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GS Paper I- History and Geography of the World and Society.

India Ranked 60th Most Innovative Country On The Global Innovation Index-2017.

Background-

  • India currently ranks 60th out of 127 countries on the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2017 as compared to 66th rank on GII 2016.
  • In order to make India an innovation- driven economy, NITI Aayog, Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) together launched a mega initiative India Innovation Index that will rank states on Innovations through country’s first online innovation index portal that will capture data on innovation from all Indian states on innovation and regularly update it in real time.
  • Further, the Smart India Hackathon and Smart India Hardware Hackathon have been launched to improve the innovative abilities of the students in the Higher Education Institutions.

 

Highlights Of The Development–

  • The Smart India Hackathon has received huge response when it was launched in 2017 and this would be continued as annual event.
  • The Government is also promoting research parks (RPs) and technology business incubators (TBIs) which would nurture and promote the innovative ideas till they become commercial ventures.
  • The projects for promoting research and innovation like the IMPRINT and Uchhatar Avishkar Yojana (UAY) have brought focused attention of the scientific community on the need for promoting innovation.
  • The Start Up India initiative of the Government has also put in place a mechanism for identifying and incubating the innovative ideas.
  • Switzerland remains the world’s most innovative country, while India, Kenya, and Vietnam are outperforming their development-level peers, the latest data from the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2017 shows.
  • India ranks 60th in the GII ​ranking​ that surveys some 130 economies using a range of metrics from patent filings to education spending—up by six positions from last year and 21 positions from 2015.
  • China is the first middle-income country that broke through the top-25 ranking last year and has further improved its position to settle for the 22nd position this year—up by three positions from 2016.
  • India has improved its ranking owing to its strengths in human capital and research (64th), graduates in science and engineering (10th), global R&D companies (14th), QS university ranking (21st), market sophistication (39th), business sophistication and ease of protecting minority investors. On the output side, its strengths lie in ICT services exports (1st), creative goods export (18th) and growth rate of GDP per person engaged (5th).

Sources- Business-Standard, Firstpost.

GS Paper II- International Relations.

India, Myanmar Sign MoU For Rakhine State’s Development.

Background

  • India and Myanmar on 20th December, 2017 signed a MoU to develop Rakhine State, from where thousands of Rohingya population have fled to Bangladesh following a military crackdown.
  • Foreign secretary S Jaishankar and Myanmar’s deputy minister for social welfare, relief and resettlement U Soe Aung signed the Memorandum of Understanding.
  • This MoU is the first government to government agreement signed by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement of Myanmar with a cooperation partner focussed on socio-economic development and livelihood initiatives in Rakhine State.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • The statement stated that the Indian government proposed to take up, among others, a project to build prefabricated housing in Rakhine State, so as to meet the immediate needs of returning people.
  • Jaishankar’s visit is of strategic importance after more than 650,000 Rohingyas fled to neighbouring Bangladesh since violence erupted in Rakhine in August.
  • The minority Rohingya community does not enjoy citizenship in Myanmar and is sparingly given refugee status in Bangladesh.
  • Human rights monitors have accused Myanmar’s military of atrocities against the Rohingyas.
  • India has maintained that the issue should be handled in a humane manner, development activities should be initiated in Rakhine State and conditions should be created for the safe and secure return of the refugees to their homes.
  • Jaishankar, during his day-long visit, also called on Myanmar state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, Union minister in state counsellor’s office U Kyaw Tint Swe and Union minister for social welfare, relief and resettlement Win Myat Aye.
  • All matters relating to bilateral cooperation, including follow-up on decisions taken during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Myanmar, as well as matters pertaining to Rakhine State were discussed during these meetings.
  • According to the external affairs ministry, ongoing friendship projects were reviewed.
  • These included operation and maintenance of the deep-water port at Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine State, and the road from Paletwa to Zorinpui on the border of India’s northeastern state of Mizoram.
  • Both the port and road are parts of the Kaladan Multi-modal Transit and Transport Project being developed by India, which is aimed at reducing the need to transport goods between northeastern India and the rest of India through the narrow Siliguri corridor.

Sources- HT.

GS Paper III- Economic Development, Security.

Lok Sabha Passes Immovable Property (Amendment) Bill.

Background

  • A bill to amend the regulations governing compensation payable for acquisition of immovable property by the Centre for defence and security purposes, was passed by the Lok Sabha on 20th December, 2017.
  • The Immovable Property (Amendment) Bill, which was moved by Urban Development Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, was adopted by a voice vote.
  • Replying to the debate on the Bill, Mr. Puri said the law has been amended eleven times earlier. This is the 12th amendment and the amendment has been brought for limited and specific purpose.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • The bill seeks to amend a provision to allow the Centre to re-issue the notice of acquisition in order to ensure that the property’s owner gets an opportunity to be heard.
  • Putting at rest the apprehensions of the members of the house, the minister said the compensation was meant for an interim period and solely for the purpose of determining the date of compensation to be computed.
  • According to the government, there could be situations resulting in prolonged litigations and if the apex court quashes the notice of acquisition, there might be astronomical hike in compensation amount on account of market value appreciation.
  • Against this backdrop, the bill seeks to amend a section of the Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property Act to enable the central government to re-issue the notice of acquisition to the owner or such other person interested in the property, for the purpose of giving an opportunity of being heard.
  • Mr. Puri also clarified that the government had no intention to open up those cases where the compensation has already been provided.
  • Participating in the debate, CPI(M) leader Mohammad Salim said the government was trying to bring in “piecemeal” legislations to acquire land at a time when the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2015 was pending with the joint parliamentary committee.

Sources- The Hindu.