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

Hyderabad Ranks 1st In Quality Of Living Index Within India: Report.

Background

  • Hyderabad retained its position as the top Indian city for the fourth year and is joined by Pune as the two cities ranked highest among the seven Indian cities surveyed for quality of living.
  • Mercer, a global consulting firm and a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies, released its 2018 Quality of Living ranking, highlighting its findings in its survey conducted annually.
  • New Delhi was the lowest ranked city in India for the third consecutive year and continues to face challenges in traffic and air quality.
  • Other metros, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Bengaluru also ranked lower on the Quality of Living Index than the relatively newer technology hubs of Pune and Hyderabad, both of them were ranked at 142. Both cities have been rising up in the rankings in recent past, with Pune jumping up three spots this year.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • Vienna again topped the list that includes 450 cities globally. It is Vienna’s ninth consecutive at the top of the index, followed by Zurich, Auckland and Munich in joint third place. In fifth place, Vancouver completes the top five and is the highest ranking city in North America. Singapore (25) and Montevideo (77) are the highest ranking cities in Asia and Latin America, respectively.
  • The results show that Indian cities are yet to make any marked leaps on the quality of living scale from 2017. A key driver has been the considerable investment in physical infrastructure, including airports, public transport and communication facilities – among the many factors used to evaluate city living standards, according to Padma Ramanathan, India Practice Leader, Global Mobility.
  • In 2018, improvements in Chennai, demonstrate some growth as a result of better access to airport with metro facilities and enhanced international connections. While Hyderabad and Pune have jumped up rankings this year, they have done so relative to other cities, while showing negligible change on factors evaluated.
  • Air pollution is among the biggest threats posed to daily life and quality of living in megacities.
  • In addition to valuable data on relative quality of living, Mercer’s surveys provide hardship premium recommendations for over 450 cities throughout the world. This year’s ranking included 231 of these cities.

Sources- The Hindu Business Line.

 

GS Paper II- Governance.

Surat Becomes First District To Have 100% Solar Powered Health Centres.

Background

  • At a time when global warming is mounting with each passing day, Gujarat’s Surat district has switched to solar power to combat the issue.
  • Surat has become the first district in the country to have 100 percent solar powered Primary Health Centers (PHC).
  • There are a total of 52 PHCs in the district and all of them are now powered by solar system. This initiative will not only bring down the electricity bill by 40 percent but also help fight global warming.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • Other than PHCs, there are 572 gram panchayats in the Surat District, out of which 150 are solar powered gram panchayats and soon the other 422 panchayats will too be solar powered.
  • 25 percent of the total expense of making the gram panchayat solar powered has been borne by the district panchayat, District Development Officer K. Rajesh told.
  • Rajesh is confident that Surat would set an example for the country by developing villages that use sustainable forms of energy.

Sources- Business-Standard.

 

GS Paper III- Security.

Govt Releases Draft Policy On Defence Production.

Background

  • The Defence Ministry has come out with a draft policy which envisages achieving a turnover of Rs 1,70,000 crore in military goods and services by 2025 by promoting the domestic defence industry.
  • The policy says the aim is to make India one of the top five manufacturers of defence platforms with active participation of public and private sectors.
  • The policy lists as a major aim achieving export of Rs 35,000 crore in military equipment and services by 2025 by promoting the domestic defence industry.
  • The defence ministry has sought comments and suggestions of experts and stakeholders on the policy. At present, India is one of the world’s largest importer of military platforms and weapons.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • The government identified 12 military platforms and weapons systems for production in India to achieve the aim of “self-reliance”.
  • They are fighter aircraft, medium lift and utility helicopters, warships, land combat vehicles, missile systems, gun systems, small arms, ammunition and explosives, surveillance systems, electronic warfare (EW) systems and night fighting enablers, among others.
  • The policy says the goal is to achieve a turnover of Rs 1,70,000 crore in defence goods and services by 2025 involving additional investment of nearly Rs 70,000 crore, creating employment for nearly 2 to 3 million people.
  • It says the aim is to achieve export of Rs 35,000 crore in defence goods and services by 2025.
  • According to the policy, the government aims to make India self-reliant in defence production as well as fulfil demand of other friendly countries.
  • The policy says the licensing process for defence industries will be liberalised and the list of items requiring licences will be reviewed and pruned.
  • Except a small negative list, other items will be taken out of purview of licensing, it says, adding all applications for licences will be disposed off in 30 days.
  • It says ‘no-objection certificates’ and comments from all agencies must necessarily be received within two weeks of filing of the applications by the companies.
  • The policy says the tax regime will be rationalised to make domestic manufacturing attractive by ensuring that there is no tax inversion.
  • Taxes on import of capital goods and services, inputs and components used in defence production will be rationalised, it says.

Sources- Businessworld.