Global Innovation Index
- The Global Innovation Index (GII) is an annual ranking of countries by their capacity for, and success in, innovation.
- It is published by Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization, in partnership with other organizations and institutions.
- It is based on both subjective and objective data derived from several sources, including the International Telecommunication Union, the World Bank and the World Economic Forum.
- The index was started in 2007 by INSEAD and World Business, a British magazine.
- The GII is commonly used by corporate and government officials to compare countries by their level of innovation.
- The 2018 edition of the index was recently launched in New Delhi.
- The event was organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) along with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).
- The index developed jointly by Cornell University, the Paris-based business school Insead and WIPO in Geneva.
- The top rankers of 2018 are Switzerland, Netherlands and Sweden.
- India’s rank has been improved from 60 in 2017 to 57 in 2018.
- India also ranked 1st in ICT service exports category and 4th in labour productivity growth.
- The GII indicators are grouped into innovation inputs and outputs.
- Innovation inputs capture the efforts made by the country to boost innovation.
- Innovation outputs measure the results of these efforts in terms of scientific publications, patents, trademarks, production, exports and other outputs.
- India is 2nd among middle-income economies (after China) in the indicators that capture the quality of the innovation inputs and outputs.
- NITI Aayog has decided to join hands with CII to develop a Roadmap for Top 10 Rank in GII.
- Ministry of Railways has introduced the concept of Train Captain.
- He will be the single person/leader responsible for coordinating the entire team and facilitating all services during the complete journey of the train.
- In trains like Rajdhani/ Shatabdi/ Duronto and other trains where a Train Superintendent (TS) is on end to end basis, TS shall be nominated as “Train Captain” and made responsible for all the facilities on train.
- In all other trains, where TS is not present, Zonal Railways are to nominate the senior most ticket checking staff as Train Captain.
Unnat Bharat Programme 2.0
- The Government has recently launched the phase-2 of Unnat Bharat Abhiyan.
- It is the flagship programme of Ministry of Human Resource and Development.
- It aims to link the Higher Education Institutions with atleast (5) villages, to enable the institutions contribute to the economic and social betterment of these village communities using their knowledge base.
- The institutions will provide the knowledge and technology support to improve the livelihoods in rural areas.
- It will also helps in upgrading the capabilities of both the public and private sectors.
- Both technical and non-technical institutions have been invited to build systems in villages as per their strengths.
- Each selected institute would adopt a cluster of villages / panchayats and gradually expand the outreach over a period of time.
- IIT Delhi has been designated to function as the National Coordinating Institute for this program.
- Recently Shri Harivansh Narayan Singh was elected as the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha recently.
- Article 89 of the constitution has the provision about the method of the election of Deputy chairman of Rajya Sabha.
- The Deputy Chairman is elected from amongst the Rajya Sabha members.
- The chairman of Rajya Sabha (Vice President of India) presides over the session of election of Dy. Chairman.
- He/She presides over the proceedings of the Rajya Sabha in the absence of the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
- He/She will perform the functions of Rajya Sabha Chairman in case of a vacancy or when the Vice-President is discharging the functions of the President.
- There is also a panel of six Vice-Chairmen, which is constituted every year.
- A Vice-Chairman presides over the meeting of the Rajya Sabha in the absence of the Chairman or the Deputy Chairman.
Radio Galaxy Spotted
- Radio galaxy are colossal galaxies with a super massive black hole in their centre that actively accretes gas and dust from its surroundings.
- They are very rare objects in the universe.
- Most distant radio galaxy ever known, located at a distance of 12 billion light-years was discovered by Indian Telescope.
- It was found using the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) in Pune, operated by the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics.
- The distance to this galaxy was determined using the Gemini North telescope in Hawaii and the Large Binocular Telescope in Arizona.
- This discovery is important for understanding of the formation and evolution of galaxies.
Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana
- The Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) is a nationwide plan in India to provide good all-weather road connectivity to unconnected villages.
- This Centrally Sponsored Scheme was introduced in 2000 by the then-prime minister of India Atal Behari Vajpayee.
- Under the authority of the Ministry of Rural Development.
- The aim was to provide roads to all villages
- with a population of 1000 persons and above by 2003
- with a population of 500 persons and above by 2007
- In hill states, tribal and desert area villages with a population of 500 persons and above by 2003
- in hill states, tribal and desert area villages with a population of 250 persons and above by 2007
Study Webs of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds
- The Ministry of HRD has embarked on a major and new initiative Project called ‘Study Webs of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds’ (SWAYAM), which will provide one integrated platform and portal for online courses.
- This covers all higher education subjects and skill sector courses.
- The objective is to ensure that every student in our country has access to the best quality higher education at the affordable cost.
- The programmes Swayam and Swayam Prabha — for making education more accessible — and the depository were conceived and executed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
- Swayam Prabha would tap into the potential of Direct to Home Service wherein a person can install a dish antenna for about Rs 1,500 and have access to 32 digital educational channels run by the HRD Ministry.
Serious Fraud Investigation Office
- The Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) is a fraud investigating agency in India.
- It is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India.
- The SFIO is involved in major fraud probes and is the co-ordinating agency with the Income Tax Department and the Central Bureau of Investigation.
- It is a multi-disciplinary organization having experts from financial sector, capital market, accountancy, forensic audit, taxation, law, information technology, company law, customs and investigation.
- These experts have been taken from various organizations like banks, Securities and Exchange Board of India, Comptroller and Auditor General and concerned organizations and departments of the Government.
- Based on the recommendation of Naresh Chandra Committee on corporate governance in the backdrop of stock market scams as also the failure of non-banking companies resulting in huge financial loss to the public.
- Agency headquarters is in the Indian capital, New Delhi, with field offices located in major cities throughout India. The SFIO draws most of its officers from the IAS, ICLS, IPS and IRS.
Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)
- It is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between ASEAN and six Asia-Pacific states.
- ASEAN Members (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and the six Asia-Pacific states (Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand).
- RCEP negotiations were formally launched in November 2012 at the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia.
- The FTA is scheduled and expected to be signed in November 2018 during the ASEAN Summit and Related Summit in Singapore, after the first RCEP summit was held on 14 November 2017 in Manila, Philippines.
- RCEP is viewed as an alternative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed trade agreement which includes several Asian and American nations but excludes China and India.
Importance of RCEP:
- In 2017, prospective RCEP member states accounted for a population of 3.4 billion people with a total Gross Domestic Product (GDP, PPP) of $49.5 trillion
- It is approximately 39 percent of the world’s GDP with the combined GDPs of China and Japan making up more than half that amount.
- RCEP is the world’s largest economic bloc, covering nearly half of the global economy.
- RCEP’s share of the global economy could account for half of the estimated $0.5 quadrillion global GDP (PPP) by 2050.
- Biosphere Reserve is an international designation by UNESCO for representative parts of natural and cultural landscapes extending over large area of terrestrial or coastal/ marine ecosystems or a combination thereof.
- They are living examples of how human beings and nature can co-exist while respecting each other’s needs.
- India is a signatory to the landscape approach supported by UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere (MAB) programme.
- Biosphere Reserve Programme is being implemented by Government of India since 1986.
- The financial assistance under the programme is given in 90:10 ratio to the North Eastern Region States and 3 Himalayan states and in the ratio of 60:40 to other states.
- The State Government prepares the Management Action Plan which is approved and monitored by Central MAB Committee.
- It is a mobile app launched by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
- It provides wide range of information required to undertake international trade.
- The information includes policy provisions for export and import, applicable GST rate, available export incentives, tariff, preferential tariff.
- ITC (HS) code refers to Indian Trade Clarification (ITC) and are based on Harmonized System (HS) of Coding.
- It was adopted in India for import-export operations.
- This app works internally to map the ITC HS code of other countries with that of India and provides all the required data without the users bothering about the HS code of any country.
Ease of Living Index
- The Ease of Living Index will be launched along with an Ease of Living Index dashboard by Minister of State (I/C), Housing & Urban Affairs.
- Apart from presenting the overall national ranking of 111 cities, the dashboard will present ranking of the cities across pillars, category, geographical zone and population classifications.
- Ease of Living framework comprises four pillars namely Institutional, Social, Economic and Physical which are further broken down into 15 categories and 78 indicators.
- The dashboard will also have a comparison feature that will allow users to analyze the performance across cities on various liveability parameters.
- The Ease of Living Index is an initiative of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) to help cities assess their liveability vis-à-vis global and national benchmarks and encourage cities to move towards an ‘outcome-based’ approach to urban planning and management.
Swachh Manch web portal
- Minister of State (I/C), Housing & Urban Affairs will launch Swachh Manch web portal.
- Swachh Manch web portal, a web-based platform which aims to bring together every stakeholder contributing to the Swachh Bharat Mission under a common platform.
- It is going to be launched as part of Swachh Survekshan 2019.
- The platform will allow stakeholders to create/invite/participate in volunteering opportunities around neighbourhoods.
- Swachh Manch will enable uploads of pictorial evidence of citizens and organizations participating in the initiatives, as well as record the number of hours volunteered, as an acknowledgement of citizens’/ organizations’ efforts and contributions to the cause of ‘Swachhata’.
- An invasive agricultural pest Fall Armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) was discovered in Karnataka by the Indian Council for Agricultural Research.
- It is a major maize pest in North America and it arrived in Africa in 2016.
- It has spread to Central and Western Africa in 2016 and has proved very hard to control.
- It prefers Maize, but can feed on 80 species of plants, including rice, sorghum, millet, sugarcane and cotton.
- The recent attack in Karnataka is the first report of the pest in Asia. Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are at immediate risk.
- India’s tropical climate could allow the pest to thrive.
- It can be controlled with insecticides, through natural enemies or by inter-cropping.
- The Kosi river has its source in Tibet that includes the world’s highest upland it then drains a large part of Nepal before emerging onto the Gangetic plains.
- Its three major tributaries, the Sun Kosi, Arun and Tamur meet at one point just upstream of 10 km gorge cut through the Himalayan foothills.
- The Koshi is 720 km long and drains an area of about 74,500 km2 in Tibet, Nepal and Bihar.
- The Koshi River is known as the “Sorrow of Bihar” as the annual floods affect about 21,000 km2 of fertile agricultural lands thereby disturbing the rural economy.
- It meets in Ganga near Kursela, Bihar, India.