Global Innovation Index
India has climbed 4 spots and has been ranked 48th by the World Intellectual Property Organisation in the Global Innovation Index 2020 rankings.
- India was at the 52nd position in 2019 and was ranked 81st in the year 2015. It is a remarkable achievement to be in a league of highly innovative developed nations all over the globe.
- The WIPO had also accepted India as one of the leading innovation achievers of 2019 in the central and southern Asian region, as it has shown a consistent improvement in its innovation ranking for the last 5 years.
- India is also the third most innovative lower middle-income economy in the world, ranking in the top 15 in indicators such as ICT services exports, government online services, graduates in science and engineering, and R&D-intensive global companies.
About Global Innovation Index –
- The Global Innovation Index (GII) is an annual ranking of countries by their capacity for, and success in, innovation. It is published by Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization, in partnership with other organisations and institutions.
- The index was started in 2007 by INSEAD and World Business, a British magazine. The GII is commonly used by corporate and government officials to compare countries by their level of innovation.
- The theme for this year’s GII was ‘Who Will Finance Innovation?’ It looked to see how the fall out from the COVID-19 pandemic would affect several sections of funding innovation including, startups, venture capital, and other traditional sources of innovation financing.
- Switzerland, Sweden, US, UK and Netherlands topped the annual ranking this year. As per the organisation, India, China, the Philippines, and Vietnam have been the economies with the most significant progress in their GII innovation ranking over the years. All four are now in the top 50.
About India Innovation Index –
- NITI Aayog and Institute for Competitiveness prepared the India Innovation Index in the year 2019 on the basis of its two dimensions – Performance and Enablers.
- The Enablers are the factors that underpin innovative capacities, grouped in five pillars – Human Capital, Investment, Knowledge Workers, Business Environment, and Safety and Legal Environment.
- The Performance dimension captures benefits that a nation derives from the inputs, divided in two pillars – Knowledge Output and Knowledge Diffusion.
- Karnataka emerged topper in the overall rankings in the category of major states. with Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra in the second and third positions.
Swami Sree Narayana Guru
Union Home Minister Shri Amit Shah has paid tributes to venerable Swami Sree Narayana Guru ji on his Jayanti.
Who was ‘Sree Narayana Guru’?
- Sree Narayana Guru was a great saint, scholar, philosopher, poet and the forerunner of social renaissance in Kerala. He was born in 1856 in a peasant family of then untouchable Ezhava caste, in Thiruvananthapuram.
- He led a reform movement in Kerala, against the injustice in the caste-ridden society in order to promote social equality.
- He gave the universal message, “One caste, one religion, one God.”
- ‘Sahodaran Ayyappan’ (Pulaya Ayyappan), a social reformer from Kerala coined a rejoinder ‘No Caste, No Religion, No God for Mankind’.
- ‘Aravipuram Movement’ was launched by Narayana Guru. He defied the religious restrictions traditionally placed on the Ezhava community and consecrated an idol of Shiva at Aravipuram.
- He was a follower of Advaitha philosophy.
- He translated Tamil works like “Thirukkural” into Malayalam.
- He had written number of hymns to different gods and some of the notable ones are “Atmopadesa Sathakam” and “Darsanamala”.
- He lent his support to the ‘Vaikkom Satyagraha’. Mahatma Gandhi met him during this time.
- ‘Sivagiri pilgrimage’ was conceived by three of the disciples, Vallabhasseri Govindan Vaidyar, T. K. Kittan and Muloor S. Padmanabha Panicker.
The Union Cabinet has approved launching of a National Programme for Civil Services Capacity Building (NPCSCB) with the following institutional framework –
- Prime Minister’s Public Human Resources (HR) Council,
- Capacity Building Commission
- Special Purpose Vehicle for owning and operating the digital assets and the technological platform for online training,
- 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 core guiding principles of the Programme will be –
- Supporting Transition from ‘Rules based‘ to ‘Roles based’ HR Management. Aligning work allocation of civil servants by matching their competencies to the requirements of the post.
- To emphasise on ‘on-site learning‘ to complement the ‘off-site’ learning,
- To create an ecosystem of shared training infrastructure including that of learning materials, institutions and personnel,
- To calibrate all Civil Service positions to a Framework of Roles, Activities and Competencies (FRACs) approach and to create and deliver learning content relevant to the identified FRACs in every Government entity,
- To make available to all civil servants, an opportunity to continuously build and strengthen their Behavioural, Functional and Domain Competencies in their self-driven and mandated learning paths.
- To enable all the Central Ministries and Departments and their Organisations to directly invest their resources towards co-creation and sharing the collaborative and common ecosystem of learning through an annual financial subscription for every employee,
- To encourage and partner with the best-in-class learning content creators including public training institutions, universities, start-tips and individual experts,
- To undertake data analytics in respect of data emit provided by iGOT- Karmayogi pertaining to various aspects of capacity building, content creation, user feedback and mapping of competencies and identify areas for policy reforms.
- It is also proposed to set up a Capacity Building Commission, with a view to ensure a uniform approach in managing and regulating the capacity building ecosystem on collaborative and co-sharing basis.
- The role of 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 centres.
- To coordinate and supervise the implementation of the Capacity Building Plans with the stakeholder Departments.
- To make recommendations on standardisation 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.
About iGOT-Karmayogi Platform –
- iGOT-Karmayogi platform brings the scale and state-of-the-art infrastructure to augment the capacities of over two crore officials in India.
- The platform is expected to evolve into a vibrant and world-class market place for content where carefully curated and vetted digital e-learning material will be made available.
- Besides capacity building, service matters like confirmation after probation period, deployment, work assignment and notification of vacancies etc. would eventually be integrated with the proposed competency framework.
About Public Human Resources Council –
A Public Human Resources Council 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.
Adjusted Gross Revenue
The Supreme Court has allowed the telecom companies 10 years’ time to pay their adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues to the government.
How will the payment be made?
- The telecom operators would make the payment of 10% of the total dues as demanded by Department of Telecom by March 31, 2021.
- The yearly instalments would commence from April 1, 2021, up to March 31, 2031. The instalments would be paid by March 31 every year.
- The managing director/ chairman or other authorised officer should give an undertaking within four weeks, to make payment of arrears.
- The telcos shall keep alive the existing bank guarantees they had submitted regarding the spectrum until the payment is made.
- In the event of any default, interest would become payable along with penalty and interest on penalty without reference to court. Besides, it would be punishable for contempt of court. Compliance should be reported every year on April 7.
About AGR –
- Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) is the usage and licensing fee that telecom operators are charged by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
- It is divided into spectrum usage charges and licensing fees, pegged between 3-5 percent and 8 percent respectively.
- As per DoT, the charges are calculated based on all revenues earned by a telco – including non-telecom related sources such as deposit interests and asset sales. Telcos, on their part, insist that AGR should comprise only the revenues generated from telecom services.
- In 2015, Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal ruled that the companies’ definition is right. However, in October 2019, the Supreme Court set aside the tribunal’s judgement saying government definition is right.
Supreme Court Judgement –
- The Supreme Court has upheld the definition of Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) calculation as stipulated by the Department of Telecommunications.
- This means that telecom companies will have to pay up as much as Rs 92,642 crore to the government, more than half of which are owed by Airtel and Vodafone.
- Terming the issues raised by telcos with respect to AGR as ‘frivolous’, the SC held that not only the original charges, but principal interest and penalties on delayed payments would also be payable.
India and Russia are scheduled to hold the bilateral naval exercise (INDRA 2020), in the Andaman Sea, close to the strategic Strait of Malacca.
About Exercise INDRA –
- INDRA is a joint, bi-annual naval exercise conducted by India and Russia which started in 2003. The exercise is tasked with boosting cooperation and interoperability between the Russian and Indian navies. The word INDRA is a portmanteau of the participants’ respective countries.
- The end of the Cold War which brought greatly reduced defence budgets saw a collapse in ship building and naval activity in Russia throughout the 1990s. During this time, the Russian navy had no presence in the Indian Ocean. This changed in 2001, when a contingent of naval ships, including anti-submarine warfare vessels and a tanker docked at Mumbai.
- In April 2003, nine warships of the Russian navy departed from their bases at Sevastopol in the Black Sea and Vladivostok for the Indian Ocean. These units engaged in a number of exercises with the Indian navy. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov proposed joint naval exercises to be held later that year.
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has said that civil rights lawyer Prashant Bhushan’s conviction for criminal contempt of court by the Supreme Court seemed to be inconsistent with the freedom of expression law guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that India was a party to.
What did the ICJ say?
It said that “while some restrictions of freedom of expression are permitted by international standards, a particularly wide scope must be preserved for debate and discussion about such matters as the role of the judiciary, access to justice, and democracy, by members of the public, including through public commentary on the courts”.
About International Commission of Jurists –
- The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) is an international human rights non-governmental organisation.
- It is a standing group of 60 eminent jurists—including senior judges, attorneys and academics—who work to develop national and international human rights standards through the law.
- Commissioners are known for their experience, knowledge and fundamental commitment to human rights. The composition of the Commission aims to reflect the geographical diversity of the world and its many legal systems.
- The Commission is supported by an International Secretariat based in Geneva, Switzerland, and staffed by lawyers drawn from a wide range of jurisdictions and legal traditions.
- The Secretariat and the Commission undertake advocacy and policy work aimed at strengthening the role of lawyers and judges in protecting and promoting human rights and the rule of law.
About International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights –
- The ICCPR is a multilateral treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). The ICCPR is monitored by the United Nations Human Rights Committee.
- The covenant commits (not legally binding) 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.
- The ICCPR is part of the International Bill of Human Rights, along with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
- The Covenant was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 1966 and came into force in 1976. As of December 2018, 172 countries have ratified the Covenant.