Daily Analysis: 3rd September 2020

The Hindu, PIB, IE and Others

Index

A) Science and Technology

1. Explained: The asteroid twice as big as Giza Pyramid about to cross Earth’s orbit soon (IE)

2. United States–India Science & Technology Endowment Fund (USISTEF) (PIB)

B) Polity/Bills/Acts/Judgments

3. What are Foreigners’ Tribunals? (TH, pg 4)

4. No Question Hour during the Monsoon Session of Parliament (TH, pg 1)

5. Section 69A of the Information Technology Act imposed against the mobile apps (PIB)

C) Schemes/Policies/Initiatives/Social Issues

6. Explained explained: What is the Special Frontier Force, referred to as Vikas Battalion? (IE)

7. Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIR) Programme (PIB)

8. Mission Karmayogi – National Programme for Civil Services Capacity Building (NPCSCB) (PIB)

9. Bulk Drug Parks (TH, pg 7)

D) Geography, Environment and Biodiversity

10. Explained: What is the importance of Ladakh’s Pangong Tso south bank? (IE)

11. Ice stupas help ghost villages of Ladakh become habitable again (PIB)

12. Types of forests on the basis of administration (TH, pg 5)

E) Indices/Committees/Reports/Organisations

13. Global Innovation Index 2020 (PIB)

F) Miscellaneous

14. Robot Rakshak (News on AIR)

15. Water Heroes Contest 2.0 (PIB)

A) Science and Technology

1. Explained:The asteroid twice as big as Giza Pyramid about to cross Earth’s orbit soon (IE)

Context: 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).

Analysis

  • 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.

What is an asteroid?

  • Asteroids are rocky objects that orbit the Sun, much smaller than planets.
  • As per NASA, there are approximately 1 million known asteroids, the remnants from the formation of the solar system over 4.6 billion years ago.
  • Most such objects can be found in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
  • The explanation for the concentration of asteroids in this belt comes from the formation of Jupiter, whose gravity brought an end to the formation of any planetary bodies in this region, as a result of which the smaller bodies kept colliding with each other, fragmenting into asteroids.
  • Other than those found in the main asteroid belt, asteroids can be classified into trojans, which are asteroids that share an orbit with a larger planet.
  • The third classification of asteroids can be as Near-Earth Asteroids (NEA), which have orbits that pass close by the Earth.

Why do scientists track asteroids?

  • Scientists study them to look for information about the formation and history of planets and the sun, since asteroids were formed at the same time as other objects in the solar system. 
  • Another reason for tracking them is to look for asteroids that might be potentially hazardous.

When do asteroids become dangerous?

  • The objects that can cause significant damage upon impacting are larger than 30 metres.
  • Every year, about 30 small asteroids hit the Earth, but do not cause any major damage on the ground.

How are asteroids named?

  • They are named by the International Astronomical Union (IAU).

2. United States–India Science & Technology Endowment Fund (USISTEF) (PIB)

  • The governments of the United States of America (through the Department of State) and India (through the Department of Science & Technology) have established the United States–India Science & Technology Endowment Fund (USISTEF) for the promotion of joint activities that would lead to innovation and entrepreneurship through the application of science and technology.
  • The aim of the Fund is 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.
  • The U.S.-India Science and Technology Endowment Fund activities are implemented and administered through the bi-national Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF).

B) Polity/Bills/Acts/Judgments

3. What are Foreigners’ Tribunals? (TH, pg 4)

Context: State government said that 83,008 cases of doubtful or D­-voters were pending across the 100 Foreigners’ Tribunals (FTs) in Assam.

Analysis

  • D­voters are a category of people struck off Assam’s electoral rolls by the Election Commission on suspicion of being foreigners.
  • Their cases are referred to the Foreigners Tribunals (FTs), which decide on their citizenship.

Foreigners Tribunals (FTs)

  • The Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964 was issued by the Central Government under the Foreigners Act, 1946.
  • It is applicable to the whole country.
  • Major amendments in the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964 were undertaken in 2013 and in May, 2019.
  • All these orders are applicable to the whole country and are not specific to any state.
  • This Amendment Order provides for reference by District Magistrate to the Tribunal for its opinion as to whether the Appellant is a “foreigner” or not within the meaning of the Foreigners Act, 1946.
  • Since the Foreigners Tribunals under this order have been established only in Assam and in no other state of the country, this amendment in effect is going to be relevant only to Assam at present.

National Register of Citizens in Assam

  • The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is the list of Indian citizens of Assam.
  • There is a special provision under the Rules to prepare National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam which is application based and distinct from the rest of India where the process is enumeration based.
  • The applications for preparation of NRC in Assam were invited in May-August, 2015 and after necessary scrutiny & verification, the draft NRC has been published in July, 2018.
  • After the publication of draft NRC, the process of filing claims & objections on the draft NRC and the verification process in accordance with the directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court is going on.
  • Any person, who does not find his/her name in the draft NRC may file the claims.
  • Similarly, any person can file objections in respect of inclusion of any name in the draft NRC list.
  • Hon’ble Supreme Court of India is monitoring the NRC process in the State of Assam.

4. No Question Hour during the Monsoon Session of Parliament (TH, pg 1)

Context: Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats notified that there will be no Question Hour during the Monsoon Session of Parliament, and that Zero Hour will be restricted in both Houses in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • Opposition MPs have criticised the move, saying they will lose the right to question the government and it is breach on part of their Individual privilege being member of Parliament.

Analysis

Individual Privileges

The privileges belonging to the member individually are:

  • They cannot be arrested during the session of Parliament/State Legislature and 40 days before the beginning and 40 days after the end of a session.
  • This privilege is available only in civil cases and not in criminal cases or preventive detention cases.
  • They have freedom of speech in Parliament/State Legislature (Under this MPs are demanding that Question Hour be restored in the upcoming session).
  • No member is liable to any proceedings in any court for anything said or any vote given by him in Parliament/State Legislature or its committees.
  • This freedom is subject to the provisions of the Constitution and to the rules and standing orders regulating the procedure of Parliament/State Legislature.
  • They are exempted from jury service.
  • They can refuse to give evidence and appear as a witness in a case pending in a court when Parliament/State Legislature is in session.

Breach of Privilege and Contempt of the House

  • Normally, a breach of privilege may amount to contempt of the House.
  • Likewise, contempt of the House may include may include a breach of privilege also.

All about Question Hour

What is Question Hour, and what is its significance?

  • Question Hour is the liveliest hour in Parliament. It is during this one hour that Members of Parliament ask questions of ministers and hold them accountable for the functioning of their ministries.
  • MPs used this parliamentary device to shine a light on government functioning. The questions asked are designed to elicit information and trigger suitable action by ministries.
  • In the past such questions have exposed financial irregularities and brought data and information regarding government functioning to the public domain.
  • Prior to Independence, the first question asked of government was in 1893. It was on the burden cast on village shopkeepers who had to provide supplies to touring government officers.

And what is Zero Hour?

  • While Question Hour is strictly regulated, Zero Hour is an Indian parliamentary innovation. The phrase does not find mention in the rules of procedure.
  • The concept of Zero Hour started organically in the first decade of Indian Parliament, when MPs felt the need for raising important constituency and national issues.
  • During the initial days, Parliament used to break for lunch at 1 pm. Therefore, the opportunity for MPs to raise national issues without an advance notice became available at 12 pm and could last for an hour until the House adjourned for lunch.
  • This led to the hour being popularly referred to as Zero Hour and the issues being raised during this time as Zero Hour submissions. Over the years, presiding officers of both Houses have given directions to streamline the working of Zero Hour to make it even more effective.
  • Its importance can be gauged from the support it receives from citizens, media, MPs and presiding officers despite not being part of the rulebook.

How is Question Hour regulated?

  • Parliament has comprehensive rules for dealing with every aspect of Question Hour. And the presiding officers of the two houses are the final authority with respect to the conduct of Question Hour.
  • For example, usually Question Hour is the first hour of a parliamentary sitting. In 2014, Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari shifted Question Hour in the House from 11 am to 12 noon. The move was to prevent the disruption of Question Hour.

What kind of questions are asked?

  • Parliamentary rules provide guidelines on the kind of questions that can be asked by MPs.
  • Questions have to be limited to 150 words.
  • They have to be precise and not too general.
  • The question should also be related to an area of responsibility of the Government of India.
  • Questions should not seek information about matters that are secret or are under adjudication before courts.
  • It is the presiding officers of the two Houses who finally decide whether a question raised by an MP will be admitted for answering by the government.

How frequently is Question Hour held?

  • From 1964 onwards, Question Hour in both Houses is held on all days of the session.
  • But there are two days when an exception is made:
  • (A) on the day the President addresses
  • (B) on the day the Finance Minister presents the Budget.

Have there been previous sessions without Question Hour?

  • Parliamentary records show that during the Chinese aggression in 1962, the Winter Session was advanced and there was no Question Hour held.

How does Parliament manage to get so many questions answered?

  • Members have a right to ask questions to elicit information on matters of public importance within the special cognizance of the Ministers concerned. The questions are of four types:
  • (i) Starred Questions- A Starred Question is one to which a member desires an oral answer from the Minister in the House and is required to be distinguished by him/her with an asterisk.
  • Answer to such a question may be followed by supplementary questions by members. 
  • (ii) Unstarred Questions- An Unstarred Question is one to which written answer is desired by the member and is deemed to be laid on the Table of the House by Minister.
  • Thus, it is not called for oral answer in the House and no supplementary question can be asked thereon. 

  • (iii) Short Notice Questions- A member may give a notice of question on a matter of public importance and of urgent character for oral answer at a notice less than 10 days prescribed as the minimum period of notice for asking a question in ordinary course. Such a question is known as ‘Short Notice Question’. 
  • (iv) Questions to Private Members- A Question may also be addressed to a Private Member (Under Rule 40 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha), provided that the subject matter of the question relates to some Bill, Resolution or other matter connected with the business of the House for which that Member is responsible.
  • The procedure in regard to such questions is same as that followed in the case of questions addressed to a Minister with such variations as the Speaker may consider necessary. 

Are the questions only for ministers?

  • MPs usually ask questions to hold ministers accountable. But the rules also provide them with a mechanism for asking their colleagues a question.
  • Such a question should be limited to the role of an MP relating to a Bill or a resolution being piloted by them or any other matter connected with the functioning of the House for which they are responsible.
  • Should the presiding officer so allow, MPs can also ask a question to a minister at a notice period shorter than 10 days –called as Short Notice Question.

5. Section 69A of the Information Technology Act imposed against the mobile apps (PIB)

Context: Indian government blocked 118 more mobile applications, including PUBG, in the interest of “sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order” .

Analysis

  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India invoking it’s power under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act read with the relevant provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009 and in view of the emergent nature of threats has decided to block 118 mobile apps since in view of information available they are engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.
  • The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre, Ministry of Home Affairs has also sent an exhaustive recommendation for blocking these malicious apps.

C) Schemes/Policies/Initiatives/Social Issues

6. Explained:What is the Special Frontier Force, referred to as Vikas Battalion? (IE)

Context: There have been reports that a Special Frontier Force (SFF) unit, referred to as Vikas Battalion, has been instrumental in occupying some key heights on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China in Ladakh to thwart any occupation by the Chinese troops.

Analysis

What is the Special Frontier Force (SFF)?

  • SFF was raised in the immediate aftermath of the 1962 Sino-India war.
  • It was a covert outfit which recruited Tibetans (now it has a mixture of Tibetans and Gorkhas) and initially went by the name of Establishment 22.
  • It now falls under the purview of the Cabinet Secretariat where it is headed by an Inspector General who is an Army officer of the rank of Major General.
  • The units that comprise the SFF are known as Vikas battalions.

Are SFF units part of the Army?

  • Strictly speaking, the SFF units are not part of the Army but they function under operational control of the Army.
  • However, they are highly trained special forces personnel who can undertake a variety of tasks which would normally be performed by any special forces unit.
  • They have their own training establishment where the recruits to SFF are imparted special forces training.
  • Incidentally, women soldiers too form a part of SFF units and perform specialised tasks.

What are the major operations in which SFF units has taken part?

  • There are several overt and covert operations in which SFF units have taken part over the years.
  • They took part in operations in the 1971 war, Operation Blue Star in Golden Temple Amritsar, Kargil conflict and in counter-insurgency operations in the country.
  • There are several other operations too in which the SFF has participated but the details are classified.

7. Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIR) Programme (PIB)

  • The NIDHI-EIR Program (Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIR) Programme under National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing innovations (NIDHI) of Department of Science and Technology) has been conceived to inspire the S&T qualified youth in India to take up entrepreneurship as a viable career and help shape India’s future and the economy.
  • This programme is important in that it creates a pipeline of startups with a focus on young budding entrepreneurs.

National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations (NIDHI)

  • It is an umbrella programme conceived and developed by the Innovation & Entrepreneurship division, Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, for nurturing ideas and innovations (knowledge-based and technology-driven) into successful startups.

8. Mission Karmayogi – National Programme for Civil Services Capacity Building (NPCSCB) (PIB)

  • (i) Prime Minister’s Public Human Resources (HR) Council,
  • (ii) Capacity Building Commission.
  • (iii) Special Purpose Vehicle for owning and operating the digital assets and the technological platform for online training,
  • (iv) Coordination Unit headed by the Cabinet Secretary.

Salient Features

NPCSCB has been carefully designed to lay the foundations for capacity building for Civil Servants so that they remain entrenched in Indian Culture and sensibilities and remain connected, with their roots, while they learn from the best institutions and practices across the world.

The Programme will be delivered by setting up an Integrated Government Online Training-iGOT Karmayogi Platform.

The role of Capacity Building Commission will be as under-

  • To assist the PM Public Human Resources Council in approving the Annual Capacity Building Plans.
  • To exercise functional supervision over all Central Training Institutions dealing with civil services capacity building.
  • To create shared learning resources, including internal and external faculty and resource centers.
  • To coordinate and supervise the implementation of the Capacity Building Plans with the stakeholder Departments.
  • To make recommendations on standardization of training and capacity building, pedagogy and methodology
  • To set norms for common mid-career training programs across all civil services.
  • To suggest policy interventions required in the areas of HR Management and Capacity Building to the Government.
  • comprising of select Union Ministers, Chief Ministers, eminent public HR practitioners, thinkers, global thought leaders and Public Service functionaries under the Chairmanship of Hon’ble Prime Minister will serve as the apex body for providing strategic direction to the task of Civil Services Reform and capacity building.

9. Bulk Drug Parks (TH, pg 7)

Context: The Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation has entered into an agreement with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research – Indian Institute of Chemical Technology combine for the promotion of a Bulk Drug Park in the State.

Analysis

  • The Indian pharmaceutical industry is the 3rd largest in the world by volume.
  • However, despite this achievement, India is significantly dependent on import of basic raw materials, viz., Bulk Drugs that are used to produce medicines.
  • In some specific bulk drugs, the import dependence is 80 to 100%.
  • In this context, the Union Cabinet recently approved the following schemes: the scheme on Promotion of Bulk Drug Parks and the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme.

Promotion of Bulk Drug Parks

  • Decision is to develop 3 mega Bulk Drug parks in India in partnership with States.
  • Government of India will give Grants-in-Aid to States with a maximum limit of Rs. 1000 Crore per Bulk Drug Park.
  • Parks will have common facilities such as solvent recovery plant, distillation plant, power & steam units, common effluent treatment plant etc.
  • A sum of Rs. 3,000 crore has been approved for this scheme for next 5 years.
  • The scheme will be implemented by State Implementing Agencies (SIA) to be set up by the respective State Governments and the target is to set up 3 mega Bulk Drug Parks.

Production Linked Incentive Scheme

  • Financial incentive will be given to eligible manufacturers of identified 53 critical bulk drugs on their incremental sales over the base year (2019-20) for a period of 6 years.
  • The scheme will be implemented through a Project Management Agency (PMA) to be nominated by the Department of Pharmaceuticals.
  • The Scheme will be applicable only for manufacturing of 53 identified critical bulk drugs (KSMs/Drug Intermediates and APIs).

D) Geography, Environment and Biodiversity

10. Explained: What is the importance of Ladakh’s Pangong Tso south bank? (IE)

  • Pangong Tso is an endorheic lake (landlocked) that is partly in India’s Ladakh region and partly in Tibet.
  • One-third of the endorheic lake lies in India and the other two-thirds in China.
  • An endorheic basin (also endoreic basin or endorreic basin) is a limited drainage basin that normally retains water and allows no outflow to other external bodies of water.
  • The Karakoram Mountain range, which crosses Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and India, with heights of over 6,000 metres including K2, the world’s second highest peak, ends at the north bank of Pangong Tso.
  • It is the world’s highest saltwater lake.
  • Pangong Tso is also known to change colours, appearing blue, green and red at different times of a day.
  • ‘Fingers’ in the region refers to the spurs which extend to the banks of the high-altitude Pangong Lake.
  • India believes it has the right to patrol from ‘Finger 1’ to ‘Finger 8’ while China believes it has rights to patrol from ‘Finger 8’ to ‘Finger 4’.
  • Indians needs to obtain an Inner Line Permit for visiting this place.
  • Foreign nationals visiting this place are required to obtain a Protected Area Permit if they want to travel from Leh to Pangong Lake.

Who controls Pangong Tso?

  • Nearly two-thirds of the lake is controlled by China, with just about 45 km under Indian control. The LAC, running north-south, cuts the western part of the lake, aligned east-west.
  • But India and China have unsettled borders, and the perception of the LAC differs in multiple sectors, including on Pangong Tso.
  • The Lake falls on the Sino-Indian Line of Actual Control.
  • By itself, the lake does not have major tactical significance. But it lies in the path of the Chushul approach, one of the main approaches that China can use for an offensive into Indian-held territory.
  • Indian assessments show that a major Chinese offensive, if it comes, will flow across both the north and south of the lake.
  • During the 1962 war, this was where China launched its main offensive — the Indian Army fought heroically at Rezang La, the mountain pass on the southeastern approach to Chushul valley, where the Ahir Company of 13 Kumaon led by Maj. Shaitan Singh made its last stand.
  • Militaries of the two sides regularly hold Border Personnel Meeting at five points — Daulat Beg Oldie in northern Ladakh, Kibithu in Arunachal Pradesh, Chusul in Ladakh, Bum-La near Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh and Nathu-La in Sikkim to resolve boundary related issues.

11. Ice stupas help ghost villages of Ladakh become habitable again (PIB)

Context: With increasing average temperatures and shrinking glaciers, several villages in Ladakh have turned into ghost towns with abandoned but habitable houses and wasted agricultural land.

Analysis

  • To address these issues, the government, through the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, joined hands with the Himalayan Institute of Alternatives, Ladakh (HIAL) in November 2019, for research, documentation and development of the tribal communities of Ladakh.
  • One of the components of the project is ‘Rehabilitation of Abandoned Villages through Ice Stupas’. 

What are Ice Stupas?

  • Ice Stupa is a form of glacier grafting technique that creates artificial glaciers, used for storing winter water (which otherwise would go unused) in the form of conical shaped ice heaps.
  • During summer, when water is scarce, the Ice Stupa melts to increase water supply for crops.
  • The resulting conical shape of the artificial glacier melts approximately 5 times slower than naturally formed ground ice and snow due to its comparatively smaller surface area.
  • Ice Stupa was invented by engineer, innovator and education reformist Sonam Wangchuk, who is the founder-director of the NGO Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL).
  • While there was an Ice Stupa in one village in 2013-14, the expertise expanded to 26 locations across Ladakh in 2019-20 after the government chipped in.

12. Types of forests on the basis of administration (TH, pg 5)

Context: Maharashtra announced the reservation of 600 acres of Aarey land near Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) as forest, claiming it as the first instance of an extensive forest blossoming within the limits of metropolis anywhere in the world.

Analysis

On the basis of administration, the forests in India are of three categories:

Reserved Forests

Protected Forests

Unclassified Forests

E) Indices/Committees/Reports/Organisations

13. Global Innovation Index 2020 (PIB)

Context: India has climbed 4 spots and has been ranked 48th by the World Intellectual Property Organization in the Global Innovation Index 2020 rankings.

  • India was at the 52nd position in 2019 and was ranked 81st in the year 2015.
  • Switzerland is the world’s most-innovative economy followed by Sweden, the United States of America (U.S.), the United Kingdom (U.K.) and the Netherlands, according to the GII 2020.

Analysis

  • India ranks 1st among the 10 economies in Central and Southern Asia.
  • India has been an innovation achiever for ten consecutive years, holding that record together with Vietnam, Republic of Moldova, and Kenya.
  • Economies outperforming on innovation relative to GDP are called innovation achievers.
  • India’s role in the global ICT services industry is reflected in it being ranked first in ICT services exports.
  • India also outperforms in a new GII indicator – Global brand value –, producing more valuable brands than could be predicted from its income level.
  • Relative to GDP, India is performing above expectations for its level of development.
  • India produces more innovation outputs relative to its level of innovation investments.

Overview of India Rankings in the seven GII areas

  • India performs best in Knowledge & Technology Outputs and its weakest performance is in Infrastructure.
  • The India Innovation Index, which was released last year by the NITI Aayog, has been widely accepted as the major step in the direction of decentralization of innovation across all the states of India.
  • India stands third in innovation among the BRICS nations, but is far from China, according to the Global Innovation Index.
  • China (14) > Russia (47) > India (48) > S. Africa (60) > Brazil (62).

Global Innovation Index 2020

  • The Global Innovation Index 2020: “Who Will Finance Innovation?is co-published annually by Cornell University, INSEAD (a leading business school), and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a specialized agency of the United Nations.
  • The Index ranks around 131 economies based on 80 indicators ranging from the creation of mobile applications to education spending, scientific and technical publications, and intellectual property filing rates.
  • The GII is calculated as the average of two sub-indices.
  • The Innovation Input Sub-Index gauges elements of the national economy which embody innovative activities grouped in five pillars:
  • (1) Institutions,
  • (2) Human capital and research,
  • (3) Infrastructure,
  • (4) Market sophistication, and
  • (5) Business sophistication.
  • The Innovation Output Sub-Index captures actual evidence of innovation results, divided in two pillars:
  • (6) Knowledge and technology outputs and
  • (7) Creative outputs.
  • For the first time, the GII launch was being hosted by the Government of India at New Delhi in 2019, which uses the GII in creative ways to strengthen its policy framework for innovation at both the national and regional levels.

Knowledge Partner: CII

  • The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is a non-government, not-for-profit, industry-led and industry-managed organization, playing a proactive role in India’s development process.
  • Founded in 1895, India’s premier business association has around 9,000 members, from the private as well as public sectors, including SMEs and MNCs.

About WIPO

  • specialized agency of the United Nations, assists its 193 member states in developing a balanced international IP legal framework to meet society’s evolving needs.

NITI Aayog launches India Innovation Index 2019

  • NITI Aayog with Institute for Competitiveness as the knowledge partner released the India Innovation Index (III) 2019. 
  • In terms of overall score, Karnataka tops the Innovation Index followed by Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, and Delhi
  • Karnataka is the most innovative major state in India.
  • Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Telangana, Haryana, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Gujarat, and Andhra Pradesh form the remaining top ten major states respectively.
  • The top ten major states are majorly concentrated in southern and western India. 
  • Sikkim and Delhi take the top spots among the north- eastern & hill states, and union territories/city states/small states respectively. 
  • Delhi, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh are the most efficient states in translating inputs into output.

Background

  • The index attempts to create an extensive framework for the continual evaluation of the innovation environment of 29 states and seven union territories in India and intends to perform the following three functions-
  • 1) ranking of states and UTs based on their index scores,
  • 2) recognizing opportunities and challenges, and
  • 3) assisting in tailoring governmental policies to foster innovation.
  • The India Innovation Index 2019 is calculated as the average of the scores of its two dimensions – Enablers and Performance.
  • The Enablers are the factors that underpin innovative capacities, grouped in five pillars:
  • (1) Human Capital,
  • (2) Investment,
  • (3) Knowledge Workers,
  • (4) Business Environment, and
  • (5) Safety and Legal Environment.
  • The Performance dimension captures benefits that a nation derives from the inputs, divided in two pillars:
  • (6) Knowledge Output and
  • (7) Knowledge Diffusion.
  • Examples of enabler indicators include number of students of engineering and technology, FDI inflows and number of incubators. Performance indicators include number of patents filed, number of Geographical Indication tags etc.
  • The index shows that the innovation ecosystem of the country is strong in south and western parts of India.
  • In fact, three of the top five major states are from southern India.
  • Delhi and Haryana seem to be an exception to this rule and seem to be doing well on the Index.
  • Thus, there seems to be a west-south and north-east divide across the country.
  • The states have been bifurcated into three categories: major states, north-east and hill states, and union territories / city states / small states.
  • Karnataka is the leader in the overall rankings in the category of major states.
  • Karnataka’s number one position in the overall ranking is partly attributed to its top rank in the Performance dimension.
  • It is also among the top performers in Infrastructure, Knowledge Workers, Knowledge Output and Business Environment.
  • Among the category of major states, Maharashtra performs the best in the dimension of Enablers.
  • This implies that it has the best enabling environment for innovation, even though the state comes in at the third position in the overall innovation index.

Input-outcome gap

  • In 29 out of 36 States and UTs, the scores of the enabler metrics are higher than the performance scores (ranges 0-100) indicating an outcome gap relative to inputs.
  • The gap between the two scores is highest for Punjab and Gujarat (among major States).

F) Miscellaneous

14. Robot Rakshak (News on AIR)

  • Health assistant Robot Rakshak designed by Railways can remotely communicate between doctor and patient.
  • In the fight against the spread of Covid 19 pandemic, the Railways has designed a health assistant Robot Rakshak which can remotely communicate between doctor and patient.
  • The medical aid robot is able to measure health parameters such as temperature, pulse, oxygen percentage.
  • It can also provide medicines, food to the patients and make a two-way video communication between the doctor and the patient.

15. Water Heroes Contest 2.0 (PIB)

  • The Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Ministry of Jal Shakti has launched the ‘Water Heroes – Share Your Stories’ Contest to encourage and collect best practices in water conservation from across India and to disseminate such efforts across India to encourage more transformational efforts in this area. 

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