News: National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) has released the annual start-up report ‘Indian Tech Start-up Ecosystem – On the March to Trillion Dollar Digital Economy’.
Key Takeaways from the Report:
Source: NASSCOM Report
- India has added 1,600 new tech start-ups and a record 12 unicorns in 2020 (the highest ever added in a single year).
- Unicorn: It is a term in the business world to indicate a startup company valued at over $1 billion.
- The Tech start-up base continues to expand steadily at 8-10%. Sectors, which benefited from covid-19, such as edtech, agritech and gaming, are seeing a steady rise in first-time funding.
- Remote working continues to see significant adoption amongst tech startups, with around 30-35 % offering remote roles and 15-20 % companies having committed to remote work culture.
- In 2020, 14% of total investments were in deep-tech startups up from 11% in 2019.Furthermore, 87% of all deep-tech investments were in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) startups.
- India will have at least 12 more unicorns in 2021 taking the total count to 50.
Core growth drivers for Startup’s in 2020
- Digital acceleration, and shift from moving from offline to online
- Vocal-for-Local provided market support for start-ups to thrive
- Remote work enabled start-ups to reduce burn whilst accelerating growth of new start-up hubs.
News: Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways will be launching an innovative new called “Khadi Prakritik Paint”.
- Khadi Prakritik Paint: It has been conceptualized by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) and later developed by Kumarappa National Handmade Paper Institute, Jaipur (a KVIC unit).
- Key Characteristics:
- It is a first-of-its-kind eco-friendly, non-toxic paint with anti-fungal, antibacterial properties.
- Based on cow dung as its main ingredient, the paint is cost-effective and odorless and has been certified by Bureau of Indian Standards.
- The paint is free from heavy metals like lead, mercury, chromium, arsenic, cadmium and others.
- Forms: The paint is available in two forms – distemper paint and plastic emulsion paint.
- Production of Khadi Prakritik Paint is aligned with the Prime Minister’s vision of increasing farmer’s income. The paint is estimated to generate additional income of Rs 30,000 (approx) per annum per animal to farmers/ gaushalas.
- It will be a boost to the local manufacturing and will create sustainable local employment through technology transfer.
- This technology will increase consumption of cow dung as a raw material for eco-friendly products and will generate additional revenue to farmers and gaushalas. Utilization of cow dung will also clean the environment and prevent clogging of drains.
News: According to an Right to Information (RTI) reply, Union government has paid Rs 1,364 crore to 20.48 lakh ineligible beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme till July 2020.
- There were two categories of undeserving beneficiaries who received PM-KISAN payouts namely the “ineligible farmers” and “income tax payee farmers”.
- More than half (55.58%) of these undeserving persons belong to the income tax payee category. The remaining 44.41% belong to the ineligible farmer’s category. However, in terms of the amount paid, 72% of the fund went to income tax payee.
- Punjab (23%), Maharashtra (17%) and Assam (14%) account for more than half of the beneficiaries of wrong payments followed by Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh with 8% each.
- PM KISAN: It was launched in 2019.It is the Centre’s flagship scheme to provide income support worth Rs. 6,000 a year to farming families. Earlier, it was meant to cover only small and marginal farmers who owned less than two hectares. Later that year, large farmers were included in the scheme as the government removed the land size criteria.
Further Read on PM KISAN: https://blog.forumias.com/pradhan-mantri-kisan-samman-nidhipm-kisan-scheme/
News: Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has announced that ISRO will be adopting 100 Atal Tinkering Labs across the country to promote education in the field of STEM, Space education and space technology related Innovations for school students.
- Atal Tinkering Labs: It is an initiative by the Atal Innovation Mission, Niti Aayog with the aim of establishing Atal Tinkering Laboratories(ATLs) in schools across India.
- Objective: To foster curiosity, creativity and imagination in young minds; and inculcate skills such as design mindset, computational thinking, adaptive learning, physical computing etc.
- Key Features of ATL:
- ATL is a work space where young minds can give shape to their ideas through hands on do-it-yourself mode and learn innovation skills.
- Young children will get a chance to work with tools and equipment to understand the concepts of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
- ATL would contain educational and learning ‘do it yourself’ kits and equipment on – science, electronics, robotics, open source microcontroller boards, sensors and 3D printers and computers.
- ATL can conduct different activities ranging from regional and national level competitions, exhibitions, workshops on problem solving, designing and fabrication of products, lecture series etc. at periodic intervals.
- Financial Support: AIM will provide grant-in-aid of Rs. 20 Lakh to each school that includes a one-time establishment cost of Rs. 10 lakh and operational expenses of Rs. 10 lakh for a maximum period of 5 years to each ATL.
- Eligibility: Schools (minimum Grade VI – X) managed by Government, local body or private trusts/society to set up ATL.
News: Union Home Minister has launched a Single Window Clearance Portal of the Ministry of Coal.
- Single Window Clearance Portal: The portal aims to allow successful bidders for coal blocks to be able to obtain all required clearances, including environmental and forest clearances, from a single portal with progress monitoring, instead of having to go to multiple authorities.
- Significance: The portal is in the spirit of Minimum Government and Maximum Governance. It would be a milestone for Ease of Doing Business in the Indian Coal Sector.
What was the need of the Portal?
- Presently, about 19 major approval or clearances are required to be obtained before starting a coal mine in the country.
- Some of them include approval of Mining Plan and Mine Closure Plan, Grant of Mining Lease, Environment and Forest Clearances among others. These approvals or clearances are granted either by central or state governments.
- Hence, in the absence of a unified platform for grant of clearances/ approvals for starting of a coal mine, the project proponents are required to approach different administrative ministries and Government departments separately to apply for the requisite clearances leading to delay in operationalization of coal mines.
News: Indian Railways has bagged 13 awards at the ‘National Energy Conservation awards 2020’.
- National Energy Conservation Awards: The awards are organised by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), Ministry of Power.
- Instituted in: The awards were given for the first time on 14th December, 1991 which is celebrated as National Energy Conservation Day throughout the country.
- Objective: These Awards are given by eminent dignitaries of the Government of India to Industries, Buildings, Transport and Institutions sectors along with Energy Efficient Manufacturers to recognize innovation and achievements made by them in energy conservation.
- Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE): It is a statutory body established in 2002 under the provisions of the Energy Conservation Act, 2001 under the Ministry of Power, Government of India.
- Objective: To assist in developing policies and strategies with a thrust on self-regulation and market principles within the overall framework of the Energy Conservation Act,2001 with the primary objective of reducing energy intensity of the Indian economy.
- Role of BEE: BEE coordinates with designated consumers, designated agencies and other organizations and recognizes, identifies and utilizes the existing resources and infrastructure, in performing the functions assigned to it under the Energy Conservation Act.