GS Paper I- Indian Heritage and Culture.

Viveck Goenka Elected New PTI Chairman, N Ravi Is Vice-Chairman.

Background-

  • The Press Trust of India (PTI) has elected Viveck Goenka, chairman and managing director of the Express group, as chairman of the country’s largest news agency. N Ravi, former editor-inchief of ‘The Hindu’, was elected vice-chairman.
  • Goenka (60) succeeds Riyad Mathew, a member of the Malayala Manorama management, while Ravi (69) succeeds Goenka as the vice-chairman.

Highlights Of The Development–

  • The election took place at a meeting of the board of directors following the company’s 69th annual general meeting on 7th September, 2017.
  • Goenka, an engineer and publisher, is also a director of the Indian Newspaper Society (INS), besides being a member of the Advertising Association, India Chapter. He has also served as chairman of United News of India news agency, as a council member of Audit Bureau of Circulation and was one of the youngest presidents of INS. He is also a wildlife photographer and an avid student of conservation.
  • Ravi, an award-winning journalist, is a director at Kasturi & Sons Ltd, which publishes The Hindu. He joined ‘The Hindu’ in 1972 and served as reporter, leader writer and Washington correspondent until 1980 when he became a deputy editor.
  • He was editor from 1991 to 2011 and editor-in-chief from October 2013 to January 2015.
  • He has a master’s degree in Economics and a bachelor’s degree in Law. He has previously been chairman of PTI and president of the Editors’ Guild of India.
  • He was a member of the National Security Advisory Board from 2006 to 2008.

 

Sources- The Times Of India.

 

GS Paper II- Governance.

India Slides In World University Rankings.

Background

  • Poor performance in internationalisation of their campuses and a low research score have pulled down Indian higher education institutes such as the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and some of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2018.
  • Times Higher Education on 5th September, 2017, published the 14th annual edition of its World University Rankings, a list of the top 1,000 universities from 77 countries. According to THE, India’s performance has deteriorated, with its number of universities in the top 1,000 declining from 31 to 30.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • While IISc has dropped from the 201-250 band in the previous rankings to the 251-300 band, IIT-Delhi and IIT-Kanpur have fallen from the 401-500 band to the 501-600 band. IIT-Madras fell from the 401-500 band to the 601-800 cohort.
  • The drop comes at a time when the IITs have sought more funds under the human resources development ministry’s Vishwajeet project aimed at helping them climb in global academic rankings.
  • The University of Oxford retains first place in the World University Rankings. The University of Cambridge climbs two places to second, overtaking the California Institute of Technology and Stanford University, both joint third. While the US continues to dominate the rankings, Chinese universities are climbing rapidly.
  • Terming the decline in India’s score as “disappointing”, Phil Baty, editorial director, global rankings, THE, pointed out that other Asian countries such as China and Singapore had been consistently improving their performance.
  • THE is of the view that India may recover on this metric on the back of its world-class university plan, which aims to provide additional funding to select public and private universities for infrastructure and academics.
  • A director of one of the seven older IITs said efforts to improve research through additional funding had been “slower than desired” from the government as well as the institutes.

Sources- Business-Standard.

GS Paper III- Economic Development.

India’s Sugar Output May Rise 25% In 2017-18 Season, UP Likely To Be Top Producer.

Background

  • Indian mills are expected to produce 25.1 million tonnes (mt) of sugar during the 2017-18 sugar season beginning October, 2017 nearly 25 per cent higher than last season’s 20.3 mt, the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) has reported.
  • The association said Uttar Pradesh could again turn out to be the largest sugar producer in the coming season, with almost 40 per cent share in the total production.
  • ISMA has projected 9.95 mt sugar production from UP. Maharashtra and Karnataka are also expected to come back on track, with Maharashtra production estimated at 7.4 mt.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • Sugar stock at the end of June, 2017 was estimated at 10 mt, and ISMA’s initial estimates show June lifting was below average. The government issued a notification increasing sugar import duty from 40 per cent to 50 per cent on refined as well as raw sugar. The move follows sharp fall in sugar prices in the past months.
  • For the past few months, expecting good production in the 2017-18 (Oct-Sept) season, sugar mills have been selling as much sugar as possible to reduce stock . This was keeping the prices in open market under check, and the Centre’s recent decision to allow duty-free import of raw sugar up to five lakh tonnes only helped to maintain the supply-demand balance.
  • Since March, 2017, international sugar prices have been on a downward trail and have fallen 30 per cent to trade at 13.5 cents per pound. This is because of better production in Brazil, no Indian demand in international market, and a depreciating Brazilian currency, making export from that country remunerative.

Sources- Business-Standard.