanixalus vittatus
It belongs to the genus of the Old World treefrog family Rhacophoridae.
This is the first report of a tree frog species from the Andaman Islands.
They are also known as Asian Glass Frog or see through frogs
The female (mother) attends the egg clutches until hatching and assists in release of the tadpoles into the water.
A large number of egg clutches (over 50) of different developmental stages may be found on a single leaf or plant.
Multiple females usually attend such clutches in a behaviour termed as ‘community’ egg attendance.
Frequent male-male combats involving pushing, kicking and dislodging to mate with a female were also reported.
Spacex’s Crew Dragon Spacecraft
Recently, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft will lift off carrying a crew of four people to the International Space Station (ISS) on a six-month-long mission.
The mission is part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
Objective: To make access to space easier in terms of its cost, so that cargo and crew can be easily transported to and from the ISS, enabling greater scientific research.
At the ISS, the Crew-1 team will conduct microgravity studies and deliver new science hardware and experiments that they will carry with them to space aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft.
It is the first spacecraft certified by NASA. This means SpaceX can now operate regular flights to the space station.
Earlier in May, NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 test flight lifted off for the ISS, becoming the first crewed flight to launch from American soil since the conclusion of the space shuttle era in 2011.