News: The Global Innovation Index(GII),2020 has been released.
- GII: It is an annual ranking that quantifies the state of national innovation ecosystem across countries.In 2020, it has ranked 131 countries.
- Published by: The index has been released jointly by the World Intellectual Property Organization(WIPO), Cornell University and INSEAD Business School.
- Metrics: The metrics include institutions, human capital and research, infrastructure, market sophistication and business sophistication, knowledge and technology outputs and creative outputs.
- Theme for 2020: Who Will Finance Innovation?
- Switzerland has topped the index followed by Sweden, US, UK and Netherlands.
- India has joined the group of top 50 countries in the global innovation index for the first time moving up four places to the 48th rank.
- India remained the most innovative country in Central and Southern Asia and is also the third most innovative lower middle-income economy in the world.
News: The Union Cabinet has approved the Mission Karmayogi – National Programme for Civil Services Capacity Building(NPCSCB).
- Mission Karmayogi: It is a nationwide programme to lay the foundation for capacity building of civil servants so that they remain entrenched in Indian Culture while they learn the best practices across the world.
- Aim: To prepare Indian civil servants for the future by making them more creative, constructive, imaginative, proactive, innovative, progressive, professional, energetic, transparent and technology enabled.
- How will Mission Karmayogi unfold?
- iGOT Karmayogi: The mission will be delivered by Integrated Government Online Training-iGOT Karmayogi Platform.It will act as a launchpad to enable a comprehensive reform of the capacity building apparatus at the individual, institutional and process levels.
- Human Resources Council: It will be set up under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister comprising select Union Ministers, Chief Ministers who will provide strategic direction to the task of Civil Services Reform and capacity building.
- Coordination Unit: It will be headed by Cabinet Secretary consisting of select secretaries and cadre controlling authorities.
- Capacity Building Commission: It will include experts in related fields and global professionals.This commission will prepare and monitor annual capacity building plans and audit human resources available in the government.
- Special Purpose Vehicle(SPV): It will be a “not-for-profit” company under Section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013.It will own and manage iGOT-Karmayogi platform to create and operationalise the content, market place and manage key business services of iGOT platform.
- Funding: To cover around 46 lakh central employees, a sum of Rs 510 crore will be spent over a period of 5 years from 2020-21 to 2024-25. The expenditure is partly funded by multilateral assistance to the tune of $50 million.
News: The International Commission of Jurists(ICJ) has said that the conviction of civil rights lawyer Prashant Bhushan for criminal contempt seemed to be inconsistent with the freedom of expression law guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
- International Commission of Jurists (ICJ): It is an international human rights non-governmental organization founded in 1952.
- Composition: It is a standing group of 60 eminent jurists including senior judges, attorneys and academics.
- Functions: To develop national and international human rights standards through the law.
- Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: It is a multilateral treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1966 and in force from 1976.
- Purpose: The covenant commits its parties to respect the civil and political rights of individuals including the right to life, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, electoral rights and rights to due process and a fair trial.
- Monitored by: The treaty is monitored by the United Nations Human Rights Committee.
- Parties: As of September 2019, the Covenant has 173 parties and six more signatories without ratification.India is a party to this treaty.
News: The Ministry of Jal Shakti has launched a “Water Heroes” contest.
- Aim: To reach out to people with the important message of water conservation and management.
- Features: Under this, entries are invited to share their success stories on water conservation.
- This is to be done through a video of 1-5 minutes along with a write up of 300 words.Of these, 10 entries are to be invited for awards.The selected entries are to be awarded with a cash prize of Rs 10,000.
News: NASA has been tracking asteroid 465824 2010 FR which is twice as big as the Pyramid of Giza and is expected to cross the Earth’s orbit on September 6.It is classified as a Near-Earth Object(NEO) and a potentially hazardous asteroid(PHA).
- Near-Earth Object(NEO): NASA defines NEOs as comets and asteroids nudged by the gravitational attraction of nearby planets into orbits that allow them to enter the Earth’s neighbourhood.These objects are composed mostly of water ice with embedded dust particles.
- Potentially Hazardous Asteroid(PHA): They are currently defined based on parameters that measure the asteroid’s potential to make threatening close approaches to the Earth.Specifically, all asteroids with a minimum orbit intersection distance(MOID) of 0.05 au or less are considered PHAs.
- Asteroid: They are small, rocky objects that orbit the Sun.Although asteroids orbit the Sun like planets, they are much smaller than planets.
- Comets: They are cosmic snowballs of frozen gases, rock and dust that orbit the Sun.
News: The Department of Science & Technology(DST) secretary has launched a brochure featuring Entrepreneurs in Residence(EIR) under the National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations (NIDHI) programme.
- Entrepreneurs in Residence(EIR) Programme: It is one of the sub-programs introduced under the National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations(NIDHI) programme.
- Aim: To inspire the best talents to be entrepreneurs, to minimise the risk involved in pursuing start- ups and to partially set off their opportunity costs of high paying jobs.
- Nodal Department: Department of Science and Technology.
- Funding: It supports aspiring or budding entrepreneurs of considerable potential for pursuing a promising technology business idea over a period up to 18 months with a subsistence grant up to Rs 30,000 per month with a maximum cap for total support of Rs 3.6 lakh.
- NIDHI: It was launched by the Department of Science and Technology as an umbrella scheme to support ideas and innovations (knowledge-based and technology-driven) into successful startups.
News: Eleven teams of Indian and US scientists have been selected under COVID-19 Ignition Grants Initiativetojointly work on out of the box solutions ranging from novel early diagnostic tests, antiviral therapy among others for COVID 19.
- COVID-19 Ignition Grants: It is an initiative by the U.S.-India Science and Technology Endowment Fund (USISTEF) to support promising joint U.S.-India S&T based entrepreneurial initiatives to address the COVID-19 challenge.
- USISTEF: It has been established by the governments of the United States of America (through the Department of State) and India (through the Department of Science & Technology).
- Aim: To support and foster joint applied R&D to generate public good through the commercialization of technology developed through sustained partnerships between U.S. and Indian researchers and entrepreneurs.
- Administered by: The fund is implemented and administered through the bi-national Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF).
News: National Crime Record Bureau(NCRB) has released a report titled “Accidental Deaths & Suicides in India(ADSI)” for the year 2019.
Key Highlights from the report:
- Farm Suicides: The suicides in the agriculture sector have declined by 10% — from 11,379 in 2016 to 10,281 in 2019.
- States wise: Maharashtraaccounted for the highest share in suicides related to the farm sector in 2019 followed by Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Punjab.
- NCRB: It is an attached office of the Ministry of Home Affairs.The agency is responsible for collecting and analysing crime data as defined by the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Special and Local Laws (SLL).
News: Government appointed Commission has been examining sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes(OBC) for almost three years now.
- What is sub-categorisation of OBCs? OBCs are granted 27% reservation under the central government.The sub-categorisation is needed as only a few affluent communities among the Central List of OBCs have secured a major part of this reservation.
- Hence, sub-categorisation would ensure equitable distribution of representation among all OBC communities.
- Who is examining sub-categorisation? The Commission to Examine Sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes was appointed in 2017.It is headed by retired Delhi High Court Chief Justice G Rohini.
- What are its terms of references? The terms of reference of the commission includes:
- To examine the extent of inequitable distribution of benefits of reservation among the castes or communities included in the broad category of OBCs with reference to such classes included in the Central List;
- To work out the mechanism, criteria, norms and parameters in a scientific approach for sub-categorisation within such OBCs;
- To take up the exercise of identifying the respective castes or communities or sub-castes or synonyms in the Central List of OBCs and classifying them into their respective sub-categories.
- To study the various entries in the Central List of OBCs and recommend correction of any repetitions, ambiguities, inconsistencies and errors of spelling or transcription.
- Expenditure: Its budget is being drawn from the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) which was given constitutional status by the government in 2018.
- Progress so far: The Commission is ready with the draft report.The current tenure of the Commission ends on January 31,2021.