Start-up Ecosystem In India

[pib] Ranking of States on Support to Startup Ecosystems, 2019

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Ranking of States on Support to Startup Ecosystems

Mains level : Not Much

The Results of the second edition of Ranking of States on Support to Startup Ecosystems were recently released by Minister of Commerce & Industry.

About the Ranking

  • The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has conducted the second edition of the States Startup Ranking Exercise.
  • The key objective is to foster competitiveness and propel States and Union Territories to work proactively towards uplifting the startup ecosystem.
  • It has been implemented as a capacity development exercise to encourage mutual learning among all states and to provide support in policy formulation and implementation.

7 focus areas

  1. Institutional Leaders
  2. Regulatory Change Champions
  3. Procurement Leaders
  4. Incubation Hubs
  5. Seeding Innovation Leaders
  6. Scaling Innovations Leaders
  7. Awareness and Outreach Champions

Banking Sector Reforms

EASE Banking Reforms Index

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : EASE Banking Reforms Index

Mains level : Banking sector reforms

Union Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs has felicitated best performing banks on EASE Banking Reforms Index.

Note the various themes under which the index works.

EASE Banking Reforms Index

  • EASE stands for ‘Enhanced Access and Service Excellence’. The index is prepared by the Indian Banking Association (IBA) and Boston Consulting Group.
  • It is commissioned by the Finance Ministry.
  • It is a framework that was adopted last year to strengthen public sector banks and rank them on metrics such as responsible banking, financial inclusion, credit offtake and digitization.

Various themes and performance by the states

 

Poverty Eradication – Definition, Debates, etc.

[pib] Global Indices to Drive Reforms and Growth (GIRG) Exercise

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : MPI and various other dimensions of poverty

Mains level : Not Much

NITI Aayog as the nodal agency has been assigned the responsibility of leveraging the monitoring mechanism of the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) to drive reforms.

Try this PYQ:

Q.In a given year in India, official poverty lines are higher in some states than in others because (CSP 2019):

(a) Poverty rates vary from State to State

(b) Price levels vary from State to State

(c) Gross State Product varies from State to State

(d) Quality of public distribution varies from State to State

GIRG Exercise

  • Global MPI is part of GoI’s decision to monitor the performance of the country in 29 select Global Indices.
  • The objective of the exercise is to fulfil the need to measure and monitor India’s performance on various important social and economic parameters.
  • It would enable the utilization of these Indices as tools for self-improvement; bring about reforms in policies, while improving last-mile implementation of government schemes.
  • As the Nodal agency for the MPI, NITI Aayog has constituted a Multidimensional Poverty Index Coordination Committee (MPICC).

About Global MPI

  • Global MPI is an international measure of multidimensional poverty covering 107 developing countries.
  • It was first developed in 2010 by Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) for UNDP’s Human Development Reports.
  • It is computed by scoring each surveyed household on 10 parameters based on -nutrition, child mortality, and years of schooling, school attendance, cooking fuel, sanitation, drinking water, electricity, housing and household assets.
  • It utilizes the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) which is conducted under the aegis of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) and International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS).

Industrial Sector Updates – Industrial Policy, Ease of Doing Business, etc.

State Reforms Action Plan Rankings 2019

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : State Reforms Action Plan Rankings 2019

Mains level : Ease of Doing Business

Andhra Pradesh has bagged the first rank among all the states in the country in the state business reforms action plan-2019 (BRAP-2019), representing ease of doing business for Atmanirbhar Bharat.

About the Ranking

  • It is the annual ease of doing business index of states and UTs of India based on the completion percentage scores of action items points of annual Business Reforms Action Plan (BRAP) under the Make in India initiative.
  • This ranking is based on the implementation of the business reform action plan.
  • Some of the key focus areas are access to information and technology, the setting up of a single-window system, construction permit enablers and land administration, according to DPIIT.
  • It based on the progress of states in completing annual reform action plan covering 8 key areas.

The top ten states under the State Reform Action Plan 2019 are:

  1. Andhra Pradesh
  2. Uttar Pradesh
  3. Telangana
  4. Madhya Pradesh
  5. Jharkhand
  6. Chhattisgarh
  7. Himachal Pradesh
  8. Rajasthan
  9. West Bengal
  10. Gujarat

NCRB data on Accidental Deaths and Suicides

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NCRB

Mains level : NCRB and its report

The cases of suicide and the number of accidental deaths registered an increase across the country last year compared to 2018, according to the annual National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report.

Do you know?

NCRB also released data on hate crimes, fake news, and anti-national activities etc.

(1) Data on Suicides

  • Statewise data: The maximum cases of mass/family suicides were reported from Tamil Nadu (16), followed by Andhra Pradesh (14), Kerala (11) and Punjab (9) and Rajasthan (7).
  • Unemployed person: Suicides by unemployed persons amounting to 14% were in Kerala (1,963), followed by 10.8% in Maharashtra, 9.8% in Tamil Nadu, 9.2% in Karnataka and 6.1% in Odisha. Of the 97,613 male suicides, the maximum were daily wage earners (29,092), followed by self-employed persons (14,319) and the unemployed (11,599).
  • Farmer’s suicide: Majority of victims engaged in the farming sector were reported in Maharashtra (38.2% of 10,281), Karnataka (19.4%), AP (10.0%), MP (5.3%) and Chhattisgarh & Telangana (4.9% each),” said the report.
  • Rural-Urban: The suicide rate in cities (13.9%) was higher compared to the all-India average. Family problems (other than marriage related problems)’ (32.4%); ‘marriage related problems’ (5.5%); and ‘illness’ (17.1%) accounted for 55% of the total suicides.
  • Gender-specific cases: The overall male-female ratio was 70.2:29.8. Nearly 68.4% of males were married and the ratio was 62.5% for female victims. While 12.6% of the total victims were illiterate, 16.3% had studied up to primary level, 19.6% up to middle level and 23.3% up to Matriculation level. Only 3.7% were graduates and above.
  • Defence personnel: In the Central Armed Police Forces, a total of 36 personnel died by suicide, 38.9% were due to “family problems”.

(2) Data on Accidents

  • Accidental deaths in the country increased by 2.3%. Compared to 4,11,824 in 2018, the figure stood at 4,21,104 last year.
  • The rate (per lakh population) increased from 31.1 to 31.5. The maximum casualties of 30.9% were reported in the 30-45 years age group, followed by 26% in the 18-30 years’ age group.
  • The highest rate was reported from Puducherry (72.8), followed by Chhattisgarh (68.6), Maharashtra (57.4), Haryana (54.3), Goa (51.5) and Madhya Pradesh (51.4).
  • Maharashtra reported the highest deaths (70,329), amounting to nearly one-sixth of the total figure. UP, the most populous state, accounted for 9.6% cases, followed by MP (10.1%).
  • Maximum deaths (85.4%) were in road accidents. While 38% of the victims were two-wheeler riders, 14.6% involved trucks.
  • Dangerous/careless driving or overtaking contributed to 25.7% road accidents, claiming 42,557 lives and leaving more than 1 lakh people injured.

(3) Deaths due to disasters

  • A total of 8,145 deaths were due to the causes attributable to forces of nature, including 35.3% due to lightning, 15.6% by heat/sunstroke and 11.6% deaths in floods.
  • Maximum deaths (400) due to lightning was reported each from Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, followed by Jharkhand (334) and Uttar Pradesh (321).

Back2Basics: NCRB

  • The NCRB is an Indian government agency responsible for collecting and analyzing crime data as defined by the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Special and Local Laws (SLL).
  • It is headquartered in New Delhi and is part of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
  • It was set-up in 1986 to function as a repository of information on crime and criminals so as to assist the investigators in linking crime to the perpetrators.
  • It was set up based on the recommendation of the Task-force 1985 and National Police Commission 1977.

Women empowerment issues – Jobs,Reservation and education

How marriage age and women’s health are linked?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : IMR, MMR

Mains level : Marriage age issues

PM had announced a panel to fight malnutrition in young women and ensure they get married at the right age. Take a look at how the two are linked:

How prevalent is underage marriage?

  • Data show that the majority of women in India marry after the age of 21.
  • Chart 1 shows the mean age of women at marriage is 22.1 years, and more than 21 in all states. This does not mean that child marriages have disappeared.
  • The latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) found that about 26.8% of women aged 20-24 (Chart 2) were married before adulthood (age 18).

Try this question for mains:

Q. Discuss how marriage age and women’s health are linked with each other?

How does the age of marriage correlate with health?

  • Preventing early marriage can reduce the maternal mortality ratio and infant mortality ratio.
  • At present, the maternal mortality ratio — the number of maternal deaths for every 100,000 children born — is 145.
  • India’s IMR shows that 30 of every 1,000 children born in a year die before the age of one.
  • Young mothers are more susceptible to anaemia. More than half the women of reproductive age (15-49 years) in India are anaemic.

What delayed marriage can alter?

  • Poverty, limited access to education and economic prospects, and security concerns are the known reasons for early marriage.
  • If the main causes of early marriage are not addressed, a law will not be enough to delay marriage among girls.

What do the data show?

  • Women in the poorest 20% of the population married much younger than their peers from the wealthiest 20% (Chart 5).
  • The average age at marriage of women with no schooling was 17.6, considerably lower than that for women educated beyond class 12 (Chart 6).
  • Almost 40% of girls aged 15-18 do not attend school, as per a report of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights.
  • Nearly 65% of these girls are engaged in non-remunerative work.
  • That is why many believe that merely tweaking the official age of marriage may discriminate against the poorer, less-educated and marginalised women.

Financial Inclusion in India and Its Challenges

National Strategy for Financial Education

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : Financial education

The National Strategy for Financial Education (NSFE): 2020-2025 documents has been released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Try this question for mains:

Q.What is the role of Financial Education in ensuring financial inclusion in India?

What is the Strategy?

  • The NSFE for the period 2020-2025, the second one after the 2013-18 NSFE, has been prepared by the National Centre for Financial Education (NCFE) in consultation with all the Financial Sector Regulators (RBI, SEBI, IRDAI and PFRDA.
  • Other stakeholders include (DFIs, SROs, IBA, and NPCI) under the aegis of the Technical Group on Financial Inclusion and Financial Literacy (TGFIFL) under the Chairmanship of Deputy Governor, RBI.

Key recommendations

  • The strategy recommends the adoption of a multi-stakeholder approach to achieve financial well-being of Indians.
  • The document has recommended a ‘5 C’ approach for dissemination of financial education in the country. These include an emphasis on:
  1. development of relevant content in the curriculum in schools, colleges and training establishments,
  2. developing capacity among the intermediaries involved in providing financial services,
  3. leveraging on the positive effect of the community-led model for financial literacy through appropriate communication strategy, and
  4. enhancing collaboration among various stakeholders

Other objectives

  • The strategic objective is also towards improving usage of digital financial services in a safe and secure manner; as well as bringing awareness about rights, duties and avenues for grievance redressal.
  • To achieve the vision of creating a financially aware and empowered India, certain strategic objectives have been laid down including:
  1. Inculcating financial literacy concepts among various sections of the population through financial education to make it an important life skill
  2. Encouraging active savings behaviour and developing credit discipline

Swachh Bharat Mission

[pib] Highlights of the Swachh Survekshan 2020

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Swachh Survekshan 2020

Mains level : Success of SBM

Image Source: TH

Indore was declared the cleanest city in India for the fourth consecutive time in the Swachh Survekshan, 2020 — India’s annual survey on cleanliness.

Note the following things about Swachh Survekshan:

1) Nodal Ministry (It is Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs)

2) Authority carrying out the survey

3) Various parameters of the survey

Swachh Survekshan

  • It is an annual survey of cleanliness, hygiene and sanitation in cities and towns across India.
  • It ranks India’s cities, towns and states based on sanitation, waste management and overall cleanliness.
  • It was launched as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, which aimed to make India clean and free of open defecation by 2 October 2019.
  • The first survey was undertaken in 2016 and covered 73 cities; by 2019 the survey had grown to cover 4237 cities and was said to be the largest cleanliness survey in the world.

Survey methodology

  • The surveys are carried out by the Quality Council of India. The criteria and weightage for different components of sanitation-related aspects used for the survey were:

a) Municipal documentation (solid waste management including door-to-door collection, processing, and disposal, and open defecation free status. These carried 45 per cent of the total 2,000 marks.

b) Citizen feedback – 30 per cent (450 + 150 marks)

c) Independent observation – 25 per cent (500 marks)

Highlights of the 2020 Rankings

  • Surat in Gujarat and Navi Mumbai in Maharashtra bagged the second and third spot respectively among the cleanest cities with more than a million populations.
  • Maharashtra’s Karad, Saswad and Lonavala bagged the first three positions for cities having a population less than one lakh.
  • Among the cities with a population between one and 10 lakh, Chhattisgarh’s Ambikapur was declared the cleanest, followed by Mysore in Karnataka.
  • In fact, Chhattisgarh has ranked the cleanest state in the category of states having more than 100 Urban Local Bodies (ULB). It was followed by Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
  • In 2019, Chhattisgarh was in the third position in the category. The survey found that Chhattisgarh is the first and only state where every city achieved Open Defecation Free (ODF)++ status.

Labour, Jobs and Employment – Harmonization of labour laws, gender gap, unemployment, etc.

Job Losses during Lockdown

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : Coronovirus induced job-losses

The data by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) briefs us about the job losses due to lockdown restrictions imposed because of the COVID pandemic.

We can utilize this data as examples for answer writing.

CMIE data on job losses

  • Salaried jobs: They suffered the biggest hit during the lockdown, with a total loss estimated to be at 18.9 million during April-July.
  • Informal and non-salaried jobs: They have shown improvement during the same period increasing to 325.6 million in July from 317.6 million last year, an increase of 2.5 per cent.
  • Small traders, hawkers and daily wage labourers: They were the worst hit by the lockdown in April, comprising 91.2 million of the jobs lost from the total loss of 121.5 million in that month.
  • Farm employment: A sharp rise was seen in June to 130 million, with good rains and the consequent sowing absorbing a lot of the labour that was lost in non-farm sectors.

About CMIE

  • CMIE, or Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, is a leading business information company.
  • It was established in 1976, primarily as an independent think tank.
  • CMIE produces economic and business databases and develops specialised analytical tools to deliver these to its customers for decision making and for research.
  • It analyses the data to decipher trends in the economy.

Higher Education – RUSA, NIRF, HEFA, etc.

[pib] Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA) 2020

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : ARIIA 2020

Mains level : Not Much

The Vice-President has released the Atal ranking ‘ARIIA 2020’.

Note the indicators on which the ARIIA ranking is based.  Also try this PYQ:

Q. Which one of the following is not a sub-index of the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business Index’? (CSP 2019)

(a) Maintenance of law and order

(b) Paying taxes

(c) Registering property

(d) Dealing with construction permits

Highlights of the ARIIA 2020

  • The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras has topped the ARIIA 2020 under the ‘Best Centrally Funded Institution’ category.
  • Last year too, the institute emerged as the top innovative institution in the country.
  • IIT Bombay and Delhi have secured the second and third spots, respectively.

About ARIIA

  • ARIIA is an initiative of erstwhile Ministry of HRD, implemented by AICTE and Ministry’s Innovation Cell.
  • It systematically ranks all major higher educational institutions and universities in India on indicators related to “Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development” amongst students and faculties.
  • ARIIA 2020 will have six categories which also includes special category for women only higher educational institutions to encourage women and bringing gender parity in the areas of innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • The other five categories are 1) Centrally Funded Institutions 2) State-funded universities 3) State-funded autonomous institutions 4) Private/Deemed Universities and 5) Private Institutions.

Major Indicators for consideration

  • Budget & Funding Support.
  • Infrastructure & Facilities.
  • Awareness, Promotions & support for Idea Generation & Innovation.
  • Promotion & Support for Entrepreneurship Development.
  • Innovative Learning Methods & Courses.
  • Intellectual Property Generation, Technology Transfer & Commercialization.
  • Innovation in Governance of the Institution.

RBI Notifications

How are inflation rate and interest rate linked?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Monetary Policy tools

Mains level : Not Much

The Monetary Policy Committee of the RBI has decided to keep the benchmark interest rates of the economy unchanged.

Try this PYQ:

Q.Which one of the following is not the most likely measures the Government/RBI takes to stop the slide of Indian rupee? (CSP 2019)

(a) Curbing imports of non-essential goods and promoting exports

(b) Encouraging Indian borrowers to issue rupee-denominated Masala Bonds

(c) Easing conditions relating to external commercial borrowing

(d) Following an expansionary monetary policy

What is the link between growth, inflation and interest rates?

  • In a fast-growing economy, incomes go up quickly and more and more people have the money to buy the existing bunch of goods.
  • As more and more money chases the existing set of goods, prices of such goods rise.
  • In other words, inflation (which is nothing but the rate of increase in prices) spikes.

How interest rates dominate?

  • To contain inflation, a country’s central bank typically increases the interest rates in the economy.
  • By doing so, it incentivizes people to spend less and save more because saving becomes more profitable as interest rates go up.
  • As more and more people choose to save, money is sucked out of the market and inflation rate moderates.

What happens when growth rate decelerates or contracts?

  • When growth contracts or when its growth rate decelerates, people’s incomes also get hit.
  • As a result, less and less money is chasing the same quantity of goods.
  • These results in either the inflation rate decline.
  • In such situations, a central bank cuts down the interest rates so as to incentivise spending and by that route boost economic activity in the economy.
  • Lower interest rates imply that it is less profitable to keep one’s money in the bank or any similar saving instrument.
  • As a result, more and more money comes into the market, thus boosting growth and inflation.

Why has RBI not raised interest rates this quarter?

  • RBI is facing an odd situation at present: GDP is contracting even as inflation is rising.
  • This is happening because the pandemic has reduced demand, on the one hand, and disrupted supply on the other.
  • As a result, both things are happening — falling growth and rising inflation.
  • It is true that for containing inflation, RBI should raise interest rates.
  • And under normal circumstances, it would have done just that. But raising interest rates at this stage would be catastrophic for India’s GDP growth.

Risks of altering interest rates

  • If the RBI cuts the interest rate, it may be fuelling retail inflation further. It must be remembered that inflation hits the poor the hardest.
  • So, the RBI has chosen to do what many expected it to do: stay put and waits for another couple of months to figure out how growth and inflation are shaping up.

Back2Basics: Monetary Policy Committee (MPC)

  • The RBI Act, 1934 (RBI Act) was amended by the Finance Act, 2016,  to provide for a statutory and institutionalized framework for an MPC, for maintaining price stability, while keeping in mind the objective of growth.
  • The MPC is entrusted with the task of fixing the benchmark policy rate (repo rate) required to contain inflation within the specified target level.
  • The meetings of the MPC are held at least 4 times a year and it publishes its decisions after each such meeting.
  • As per the provisions of the RBI Act, out of the six members of the committee, three members are from the RBI and the other three Members of MPC are appointed by the Central Government.
  • Governor of the RBI is ex officio Chairman of the committee.

Economics | Monetary Policy Explained with Examples

Tiger Conservation Efforts – Project Tiger, etc.

Report of the All India Tiger Estimation 2020

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Project Tiger

Mains level : Tiger conservation

India’s tiger population has reached a new high at 2,367.

Before reading this newscard, try these PYQs:

  1. The term ‘M-STrIPES’ is sometimes seen in the news in the context of: (CSP 2017)

(a) Captive breeding of Wild Fauna

(b) Maintenance of Tiger Reserves

(c) Indigenous Satellite Navigation System

(d) Security of National Highways

Q.Consider the following protected areas: (CSP 2012)

  1. Bandipur
  2. Bhitarkanika
  3. Manas
  4. Sunderbans

Which of the above are declared Tiger Reserves?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 1, 3 and 4 only

(c) 2, 3 and 4 only

(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4

All India Tiger Estimation

MP-tops-country-with-526-tigers-as-per-All-India-Tiger-Estimation-2018
  • The tiger count is prepared after every four years by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) provides details on the number of tigers in the 18 tiger reign states with 50 tiger reserves.
  • However, this time, the census also included data collected from the rough terrains of north-eastern states which were not possible due to logistic constraints before.
  • The entire exercise spanned over four years is considered to be the world’s largest wildlife survey effort in terms of coverage and intensity of sampling.
  • Over 15, 000 cameras were installed at various strategic points to capture the movement of tigers. This was supported by extensive data collected by field personnel and satellite mapping.

Details of the report

  • India has 70% of the world’s tigers, says the report.
  • Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of tigers at 526, closely followed by Karnataka (524) and Uttarakhand (442).
  • Chhattisgarh and Mizoram saw a decline in tiger population and all other States saw a “positive” increase, according to a press statement.

Implementing CATS frameworks

  • India had embarked upon assessing management interventions through the globally developed Conservation Assured | Tiger Standards (CA|TS) framework.
  • This framework will now be extended to all fifty tiger reserves across the country.

Back2Basics: Project Tiger

  • Project Tiger is a tiger conservation programme launched in April 1973 during PM Indira Gandhi’s tenure.
  • In 1970 India had only 1800 tigers and Project Tiger was launched in Jim Corbett National Park.
  • The project is administrated by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
  • It aims at ensuring a viable population of Bengal tigers in their natural habitats, protecting them from extinction etc.
  • Under this project the govt. has set up a Tiger Protection Force to combat poachers and funded relocation of villagers to minimize human-tiger conflicts.

Coronavirus – Health and Governance Issues

In news: National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NCDC and its formation

Mains level : Institutional failures in NCDC

India’s premier organisation mandated to collect data about diseases, the NCDC is failing in its task as the spread of COVID-19 continues unabated.

Practice question for mains:

Q. Health infrastructure in India is hardly capable of handling any pandemic. Critically comment.

About the National Centre for Disease Control

  • The NCDC carries out nationwide disease surveillance through its Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP).
  • It is a vertical programme under Directorate General of Health Services.

Its formation

  • This programme has been present in the country in different avatars since 1997 when the National Surveillance Programme for Communicable Diseases was set up.
  • This was upscaled to the Integrated Disease Surveillance Project in 2004, with assistance from the World Bank, to address the demands of the WHO’s International Health Regulations, 2005.
  • Under this, each country had to assess public health emergencies of international concern within 48 hours and report them to WHO within the next 24 hours.
  • It was then included in the 12th Plan (2012-17) under the Union Health Ministry and renamed IDSP.

Mandate of the NCDC

To aid the process of an investigation, NCDC has put down 10 steps that need to be followed for each outbreak:

  • Determine the existence of an outbreak
  • Confirm the diagnosis
  • Define a case
  • Search for cases
  • Generate hypothesis using descriptive findings
  • Test hypothesis with the analytical study
  • Draw conclusions
  • Compare hypothesis with established facts
  • Communication of findings
  • Execute preventive measures

Why did NCDC fail?

  • IDSP’s manual says weekly and monthly updates are mandatory for each State and UTs even if no outbreaks are reported.
  • But this has never been observed to date.
  • There is an overlap between the diseases being followed by IDSP and other agencies like the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme
  • The fact that IDSP does not collect mortality data was also a concern. Moreover, the IDSP was not investigating zoonotic diseases.

Foreign Policy Watch: United Nations

[pib] India’s Voluntary National Review (VNR) of SDGs

The NITI Aayog has recently presented India’s second Voluntary National Review at the UN’s High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development, 2020.

Practice question for mains:

Q.Discuss the institutional approach adopted by NITI Aayog for the 2030 Agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations.

About the UN Forum on SDGs

  • The HLPF is the foremost international platform for follow-up and review of progress on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • The HLPF meets annually in July for eight days under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the UN.
  • The VNRs presented by the Member States at the HLPF are a critical component of the review of progress and implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.
  • The reviews are voluntary and state-led and are aimed at facilitating the sharing of experiences, including successes, challenges and lessons learned.

India VNR 2020

  • NITI Aayog prepared and presented India’s first VNR in 2017.
  • The report is a comprehensive account of the adoption and implementation of the 2030 Agenda in India.
  • India’s VNR this year has undertaken a paradigm shift in terms of embodying a “whole-of-society” approach in letter and spirit.
  • Apart from presenting a review of progress on the 17 SDGs, the report discusses at length the policy and enabling environment, India’s approach to localizing SDGs, and strengthening means of implementation.
  • Leveraging science, technology and innovation for SDGs, and costing and financing of SDGs are the two levers of strengthening means of implementation which have been introduced this year.

Consultations made for the VNR 2020

From Global to Local -key steps of localisation of SDGs in India

 

Tiger Conservation Efforts – Project Tiger, etc.

[pib] India’s Tiger Census sets a New Guinness Record

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : All India Tiger Estimation 2018 results

Mains level : Tiger conservation

The fourth cycle of the All India Tiger Estimation 2018, results of which were declared to the nation on Global Tiger Day last year has entered the Guinness World Record for being the world’s largest camera trap wildlife survey.

Before reading this newscard, try these PYQs:

Q. The term ‘M-STrIPES’ is sometimes seen in the news in the context of: (CSP 2017)

(a) Captive breeding of Wild Fauna

(b) Maintenance of Tiger Reserves

(c) Indigenous Satellite Navigation System

(d) Security of National Highways

Q.Consider the following protected areas: (CSP 2012)

  1. Bandipur
  2. Bhitarkanika
  3. Manas
  4. Sunderbans

Which of the above are declared Tiger Reserves?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 1, 3 and 4 only

(c) 2, 3 and 4 only

(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4

About All India Tiger Estimation

  • The tiger count is prepared after every four years by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) provides details on the number of tigers in the 18 tiger reign states with 50 tiger reserves.
  • However, this time, the census also included data collected from the rough terrains of north-eastern states which were not possible due to logistic constraints before.
  • The entire exercise spanned over four years is considered to be the world’s largest wildlife survey effort in terms of coverage and intensity of sampling.
  • Over 15, 000 cameras were installed at various strategic points to capture the movement of tigers. This was supported by extensive data collected by field personnel and satellite mapping.

Highlights of the 2018 estimation

  • India has 2,967 tigers, a third more than in 2014, according to results of a tiger census.
  • India has achieved the target of doubling tiger population four years before the 2022 deadline.
  • According to the census, Madhya Pradesh saw the highest number of tigers at 526, closely followed by Karnataka at 524 and Uttarakhand at number 3 with 442 tigers.
  • While Pench Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh recorded the highest number of tigers, Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu registered the “maximum improvement” since 2014.
  • Chhattisgarh and Mizoram saw a decline in their tiger numbers while tiger numbers in Odisha remained constant. All other states witnessed a positive trend.

Back2Basics: Project Tiger

  • Project Tiger is a tiger conservation programme launched in April 1973 during PM Indira Gandhi’s tenure.
  • In 1970 India had only 1800 tigers and Project Tiger was launched in Jim Corbett National Park.
  • The project is administrated by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
  • It aims at ensuring a viable population of Bengal tigers in their natural habitats, protecting them from extinction etc.
  • Under this project the govt. has set up a Tiger Protection Force to combat poachers and funded relocation of villagers to minimize human-tiger conflicts.

ISRO Missions and Discoveries

IN-SPACe: Future forerunner for India’s space economy

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : IN-SPACE, ANTRIX, NSIl

Mains level : ISRO and India's space economy

  • The government approved the creation of Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) to ensure greater private participation in India’s space activities.
  • This decision is described as historic being part of an important set of reforms to open up the space sector and make space-based applications and services more widely accessible to everyone.

Practice question for mains:

Q. What is IN-SPACe? Discuss how it would benefit ISRO and contribute to India’s space economy.

What is IN-SPACe?

  • IN-SPACe is supposed to be a facilitator, and also a regulator.
  • It will act as an interface between ISRO and private parties and assess how best to utilise India’s space resources and increase space-based activities.
  • IN-SPACe is the second space organisation created by the government in the last two years.
  • In the 2019 Budget, the government had announced the setting up of a New Space India Limited (NSIL), a public sector company that would serve as a marketing arm of ISRO.

Confusion over NSIL and ANTRIX

  • NSIL’s main purpose is to market the technologies developed by ISRO and bring it more clients that need space-based services.
  • That role, incidentally, was already being performed by Antrix Corporation, another PSU working under the Department of Space, and which still exists.
  • It is still not very clear why there was a need for another organisation with overlapping function.
  • The government now had clarified the role of NSIL that it would have a demand-driven approach rather than the current supply-driven strategy.
  • Essentially, what that means is that instead of just marketing what ISRO has to offer, NSIL would listen to the needs of the clients and ask ISRO to fulfil those.

Then, why was IN-SPACe needed?

(1) ISRO and its limited resources

  • It is not that there is no private industry involvement in India’s space sector.
  • In fact, a large part of the manufacturing and fabrication of rockets and satellites now happens in the private sector. There is increasing participation of research institutions as well.
  • Indian industry, however, is unable to compete, because till now its role has been mainly that of suppliers of components and sub-systems.
  • Indian industries do not have the resources or the technology to undertake independent space projects of the kind that US companies such as SpaceX have been doing or provide space-based services.

(2) India and the global space economy

  • Indian industry had a barely three per cent share in a rapidly growing global space economy which was already worth at least $360 billion.
  • Only two per cent of this market was for rocket and satellite launch services, which require fairly large infrastructure and heavy investment.
  • The remaining 95 per cent related to satellite-based services, and ground-based systems.

(3) Catering to domestic demands

  • The demand for space-based applications and services is growing even within India, and ISRO is unable to cater to this.
  • The need for satellite data, imageries and space technology now cuts across sectors, from weather to agriculture to transport to urban development and more.
  • If ISRO is to provide everything, it would have to be expanded 10 times the current level to meet all the demand that is arising.

(4) Promoting other private players

  • Right now, all launches from India happen on ISRO rockets, the different versions of PSLV and GSLV.
  • There were a few companies that were in the process of developing their own launch vehicles, the rockets like ISRO’s PSLV that carry the satellites and other payloads into space.
  • Now ISRO could provide all its facilities to private players whose projects had been approved by IN-SPACe.

How ISRO gains from all these?

  • There are two main reasons why enhanced private involvement in the space sector seems important.
  • One is commercial, and the other strategic. And ISRO seems unable to satisfy this need on its own.
  • Of course, there is a need for greater dissemination of space technologies, better utilization of space resources, and increased requirement of space-based services.
  • The private industry will also free up ISRO to concentrate on science, research and development, interplanetary exploration and strategic launches.
  • Right now too much of ISRO’s resources are consumed by routine activities that delay its more strategic objectives.

A win-win situation for all

  • ISRO, like NASA, is essentially a scientific organisation whose main objective is the exploration of space and carrying out scientific missions.
  • There are a number of ambitious space missions lined up in the coming years, including a mission to observe the Sun, a mission to the Moon, a human spaceflight, and then, possibly, a human landing on the Moon.
  • And it is not that private players will wean away from the revenues that ISRO gets through commercial launches.
  • The space-based economy is expected to “explode” in the next few years, even in India, and there would be more than enough for all.
  • In addition, ISRO can earn some money by making its facilities and data available to private players.

Higher Education – RUSA, NIRF, HEFA, etc.

National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) ‘India Rankings 2020’

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NIRF

Mains level : Not Much

The National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF) ranking list has been released by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD).

Practice question for mains:

Q. What is NIRF? Discuss the parameters and methodology used in the ranking. Also, discuss its key features and limitations.

About NIRF

  • The NIRF is a methodology adopted by the Ministry of HRD to rank institutions of higher education in India.
  • The Framework was approved and on 29 September 2015.
  • There are separate rankings for different types of institutions depending on their areas of operation like universities and colleges, engineering institutions, management institutions, pharmacy institutions and architecture institutions.
  • The ranking framework evaluates institutions on five broad generic groups of parameters, i.e. Teaching, Learning and Resources (TLR), Research and Professional Practice (RP), Graduation Outcomes (GO), Outreach and Inclusivity (OI) and Perception (PR).

Why need such rankings?

  • Rankings help universities to improve their performance on various ranking parameters and identify gaps in research and areas of improvement.
  • The ranking is necessary for transparency and healthy competition.

Highlights of the 2020 rankings

  • IIT Madras retains 1st Position in Overall Ranking as well as in Engineering,
  • Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru tops the University list.
  • IIM Ahmedabad tops in Management Category and AIIMS occupies the top slot in Medical category for a third consecutive year.
  • Miranda College retains 1st position amongst colleges for a third consecutive year.
  • Maulana Azad Institute of Dental Sciences, Delhi secures 1st position in “Dental” category, dental institutions included for the first time in India Rankings 2020.

Disasters and Disaster Management – Sendai Framework, Floods, Cyclones, etc.

Extreme weather events in India

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NA

Mains level : Extreme weather events in India and their mitigation

Nineteen extreme weather events in 2019 claimed 1,357 lives, with heavy rain and flood accounting for 63 per cent of these deaths, revealed Down To Earth’s State of India’s Environment 2020 report.

Extreme weather events:

  • Extreme weather events are out of the ordinary, unexpected, unusual climatic events which wreak havoc and disrupt everyday life.
  • Over the years, the frequency of extreme weather events has increased due to global warming and climate change.
  • Extreme weather events include hailstorm, heatwaves, dust storm, cloud bursts etc.

Try this question:

Q. Extreme weather events have been the biggest catastrophe in India this year. Discuss.

Data from this newscard can be used to substantiate your mains answer with relevant data.

Loss of lives

  • The most lives were lost in Bihar, with people dying from floods and heavy rain (306), thunderstorms (71) and heatwave (292) between May and October.
  • In Maharashtra, 136 people died from floods and heavy rain, 51 died from lightning and 44 died from the heatwave between June and September.
  • There was a 69 per cent increase in the number of heatwave days between 2013 and 2019 as well, the report said.
  • Over 5,300 people died from heatwaves in the past seven years.
  • Cold waves increased by 69 per cent within a year, between 2017 and 2018, with the latter year reported having an extremely cold winter, with the most casualties (279) in the past seven years.

Risks of Extreme weather events in India

  • Climate change related risks will increasingly affect the Indian subcontinent, including via sea level rise, cyclonic activity and changes in temperature and precipitation patterns.
  • Rising sea levels would submerge low-lying islands and coastal lands and contaminate coastal freshwater reserves.Climate change will increase the risks of death, injury and ill-health and disrupt livelihoods in low-lying coastal zones due to cyclones and coastal and inland flooding, storm surges and sea-level rise.
  • Melting Himalayan glaciers would reduce downstream water supply in many of India’s important rivers in the dry season, impacting millions
  • A warmer atmosphere will spread tropical diseases and pests to new areas.
  • Increased river, coastal and urban floods could cause considerable loss of life and widespread damage to property, infrastructure and settlements.
  • Erratic rainfall in parts of India could lower rice yields and lead to higher food prices and living costs, while increased drought related water and food shortages linked to rising and extreme temperatures may increase malnutrition and worsen rural poverty. Over 55% of Indian rural households depend on agriculture for a living and, with fisheries and forestry,

Systems in place to tackle extreme weather events are as follows:

1.Meteorological predictions

2.Contingency fund

3.Early warning to citizens

4.NDMA has issued an action plan for Prevention and Management of Heat Waves.

5.Remote sensing satellites.

Problems with accurate meteorological predictions are as follows:

1.Meteorological predictions are considered for broad geographical areas and timeframes. It is not yet possible to predict a thunderstorm or lightning at a village or a part of a city.

2.The exact times these events will hit, too, cannot be predicted.

3.Alerts and warnings are in the nature of a general advisory, telling the people to expect these events, and to take precautions

Steps taken by the State government are as follows:

1.Rajasthan:

  • storm has been included in the category of natural disasters for the first time in the State and funds to the tune of ₹2.55 crore have been sanctioned to the affected districts.
  • The next of kin of each deceased in Rajasthan will get financial assistance of ₹4 lakh from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.
  • Power discoms have launched action on a war-footing to restore electricity supply in the affected areas, while the administration has ordered a survey of damaged properties.
  • In Dholpur district, relief camps have been opened for the villagers whose houses were destroyed.

2.Uttar Pradesh:

  • The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister has announced a compensation of up to Rs 400,000 to the families of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for each of the injured in the heavy rainfall and storm across the state.
  • contingency funds have been released to the respective district administration.

FDI in Indian economy

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in India

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : FDI

Mains level : Features of India's FDI Policy

The FDI in India grew by 13% to a record of $49.97 billion in the 2019-20 financial years, according to official data.

Get aware with the recently updated FDI norms. Key facts mentioned in this newscard can make a direct statement based MCQ in the prelims.

Ex. FDI source in decreasing order: Singapore – Mauritius – Netherland – Ceyman Islands – Japan – France

Data on FDI

  • The country had received an FDI of $44.36 billion during April-March 2018-19.
  • The sectors which attracted maximum foreign inflows during 2019-20 include services ($7.85 billion), computer software and hardware ($7.67 billion), telecommunications ($4.44 billion), trading ($4.57 billion), automobile ($2.82 billion), construction ($2 billion), and chemicals ($1 billion).
  • Singapore emerged as the largest source of FDI in India during the last fiscal with $14.67 billion investments.
  • It was followed by Mauritius ($8.24 billion), the Netherlands ($6.5 billion), the U.S. ($4.22 billion), Caymen Islands ($3.7 billion), Japan ($3.22 billion), and France ($1.89 billion).

What is FDI?

  • An FDI is an investment in the form of a controlling ownership in a business in one country by an entity based in another country.
  • It is thus distinguished from a foreign portfolio investment by a notion of direct control.
  • FDI may be made either “inorganically” by buying a company in the target country or “organically” by expanding the operations of an existing business in that country.
  • Broadly, FDI includes “mergers and acquisitions, building new facilities, reinvesting profits earned from overseas operations, and intra company loans”.
  • In a narrow sense, it refers just to building a new facility, and lasting management interest.

FDI in India

  • Foreign investment was introduced in 1991 under Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), driven by then FM Manmohan Singh.
  • There are two routes by which India gets FDI.

1) Automatic route: By this route, FDI is allowed without prior approval by Government or RBI.

2) Government route: Prior approval by the government is needed via this route. The application needs to be made through Foreign Investment Facilitation Portal, which will facilitate the single-window clearance of FDI application under Approval Route.

  • India imposes a cap on equity holding by foreign investors in various sectors, current FDI in aviation and insurance sectors is limited to a maximum of 49%.
  • In 2015 India overtook China and the US as the top destination for the Foreign Direct Investment.

Back2Basics

Amendment in the FDI Policy for curbing opportunistic takeovers/acquisitions of Indian companies

Swachh Bharat Mission

[pib] Star Ratings of Garbage Free Cities

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Star Ratings of Garbage Free Cities

Mains level : Success of SBM

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) has released the Star rating of garbage-free cities for the assessment year 2019-2020.

Practice question for mains:

Q. Discuss how the Swachh Bharat Mission has become a people’s movement in India. Also, discuss how it has managed to instill a behavioural change amongst the citizens.

About Star Rating Protocol

  • The Star Rating Protocol was launched by the MoHUA in January 2018 to institutionalize a mechanism for cities to achieve Garbage Free status and to motivate cities to achieve higher degrees of cleanliness.
  • The protocol has been devised in a holistic manner including components such as the cleanliness of drains & water bodies, plastic waste management, managing construction & demolition waste, etc.
  • While the key thrust of this protocol is on Solid waste management(SWM), it also takes care of ensuring certain minimum standards of sanitation through a set of prerequisites defined in the framework.
  • The new protocol considers ward-wise geo-mapping, monitoring of SWM value chain through ICT interventions like Swachh Nagar App and zone-wise rating in cities with a population above 50 lakh.

Performance of cities

  • Accordingly, as per the 2020 survey, 6 cities have been graded 5 stars, 65 Cities rated 3 Star and 70 Cities rated 1 Star.

5 Star Cities

ULB Name State Final Rating
Ambikapur Chhattisgarh 5 Star
Rajkot Gujarat 5 Star
Surat Gujarat 5 Star
Mysore Karnataka 5 Star
Indore Madhya Pradesh 5 Star
Navi Mumbai Maharashtra 5 Star

Assessment under the protocol

  • To ensure that the Protocol has a SMART framework, the MoHUA has developed a three-stage assessment process.
  • In the first stage, ULBs populate their progress data on the portal along with supporting documents within a particular timeframe.
  • The second stage involves a desktop assessment by a third-party agency selected and appointed by MoHUA.
  • Claims of cities that clear the desktop assessment are then verified through independent field-level observations in the third stage.

Significance

  • This certification is an acknowledgement of the clean status of Urban Local Bodies and strengthened SWM systems as well as a mark of trust and reliability akin to universally known standards.

Back2Basics: Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM)

  • SBM is a nation-wide campaign in India for the period 2014 to 2019 that aims to clean up the streets, roads and infrastructure of India’s cities, towns, urban and rural areas.
  • The objectives of Swachh Bharat include eliminating open defecation through the construction of household-owned and community-owned toilets and establishing an accountable mechanism of monitoring toilet use.
  • Run by the GoI, the mission aims to achieve an “open-defecation free” (ODF) India by 2 October 2019, the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi by constructing 90 million toilets in rural India.
  • The mission will also contribute to India reaching Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6), established by the UN in 2015.
  • It is India’s largest cleanliness drive to date with three million government employees and students from all parts of India participating in 4,043 cities, towns, and rural areas.
  • The mission has two thrusts: Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (“gramin” or ‘rural’), which operates under the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation; and Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (‘urban’), which operates under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.