Current Affairs Analysis

14th September 2017 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

Mouse deer; Global Human Capital Index (GHCI) 2017; 'Institutions of Eminence' status; National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF); Chennai-Vladivostok sea route; Who are Chakmas and Hajongs refugees? India’s first State of art virology laboratory; Ministry of AYUSH; etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
September 14, 2017


Issues related to Health & Education

  • India at 103 rank on Global Human Capital Index
  • UGC invites applications from institutes seeking ‘Institutions of Eminence’ status
  • All set for NIRF ranking exercise next year

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • Mouse deer released in Amrabad Reserve for the first time

Bilateral & International Relations

  • Chennai-Vladivostok sea route to make it near East

Defence & Security Issues

  • India will soon grant citizenship to Chakma, Hajong refugees
  • Home Ministry team to study risks faced by border villages

Key Facts for Prelims

  • India gets first state-of-the-art homoeopathy research lab
  • About Ministry of AYUSH

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Issues related to Health & Education

India at 103 rank on Global Human Capital Index

India ranked low 103rd out of 130 countries surveyed on World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Human Capital Index (GHCI) 2017.

iastoppers Global Human Capital Index

  • In the previous edition, India ranked 105th.

About the index:

The GHCI measures countries’ ability to nurture, develop and deploy talent for economic growth against four key areas of human capital development;

  1. Capacity (determined by past investment in formal education),
  2. Deployment (accumulation of skills through work),
  3. Development (reskilling and continued upskilling of existing workers) and
  4. know-how (specialised skills-use at work).

Highlights of the index:

Global scenario:

  • The overall list was topped by Norway, followed by Finland and Switzerland in the second and third place respectively.
  • Other countries in the top 10 include, the United States (4th), Denmark (5th), Germany (6th), New Zealand (7th), Sweden (8th), Slovenia (9th) and Austria (10th).

India’s performance:


  • India is ranked lower than its BRICS peers. Russia (16th), China (34th), Brazil (77th) and South Africa (87th).
  • India was ranked lower than Sri Lanka (70) and Nepal (98). But it ranked higher than neighbouring Bangladesh (111) and Pakistan (125).
  • In terms of development of skills needed for the future India ranks 65th. However, India ranks lower because of number of factors. It ranks lowest (last) in world when it comes to employment gender gap.
  • It also ranks low 110th in educational attainment (primary education attainment among 25 -54 year olds) and low deployment of its human capital, meaning the skills available are not getting put to good use.
  • India ranks 118 for labour force participation among the key 35-54 year old demographic, means that too many Indians are engaged in informal or subsistent employment.
[Ref: The Hindu]


UGC invites applications from institutes seeking ‘Institutions of Eminence’ status

The University Grants Commission (UGC) rolled out an application process for universities and higher education institutes (public or private) seeking “institutions of eminence” status.


Aim of scheme:

  • To help higher education institutions from country break into top 500 global rankings in 10 years, and then eventually break into top 100 over time.
  • 20 institutions — 10 public and 10 private — will be given this status with aim to give them freedom to become world-class institutions.

What is the application process?

  • It will be 90-day application process for interested public and private institutions.
  • Institutions applying for it will be divided into three categories- existing government educational institutions, existing private higher educational institutions and sponsoring organisation for setting up of private institutions.
  • The HRD Ministry will set up empowered expert committee to process application. The entire process of shortlisting institutions will be completed by March-April 2018.

Eligible Institutions: 

  • Top 50 of National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF) rankings or those who have secured ranking among top 500 of Times Higher Education World University Rankings, Shanghai Ranking Academic Ranking of World Universities or QS University Rankings will be eligible to apply.

Benefits of having institutions of eminence status

  • The 10 state-run institutions get additional benefit — provision of Rs. 10,000 crore over a period of 10 years, over and above regular grants.
  • Such institutions will be free from usual regulatory mechanism to choose their autonomous path to become institutions of global repute with emphasis on multi-disciplinary initiatives, global best practices, high quality research and international collaborations.
  • These institutions will have liberty to enroll up to 30% foreign students. Moreover, selected public institutions can recruit up to 25% foreign faculty and there will be no such limit for selected private institutions.
  • They will have freedom of devising their own courses, own fee structure, create centres without coming to UGC.
[Ref: The Hindu]


All set for NIRF ranking exercise next year

The Centre has set the ball rolling for a more comprehensive ranking of higher educational institutions in the next round of the National Institutional Ranking Framework in 2018.

iastoppers miranda-house-759

The idea:

  • Instead of institutions choosing to take part in the exercise, they are being auto-registered through a large online database — the All-India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) portal — of institutions available with the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
  • The institutions, however, have to provide details like patents, publications, research projects and campus placements that are not available on the portal.


  • The 2016 and 2017 NIRF lists reflected the ranks of only those institutions that had taken part in the exercise. The number was about 3,300 in 2017. 
  • Among universities, Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore was ranked first and Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi was second. Miranda House in Delhi was ranked India’s best college.

What is NIRF?

The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) is a methodology adopted by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) to rank all institutions of higher education in India.


  • It has been approved by the MHRD and was launched in September, 2015.
  • This framework outlines a methodology to rank institutions across the country.
  • The methodology draws from the overall recommendations and broad understanding arrived at by a Core Committee set up by MHRD, to identify the broad parameters for ranking various universities and institutions.
  • The parameters broadly cover “Teaching, Learning and Resources”, “Research and Professional Practices”, “Graduation Outcomes”, “Outreach and Inclusivity” and “Perception”.
  • NIRF has been given the responsibility of ranking institutions that have applied and submitted their data.
  • The ranking of the Institutions will be done based on the parameters proposed by NIRF for different disciplines.


[Ref: The Hindu]


Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

Mouse deer released in Amrabad Reserve for the first time

In a novel and unique initiative attempted anywhere in the country, the Telangana State Forest Department has re-introduced the endangered ‘mouse deer’ into the forests of Nallamalla in Amrabad Tiger Reserve.


Key facts:

  • The release of these mouse deer into the protected enclosure of 2.4 hectares is aimed at improving the biodiversity.
  • The Amrabad Tiger Reserve was chosen because these animals were earlier wandering in this area.
  • The deer will gradually be weaned-off externally supplied food. Afterwards if they get a clearing by the field biologists, they will be released from their enclosure into the wild.


  • Since 2010, Nehru Zoological Park in collaboration with Laboratory for Conservation of Endangered Species (LaCONES) of Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), and Central Zoo Authority, Delhi were carrying out a breeding programme for conservation of mouse-deer.
  • They have successfully raised total population of mouse deer to 172, which includes 76 females

About Mouse deer:

Mouse deer (also known as Spotted Chevrotain) is one of the endangered species. It looks like weird mash-up of a deer, mouse and pig.

  • It is not considered true deer, but shares suborder with deer (Ruminantia).
  • It has its own family called Tragulidae. It is
  • Because of their small size they are smallest ungulates (large mammals) in the world.
  • It is found in deciduous and evergreen forests throughout India.
  • Also called “Jarini Pandi” in Telugu, their number has been decreasing at an alarming rate in recent years because of destruction of habitat and poaching.
[Ref: The Hindu]


Bilateral & International Relations

Chennai-Vladivostok sea route to make it near East

Aiming to put in place a key maritime route connecting India with Northeast Asia and Western Pacific region Delhi is contemplating to put in place a major connectivity initiative — direct shipping link between Chennai and Vladivostok amid China’s ambitious Maritime Silk Route (MSR) connecting Asia with Africa.


Key facts:

  • This proposed maritime route which could be transformed into a corridor could juxtapose with Indo-Japan Pacific to Indian Ocean Corridor amid Beijing’s OBOR of which MSR is a part – virtually connecting entire SE Asia through road, shipping and rail links.
  • This shipping link would enable to transfer cargo between Chennai and Vladivostok in 24 days in comparison to over 40 days currently taken to transport goods from India to Far East Russia via Europe, according to experts on the subject.


  • India was the first country to establish a resident Consulate in Vladivostok in 1992.
  • Current engagement of India with the region is limited to isolated pockets such as the Irkut Corporation in Irkutsk where the Mig and Sukhoi aircraft are built and over USD 6 billion worth of investments by ONGC Videsh Limited in the Sakhalin 1 project.
  • The region has a wealth of natural resources such as land, timber, mineral and other resources like tin, gold, diamonds and oil and natural gas.
  • The Russian government has announced several initiatives to attract investments in the region, including an agricultural SEZ, the Vladivostok Free Port Project and also invites participation in the timber industry , mining of the huge mineral resources (coal & diamonds) and precious metal deposits (gold, platinum, tin and tungsten).
  • Opportunities for collaboration for Indian companies include in such sectors as agriculture, mining, port development and infrastructure, diamond processing, agro-processing.
[Ref: Economic Times]


Defence & Security Issues

India will soon grant citizenship to Chakma, Hajong refugees

The Centre will soon grant citizenship to nearly one lakh Chakma and Hajong refugees, who came from the erstwhile East Pakistan five decades ago and are living in camps in the northeast.

ias toppers Chakmas and Hajongs

  • Government’s decision comes in line with Supreme Court order in 2015 in this regard.
  • The apex country had directed Union government to grant citizenship to these refugees, mostly staying in Arunachal Pradesh.

Who are Chakmas and Hajongs?

  • Chakmas and Hajongs were originally residents of Chittagong Hill Tracts in the erstwhile East Pakistan.
  • They left their homeland when it was submerged by the Kaptai dam project in the 1960s.
  • The Chakmas, who are Buddhists, and the Hajongs, who are Hindus, also allegedly faced religious persecution and entered India through the then Lushai Hills district of Assam (now Mizoram).
  • The Centre moved the majority of them to the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA), which is now Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Their numbers have gone up from about 5,000 in 1964-69 to one lakh. At present, they don’t have citizenship and land rights but are provided basic amenities by the state government.


  • In 2015, the Supreme Court had given deadline to Union Government to confer citizenship to these refugees within three months.
  • Later, Arunachal Pradesh Government moved to top court against the order. However, the apex court rejected Arunachal Pradesh Government’s plea. Since then state and the Centre began consultations on the issue.

Opposition to their citizenship

  • Several organisations and civil society in Arunachal Pradesh are opposing granting citizenship to refugees saying it would change demography of state and would reduce indigenous tribal communities to minority and deprive them of opportunities.

Way ahead:

  • The Union Government is trying to find workable solution by proposing that these refugees will not be given rights to own land, which are exclusively enjoyed by Scheduled Tribes in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • However, Government may be given Inner Line permits (required for non-locals to travel and work in three states Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland).
[Ref: Indian Express]


Home Ministry team to study risks faced by border villages

The home ministry will set up an expert group to look into the problems people living in villages along the Line of Control (LoC) face.


The study group will look at ways to improve lives of cross-border ceasefire violation victims.

  • The study group is expected to come up with suggestions to not only increase the safety and security of the border residents but also to look at ways of making funding in Border Are a Development Programmes effective.

What are the concerns?

  • Many people have abandoned their home and have been living in relief camps for the last four months to escape firing and shelling from across the border.
  • Lives of the people who faced such frequent firing are fraught with risks and more is needed to be done.


  • According to numbers in the home ministry, in 2011, there were 62 ceasefire violations by Pakistan. There were 114 of those in 2012 and 347 in 2013. In 2014, the number of cross- fire violations went up to 583.
  • It was 405 in 2015 and 449 in 2016. In 2017, till August, there have been 418 ceasefire violations by Pakistan.
[Ref: Economic Times]


Key Facts for Prelims

India gets first state-of-the-art homoeopathy research lab

iastoppers Kolkata virology laboratory

  • Union Ministry of AYUSH inaugurated India’s first State of art virology laboratory at Dr. Anjali Chatterjee Regional Research Institute for Homoeopathy in Kolkata, West Bengal.
  • The laboratory has been established to develop new drugs and technologies in homoeopathy to combat emerging challenges of viral diseases.
  • The laboratory is the only one in India for conducting basic and fundamental research in Homoeopathy for viral diseases like influenza, Japanese encephalitis, dengue, chikungunya and swine flu.
  • New drugs and technologies would be developed at the laboratory to combat emerging challenges of viral diseases.


About Ministry of AYUSH


  • The Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) is a governmental body in India.
  • Its aim is developing, education and research in Ayurveda, yoga, naturopathy, unani, siddha, homoeopathy, Sowa-rigpa and other indigenous medicine systems.
  • The department was created in March 1995 as the Department of Indian Systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy (ISM&H).
  • The department was renamed AYUSH in March 2003.
  • The Ministry of AYUSH was formed with effect from 9 November 2014 by elevation of the Department of AYUSH.


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