1) 3rd Forum for India–Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC): Summit was held in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea on May 22, 2023
- It was co-chaired by Indian and Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister and attended by 14 Pacific Island Countries (PICs).
- India supports the sovereignty and integrity of all countries and emphasised the shared priority of reforming international institutions to amplify the voice of the Global South.
- India also unveiled a 12-point development programme in areas of healthcare, cyberspace, clean energy, water and small and medium enterprises in PIC
- Also, the Indian Prime Minister along with his Papua New Guinea counterpart also released the Tamil classic ‘Thirukkural‘ in Tok Pisin (official language of Papua New Guinea) to bring the Indian thought and culture closer to the people of this southwestern Pacific nation.
2) Practice of Forum Shopping: Recently, the Chief Justice of India (CJI) has condemned the practice of Forum Shopping after a litigant mentioned the hearing before CJI although he had mentioned the same case a day before another Judge.
- Forum shopping refers to the practice of deliberately choosing a specific court for a legal case in the hope of getting a favourable outcome.
- Litigants and lawyers often consider this strategy as part of their litigation plan.
- For example, they might opt for a higher court like the Supreme Court (SC) to gain more attention for their case. However, if someone is clearly trying to manipulate the system or avoid a particular judge, it is seen as unfair.
- Similarly, “Bench Hunting” refers to petitioners managing to get their cases heard by a particular judge or bench to ensure a favourable order.
- Dr. Khair-Un-Nisa and Ors vs. UT of Jammu and Kashmir and Ors 2023:The Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh High Court imposed costs worth one lakh rupees on the petitioners for indulging in forum shopping by filing multiple petitions before different wings of the court, despite having the same cause of action.
- Vijay Kumar Ghai vs. State of W.B. 2022: The SC termed forum shopping as a “disreputable practice by the courts” that “has no sanction and paramountcy in law”.
3) RBI Becomes Net Seller of USD in FY23: Recently, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) witnessed a significant shift in its foreign exchange transactions during the fiscal year 2022-23. After being a net buyer of the US dollar for three consecutive years, the RBI turned into a net seller, selling 25.52 billion USD in the spot market.
- The spot exchange is where financial instruments, such as commodities, currencies, and securities, are traded for immediate delivery.
- Stabilisation of the Rupee: The sale or purchase of dollars by the RBI impacts its profit and is reflected in dividend payouts to the government. Without the RBI’s dollar sales, experts suggest the rupee could have weakened further, potentially reaching 84-85 levels against the dollar.
- Depletion of Forex Reserves and Valuation Losses: The country’s foreign exchange reserves decreased from $606.475 billion to $578.449 billion during FY23. This was primarily due to valuation losses resulting from the appreciating US dollar and higher US bond yields.
- Selling of Dollar: The RBI sold significant amounts of dollars in FY23 to counter the rupee’s depreciation resulting from the Ukraine-Russia conflict and the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes. The rupee depreciated by approximately 8% during FY23, with the RBI’s intervention preventing further weakening. The rupee declined from around 76 levels on April 1, 2022, to nearly 82 as of March 31, 2023.
- Impact: The RBI’s dollar sales in FY23 resulted in significant profits, leading to a higher dividend payout to the government. The Central Board of the RBI approved a 188% increase in surplus transfer to the government for the accounting year 2022-23.