October 2019

Daily Current Affairs (18-10-19)

INDIA INNOVATION INDEX (III) 2019

Related Topics: Reports & Indices, Global Innovation Index

News

NITI Aayog with Institute for Competitiveness as the knowledge partner has released the first-ever India Innovation Index 2019.

About the Index

  • It is an outcome of extensive research and analysis, which looks holistically at the innovation landscape of India by examining the innovation capabilities and performance of Indian states and union territories.
  • It aims to create a holistic tool which can be used by policymakers across the country to identify the challenges to be addressed and strengths to build on when designing the economic growth policies for their regions.
  • The index intends to perform the following three functions-

1) Ranking of states and UTs based on their index scores,

2) Recognizing opportunities and challenges, and

3) Assisting in tailoring governmental policies to foster innovation.

  • The index presents the latest findings and highlights the regional catalysts and caveats for promoting innovation readiness.
  • It also includes a section on state profiles covering 33 indicators looking at the different facets of innovation in India.

Categorisation of States & UTs

The states and union territories have been bifurcated into three categories: major states, north-east and hill states, and union territories / city states / small states.

Dimensions

  • The India Innovation Index 2019 is calculated as the average of the scores of its two dimensions – Enablers and Performance.
  • The Enablers are the factors that underpin innovative capacities, grouped in five pillars: Human Capital, Investment, Knowledge Workers, Business Environment, and Safety and Legal Environment.
  • The Performance dimension captures benefits that a nation derives from the inputs, divided in two pillars: Knowledge Output and Knowledge Diffusion.

Key Findings of the Index

  • Karnataka has topped the overall rankings in the category of major states.
  • Karnataka has topped the performance parameters and is also among the best in infrastructure, knowledge workers, knowledge output and business environment.
  • Maharashtra has the best enabling environment for innovation despite its overall third rank among the major states.
  • Tamil Nadu and Kerala top the list for human capital and Haryana has the best safety and legal environment.
  • Delhi, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh are the most efficient states in translating inputs into output.
  • Sikkim, Himachal and Uttarakhand topped the rankings among the north east and hill states while Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya were stacked at the bottom.
  • Among Union Territories, Delhi topped the list followed by Chandigargh and Goa.
  • The index shows that the innovation ecosystem of the country is strong in south and western parts of India.
  • There seems to be a west-south and north-east divide across the country.

Significance

  • The index, developed on the lines of the Global Innovation Index, looks into the innovation ecosystem of Indian states and Union Territories to help policymakers design policies to drive innovation across regions.
  • The India Innovation Index would create synergies between different stakeholders in the innovation ecosystem and India would shift to competitive good governance.
  • The index is a great beginning to improve the environment of innovation in the country as it focuses on both the input and output components of the idea.
  • The index is a good effort to benchmark the performance of the state with each other and promote competitive federalism.

Way Forward

  • There is a need for more Research and Development (R&D) spending and improvement of top educational institutions in the country to produce greater innovation outputs.
  • Cluster-based innovation should be leveraged upon as the focal point of competitiveness.
  • A collaborative platform consisting of all the stakeholders of innovation – innovators, researchers, and investors from the industry should be developed.
  • This will help in strengthening the industry-academia linkages and will ease the process of technology transfer by providing a platform for innovators to showcase their inventions.

[Source: PIB, Hindustan Times]

 

BREXIT DEAL

Related Topics: International Relations, European Union

Why in News?

  • Britain secured a Brexit deal with the European Union, more than three years after Britons voted to leave the bloc.
  • Technical negotiators struggled longest to fine-tune customs and sales tax regulations that will have to manage trade in goods between the Northern Ireland and Ireland — where the UK and the EU share their only land border.

Key Details of Brexit Deal

  • The conundrum was how to prevent the frontier becoming a backdoor into the EU’s single market without erecting checkpoints that could undermine the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which ended decades of conflict in the province.
  • The agreement will keep Northern Ireland in the U.K. customs area, but all EU rules will apply to goods arriving there in this complex system.
  • There will be no customs checks on the island of Ireland — they will be done in ports on mainland Britain.
  • For goods crossing from Great Britain to Northern Ireland that are deemed to be staying there, no EU tariffs will apply.
  • No EU tariffs would be paid on personal goods carried by travelers across the Irish frontier and for a second category of exempted goods that can only be for immediate consumption, rather than subsequent processing.
  • As long as the goods do not cross to Ireland and the EU’s single market, only UK customs tariffs will apply.
  • The agreement scraps the “backstop”, a mechanism envisaged earlier that was designed to prevent a hard border being introduced on the island of Ireland, and would have bound at least parts of Britain to some EU rules.
  • The Northern Irish assembly will have to give consent after Brexit for the region’s continued alignment with the EU regulatory regime every four years.
  • But there will be no executive veto option by the Democratic Unionist Party, as originally envisaged. Instead, it will require a simple majority agreement.
  • The UK and the EU aim to establish an ambitious and wide-ranging free trade agreement — these talks will form the second stage of EU-UK talks.

Concerns

  • Britain PM Boris Johnson must now secure approval for the agreement in an extraordinary session of Parliament, which would pave the way for an orderly departure on October 31, 2019.
  • Northern Ireland‘s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has announced it will not support Boris Johnson’s current Brexit plan, saying that it is not in Northern Ireland’s interests.
  • The statement was seen as a major setback for Johnson, who would most likely need the support of his DUP allies in parliament for approval of the agreement.
[Source: The Hindu]

 

LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL ABOLISHED IN J&K

Related Topics: Indian Polity, Abrogation of Article 370

Why in News?

Jammu & Kashmir Legislative Council, the upper house of the Assembly, was abolished as per Section 57 of the J&K Reorganisation Bill, 2019, which reduced the State to the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh.

About Jammu & Kashmir Legislative Council

  • J&K legislative council was created in 1957 following adoption of a new constitution by the J&K constituent assembly and passing of the Legislative Councils Act in Parliament.
  • The Council has discussed and passed sticky Bills like the land to tiller law, resettlement Bill and autonomy resolution.
  • It became a vibrant platform to discuss the Delhi agreement of 1952 and the Delhi-Srinagar accord of 1975.
  • The Council, which had a strength of 36 members, also used to be a part of the Electoral College for the Rajya Sabha elections.

[Source: The Hindu, prsindia.org]

 

FACTS OF THE DAY

EX EASTERN BRIDGE-V

Indian Air Force is participating in a Bilateral Joint exercise with Royal Air Force Oman (RAFO), named EX EASTERN BRIDGE-V, scheduled from 17-26 October, 2019, at Air Force Base Masirah. The last exercise, EX EASTERN BRIDGE-IV was held in 2017 at Jamnagar. MiG-29 fighter aircraft will be participating in an International Exercise outside India for the first time. IAF contingent comprises of MiG-29 and C-17 aircraft. MiG-29 will be exercising with Royal Air Force Oman’s Eurofighter Typhoon, F-16 and Hawk. The exercise will enhance inter-operability during mutual operations between the two Air Forces and will provide an opportunity to learn from each other’s best practices. The participation of Indian Air Force in the exercise will also promote professional interaction, exchange of experience and operational knowledge. Besides strengthening bilateral relations, it will also provide a good opportunity to the air-warriors to operate in an international environment.

AULACUS SAHYADRENSIS

A new parasitoid wasp has been discovered in the Elappara mountain ranges of Idukki district, Kerala. Previous report of a species of the same genus of the wasp dates back to 1899 from Meghalaya. Only seven species (including the new species) exist in the Asia. The new find has been named ‘Aulacus sahyadrensis’, after Sahyadri, the vernacular name of the Western Ghats. The species, a microscopic wasp in the range of 5 mm, lives primarily within the larvae of wood-boring beetles and wood wasps. These parasitic wasps are not harmful to humans and they essentially form a beneficial guild controlling the infestation of wood-boring pests. The findings have been published in the latest issue of Zootaxa, an internationally peer-reviewed journal on animal taxonomy. Parasitic wasps are one of the unsung heroes among the groups of pollinators, colonising ants, and stinger wasps.

DR. YSR NAVODAYAM’ SCHEME

Andhra Pradesh CM Jagan Mohan Reddy has launched ‘Dr. YSR Navodayam’ scheme, under which the State government will reimburse 50% (not exceeding ₹2 lakh per account) of the auditors’ fee for preparation of techno-economic viability reports required for One-Time Restructuring (OTR) of stressed loans of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) by banks and NBFCs as per the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) norms up to March 31, 2020. The State government had decided to provide support to MSMEs by reimbursing the auditors’ fee and facilitating the implementation of the OTR scheme keeping in view the liquidity crunch faced by them, the difficulty in raising working capital and adapting to technological advancements and in warding off competition from larger peers, including multinational corporations.

MOUNT PAEKTU

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) state news agency KCNA released a series of photographs showing Kim Jong Un riding a white horse to the sacred mountain called Paektu.  Kim has often ridden to the mountain before taking important decisions and therefore it is considered to be a symbolic move. Mount Paektu or Changbai (in Chinese) is a volcanic mountain that last erupted over 1,000 years ago. It is situated at the border between North Korea and China. The 2,744-metre peak is considered sacred by all Koreans as the birthplace of Dangun, the legendary founder of the first Korean kingdom. It is also the highest peak in the Korean peninsula. The Kim family legitimises their rule over DPRK by referring to the “Mount Baekdu Bloodline” (the mountain is also referred to as Baekdusan). A reference to the mountain is made in the South Korean national anthem as well. In September 2018 South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un visited the sacred site as a part of the South Korean president’s three-day visit to DPRK.

FIRST VISUALLY CHALLENGED WOMAN IAS OFFICER

Pranjal Patil, the country’s first visually challenged woman IAS officer assumed charge as Sub-Collector in Thiruvananthapuram District, Kerala. Hailing from Ulhasnagar in Maharashtra, Patil lost her vision at the age of six. She cracked the Union Public Services Examination on her first attempt with a rank of 773 in 2016. She was refused a job in the Indian Railway Accounts Service because she was visually challenged. She had secured the 124th rank in the 2017 Civil services Examinations, and she was appointed as Assistant Collector in Ernakulam in 2018.

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