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Health System for A New India: Building Blocks (GS-2)
- The NITI Aayog organized a dialogue on “Health System for A New India: Building Blocks”, with national and international academia, practitioners, Indian policymakers and other stakeholders of the healthcare ecosystem.
- The dialogue was the first in the series of NITI Aayog’s “Development Dialogues”that aims to facilitate multisectoral conversations on India’s developmental issues, which constitute a part of the country’s 15 Year Vision document.
- The dialogue focused on strengthening and further building on the existing blocks for Health Systemsfor a New India and prioritized four critical health systems issues for discussion and debate.
- These included expanding resources for health through pooling existing funds; expanding the role of the government as a strategic purchaser from both public and private providers to improve quality of healthcare services; provision of equitable and integrated services; and leveraging technology as an enabler and aggregator.
- The dialogue also deliberated convergence of fragmented building blocks of financing and service provision, with each reinforcing the other, and moving from programmatic or schematic approaches to a systemsapproach to healthcare.
Nine Point Agenda Suggested By India to G-20 for Action Against Fugitive Economic Offences And Asset Recovery (GS-3)
- Strong and active cooperation across G-20 countries to deal comprehensively and efficiently with the menace fugitive economic offenders.
- Cooperation in the legal processes such as effective freezing of the proceeds of crime; early return of the offenders and efficient repatriation of the proceeds of crime should be enhanced and streamlined.
- Joint effort by G-20 countries to form a mechanism that denies entry and safe havens to all fugitive economic offenders.
- Principles of United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (UNOTC), especially related to “International Cooperation” should be fully and effectively implemented.
- FATF should be called upon to assign priority and focus to establishing international co-operation that leads to timely and comprehensive exchange of information between the competent authorities and FIUs.
- FATF should be tasked to formulate a standard definition of fugitive economic offenders.
- FATF should also develop a set of commonly agreed and standardized procedures related to identification, extradition and judicial proceedings for dealing with fugitive economic offenders to provide guidance and assistance to G-20 countries, subject to their domestic law.
- Common platform should be set up for sharing experiences and best practices including successful cases of extradition, gaps in existing systems of extradition and legal assistance, etc.
- G-20 Forum should consider initiating work on locating properties of economic offenders who have a tax debt in the country of their residence for its recovery
8 States achieve 100% household electrification under Saubhagya (GS-3)
Context: 8 States have achieved 100% saturation in household electrification under Saubhagya namely Madhya Pradesh, Tripura, Bihar, J&K, Mizoram, Sikkim, Telangana and West Bengal.
Saubhagya – ‘Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana’ was launched in September, 2017 with the objective to provide access to electricity to all the remaining households in the country.
- The States completing 100% household electrification by 31st 2018 will also receive additional grant of 15% of the project cost (5% for special category States) sanctioned under Saubhagya.
Gabon new avenue for India (GS-2)
Context: The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Gabon, Mr. Regis Immongault, called on Union Minister for Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation.
- Gabon, officially the Gabonese Republic, is a country on the west coast of Central Africa.
- Located on the equator, Gabon is bordered by Equatorial Guinea to the northwest, Cameroon to the north, the Republic of the Congo on the east and south, and the Gulf of Guinea to the west.
India and Gabon
- Indian companies are already operating in wood, plywood, mining and fisheries sectors.
- There is also a possibility that two countries will work together in sectors like logistics, infrastructure, energy, water, agriculture, services and tourism.
- Gabon has the 6th largest reserves of Manganese in the world. It is one of the four countries in the world with high-grade reserves along with South Africa, Australia and Brazil.
Sustainable Blue Economy Conference (GS-3)
Kenya and its co-hosts Canada and Japan are inviting the world to Nairobi for the first global conference on the sustainable blue economy.
The Sustainable Blue Economy Conference is the first global conference on the sustainable blue economy. Over 18,000 participants from around the world are coming together to learn how to build a blue economy that:
- Harnesses the potential of our oceans, seas, lakes and rivers to improve the lives of all, particularly people in developing states, women, youth and Indigenous peoples
- Leverages the latest innovations, scientific advances and best practices to build prosperity while conserving our waters for future generations
Blue Economy: The objective of the Blue Economy is to promote smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and employment opportunities within the Indian Ocean region’s maritime economic activities. The Blue Economy is determined to initiate appropriate programs for: the sustainable harnessing of ocean resources; research and development; developing relevant sectors of oceanography; stock assessment of marine resources; introducing marine aquaculture, deep sea/long line fishing and biotechnology; and human resource development; among others.
India is also developing its maritime infrastructure as well as its inland waterways and coastal shipping through the launch of the ambitious “Sagarmala Programme” which aims to revolutionize maritime logistics and port led developments in the country. India’s national vision about this sector is clearly articulated in term “SAGAR”- Security and Growth for All in IOR.
Institution’s Innovation Council (IIC) Program (GS-2)
- Union HRD Minister launched the ‘Institution’s Innovation Council (IIC)’ program under Innovation cell of MHRD in New Delhi.
- Ministry of Human Resource Development has established an “Innovation cell” at AICTE with a purpose to systematically foster the culture of Innovation in all Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) across the country.
- It is a significant step in institutionalizing innovation and developing a scientific temperament in the country.
- The purpose of formation of network of Institution’s Innovation Councils (IICs) is to encourage, inspire and nurture young students by exposing them to new ideas and processes resulting in innovative activities in their formative years.
- More than 1000 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) have already formed IICs in their campuses and enrolled for the IIC network managed by MHRD’s Innovation cell to promote innovation through multitudinous modes leading to an innovation promotion eco-system in their campuses.
What was the need of the Program?
- Universities are the main research centers of developed countries and because of their research they are at the top in global innovation ranking
- So setting up of research centers through ‘Institution’s Innovation Council (IIC) program, India is expecting to improve its ranking on the Global scale.
- So in order to give boost to it the educational advancement in higher education can only be achieved by encouraging best practices in innovation and advance research and Innovation Cell has undertaken many initiatives in this direction such as implementing programs like Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievement (ARIIA), Smart India Hackathon (SIH)- 2019, etc.
City Gas Distribution (CGD) Projects(GS-3)
Context: Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi would lay the Foundation Stones of City Gas Distribution (CGD) Projects in 65 Geographical Areas (GAs) in 129 Districts under the 9th CGD Bidding Round recently awarded by PNGRB, remotely from Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. It would herald the availability of convenient, environment-friendly and cheaper natural gas for almost half of the country’s population spread across 26 States and Union Territories upto 9th round.
- Government of India has put thrust to promote the usage of environment friendly clean fuel i.e. natural gas as a fuel/feedstock across the country to move towards a gas based economy. Accordingly, development of CGD networks has been focused to increase the availability of cleaner cooking fuel (i.e. PNG) and transportation fuel (i.e. CNG) to the citizens of the country. The expansion of CGD network will also benefit to industrial and commercial units by ensuring the uninterrupted supply of natural gas.
Why Natural Gas
- Natural gas is a superior fuel as compared with coal and other liquid fuels being an environment friendly, safer and cheaper fuel. Natural Gas is supplied through pipelines just like one gets water from the tap. There is no need to store cylinders in the kitchen and thus saves space. As per WHO database released in May 2018, India has 14 out of 15 world’s most polluted cities in terms of PM 2.5 concentration. Large number of industries also consume polluting fuels like pet coke and furnace oil which emit polluting CO2. Some of the courts recently ordered for banning use of pet coke in states within their jurisdiction.
- Natural Gas (as CNG) is cheaper by 60% as compared with petrol and 45 % w.r.t. Diesel. Similarly, Natural Gas (as PNG) is cheaper by 40 % as compared with market price LPG and price of PNG almost matches with that of subsidised LPG (based on prices in Delhi). An autorickshaw owner can save Rs. 7000-8000 on his monthly fuel bill by conversion from petrol to CNG. Thus, even on cost front as well, natural gas is preferable to petrol, diesel and LPG.
- Share of Natural Gas in India’s energy basket is 6.2% as against 23.4% globally. In India – in the state of Gujarat itself, it is 25%. If Gujarat can achieve share of gas consumption more than global average, rest of India can also.
- India made a commitment in COP21 Paris Convention in December 2015 that by 2030, it would reduce carbon emission by 33% of 2005 levels. Natural gas, as domestic kitchen fuel, as fuel for transport sector as well as a fuel for industries and commercial units, can play a significant role in reducing carbon emission.
Ease of Doing Business Grand Challenge (GS-3)
- The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, launched the Ease of Doing Business Grand Challenge at an event in Lok Kalyan Marg in New Delhi
- The objective of this challenge is to invite innovative ideas based on Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Big Data Analytics, Blockchain and other ccutting-edge technology to reform Government processes. The platform for the Grand Challenge is the Startup India Portal.
- The Prime Minister said that there have been improvements in the ease of doing business and the ranking has further improved from previous years but he seeks suggestions and improvement programs from the think tanks and Industrial bodies.
- India now ranks first in South Asia due to continuous efforts from Union and State Govts.
- The reforms initiated were keeping in mind the Predictable Transparent Policies and Policy Driven Governance.
- So it is necessary to reduce human intervention in the processes, and increase the use of modern and digital technologies. He said that a work culture based on this, will further promote policy driven governance.
- Ease of doing business is an index published by the World Bank. It is an aggregate figure that includes different parameters which define the ease of doing business in a country.
- In the EODB index, ‘higher rankings’ (a lower numerical value) indicate better, usually simpler, regulations for businesses and stronger protections of property rights.
AirSewa 2.0 (GS-3)
The Union Minister of Civil Aviation and Commerce & Industry and Minister of State for Civil Aviation, launched the upgraded version of AirSewa 2.0 web portal and mobile app in New Delhi
- Airsewa enables travelers to submit grievances and seek information on air travel in India.
- It is an initiative by MoCA (Ministry of Civil Aviation)
- The government had launched Air Sewa’s maiden version in 2016 as a part of its initiative, ‘Digital India’, to address customers’ grievances on a digital platform.
- The second version of the app and web portal will allow flyers to register their complaints via social media using the hashtag ‘AirSewa’
- The need was felt for development of an upgraded version of AirSewa to provide a superior user experience with enhanced functionalities.
- Major improvements include features such as secure sign-up and log-in with social media, chatbot for travellers support, improved grievance management including social media grievances, real-time flight status and details flight schedule.
- The upgrade and improved version of AirSewa operates through an interactive web portal as well as through a mobile app for both android and iOS platforms
- The web portal and application will help to capture air travellers’ feedback for policy interventions.
- The focus is now on improving the quality of services so that passengers who are travelling have a safe and comfortable experience.
- Further upgrades of AirSewa are also being planned which would include DigiYatra registration, airport maps, BHIM payment integration and grievance escalation and transfer.
Industrial Park Rating System (GS-3)
- The Union Minister for Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, released the report prepared by the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce & Industry, on Industrial Park Rating System.
- This system is being developed by the ministry to assess industrial parks in the country based on four pillars — internal and external infrastructure, connectivity, environment and safety management, and business support services.
- There are over 3,000 industrial parks in the country in sectors including engineering, software, food processing and chemicals.
- Under the system, the ministry would assess 200 such parks on several parameters such as sewage effluent and treatment; and water treatment.
- The need of the system arises to see whether these parks are matching the global standards.
- This would help in improving infrastructure of industrial parks which are present in almost all the states.
- Development of industrial park rating system would help increase competitiveness of industries and promotion of the manufacturing sector
- The portal serves as a one-stop solution to the free and easy accessibility of all industrial information including availability of raw material – agriculture, horticulture, minerals, natural resources, distance from key logistic nodes, layers of terrain and urban infrastructure.
National Conference of Women in Police (GS-3)
Context: The 8th National Conference of Women in Police (NCWP) begins in Ranchi, Jharkhand. The two-day conference which is being organized by Bureau of Police Research & Development in collaboration with Jharkhand Police, is the only national-level platform to address the issues of Women in uniform and create an enabling atmosphere for them to maximize and optimize their professional potential.
- The 1stedition of NCWP was organized in 2002 at New Delhi by BPR&D in collaboration with Delhi Police.
- It is an Empowered Body which shall deal with capacity building of women police personnel and provide adequate exposure in the core police functions for achieving absolute professionalism.
- NCWP has been continuously working on strengthening and monitoring of mechanism to deal with sexual harassment in all the Police Organizations / CPOs by suggesting active ways and means.
- Sincere efforts have been made for issues related with gender sensitization for all police ranks, exclusive infrastructural development for women police like restrooms, toilets, crèche etc., equal opportunities for women in career planning and other welfare measures like maternity and childcare leave, police housing for women workforce, etc.
Topics deliberated in the conference:
- Unheard voices of Women in CAPF/Force – Gender neutral working places.
- Technology for skills enhancement.
- Empowered workspace for conducive work environment.
- Role of Women Police in Smart Cities.
- Women in Community Oriented policing.
- Special Training Needs for Women personnel.
- Sexual harassment at workplaces – Varied perspective and management
Economic fugitives (GS-3)
Context: The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that world nations, led by the UN, should arrive at a consensus in refusing shelter to economic fugitives and create a framework for Extradition Treaties and exchange of information on black money while delivering a keynote address after presenting Economic Times Awards 2018 for Corporate Excellence, in Mumbai.
Who are economic fugitive offenders?
- A fugitive economic offender is an individual who has committed some specified offense(s) involving an amount of one hundred crore rupees or more and has absconded from India or refused to come back to India to avoid or face criminal prosecution in India.
- A Fugitive Economic Offender is a person declared so by a ‘Special Court’ set up under the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act 2002, against whom an arrest warrant has been issued in respect of any of the economic offenses provided in the schedule to Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill,2018 and who has left India so as to avoid criminal prosecution, or being abroad, refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution.
Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill,2018
- The Bill allows for a person to be declared as a fugitive economic offender (FEO) if: (i) an arrest warrant has been issued against him for any specified offenses where the value involved is over Rs 100 crore, and (ii) he has left the country and refuses to return to face prosecution.
- To declare a person an FEO, an application will be filed in a Special Court (designated under the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act, 2002) containing details of the properties to be confiscated, and any information about the person’s whereabouts. The Special Court will require the person to appear at a specified place at least six weeks from issue of notice.Proceedings will be terminated if the person appears.
- The Bill allows authorities to provisionally attach properties of an accused, while the application is pending before the Special Court.
- Upon declaration as an FEO, properties of a person may be confiscated and vested in the central government, free of encumbrances (rights and claims in the property).Further, the FEO or any company associated with him may be barred from filing or defending civil claims.
Traffic Separation Scheme (GS-3)
Context: The Directorate General of Shipping has proposed the establishment of a Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) off the south-west coast of India to prevent collision incidents between merchant vessels and fishing vessels off the coast of Kerala.
- The proposal has been drawn taking into consideration past collision incidents off the Indian coast, traffic patterns of merchant vessels for past years, and optimum sea routes, in consonance with the current traffic flow, including simplification of traffic in converging areas off the coast of Kerala.
- The proposal has also considered aspects pertaining to the safety of navigation, maritime security and the separation of opposing streams of traffic to reduce incidents of collision in Indian waters.
- Stakeholder consultations are in progress for establishing the Traffic Separation Scheme – TSS in the south-west coast.
- The proposed TSS lanes are currently under consideration, and will be located at a distance of about 90 nautical miles west of Mangalore in Karnataka, with the lanes leading in a south-easterly direction to the southernmost tip of India and ending about 40 nautical miles off south of Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu.
- The average distance from the coast is about 50 nautical miles.
- The promulgation of TSS on the south-west coast of India is expected to shift the density of merchant traffic away from the coast and merchant ship traffic will become more concentrated in the established TSS.
- This is expected to result in more sea room for fishing vessels to operate safely and will, therefore, be beneficial to the fishing industry.
State of the Indian Startup Ecosystem-2018 report (GS-3)
Context: Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, released the first State of the Indian Startup Ecosystem-2018 report by Inc 42 which is an Indian information platform known for its coverage of the Indian startup ecosystem.
- According to the Inc42 ‘The State of Indian Startup Ecosystem 2018’, India currently has more than 49,000+ startups, 1500+ investors, 250+ incubators, and 26 unicorns. The country is among the three largest startup ecosystems in the world in terms of its size, reach, and impact.
- The report is an analysis to help drive strategic decision-making in governance, investments, growth, and other core aspects of the ecosystem
Development of agriculture sector (GS-3)
Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Shri Radha Mohan Singh on the occasion of the first convocation ceremony of Dr. Rajendra Prasad Central Agricultural University in Bihar said that it has begun work on five new themes targeted by Union Agriculture Ministry for the development of agriculture sector. These include “har khet ko pani”, increase the production of pulses, soil health, doubling farmers’ income and more crop per drop.
- Four new projects to accelerate the ‘Lab to Farm’ programme for all-round development of agriculture has been launched by the government.
- In order to increase the connectivity of farmers with scientists, technical assessment, evaluation, training and capacity building, the government has initiated the Farmer First program.
- Considering the importance of capacity development for entrepreneurship in rural youth, Student READY (Rural Entrepreneurship Awareness Development Yojana) program has been started.
- In order to create new opportunities of employment generation for the youth in agriculture and to prevent their migrations, Attracting and Retaining of Youth in Agriculture (ARYA) has been started.
- Under the “Mera Gaon Mera Gaurav” program, agricultural experts of agricultural universities and ICAR have been given the responsibility of a village in order to create awareness among farmers about scientific farming.
Student READY (Rural Entrepreneurship Awareness Development Yojana):
- Student READY (Rural Entrepreneurship Awareness Development Yojana) programme is a new initiative of Indian Council of Agricultural Research to reorient graduates of Agriculture and allied subjects for ensuring and assuring employability and develop entrepreneurs for emerging knowledge intensive agriculture.
- This envisages the introduction of the programme in all the Agricultural Universities as an essential prerequisite for the award of degree to ensure hands on experience and practical training depending on the requirements of respective discipline and local demands.
- This programme includes five components:
- Experiential Learning,
- Rural Awareness Works Experience,
- In-Plant Training /Industrial attachment
- Hands-on training (HOT) / Skill development training
- Students Projects.
Attracting and Retaining of Youth in Agriculture (ARYA):
Realizing the importance of rural youth in agricultural development of the country, ICAR has initiated a programme on “Attracting and Retaining Youth in Agriculture”.
(i) To attract and empower the Youth in Rural Areas to take up various Agriculture, allied and service sector enterprises for sustainable income and gainful employment in selected districts.
(ii) to enable the Farm Youth to establish network groups to take up resource and capital intensive activities like processing, value addition and marketing.
(iii) To demonstrate functional linkage with different institutions and stakeholders for convergence of opportunities available under various schemes/program for sustainable development of youth
Fintech festival at Singapore addressed by PM (GS-3)
- Narendra Modi became the first Head of Government to deliver the keynote address at Singapore Fintech Festival.
- PM Modi launched APIX (Application Programming Interface Exchange), a global Fintech platform with Deputy PM of Singapore T Shanmugaratnam after his address at the event.
The recent International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meetings marked the launch of the Bali Fintech Agenda. It is set of 12 policy recommendations aimed at better harnessing the benefits and opportunities of rapid advances in financial technology.
- Fintech has the potential to broaden the reach of formal financial services, sharply lower costs and spur efficiency gains.
- It has created wave of innovation in payments, clearing and settlement, offering both the banked and unbanked cheaper and faster services, besides powering e-commerce.
- Fintech providers are now beginning to offer saving, borrowing, insurance and other financial products and advisory services.
- Financial inclusion can fundamentally reshape the lives of people and have a hugely positive economic and social impact.
- Another positive spillover comes from governments benefitting from reduced leakages and better targeting of public services, while an expanding tax base through improved compliance allows greater resource-generation for public investment.
- Fintech tends to be lightly regulated or unregulated in some jurisdictions and soundness and stability are concerns.
- Payments and e-money operators use essentially private money, which carries credit and settlement risks.
- Broader financial stability questions arise as fintech expands from a low base and linkages with banks grow. There are increasing concerns associated with data privacy, data security and money laundering.
Yuva Sahakar-Cooperative Enterprise Support and Innovation Scheme (GS-2)
- Union Agriculture Minister launches NCDC’s new scheme to promote young entrepreneurs in cooperatives.
- The National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) has come up with a youth-friendly scheme for attracting them to cooperative business ventures.
- The scheme will be linked to Rs 1000 crore ‘Cooperative Start-up and Innovation Fund (CSIF)’ created by the NCDC.
- It would have more incentives for cooperatives of North Eastern region, Aspirational Districts and cooperatives with women or SC or ST or PwD members.
- All types of cooperatives in operation for at least one year are eligible.
- The funding for the project will be up to 80% of the project cost for these special categories as against 70% for others.
- The scheme envisages 2% less than the applicable rate of interest on term loan for the project cost up to Rs 3 crore including 2 years moratorium on payment of principal.
National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC)
- It was established by an Act of Parliament in 1963 as a statutory Corporation under the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare.
- Its core functions include Planning, promoting and financing programmes for production, processing, marketing, storage, export and import of agricultural produce, foodstuffs, certain other notified commodities e.g. fertilisers, insecticides, agricultural machinery, lac, soap, kerosene oil, textile, rubber etc., supply of consumer goods and collection, processing, marketing, storage and export of minor forest produce through cooperatives, besides income generating stream of activities such as poultry, dairy, fishery, sericulture, handloom etc.
- It is an ISO 9001:2015 compliant organisation and has a distinctive edge of competitive financing.
7th RCEP Inter-Sessional Ministerial Meeting concludes in Singapore (GS-2)
Context: The Union Minister for Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, led the Indian delegation to the 7th RCEP Inter-Sessional Ministerial Meeting in Singapore on 12-13 November, 2018. The Ministerial Meeting was held in preparation for the 2nd RCEP Leaders Summit to be held on 14th November 2018 in Singapore in which Prime Minister of India will be participating.
RCEP:The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a mega regional free trade agreement being negotiated amongst 16 countries, comprising 10 ASEAN countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) plus six ASEAN FTA partners, namely Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea and New Zealand.
- Ministers guided the negotiators to deliberate further on E-Commerce, Competition and Investment chapters where consensus could not be reached during this meeting.
- Ministers urged the negotiators to intensify their work with a view of narrowing gaps and finding balanced outcomes in the negotiations with the aim of concluding negotiations by 2019.
- Commerce Minister defended India’s interests effectively and secured maximum flexibilities. Both in STRACAP(Standards, Technical Regulations and Conformity Assessment Procedures ) and SPS(Sanitary and Phytosanitary) negotiations, India managed to obtain balanced outcomes in the application of the Dispute Settlement Mechanism.
DIPP hosts Global Digital Content Market 2018 (GS-2)
Context: The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, is hosting a conference on Global Digital Content Market (GDCM)2018, on14th- 15thNovember 2018, in New Delhi
About: India has been chosen as a host nation for the conference by World Intellectual Property Organization(WIPO) due to the strong creative industry in the country in films, music and media. The focus for this year’s conference is the Asia Pacific region
WIPO: The World Intellectual Property Organisation or WIPO is a UN specialised agency created in 1967 to promote intellectual property (IP) protection and encourage creative activity all over the world. WIPO is basically a global forum for IP policy, services, information and cooperation. Currently, it has 191 member states. The governing bodies and rules are set down in the WIPO Convention of 1967. It is at present headed by Francis Gurry, who is its Director General. WIPO is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. WIPO has its origins in the United International Bureaux for the Protection of Intellectual Property which was established in 1893.
Objective: The aim of GDCM 2018 is to give industry stakeholders a platform to come together and discuss new avenues in the films, music, gaming and creative industry along with points of challenge that is presented due to thechanging creative landscape because of the disruption brought about by digital technologies
Secretary DIPP, Ramesh Abhishek, informed in the press conference that India’s rank in the Global Innovation Index 2018 has improved by 24 places from that of 2015 and now ranks 57th
MNRE circulates draft Indian Wind Turbine Certification Scheme (IWTCS) (GS-3)
Context: Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, in consultation with National Institute of Wind Energy Chennai, has prepared a draft of new Scheme called Indian Wind Turbine Certification Scheme (IWTCS) incorporating various guidelinesTurbine Certification Scheme (IWTCS).
About: The draft Scheme lists the guidelines for the benefit of all the stakeholders from concept to lifetime of wind turbine, including Indian Type Approved Model (ITAM), Indian Type Certification Scheme (ITCS), Wind Farm Project Certification Scheme (WFPCS) and Wind Turbine Safety & Performance Certification Scheme (WTSPCS).
Objectives: The IWTCS is aimed at assisting and facilitating Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), End Users -Utilities, State Nodal Authorities (SNAs), Developers, Independent Power Producers (IPPs), Owners, Authorities, Investors and Insurers, Certification Bodies and Testing Laboratories.
- The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India through various policies and schemes has facilitated the healthy and orderly growth of the wind energy sector. The guideline for the recognition of the certification schemes in India by MNRE was paramount for the success of quality wind turbines installed in India.
- Type Certification of wind turbines plays an active role in ensuring that wind turbines in India meet the requirements of requisite IS/IEC/IECRE standards in vogue.
- Internationally, IEC /IECRE Certification schemes for wind turbines are well recognized and widely used and the IWTCS in its formulation has incorporated the rules and procedures of IS/IEC/IECRE.
Global IT Challenge for Youth with Disabilities 2018 (GS-2)
- The objective of the Global ICT Challenge for Youth with Disabilities is to leverage IT skills among youth with disabilities and also to spread awareness about the application of Information and Computer Technology (ICT) in enhancing the quality of life of persons with disabilities especially in Asia-Pacific region.
- It is a capacity building project that helps youth with disabilities to overcome their limitations and challenge themselves for a better future by providing them with access to ICT and related experiences, improving their ability to leverage information and social participation while setting ICT agendas for participant countries related to disabilities and boosting international cooperation and exchange.
- It is being held with a total of four events including e-Tool Challenge to evaluate the skills of using the MS Office programme and e-Life Map Challenge to evaluate the online information searchability in specific situations.
Bilateral Exercise Between Indian & Republic of Singapore Navies (GS-3)
- The 25thedition of SIMBEX, an acronym for “Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise” is scheduled from 10thto 21st November 2018 off Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal.
- Bilateral cooperation between Singapore and India was first formalised when RSN ships began training with the Indian Navy in 1994.
- Complementing India’s ‘Act-East’policy, there have been a number of agreements and high level visits in the recent past between the two countries.
- Indo-Singapore bilateral relations have been on an upswing in the recent past.
- Both countries have a full calendar of more than 20 bilateral mechanisms, dialogues and exercises, many of which take place annually.
- In November 2015, the robust relationship between the two countries was elevated to ‘Strategic Partnership’.
- In June this year, on the side-lines of the Shangrila Dialogue, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore inked many agreements including those under the ‘Defence and Strategic Partnership Sectors’.
- Key among them is the ‘Implementation Agreement between Indian Navy and Republic of Singapore Navy concerning Mutual Coordination, Logistics and Services Support for Naval Ships’, Submarines and Naval Aircraft (including Ship borne Aviation Assets) visits.
- The Implementation Agreement since coming in force has facilitated deployment of naval assets from bases of the other through logistics and services support.
- Both sides agreed to undertake continuous and institutionalised naval engagements in their shared maritime space including establishing maritime exercises with like-minded regional / ASEAN partners.
The 2018 edition marks the Silver Jubilee of SIMBEX.
SIMBEX 2018 will be the largest edition since 1994 in terms of scale and complexity.
Global IT Challenge for Youth with Disabilities 2018 Begins (GS-2)
- The Global IT Challenge for Youth with Disabilities, 2018 was inaugurated
- The three day event is being organised by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in association with Rehabilitation International Korea and their associated partner LG Electronics.
- To leverage IT skills among youth with disabilities and also to spread awareness about the application of Information and Computer Technology (ICT) in enhancing the quality of life of persons with disabilities especially in Asia-Pacific region.
- The Global ICT Challenge for Youth with Disabilities is a capacity building project that helps youth with disabilities to overcome their limitations and challenge themselves for a better future by providing them with access to ICT and related experiences, improving their ability to leverage information and social participation while setting ICT agendas for participant countries related to disabilities and boosting international cooperation and exchange.
- This year around 100 youth with disabilities (visual disability, hearing disability, locomotor disability and intellectual disability/developmental disorder) from 18 countries namely, India, Indonesia, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Mongolia, Cambodia, Laos, Philippines, Korea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, UK and UAE are participating in this event.
- India has nominated twelve youth with disabilities to participate in the event.
- The competition is focused on strategies for strengthening IT skills of youth with disabilities as a critical requirement for enhancing their access to information and communication services on an equal basis with others.
- It is being held with a total of four events including e-Tool Challenge to evaluate the skills of using the MS Office programme and e-Life Map Challenge to evaluate the online information search ability in specific situations.
Impact of Demonitisation (GS-3)
Following is the highlight of the Text of the Article written by the Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Shri Arun Jaitley on completion of two years of Demonetisation.
- Demonitisation is a key step in a chain of important decisions taken by the Government to formalise the economy.
- Technology has been used for both Direct and indirect taxes to facilitate filing of returns and expanding the tax base.
THE ROLE OF CASH
- India was a cash dominated economy. Cash involves anonymity in transactions. It bypasses the banking system and enables its possessors to evade tax.
- Demonitisation compelled holders of cash to deposit the same in the banks.
- The enormity of cash deposited and identified with the owner resulted in suspected 17.42 lakh account holders from whom the response has been received online through non-invasive method.
- Larger deposits in banks improved lending capacity for the banks.
THE MISCONCEIVED ARGUMENT
- Confiscation of currency was not an objective of demonitisation. Getting it into the formal economy and making the holders pay tax was the broader objective.
EFFECT ON DIGITISATION
- The Unified Payment Interface (UPI) was launched in 2016 involving real time payments between two sets of mobile holders.
- The Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) is an App developed by NPCI for quick payment transactions using UPI.
- The RUPAY Card is used both at the Point of Sale (PoS) and for e-commerce.
IMPACT ON DIRECT TAXES
- The impact of demonitisation has been felt on collection of personal income tax.
- Its collections were higher in Financial Year 2018-19 (till 31-10-2018) compared to the previous year by 20.2%.
- In the first four years of this Government, returns have increased to 6.86 crore. By the time the first five years of this Government are over, we will be close to doubling the assesse base.
IMPACT ON INDIRECT TAX
- Demonitisation and implementation of the GST curbed cash transactions in a big way.
- This formalisation of the economy has led to the tax payer base increase from 6.4 million in the pre-GST regime to 12 million tax payers in the post-GST regime.
- The fact that assesses have to now declare their business turnover not only impacts the indirect tax calculations, but also ensures that income tax arising out of them is disclosed in the tax assessments.
- In 2014-15, the indirect tax to GDP ratio was 4.4%. Post-GST it has climbed up by at least 1 percentage point to 5.4%.
- Villages being connected by Road, electricity in every home, 92% coverage for rural sanitation, a successful Awas Yojana, a cooking gas connection in 8 crore poor homes.
- Ten crore families are covered under Ayushman Bharat, Rs. 1,62,000 Crore is being spent on subsidised food, 50% increase in MSP for farmers and a successful Crop Insurance Scheme.
- It is the formalisation of the economy which has led to 13 crore entrepreneurs getting Mudra Loans.
- More formalisation, more revenue, more resources for the poor, better Infrastructure, and a better quality of life for our citizens.
India and the Republic of Korea sign MoU (GS-2)
- The MoU was signed by two parties to strengthen and further develop the established relationship for strengthening cooperation in the field of Tourism.
National Conference on Public Procurement & Competition Law (GS-1)
- It is being organised by the Competition Commission of India (CCI)
- The National Conference is being organised in association with Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA), a think tank under the aegis of Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
- It is a unique initiative of the Commission which provides a platform to various stakeholders to engage in an active discussion with the policymakers and the industry on various aspects of competition law and public procurement.
- The National Conference will be attended by senior policy makers from Central Government, various State Governments, participants from the public sector enterprises, industry, legal and finance professionals, corporate lawyers, academics, and other relevant stakeholders.
- The event will focus on public procurement, bid rigging, cartels and leniency.
MSME Support and Outreach Programme (GS-3)
- The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi will launched the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Support and Outreach Programme.
- Various announcements and deliverables focused on access to credit, access to market, hand holding and facilitation support measures etc. for MSME Sector.
- MSME Outreach Programme will run for 100 days covering 100 Districts throughout the country.
- Various Central Ministers are likely to visit these districts in order to apprise the entrepreneurs about various facilities being extended to MSME Sector by the Government and financial institutions and to come forward and make best use of these facilities including access to credit and market, etc.
- It is expected that this Outreach Programme will help in further boosting the MSME sector since this sector is one of the major generator of employment opportunities and making a significant contribution to the overall growth of the economy.
Agreement between India and Morocco
- The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the Agreement between India and Morocco on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters.
Opening up the ISA membership to all countries that are members of the United Nations (GS-1,GS-3)
- The Union Cabinet has given ex-post facto approval for moving a Resolution in the first Assembly of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) for amending the Framework Agreement of the ISA for opening up the ISA membership to all countries that are members of the United Nations.
- Opening the membership of the ISA will put solar energy in global agenda with the universal appeal for developing and deploying solar energy.
- It will make ISA inclusive, whereby all member countries that are members of the United Nations could become member.
- Expanding membership will lead to ISA initiative benefitting the world at large.
MoU between India and Korea (GS-2)
- The Union Cabinet has approved signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Korea for strengthening cooperation in the field of Tourism.
12 Zonal Railways are free from UMLC (GS-3)
- Indian Railway has taken a mission area to eliminate all Unmanned Level Crossings (UMLCs) on Broad Gauge and accordingly special efforts have been made so that elimination can be completed at the earliest.
- Most of the UMLCs have been eliminated either by provision of Subway/RUBs or by manning.
- All Unmanned level crossings on routes having speed more than 130KMPH and on Sub-urban routes have been eliminated.
- 12 Zonal Railways – Central Railway, Eastern Railway, East Central Railway, East Coast Railway, North Eastern Railway, North East Frontier Railway, Southern Railway, South Central Railway, South Eastern Railway, South East Central Railway & West Central Railway have now become UMLC free on Broad Gauge route.
- By elimination of UMLCs on war footing, accidents at UMLCs have reduced from 65 in 2009-10 to 3 in 2018-19.
India Surges 23 Ranks in ease of doing Business (GS-3)
- As per the World Bank report 2019 on Ease of Doing Business, India has taken a huge leap of 23 ranks from 100 in 2017-18 to 77 in 2018-19 indicating it is continuing its steady shift towards global standards.
- One of the key indices which has contributed immensely toward this growth is ‘Trading across borders’ which shows an impressive improvement from 146 rank last year to 80thrank this year.
- The Ministry of Shipping has been taking initiatives to improve the parameter of ‘Trading across border’ as 92% of India’s Export- Import trade by volume is handled at ports.
- The World Bank has recognized India as one of the top improvers for the year.