Why in News?
NITI Aayog along with the Institute for Competitiveness has released the second edition of the India Innovation Index-2020.
- India Innovation Index: The first edition of the index was launched in October 2019.
- The Index is aimed at providing an effective tool to track the state of innovation at both the national and the state level.
- Objectives: The index intends to accomplish the following three functions:
- Rank all States and Union Territories based on their index score.
- Identify innovation related opportunities and challenges for the states.
- Assist in modifying governmental policies to foster innovation.
- Parameters: The index measures innovation inputs through ‘Enablers’ and innovation output as ‘Performance.’
- Enablers: There are Five Enabler pillars that capture elements of the state economy. They act as inputs for the innovation environment. They are: Human Capital, Investment, Knowledge Workers, Business Environment, Safety and Legal Environment.
- Performance: The two Performance pillars that depict the performance are: Knowledge Output and Knowledge Diffusion.
- Ranking: The index has classified the States and Union Territories into three categories: Major States; NE and Hill States; and UT and City–States. These regions are categorized based on the area, as spatial homogeneity across states makes for a fair comparison for innovative capacity.
Key Findings of Innovation index:
- Level of Competitiveness: The index has found that the level of competitiveness among the States and Union Territories was high. This competitiveness is essential for improving on their enabling factors as well as innovation performance.
- Major States: Karnataka has continued to occupy the top position followed by Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Kerala, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.
- UT and City–States: Delhi has retained its first rank in this category followed by Chandigarh.
- North-Eastern/Hill States category: Himachal Pradesh has topped the index in this category followed by Uttarakhand.
Significance of the index:
- The index is a major step towards measuring innovation outcomes of states. It will facilitate optimal utilization of national and state mechanisms to realize the goal of an ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’.
- The index can help Central and State governments to benchmark regional performance concerning innovation. It suggests policy decisions required to improve on the strengths and overcome the weak areas of the states.
Why in News?
The Government of India has nominated 28 non-official members on the National Startup Advisory Council.
About National Startup Advisory Council:
- National Startup Advisory Council: It was constituted by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) in January, 2020.
- Objective: This is to advise the Government on measures needed to build a strong startup ecosystem. The ecosystem will nurture innovation and startups in the country. It will drive sustainable economic growth and generate large scale employment opportunities.
- Chairman: Minister for Commerce & Industry.
- Convener of the Council: Joint Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade.
- Ex-officio Members: Nominees of the concerned Ministries/Departments/Organizations not below the rank of Joint Secretary.
- Non-official members to be nominated by the Government from various categories like
- Founders of successful startups
- Veterans who have grown and scaled companies in India
- Persons capable of representing the interests of investors into startups, etc.
- The term of the non-official members will be for a period of two years or until further orders, whichever is earlier.
Why in News:
Indian star tortoises have been seized by the Forest officials while being smuggled from Andhra Pradesh to Odisha.
- Indian star tortoise (Geochelone Elegans): It is a species of tortoise found in dry areas and scrub forests of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It is accustomed to monsoon seasons.
- These tortoises are easily recognizable by their star-patterned shells.
- IUCN Status: Vulnerable
- Wild Life Protection Act 1972: Schedule IV
- CITES: Appendix I
- Threats: It is the single most confiscated species of freshwater tortoise in the world. It faces threats such as loss of habitat to agriculture and illegal harvesting for the pet trade.
Why in News?
The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has launched a portal called “Regulatory Compliance Portal”.
About Regulatory Compliance Portal:
- Objective: Portal is aimed at minimizing the regulatory burden on businesses and citizens. For that, it will act as a bridge between citizens, industries and the Government. It will also act as a first-of-its-kind central online repository of all Central and State-level compliances.
- Key Features:
- All Central Ministries and States/UTs will rationalize and simplify their regulatory processes and remove burdensome compliances
- All such changes would be captured and updated on the Regulatory Compliance Portal.
- Industry stakeholders would also be able to submit compliances and proposed recommendations. This will be assessed by concerned Government authority and suitable action would be undertaken to minimize the regulatory compliance burden.
- Nodal Department: DPIIT will act as the nodal department for coordinating the exercise of minimizing regulatory compliance burden for citizens and businesses.
Why in News?
SC has appointed a Central Empowered Committee(CEC) to look into sand mining in Rajasthan. The panel has submitted its report.
- Background: In February 2020, Central Empowered Committee(CEC) was appointed by SC. Its mandate was to look into illegal sand mining in Rajasthan and submit a report suggesting measures to deal with it.
What are the recommendations given by the committee?
- It has recommended imposing a fine of Rs 10 lakh per vehicle and Rs 5 lakh per cubic meter of sand seized.
- It has been said that no unregistered tractor should be used as a commercial vehicle to transport sand from the mining site to the transit depot.
- It has also recommended
- Termination of all the khatedari leases located within 5 km from the riverbank, where violations are detected.
- The scrapping of the excess royalty collection contract system.
- Sand Mining: It is an activity referring to the process of the actual removal of sand from the foreshore including rivers, streams and lakes.
- Regulation of Sand Mining:
- Sand is a minor mineral, as defined under section 3 of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act,1957 (MMDR Act).
- Section 15 of the MMDR Act empowers state governments to make rules for regulating the grant of mineral concessions in respect of minor minerals and for purposes connected therewith.
- Section 23C of the Act empowers state governments to frame rules to prevent illegal mining, transportation and storage of minerals and for purposes connected therewith.
- The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has issued Sustainable Sand Mining Management Guidelines, 2016 which inter-alia, addresses the issues relating to the regulation of sand mining.