Polity & Governance
- Judicial performance index mooted
Government Schemes & Policies
- YUVA – a skill development programme
- NITI Aayog launches Ease of Doing Business Report
Bilateral & International Relations
- Cabinet approves MoU on “India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund”
Science & Technology
- IIT team makes ‘implantable pancreas’
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Polity & Governance
Judicial performance index mooted
NITI Aayog has suggested establishment of a judicial performance index (JPI) to check delay in finalisation of cases in lower judiciary.
- It was suggested as part of ‘Three Year Action Agenda (2017-20) recommendations for far-reaching reforms to expedite justice delivery system, particularly lower courts where nearly 3 crore cases have been pending for years.
Recommendations related to JPI:
- Establishing of JPI will help the high courts and its chief justices to keep track of performance and process improvement at district courts and subordinate levels for reducing delay.
- The index can also include certain progress on process steps that have already been approved by high courts, like removing burden of day-to-day activity of judges and giving it to administrative officials.
- The process of calculating index will require fixing non-mandatory time frames for different types of cases. Using existing infrastructure and data, index’s indicators can be created to check duration of pendency of case along with percentage of cases that have been delayed and how many cases were disposed in previous year compared to the year before.
- Establishing separate administrative cadre in judicial system to reduce workload on judges. This cadre should report to Chief Justice in each high court to maintain judicial independence.
- High priority should be given to automation process in courts and use of information and communication technology for e-court and case management, including e-management of court schedules and migration of all courts to unified national court application software.
- Steps should be taken for ensuring availability of online real time judicial statistics for determining the adequacy of judicial manpower and infrastructure to deal with work load of cases. It will enable priority appointment of judges at lower judiciary levels keeping in mind a scientific approach to assessing number of judges needed to tackle pendency problem.
- Government must look into and adopt internationally developed measures such as ‘global measures of court performance’, created jointly by Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration, Federal Judicial Center (US), National Center for State Courts (US) and Subordinate Courts of Singapore.
Government Schemes & Policies
YUVA – a skill development programme
The Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated “YUVA – Skill Development Programme”.
- YUVA is an initiative by Delhi Police under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana.
About the YUVA initiative
- The YUVA initiative by Delhi Police aims to connect with youth by upgrading their skill as per their competencies.
- Delhi Police has tied up with National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for providing mass job linked skill training for the selected youth.
- National Skill Development Corporation will provide skill training to the youth under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna.
- The Confederation of Indian Industry will provide job linked training through its Sector Skill Councils who are connected to industry and thereby provide job guarantee.
- A total of 32 police station buildings have been identified where Skill Development Centres would be opened at the earliest.
- The programme will help the youth to get a gainful employment under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna (PMKVY) under the Union Ministry of Skill Development.
Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY)
PMKVY is flagship Skill Certification Scheme of Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) launched in July 2015.
- Its objective is to enable a large number of Indian youth to take up industry-relevant skill training that will help them in securing a better livelihood.
- Under this Scheme, individuals with prior learning experience or skills are also assessed and certified under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).
- Government will pay complete training and assessment fees. The training includes soft skills, personal grooming, behavioural change.
- It is implemented through the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC).
- Skill training is based on the National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF) and industry led standards.
NITI Aayog launches Ease of Doing Business Report
NITI Aayog has launched the Ease of Doing Business report based on an Enterprise Survey of 3,500 manufacturing firms across Indian states and union territories.
- The Enterprise Survey was conducted in recognition of the importance of monitoring the business environment in India.
About the survey:
- The survey has been conducted, along with the IDFC Institute, to assess the business regulations and enabling environment across India from firms’ perspective.
- The World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ survey, which ranked India at 130, is confined to just two cities of Delhi and Mumbai whereas the NITI-IDFC Survey covers 3,276 manufacturing enterprises spread across India, including 141 earlystage firms and covering 23 manufacturing sectors.
- The report comes in the backdrop of the fact that India needs to create an environment that fosters globally competitive firms, capable of driving and sustaining economic growth.
Highlights of report:
Economic Performance and Reforms:
- A higher level of economic activity and better performance on a range of doing business indicators are strongly correlated.
- Enterprises in high-growth states are significantly less likely to report major or very severe obstacles in (i) land/ construction related approvals, (ii) environmental approvals and (iii) water and sanitation availability relative to enterprises in low-growth states.
- Quite remarkably, firms located in high-growth states also report 25% less power shortages in a typical month, compared to firms in low-growth states.
Improvements over time:
- Newer and younger firms report a more favorable business environment in that they take less time in obtaining approvals than older firms, suggesting an improvement in the business environment.
- Newer firms include startups established after 2014.
- In addition, young firms report that most regulatory processes do not constitute a major obstacle to their doing business.
- States need to enhance awareness of the steps being undertaken by them to the improve ease of doing business.
- The survey data show low awareness among enterprises about single window systems, instituted by states.
- On average, only about 20% of start-ups, which are of recent origin, report using single window facilities introduced by state governments for setting up a business.
- Even among experts, only 41% have any knowledge of the existence of these facilities.
Labour regulations are a bigger constraint for labour intensive firms:
Labour intensive sectors, that create proportionately more jobs per unit of capital investment, feel more constrained by labour related regulations. For example, compared to other enterprises, the enterprises in labour intensive sectors:
- 19% more likely to report that finding skilled workers is a major or very severe obstacle.
- 33% more likely to report that hiring contract labour is a major or very severe obstacle.
- Lose a greater number of days due to strikes and lockouts.
- Report higher average time for environmental approvals and longer power shortages.
Barriers to firm growth:
- The experience of firms with fewer employees is different from that of larger firms. In some cases, large firms face more regulatory barriers than smaller firms.
- Firms with more than 100 employees took significantly longer to get necessary approvals than smaller firms with less than 10 employees.
- Large firms were also more likely to report that regulatory obstacles were a major impediment to doing business and that they incurred higher costs for getting approvals.
Bilateral & International Relations
Cabinet approves MoU on “India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund”
The Union Cabinet approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Israel on “India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund (I4F)”.
About the fund:
- The Innovation Fund will be governed by a joint Board which will consist of four members from each country.
- India and Israel will make a contribution of four million US Dollars each for the Fund, both equivalent amount, annually for five years.
Significance of the fund:
- Such projects will lead to affordable technological innovations in focus areas of mutual interest such as water, agriculture, energy and digital technologies.
- The activities supported by the Joint Fund would increase the techno-economic collaboration between the two countries by investing in jointly developed technology projects and collaborations based on technological innovation.
- It would leverage the complementary strengths of Israel and India to encourage Israel-Indian joint projects that capitalize on both the national and global marketplace.
- It would provide a comprehensive set of support tools to encourage joint projects that convert “know-how” into “show-how”.
- It is expected that this will foster and strengthen the eco-system of innovation and techno-entrepreneurship in India and will contribute directly to the Start-up India programme.
Science & Technology
IIT team makes ‘implantable pancreas’
Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati have successfully created an implantable bioartificial pancreas model grown within a 3D silk scaffold.
What is the pancreas?
The pancreas is a large gland behind the stomach and next to the small intestine.
The pancreas does two main things:
- It releases powerful digestive enzymes into the small intestine to aid the digestion of food.
- It releases the hormones insulin and glucagon into the bloodstream. These hormones help the body control how it uses food for energy.
What is Pancreatitis?
- Pancreatitis is a disease in which the pancreas becomes inflamed.
- Pancreatic damage happens when the digestive enzymes are activated before they are released into the small intestine and begin attacking the pancreas.
- There are two forms of pancreatitis: acute and chronic.
- Acute pancreatitis is a sudden inflammation that lasts for a short time. It may range from mild discomfort to a severe, life-threatening illness. Most people with acute pancreatitis recover completely after getting the right treatment.
How was the ‘implantable pancreas’ created?
- Scientists coated the scaffold containing beta cells with a semi-permeable membrane barrier.
- The membrane allows insulin produced to be released into the blood stream but does not allow the immune cells to cross the membrane and kill the islet cells.
- To ensure that the implant is not rejected by the body’s immune system, drugs that suppress the immune system were embedded in the scaffold.
- Studies carried in the lab showed that the beta cells in the scaffold were able to produce adequate amount of insulin in response to different glucose levels within a few seconds.
Significance of the ‘implantable pancreas’:
- If successful in animal and human trials, it can be used for treating people with type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes arises when the body’s immune system kills the insulin-producing beta cells. Since type 1 diabetes patients do not have insulin-producing beta cells, the researchers have turned to stem cells to produce beta cells.