Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - September 19, 2017

Education

National Institute of Ranking Framework

  • A more comprehensive ranking of higher educational institutions in the next round of the National Institutional Ranking Framework in 2018.

WHATS new -

  • 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.

History of NIRF -

  • 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.

Enlighten about NIRF

  • The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) was 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.

Bilateral Relations

Asia Africa Growth Corridor aims for people-centric growth strategy

What it is -

  • The AAGC envisages a people-centric sustainable growth strategy
  • The AAGC is an economic cooperation agreement between the governments of India and Japan
  • It engages various stakeholders- governments, firms, think tanks and civil society
  • It would be raised on the four pillars of (1) development and cooperation projects, (2) quality infrastructure and institutional connectivity, (3) enhancing capacities and skills, and (4) people-to-people partnership
  • The strengths of AAGC will be aligned with the development priorities of different countries and sub-regions of Asia and Africa
  • AAGC-led growth in Africa and Asia will be responsive to the collective commitment to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Trade Facilitation as a major component of AAGC Framework

  • In a study conducted by the European Commission, it is found that the time taken for export and import activities is among the highest in Africa (excluding the northern region)
  • Moreover, the documents required to export and import are also on the higher side in Africa
  • According to OECD trade facilitation indicators, Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa are below the best practices
  • However, achieving the desired level of trade facilitation is a challenging task for Africa and Asia because of lack of technical know-how and skills

India’s role in AAGC

  • India has already made efforts through various initiatives to develop capabilities in other countries in Asia and Africa in the past
  • Although many of them are not fully developed due to paucity of resources
  • But we can re-energize such projects/initiatives through AAGC funding that could lead to promotion of imports and exports
  • India must evolve appropriate strategy to meet import and export requirements of partner countries in the medium term

What is holding back the Growth in Africa?

  • The low level of private investment in Africa is withholding high growth
  • Owing to risky projects on long gestation projects, there has been lukewarm response from investors

Possible Solution -

  • Private investors may be attracted by using limited state funding using the European Investment Fund (EIF) Model
  • The EIF consists of subsidizing investment, loss protection, capital relief, reduced interest rate, low collateral requirements, lease and guarantee

Index Report

India at 103 rank on Global Human Capital Index, lowest among BRICS nations

Global Human Capital Index

  • India has been placed at a low 103 rank, the lowest among BRICS economies on the World Economic Forum’s (WEF’s) Global Human Capital Index
  • lower than Sri Lanka and Nepal
  • The index has been topped by Norway

Criterion adopted for Ranking

  • The list takes into account “the knowledge and skills people possess that enable them to create value in the global economic system” to measure the ‘human capital’ rank of a country

Other Rankings by the WEF’s survey

  • India also ranks “among the lowest in the world” when it comes to the employment gender gap
  • But has fared well when it comes to development of skills needed for the future with a rank of 65 out of total 130 countries
  • India ranks 118 for labour force participation among the key 35-54 year old demographic, it shows too many Indians are engaged in informal or subsistence employment

Digital India

TEZ

  • Google’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) based
  • Digital payment service Tez (meaning fast in Hindi)
  • Launched by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi.
  • With this, Google become latest international giant to enter into India’s fast growing digital payment ecosystem.

Enlighten about Google Tez

  • It is standalone payments application, available on Android and iOS.
  • The app can be used to pay for movie tickets, utility bills, and make other transactions online.
  • It supports several local languages including Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu and will work with 55 banks.
  • Google has partnered with Axis, HDFC Bank, ICICI, and State Bank of India (SBI) for backend processing.
  • Unified Payments Interface (UPI) UPI is a payments protocol built by government-backed National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and regulated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
  • It facilitates the instant fund transfer between two bank accounts on the mobile platform using unique virtual address without putting details of card details, net banking, IFSC code, wallet password etc

National

Sardar Sarovar Dam dedicated to the Nation

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated interstate multipurpose Sardar Sarovar Dam (Narmada dam project) at Kevadia, Gujarat to the nation
  • Sardar Sarovar Dam is the highest dam ever built in India and second biggest concrete gravity dam in world in terms of volume after Grand Coulee Dam in US.

Enlighten about the Project –

  • The Sardar Sarovar Dam project was vision of India’s first deputy Prime Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel to arrest excess flow of water from Narmada River into Arabian Sea.
  • The foundation stone of project was laid out by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on April 5, 1961.
  • The dam has length of 1.2 kms and depth of 163 metres.
  • Its height was recently raised to 138.68 metres, enabling usable water storage of 4.73 million acre feet (MAF).
  • Four Indian states, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharastra and Rajasthan will receive water and electricity supplied from the dam.
  • It will irrigate more than 22,000 hectares of land, mostly from drought prone areas of Kutch and Saurashtra.
  • Moreover it will provide drinking water to four crore people from Gujarat.
  • About 57% of electricity produced from dam goes to Maharashtra, while Madhya Pradesh gets 27% and Gujarat gets 16%.
  • The project was executed by Gujarat government’s Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNL).
  • It had faced many hurdles including inter-state disputes, land acquisition and environmental problems and rehabilitation and resettlement of those displaced by the project.
  • World Bank also had refused to fund it on grounds of environmental damage

Defence

Yudh Abhyas -2017

  • The 13th edition Yudh Abhyas 2017
  • A joint military training exercise between India and United States
  • Held at Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington, US.
  • Yudh Abhyas is annual bilateral military exercise, alternately held by the two countries.
  • In this edition of exercise, armies of both countries honed tactical skills in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorist operations (CICT ops) under UN charter.

Enlighten about Yudh Abhyas

  • ‘Yudh Abhyas 2017’ saw representation from 5th Infantry Battalion of 20 Infantry Regiment of US Army while Indian side was represented by soldiers of Gorkha Rifles from the Surya Command.
  • During two-week exercise, soldiers from both countries will hone their tactical skills in counter terror and counter insurgency operations under a joint brigade headquarter.
  • Both sides jointly trained, planned and executed series of well-developed tactical drills for neutralization of likely threats that may be encountered in UN peace keeping operations.

Sports

P.V Sindhu – won women’s singles title at Korea Open Super Series

  • India’s ace shuttler P V Sindhu (World no. 4) won women’s singles title at 2017 Korea Open Super Series badminton tournament.
  • In summit clash held at Korean capital city Seoul, she defeated Nozomi Okuhara (World No. 7) of Japan
  • With this victory, Sindhu became first Indian to win Korea Super Series crown.
  • It was overall her third super series title of her career.
  • She had won 2016 China Super Series Premier and India Super Series and Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold this season.

Enlighten about her achievements

  • PV Sindhu PV Sindhu received international fame after getting listed on the Top 20 list of Badminton World Federation rankings in 2012.
  • In 2013, she created history by becoming first Indian women’s singles badminton player to win medal at World Championships.
  • Sindhu had won Silver medal in 2017 Rio Olympics.
  • She was second Indian female shuttler to win Olympic medal after Saina Nehwal who had won bronze medal in 2012 London Olympics.
  • Sindhu was awarded Padma Shri in 2015, India’s fourth-highest civilian honour.

Person In News (Pin)

The sole Marshal of the Indian Air Force (IAF) Arjan Singh passed away

  • The sole Marshal of the Indian Air Force (IAF) Arjan Singh passed away following cardiac arrest in New Delhi. He was 98.
  • He was known for shaping IAF in its early years as well as during some of its most difficult junctures.
  • In 2002, on the occasion of Republic Day, he was granted honorary rank of Marshal, highest military rank attainable, which before him only two Army chiefs, K M Carriappa and Sam Manekshaw, had achieved.

Enlighten about Arjan singh

  • Arjan Singh Arjan Singh was born on April 15, 1919, in Lyalpur (now Faislabad, Pakistan).
  • He had completed his education at Montgomery (now Sahiwal, Pakistan).
  • He was selected to Empire Pilot training course at Royal AirForce (RAF) Cranwell at age of 19 years.
  • He had served on different positions in RAF during British Rule.
  • On August 15, 1947, he had achieved a unique honour of leading a fly-past of over a hundred IAF aircraft over the Red Fort in Delhi.
  • He had served as the IAF chief from August 1964 to 69.
  • He was the first Indian Air Chief to be elevated to the rank of Air Chief Marshal in 1966.
  • He had led the Indian Air Force (IAF) in the 1965 India-Pakistan war.
  • He had launched IAF’s Operation Grand Slam that targeted at the vital town of Akhnoor of Pakistan.
  • He retired in August 1969 and later was appointed as Ambassador of India to Switzerland and High Commissioner to Kenya.
  • He also had served as Lieutenant Governor of New Delhi from 1989 to 1990
  • Union government conferred the rank of the “Marshal of Indian Air Force” on him in 2002 making him the first and the only ‘Five Star’ rank officer with the IAF.
  • He was awarded Padma Vibhushan for his astute leadership of the Air Force during the India-Pakistan war.