ias-toppers-Global-Innovation-Index-2017
Current Affairs Analysis

19th June 2017 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

Global Innovation Index 2017; Problem of NPA in India; India top remittance-receiving country in 2016: UN report; International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD); Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC); New United Nations office of counter-terrorism; Orion spacecraft; Abort system; Justice PN Bhagwati
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
June 19, 2017

Contents

Polity & Governance

  • Global Innovation Index 2017

Economy

  • RBI identifies 12 mega defaulters for Insolvency and Bankruptcy code
  • India top remittance-receiving country in 2016: UN report

Bilateral & International Relations

  • India re-elected to UN body on economic, social issues; Pakistan loses out
  • UN approves creation of new office on counter-terrorism

Science & Technology

  • NASA’s Orion spacecraft passes key safety tests

Key Facts for Prelims

  • Justice PN Bhagwati

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Polity & Governance

Global Innovation Index 2017

The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in its 10th edition of the ‘Global Innovation Index (GII)’ ranked India 60th on its list of 130 most innovative countries in the world.

ias-toppers-Global-Innovation-Index-2017

  • Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands, the US and UK retained their top spots as the most-innovative countries.
  • Among India’s neighbours, Sri Lanka took the 90th spot whereas Nepal was at 109th. Pakistan came in at 113 followed by Bangladesh at 114.

About the Global Innovation Index (GII):

ias toppers 2Global Innovation Index 2017

  • 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.
  • GII ranks countries on an annual basis on 82 parameters for their contribution towards successful innovations based on their capacity.
  • The index is based on both subjective and objective data derived from several sources, including the International Telecommunication Union, the World Bank and the World Economic Forum.
  • 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.

India’s performance:

iastoppers-Global-Innovation-Index-2017

  • India performed well across a number of parameters, coming to the top spot in ICT services exports.
  • It is ranked 10th in category of graduates in science and engineering, 27th on e-participation, 14th on the presence of global research and development companies, 33rd on government’s online service, 32nd in general infrastructure, 18th on creative goods exports, 30th on knowledge impact and 29th on intellectual property payments.
  • India is 2nd in innovation quality for the second consecutive year.
  • India outperformed on innovation relative to its GDP per capita for seven years in a row.
  • India has shown improvement in most areas, including in infrastructure, business sophistication, knowledge and technology and creative outputs.
  • The report also noted India’s continual improvement in terms of investment, tertiary education, quality of its publications and universities, its information and communication technology (ICT) services exports and innovation clusters.
  • India is now in the top half of the GII rankings.

ias-toppers-Global-Innovation-Index-2017-highlights

Suggestion for India:

  • The report suggested that if India then increasingly connects its innovation system to the innovative countries in the East as well as to standing innovation powerhouses in the West, it will make a true difference in Asia’s regional role in innovation, and to global innovation more generally.

Govt. of India’s efforts:

The improvement in India’s rank came after five years of a continuous drop in rankings.

  • To assess India’s position on the innovation front, the Ministry of Commerce and Industries had set up a task force on innovation. The task force comprising of government officials and experts from private organisations & academia, has recently come up with its report that detailed specific measures to improve India’s ranking in GII.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Economy

RBI identifies 12 mega defaulters for Insolvency and Bankruptcy code

Recently, Reserve Bank of India’s internal advisory committee (IAC) had identified 12 accounts for immediate resolution under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).

ias toppers RBI 12 mega defaulters

  • The gross bad debt in the banking system as on March was ₹7.11 lakh crore, which means the 12 accounts contribute to about ₹1.78 lakh crore (25% of non-performing assets of the Indian banking system).

What does bankruptcy mean?

  • A company is bankrupt if it is unable to repay debts to its creditors (banks, suppliers etc).

Problem of NPA in India:

  • The inability to repay debts by some of the Indian firms has resulted in a huge pile of non-performing assets for the banking system.
  • A mechanism to free up the money stuck as bad loans is one of the key for the banking system. IBC is seen as one such.

Which are the most stressed sectors having a problem of non-performing assets?

  • The RBI had earlier hinted that stress was coming from sectors such as power, telecom, steel, textiles and aviation.

How the RBI came into the picture?

  • The government had recently amended the RBI Act, which gave powers to the central bank to direct banks to take punitive action against individual accounts under IBC.

How does the process work under IBC?

  • To being with any creditor including banks can start bankruptcy proceedings against defaulters by filing a petition with the National Company Law Tribunal.
  • After that, an insolvency professional with significant powers is appointed to take control of the defaulting company and assist the process.
  • A creditors committee is formed to represent the interest of lenders and any other party that have been affected due to the default by the company.
  • The committee should come up with a resolution plan (which may include selling off defaulted loans or liquidate the company outright). The resolution would require a nod from 75% of the creditors on the committee.
  • The insolvency professional gets 180 days to come up with a feasible solution on the default issue. The timeline can be extended by another 90 days. If no solution is found within 270 days, a liquidator is appointed. The company can also opt for voluntary liquidation by a special resolution in a general meeting.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

India top remittance-receiving country in 2016: UN report

As per a United Nations report titled ‘Sending Money Home: Contributing to the SDGs, one family at a time’, Indians working across the globe sent home USD 62.7 billion in the year 2016, making India the top remittance-receiving country.

ias-toppers-Global-remittances

  • The study was conducted by the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
  • The study is the first-ever of a 10-year trend in migration and remittance flows over the period 2007-2016.

Highlights of the report:

Global scenario:

ias-toppers-remittances-IFAD

  • About 200 million migrants globally sent more than $445 million in 2016 as remittances to their families, helping to lift millions out of poverty.
  • Remittance flows have grown over the last decade at a rate averaging 4.2 per cent annually, from $296 billion in 2007 to $445 billion in 2016.
  • 80% of remittances are received by 23 countries, led by India, China, the Philippines, Mexico and Pakistan.
  • The top 10 sending countries account for almost half of annual flows, led by the US, Saudi Arabia and Russia.
  • Asia is the highest originating region with 77 million migrants; with 48 million remaining within the region.
  • Over the past decade, remittances to Asia and the Pacific increased by 87 per cent, reaching $244 billion, while migration grew by only 33% in comparison.
  • Asia remains the main remittance-receiving region, with 55% of the global flows and 41% of total migrants.
  • It is projected that an estimated $6.5 trillion in remittances will be sent to low and middle-income countries between 2015 and 2030.

Indian scenario:

  • India was the top receiving country for remittances in 2016 at $62.7 billion, followed by China ($61 billion), the Philippines ($30 billion) and Pakistan ($20 billion).
  • In 2007, India was on the second spot, behind China, with $37.2 billion in remittances as compared to $38.4 billion for China.
  • In the decade between 2007 and 2016, India surpassed China to become the top receiving country for remittances.

Importance of remittances:

  • Migration flows and remittances are having large-scale impacts on the global economy and political landscape.
  • Total migrant earnings are estimated at $3 trillion annually, approximately 85 per cent of which remains in the host countries.
  • The money sent home averages less than one per cent of their host’s GDP. Taken together, these individual remittances account for more than three times the combined official development assistance (ODA) from all sources, and more than the total foreign direct investment to almost every low—and middle-income country.
  • Currently, about 200 million migrant workers support some 800 million family members globally. In 2017, an expected one-in-seven people globally will be involved in either sending or receiving more than $450 billion in remittances.

About IFAD:

ias toppers IFAD International Fund for Agricultural Development

  • The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is an international financial institution and a specialised agency of the United Nations.
  • It was established as an international financial institution in 1977 as one of the major outcomes of the 1974 World Food Conference.
  • IFAD is dedicated to eradicating poverty and hunger in rural areas of developing countries.
  • It was established as an international financial institution in 1977 as one of the major outcomes of the 1974 World Food Conference.
  • Its headquarters is in Rome, Italy, and is a member of the United Nations Development Group.
  • Membership in IFAD is open to all member states of the United Nations or its specialised agencies or the International Atomic Energy Agency.
  • The Governing Council is IFAD’s highest decision-making authority.
  • IFAD’s goal is to empower poor rural men and women in developing countries to achieve higher incomes and improved food security.

Objectives of IFAD:

IFAD seeks to ensure that poor rural people have better access to, and the skills and organisation they need to take advantage of:

  • Natural resources, especially secure access to land and water, and improved natural resource management and conservation practices
  • Improved agricultural technologies and effective production services
  • A broad range of financial services
  • Transparent and competitive markets for agricultural inputs and produce
  • Opportunities for rural off-farm employment and enterprise development
  • Local and national policy and programming.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Bilateral & International Relations

India re-elected to UN body on economic, social issues; Pakistan loses out

India has won its re-election to ECOSOC, UN’s principal organ on economic, social and environmental issues for another three-year term.

ias-toppers-india-ECOSOC

  • India was one among the 18 nations to win election to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
  • India has obtained 183 votes which is the second highest after Japan in the Asia-Pacific category.
  • Pakistan whose term is also expiring also sought for re-election but lost and got only one vote.

Election:

  • A country requires two-thirds of the total votes to become a member of ECOSOC.
  • The ECOSOC has a total of 54 members. The Council’s 54 members are elected by the General Assembly for overlapping three-year terms.
  • Out of the 54, 14 seats are allocated to African states, 11 to Asian states, 6 to Eastern European states, 10 to Latin American and Caribbean states, and 13 to Western European and other states.

About ECOSOC:

ias-toppers-ECOSOC

  • The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) was established in 1945 as one of the six main UN organs which were established by the UN Charter.
  • It is the United Nations’ central platform for reflection, debate, and innovative thinking on sustainable development.
  • It is at the heart of the United Nations system to advance the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental.
  • ECOSOC is the ‘principal body for coordination, policy review, policy dialogue and recommendations on economic, social and environmental issues, as well as for implementation of the internationally agreed development goals.’
  • It supervises the subsidiary and expert bodies in the economic, social and environmental fields.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

UN approves creation of new office on counter-terrorism

The United Nations General Assembly has approved the establishment of a new United Nations office of counter-terrorism to help Member States implement UN’s global counter-terrorism strategy.

ias-toppers--global-counter-terrorism-strategy

Implications of the move:

  • With the creation of new UN office of counter terrorism, UN will transfer the relevant functions out of the UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA) into the new body.
  • The Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force Office (CTITF) and the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) currently under the DPA will be transferred to the new office together with existing staff and associated budgetary resources.
  • The new UN Office of counter-terrorism would he headed up by an Under-Secretary-General.
  • The new Under-Secretary-General would Chair the Task Force and Executive Director of the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre.

Functions of the new office:

The new office will have the following five main functions:

  1. To provide leadership on the counter-terrorism mandates entrusted to it across the United Nations system.
  2. To enhance coordination and coherence across the 38 Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force entities for ensuring balanced implementation of the four pillars of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
  3. To strengthen the delivery of United Nations counter-terrorism capacity-building assistance to the Member States.
  4. To improve visibility, advocacy and resource mobilization for United Nations counter-terrorism efforts; and
  5. To ensure that priority is given to counterterrorism across the United Nations system.

Background:

  • India has been repeatedly stressing on the need to have a separate office for counter-terrorism as the presence of as many as 31 entities within the United Nations dealing with some aspect of countering terrorism lacked coherence and coordination in dealing with terrorism.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Science & Technology

NASA’s Orion spacecraft passes key safety tests

NASA’s Orion spacecraft has successfully completed a series of tests for its critical safety systems.

ias-toppers-Orion-spacecraft-2

  • Researchers tested the abort motor for Orion’s launch abort system.

About the Orion spacecraft:

  • The Orion spacecraft was designed to take astronauts to deep space destinations such as the Moon and Mars.
  • Orion will serve as the exploration vehicle that will carry the crew to space, provide emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during the space travel, and provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities.
  • Orion will launch on NASA’s new heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System.

ias-toppers-Orion-spacecraft-3

What is the abort system?

ias-toppers-Orion-spacecraft

  • The launch abort system is an important part of making sure crew members stay safe on the launch pad and on their way to space.
  • The launch abort system is positioned on top of the Orion crew module and will play a critical role protecting future crews travelling to deep space destinations in Orion.
  • The abort motor is responsible for propelling the crew module away from the Space Launch System rocket in case of an emergency, and one of three total motors that will send the crew module to a safe distance away from a failing rocket and orient it properly for a safe descent into the Atlantic Ocean if such a situation ever occurs.

 [Ref: The Hindu]

 

Key Facts for Prelims

Justice PN Bhagwati

ias toppers Justice PN Bhagwati

  • Former Chief Justice of India PN Bhagwati who is considered as a pioneer of Judicial Activism has passed away.
  • Justice Bhagwati introduced the concepts of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) and absolute liability to the Indian judicial system.
  • He made the famous ruling that there was no need for a person to have any Locus Standi to approach the court on the issue of fundamental rights.

 

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