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Angel Investors

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Angel investors invest in small startups or entrepreneurs. Often, angel investors are among an entrepreneur’s family and friends. The capital angel investors provide may be a one-time investment to help the business propel or an ongoing injection of money to support and carry the company through its difficult early stages

Angel investors provide more favorable terms compared to other lenders, since they usually invest in the entrepreneur starting the business rather than the viability of the business. Angel investors are focused on helping startups take their first steps, rather than the possible profit they may get from the business. Essentially, angel investors are the opposite of venture capitalists.

 

 

Ministry of Home Affairs

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Departments Of Ministry of Home Affairs

Department of Border Management

Department of Border Management, dealing with management of borders, including coastal borders, strengthening of border guarding and creation of related infrastructure, border areas development, etc

Department of Internal Security

Department of Internal Security, dealing with the Indian Police Service, Central Police Forces, internal security and law & order,insurgency, terrorism, naxalism, activities of inimical foreign agencies, terrorist financing, rehabilitation, grant of visa and other immigration matters, security clearances, etc

Department of J & K Affairs

Department of Jammu & Kashmir Affairs deals with the Constitutional provisions with respect to the State of Jammu and kashmir, administration of the Armed Forces(J&K) Special Powers Act,1990 (21 of 1990) and all matters relating to the State of Jammu and Kashmir, including counter terrorism within Jammu and Kashmir and coordination in respect of subjects/matters specifically allotted to any other Ministry/Department like coordination with Ministry of Defence as regards manning and managing the line of control between India and Pakistan, but excluding those with which the Ministry of External Affairs is concerned. The Division also coordinates with various Ministries/Departments, primarily concerned with development and welfare activities in Jammu and Kashmir.

Department of Home

Dealing with the notification of assumption of office by the President and Vice-President, notification of appointment/resignation of the Prime Minister, Ministers, Governors, nomination to Rajya Sabha/Lok Sabha, Census of population, registration of births and deaths, etc

Department of Official Language

Dealing with the implementation of the provisions of the Constitution relating to official languages and the provisions of the Official Languages Act, 1963.

Department of States

Dealing with Centre-State relations, Inter-State relations, administration of Union Territories, Freedom Fighters’ pension, Human rights, Prison Reforms, Police Reforms, etc.

The Department of Internal Security, Department of States, Department of Home, Department of Jammu and Kashmir Affairs and Department of Border Management do not function in watertight compartments. They all function under the Union Home Secretary and are inter-linked. There is a designated Secretary for Department of Border Management and Internal Security also.

What Constitution says of the cow

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The Rajasthan High Court on May 31 suggested to the Centre to make cow as the national animal of India. It also called for increasing punishment for cow slaughter to life imprisonment. A single-judge bench of Justice Mahesh Chand Sharma said the chief secretary and advocate general of the state will be the legal custodians of the cow.

“Nepal is a Hindu nation and has declared cow as the national animal. India is a predominant agriculture country based in animal rearing. As per Article 48 and 51A (g) it is expected from the state government that they should take action to get a legal entity for the cow in this country,” he said in his order.

Article 48 of the Constitution says the State should take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter, of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle, Article 51A(g)  speaks of protecting natural environment and having compassion for living creatures.

Article 48, which is a Directive Principle of State Policy, mandates the state to prohibit the slaughter of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle. It says: The State shall endeavour to organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and shall, in particular, take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle.

On October 26, 2005, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of anti-cow slaughter laws enacted in all states barring a few states like Kerala, West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim. On 26 May 2017, the Ministry of Environment imposed a ban on the sale of cows and buffaloes for slaughter at animal markets across India.

On 30th May, the Madras High Court Bench in Madurai on stayed the operation of Rules 22(b)(iii) and 22(e) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Market) Rules 2017, notified by the Centre on May 23. The new rules ban the sale of bulls, bullocks, cows, buffaloes, steers, heifers, calves and camels for slaughter in ‘animal markets.’ It noted that the particular rule was introduced not by Parliament but by the Executive, and that the primary aspect that the subject of law under consideration was in the State list.

Quantum entanglement

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For the first time, China has successfully sent pairs of entangled photons from a satellite in orbit to three ground stations in the country each separated by more than 1,200-km, in a major breakthrough that opens up prospects for practical quantum communications.

The photon pairs were demonstrated to be still entangled after travelling long distances.  The achievement was based on the world’s first quantum satellite, Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS), also dubbed Micius, launched by China on August 16, 2016 Quantum entanglement is a phenomenon in quantum physics, which is so confounding that Albert Einstein described it as “spooky action at a distance” in 1948.

Quantum entanglement is a physical phenomenon that occurs when pairs or groups of particles are generated or interact in ways such that the quantum state of each particle cannot be described independently of the others, even when the particles are separated by a large distance instead, a quantum state must be described for the system as a whole.

When a pair or group of particles can only be described by the quantum state for the system, and not by individual quantum states, we say the particles are “entangled.” Entanglement between particles happens because little particles can push and pull on each other, just like big objects do in terms of gravity. If nothing else is acting on those particles, then there are certain things before and after the particles act on each other that have to stay the same.

For example, the total momentum of both particles put together would be (roughly) the same before and after they act on each other. Quantum entanglement is one of the concepts that led Albert Einstein to dislike the theory of quantum mechanics. Quantum is a Latin word that means ‘how much’. So a quantum of energy is a specific amount of energy.

Over 61% of elderly will be in dire need by 50

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India’s 860 million-strong working population (15-64 years), the world’s largest, is beginning to age. Over the next 33 years, by 2050, 32.4 million Indians, or 20 per cent of the population, will be above 60 years of age.

If pension continues to cover only 35 per cent of senior citizens as it does today, 20 million, or 61.7 per cent of India’s elderly population, will be without any income security by 2050.

The Centre pays Rs 200 per month under the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS) to every Indian over the age of 60 and living under the poverty line (the ability to spend Rs 33 per day in urban and Rs 27 per day in rural areas as per the Tendulkar Committee on poverty line).

The states are encouraged to add to this sum and are free to expand the coverage. Currently, states pay anything between Rs 200 and Rs 2,000 as public pensions.

Should public pensions be universal or targeted? What should be the minimum offered by a public, non-contributory pension? From which age should it be granted? To find answers to these questions through opinions of older people, a study was conducted in Gujarat and Rajasthan by the Centre for Equity Studies (CES), New Delhi.

The study, yet unpublished, collected opinions and experiences of 1,505 people above the age of 55 years across 14 locations. The states were chosen because they represent two ends of the spectrum in the universalisation debate: Gujarat, 10th richest state in per capita GDP ranking, offers a targeted pension of Rs 400 only to the poor at the time the study was conducted (since then the amount has been revised to Rs 500), and Rajasthan, 23rd in the per capita GDP list, extends Rs 500 to (nearly) all senior citizens.

The study found a wide and conclusive gap between pension policy and public opinion. Opinion across both states was unanimous that public pension should be extended to all elderly and should be initiated earlier than at age 60 years. The popular view was that Rs 2,000 was an adequate pension sum, which is four to six times higher than their present entitlement.

Gujarat pursues a narrowly targeted scheme whereby only the poorest senior citizens are entitled to public pensions. Rajasthan has near-universalised pension entitlements whereby women above 55 and men above 58 receive pensions as long as they are not entitled to pensions from any other source or are not taxpayers.

Arguments against universalisation suggest that the cost of universalisation is generally lowering the entitlement for those who need it the most. Targeting allows for public funds to be utilised for those who need them the most.

On the other end of the spectrum are arguments which propose that universalisation strengthens the moral-politico claim and the delivery of the public good or service in question in this case, pensions. The results of the survey showed that public opinion is functioning independent of the policy on the issue of universalisation.

Majority (83 per cent) of respondents from Gujarat were in agreement with those from Rajasthan (81 per cent). The public opinion is unequivocally skewed in support of universalisation.

Older people living with families supported universalisation of pensions as much as those living alone. This is an important finding because till about 2007, the National Old Age Pension Scheme, as it was then called, considered destitution both a reason and a condition for being entitled to non-contributory, public pensions. In Gujarat, destitution continues to be used as a criterion senior citizens who have sons above the age of 21 years are not considered eligible for public pensions.

Support for universalization was observed in similar proportion across gender. The support was also consistent across scheduled tribes, other backward classes and other castes.

Pensions are an assurance of continuation of consumption levels required for dignified living in the face of reduction in income due to physiological atrophy and comparatively restricted income-generating opportunities.

Beneficiaries above the age of 75 years were entitled to Rs 750 a month. These pensions did not allow elderly Indians working in the unorganised sector, who need public pensions the most, to retire.

These entitlements don’t support lowest official poverty line consumption levels of Rs 27 in rural and Rs 33 in urban per day.

People across Rajasthan and Gujarat voiced concerns about the amount of entitlement. Less than three per cent in Rajasthan and 13 per cent in Gujarat stated a figure equivalent to or less than Rs 750 a month was sufficient. Less than one-third mentioned a figure less than Rs 1,000 per month.

How much did people think it took to ensure a dignified living? The average monthly “sufficient” pension amount in Rajasthan was Rs 1,875 whereas in Gujarat it was Rs 2,494, the study found.  This amount is equivalent to half the minimum wage presently assured.

IGNOAPS initiates pensions at the age of 60 like many industrially advanced nations. But the average life expectancy here 68 years is much lower. A majority of people felt that pensions should be initiated at an earlier age.

India’s standing in global indices

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On the occasion of the 3rd anniversary of the Narendra Modi-led BJP government taking charge at the Center, the Central government has launched a dedicated website to highlight the achievements of these 3 years. One such infographic highlights India’s standing in various global indices and how India’s rank has improved during the BJP rule. This is a fact-check on these claims.

Claim 1: India climbed 16 spots to 39th rank in the Global Competitiveness Index
This is a yearly index published by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The WEF defines competitiveness as the set of institutions, policies, and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country. The report also says that a more competitive economy is one that is likely to grow faster over time. The infographic also claims that India’s jump by 16 spots is the highest leap by any country in the WEF’s Global Competitiveness Index 2016.  The claim that India climbed 16 spots is true. It is also true that this is the highest leap by any country in the 2016 rankings. The next biggest leap was by Albania that climbed 13 spots. Jamaica was next with a leap of 11 spots. This is also India’s best ranking in the recent years.

Claim 2: Climbed 12 spots to 40th rank in WEF’s Global Travel & Tourism Competitiveness list
The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report was first published by WEF in 2007. Till 2009, this was a yearly report. After 2009, the list is being published once every two years. As per WEF, the index is a measurement of the factors that make it attractive to develop business in the travel and tourism industry of individual countries, rather than a measure of a country’s attractiveness as a tourist destination.
It is true that India climbed 12 spots to 40th rank in the 2017 rankings. India’s leap was second only to Azerbaijan that climbed by 13 spots. This is also India’s best rank ever in this list.

Claim 3: Climbed 19 spots to 35th rank in World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index 2016
The Logistics Performance Index is benchmarking tool created to help countries identify the challenges and opportunities they face in their performance on trade logistics and what they can do to improve their performance. The LPI consists of both qualitative and quantitative measures and helps build profiles of logistics friendliness for these countries.  The index was first published in 2007 and then is being published every 2 years since 2010.

It is true that India climbed 19 spots to 35th rank in the LPI 2016. India’s rank was 39 in 2007, 47 in 2010, 46 in 2012 and 54 in 2014. It has to be noted that India’s rank of 54 in 2014 was its worst ever rank in this list.

Claim 4: Climbed 15 spots to 66th Rank in Global Innovation Index 2016
The Global Innovation Index was launched by INSEAD in 2007 and is co-published by Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The index primarily deals with improving the journey towards a better way to measure and understand innovation and with identifying targeted policies and good practices that foster innovation.
While India did climb 15 spots to 66th rank in the 2016 index, India’s worst ever ranking of 81 was in 2015, also during the BJP’s rule. India is now back to its 2013 ranking of 66.

Claim 5: Improved ranking in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index 2016
Transparency International (TI) publishes the annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) since 1996, ranking countries by their perceived levels of corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys.

Contrary to what was claimed by the government, India’s rank of 79 in 2016 was worse than its rank of 76 in 2015.  India has improved its score in 2016, but not ranking.

Claim 6: Climbed 21 spots to 87th Rank in WEF Global Gender Gap report 2016
The WEF Gender Gap Index ranks countries according to calculated gender gaps. The assumption is that women are strictly disadvantaged compared to men and as such, only measures where women are traditionally disadvantaged to men are used. The index is being published since 2006.

It is true that India has climbed 21 spots to 87th rank in the 2016 index. This is only the 2nd occasion when India was ranked below 100 since 2006. In 2006, India’s ranking was 98. India continues to score poorly on the sub-indices of Economic Participation & Opportunity, Educational Attainment and Health & Survival. India’s 87th rank is thanks to its 9th rank in the political empowerment sub-index.

Claim 7: Climbed to 8th rank in FDI Confidence Index
The Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index is published by A.T. Kearney since 1998. It examines the overarching trends in FDI. The top 25 ranking is a forward-looking analysis of how political, economic, and regulatory changes will likely affect countries’ FDI inflows in the coming years.

While it is true that India climbed to 8th rank in the 2017 index, India’s worst ranking in the recent times was in 2015 (11th), also during the BJP rule. It also has to be noted that India’s best ever ranking on this index was 2nd and was achieved in 2005, 2007 and 2012. The UPA was in power on all these 3 occasions.

What is Vienna Energy Forum 2017

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The Vienna Energy Forum 2017 is aimed contributing to the successful implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement.

It served as a platform for discussing and highlighting the importance of the linkages between climate and development as well as the synergies among the SDGs, and the importance of joint and integrated approaches for a successful implementation.

Speakers from across the globe explored innovations in order to achieve SDG 7 ‘Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all’ and related SDGs.

The implementation of these goals and of the Paris Climate Agreement calls for an unprecedented global transformation process that extends far beyond the energy sector. Innovation is urgently required to drive this transformative agenda, a majority of the 1500 participants from around 100 countries said.

This year marked the fifth time the Forum has met. Speakers highlighted the crucial linkages between energy, climate and development as well as the synergies among the SDGs, and the importance of joint and integrated approaches for a successful implementation.

As Michael Linhart, Deputy Foreign Minister of Austria, observed the country has emerged as an influential international hub for debating about a wide-ranging energy and energy related issues.

According to LI Yong, the Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), “Enhancing access to affordable, reliable and clean energy is key to stimulate economic growth and ensure energy security.

At the same time it is critical to accelerate clean energy innovation as an indispensable part of an effective, long-term global response to our shared climate challenge.’

The implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement calls for a global transformation that clearly goes beyond the energy sector.

Holistic technology solutions, entrepreneurship, innovation in policies, new financing instruments and partnerships are urgently needed to achieve the desired scale of global change and inclusive and sustainable development.

Demystifying new Index for Industrial Production (IIP)

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You all know that GDP measures the overall activity (production) in the Indian Economy. But is there any index which specifically captures the industrial activity in the Indian Economy? Yes, this index is known as Index of Industrial Production (IIP).

The Industrial Output data is captured and monitored, primarily, through two statistical activities –

  • Annual Survey of Industries (ASI) on an annual basis and
  • Index of Industrial Production (IIP) on a monthly basis.

About Annual Survey of Industries (ASI)
The Annual Survey of Industries (ASI) is the principal source of industrial statistics in India. It provides information about the composition and structure of organised manufacturing sector comprising activities related to manufacturing processes, repair services, gas and water supply and cold storage.

The ASI is conducted annually under the Collection of Statistics Act, since 1959, to obtain comprehensive and detailed statistics of industrial sector with the objective of estimating the contribution of registered manufacturing industries as a whole to the national income.

About ‘Index for Industrial Production’
The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is an index which shows the growth rates in different industry groups of the economy in a stipulated period of time. The IIP index is computed and published by the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) on a monthly basis.

IIP is a composite indicator that measures the growth rate of industry groups classified under,

Broad sectors, namely, Mining, Manufacturing and Electricity

  1. Use-based sectors, namely Basic Goods, Capital Goods and Intermediate Goods.

The IIP is compiled on the basis of data sourced from 16 ministries/ administrative departments. Data for IIP are collected by various source agencies under different Acts/statutes.

What is IIP?

  • Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is an index which helps us understand the growth of various sectors in the Indian economy such as mining, electricity and manufacturing.
  • IIP is a short term indicator of industrial growth till the results from Annual Survey of Industries (ASI) and National Accounts Statistics (Eg: GDP) are available.
  • The base year of the index is given a value of 100. The current base year for the IIP series in India is 2004-05. So, if the current IIP reads 180, it means that there has been 80% industrial growth compared to the base year, ie 2004-05.

Who releases IIP?
Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.IIP is published monthly, six weeks after the reference month ends.

IIP data is sourced by 16 agencies!
IIP is compiled using data received from 16 source agencies viz. Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP); Indian Bureau of Mines; Central Electricity Authority; Joint Plant Committee; Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas; Office of Textile Commissioner; Department of Chemicals & Petrochemicals; Directorate of Sugar; Department of Fertilizers; Directorate of Vanaspati, Vegetable Oils & Fats; Tea Board; Office of Jute Commissioner; Office of Coal Controller; Railway Board; Office of Salt Commissioner and Coffee Board.

IIP covers 682 items!

  • We have already seen that IIP measures industrial growth. It measures the short term changes in the volume of production of a basket of industrial products. The current IIP basket covers 682 representative items.
  • Mining (61 items) – 14.16% weight
  • Manufacturing (620 items) – 75.53% weight
  • Electricity (1 item) – 10.32% weight.
  • Note: Even though United Nations Statistics Division suggests to also include Gas steam, Air conditioning supply, Water supply, Sewerage, Waste management and Remediation activities in the IIP, due to data constraints Indian IIP only covers three sectors – mining, manufacturing and electricity. These three are called broad sectors.
  • IIP also gives us idea about use-based sectors – another classification. Use-based sectors include Basic Goods, Capital Goods and Intermediate Goods.
  • Weighted arithmetic mean of quantity relatives with weights being allotted to various items in proportion to value added by manufacture in the base year by using Laspeyres’ formula.

Core Industries and IIP
Coal, Crude Oil, Natural Gas, Refinery Product, Steel, Cement and Electricity are known as Core Industries. The eight Core Industries comprise nearly 37.9 % of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP). The 8 core industries are their relative weight in IIP is as below:

  1. Coal (weight: 4.38 %).
  2. Crude Oil (weight: 5.22 %).
  3. Natural Gas (weight: 1.71 %).
  4. Refinery Products (weight: 5.94%).
  5. Fertilizers (weight: 1.25%).
  6. Steel (weight: 6.68%).
  7. Cement (weight: 2.41%).
  8. Electricity (weight: 10.32%)
  • Annual Survey of Industries (ASI) Vs Index of Industrial Production (IIP)
  • The Industrial Output data is captured and monitored, primarily, through two statistical activities – Annual Survey of Industries (ASI) and Index of Industrial Production (IIP).

ASI

  • ASI is calculated on an annual basis
  • The ASI is conducted under the Collection of Statistics Act, since 1959.
  • The objective is to obtain comprehensive and detailed statistics of industrial sector with the objective of estimating the contribution of registered manufacturing industries as a whole to the national income.
  • ASI data is based on actual book of accounts and other documents maintained by registered factories.

IIP

  • IIP is calculated on a monthly basis.
  • Data for IIP are collected by various source agencies under different Acts/statutes.
  • The IIP is compiled on the basis of data sourced from 16 ministries/ administrative departments.

What is base period?
The IIP is a weighted average of the production relatives. The production relative is the ratio of the production in the current period to the reference period. This reference period is called the base period. The base period is 3 selected taking into consideration its normality, proximity to the comparison period, availability of all relevant data and synchronization with other macroeconomic indicators.

Why change in base year?

  • The base year is revised periodically to capture the changes in the structure and composition of the industry over time due to technological changes, economic reforms and consumption pattern of the people.
  • The basic purpose of base revision of IIP is to make the item basket proper representative of the current industrial scenario of the country.
  • Any base revision exercise results in deletion of outdated/ unimportant items from the basket and inclusion of new items which were not in production when earlier IIP item basket was finalized.
  • The IIP series in India has been revised from time to time shifting the comparison base to a recent period, by reviewing the coverage of items and industries and by improving, as far as practicable, with a view to reflect adequately, the industrial growth and structure. When the index was commenced in India, the base year adopted was 1937 and this was revised successively to 1946, 1951, 1956, 1960, 1970, 1980-81 and 1993-94.

New IIP is a more dynamic index

  • New IIP series ( Index of Industrial Production) with a base year 2011-12 with an aim to map economic activities more accurately.
  • According to the recommendations of the working group for the development of the methodology of compilation of IIP, the new item basket for IIP will include 55 mining products and 809 manufacturing products that would be re-grouped into 521 item groups, treating electricity as a single product.
  • Currently, the IIP is calculated on base year of 2004-05

The change in baseline for the IIP is expected to bring in more accuracy in mapping the level of economic activity and calculating other numbers like national accounts.

  • Think tanks have been pitching for release of new time series of the IIP and the WPI so that GDP numbers can be based on more accurate and realistic data.
  • The retail inflation based on the consumer price index (CPI) is also calculated on the base year of 2011-12.
  • Naturally, the IIP growth acquired a certain directional bias, which impaired its usefulness. To overcome the weaknesses, the IIP is being made more dynamic.
  • First, the Central Statistics Office has updated its base year to 2011-12. The revision, the ninth such exercise since the original base year choice of 1937, is aimed at capturing the changes that have taken place in the industrial sector since 2004-05.
  • New products have been included in the items basket, and those that have lost their relevance deleted. Renewable energy, for example, has been included in the electricity index.
  • The expanded coverage — 809 items against 620 earlier, and a larger number of factories — is expected to make the IIP more representative.
  • Second, instead of the periodic baskets revisions, a permanent standing arrangement is being put in place to make sure that the IIP remains representative.
  • An ongoing process is to be instituted for monitoring and mapping into the index the changes taking place in the economy under which a technical committee will continuously review the item basket, the reporting entities and the method of coverage.
  • The improvements in the statistical apparatus have been carried out on the recommendations of a committee that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had constituted in 2012 under the chairmanship of late Saumitra Chaudhuri, a member of the Economic Advisory Council of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
  • Several measuring difficulties remain, though. The process of physically collecting data from entities to establish the collection system, where no statutorily-mandated system of regularly reporting production is in place, is still an institutional challenge.

Righting the numbers

  • The updated IIP offers new insights, the most important being that India may have been overstating the industrial slowdown in its economy. Whereas the average industrial output growth of the last five years (2011-12 to 2016-17) in the old IIP is 1.38%, in the updated series it is 3.8%.
  • On the manufacturing front, the news gets even better. The average five-year growth has improved to 4.04% against 0.94% in the old IIP.
  • Although the average growth in two of the five years in which UPA-2 was in office outpaced that in the three years of the incumbent National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s tenure.
  • The performance — 4.2% versus 3.9% — challenges the narrative of the ‘policy paralysis’ characterising the dying years of Dr. Singh’s stint. It also tests the efficacy so far of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.
  • The bad news is that the output growth of the infrastructure and construction sector has slowed down from 5.7% in 2013-14 to 3.8% in 2016-17 despite the NDA government’s sustained push to the infrastructure sector, including through substantial increases in targeted public spending, in the last three years.
  • The updated IIP also shows a modest recovery in the capital goods sector, a barometer of the investment sentiment. From -3.6% in 2013-14, output growth in the sector improved to 1.9% in 2016-17.
  • The main driver of growth in the economy remains consumption. Consumer durables grew 6.2% and non-durables 9% in 2016-17. The Seventh Pay Commission award to Central government employees and pensioners last year seems to have spurred consumption.
  • The monthly figures have not been released, but the spurt could also have been triggered by hectic use of demonetised cash for acquiring consumer durables and non-durables.
  • Demonetisation’s debilitating impact on manufacturing is visible in the updated monthly IIP for 2016-17. The average output growth for the seven months from April to October was 6.8%, and for the five months from November to March 2.28%.
  • The IIP’s coverage by design is limited to the organised sector. The disruption in the unorganised sector is expected to get measured in the ASI.
  • The base years of all the major macroeconomic indicators, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the Wholesale Price Index, are now aligned — 2011-12.
  • The revised IIP will be plugged into the GDP series. The revised GDP estimates are scheduled to be released on May 31.

Issue/concern in news

  • In the past few years, the month-on-month IIP has shown excessively low, and even negative growth, which subsequently turned out to be out of sync with the actual manufacturing output growth measured through the Annual Survey of Industries (ASI).
  • Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is a critical economic indicator, the aim of the IIP is to capture the direction and the trend of industrial production in the country, not the absolute value of industrial production. Its chief utility is as an early indicator of turning points in the economy. The IIP has been failing in serving this purpose.

Reasons for above concerns/issues

  • The major reason being that IIP was measuring industrial output using baskets of production items and producing entities that had remained unchanged since 2004-05.
  • Meaning – The standard procedure followed was that a list of items was constructed in the base year and for each item the producing entities were identified. This structure was frozen.
  • In simple words, the IIP index was constructed with the output figures received month over month from the baskets of items and entities fixed in the base year. (It did not consider new entities or changes)
  • I.e., if an entity shut down, its output fell to zero. But since the basket was frozen no new entity could be taken in place of the zero-output one.
  • For instance, say Calculators may fall out of use and more smartphones may be consumed. The IIP was not equipped to capture such changes in the economy.

The way ahead

1.Revised Base Year
Therefore, the Central Statistics Office (CSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation revised the base year of Index of Industrial Production (IIP) and Wholesale Price Index (WPI) to 2011-12 base years, replacing the 2004-05 base years. Analysts believe that the new series will be able to capture the current state of affairs of the economy by replacing the old basket of goods with a contemporary one.

  • Currently the IIP and WPI take 2004-05 as base year, while the GDP and Consumer Price Index (CPI) data are calculated using the base year of 2011-12. Using the same base year of 2011-12 for all macroeconomic data indicators will ensure that accuracy is maintained in the mapping of economic activity.
  • The new base year has been selected keeping in view the base year of other macroeconomic indicators namely Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Consumer Price Index (CPI).
  • Several changes have been made in the new series of the IIP in order that new IIP is able to reflect the changes in the industrial sector in a more representative and robust manner.

Issues Related to GM Food and Regulatory Mechanism in India

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Issues Related to GM Food and Regulatory Mechanism in India:-

What are Genetically Modified Mustard (GM Mustard)?

  • A genetically modified organism (GMO) is an organism in which one or more genes (called transgenes) have been introduced into its genetic material from another organism using recombinant DNA technology.
  • Foods produced from or using GM organisms are often referred to as GM foods.
  • Dhara Mustard Hybrid-11 (DMH-11) is a genetically modified variety of mustard.
  • It has been developed by the Delhi University’s Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants under a government-funded project.

Recent approval by GEAC:-

  • On May 11, 2017 , The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) has cleared GM mustard for environmental release and use in farmer fields for four years subject to certain field conditions.
  • According to GEAC Chairperson, “It was a unanimous decision with no dissent and all safety concerns were discussed with experts”.
  • However, the approval is contingent on a final nod from Environment Minister, who can say no.
  • In the past also, environment ministry has blocked the crops approved by GEAC.
  • In 2010, GEAC cleared Bt Brinjal but its released was blocked by then Environment Minister, Jairam Ramesh, on the ground of a paucity of safety tests.

Arguments for GM Crops:-

The arguments that have been put forward for the use of GMOs in agriculture include:

Potential benefits for agricultural productivity:

  • Better resistance to stress: If crops can be made more resistant to pest outbreaks and severe weather (such as frost, extreme heat or drought), then it would reduce the danger of crop failure.
  • More nutritious staple foods: By inserting genes into crops such as rice and wheat, we can increase their nutritious value which can solve the problem of malnutrition.
  • More productive farm animals: By inserting genes into cattle we can, for example, raise their milk yield.
  • Longer shelf lives: The genetic modification of fruits and vegetables can make them less likely to spoil in storage or on the way to market. This could expand trade opportunities as well as reduce massive wastage incurred in transport and supply.
  • More food from less land: Improved productivity from GMOs might mean that farmers in future won’t have to bring so much marginal land into cultivation.

Potential benefits for the environment:-

  • GMOs might reduce the environmental impact of food production and industrial processes: Genetically engineered resistance to pests and diseases could greatly reduce the use of pesticides and insecticides needed for crop protection. This could not only reduce environmental impact – they could also improve the health of farm and industrial workers.
  • Rehabilitation of damaged or less-fertile land: Large areas of crop-land in
    the developing world have become saline by unsustainable irrigation
    practices. Genetic modification could produce salt-tolerant varieties.
  • Bioremediation: Rehabilitation of damaged land may also become possible through organisms bred to restore nutrients and soil structure.
  • Biofuels: Plant material fuel, or biomass, has enormous energy potential. For example, the waste from sugar cane or sorghum can provide energy, especially in rural areas. It may be possible to breed plants specifically for this purpose.

Potential benefits for human health:-

  • Pharming (Vaccines and Medicines): Plants are being engineered to produce vaccines, proteins and other pharmaceutical products not only for humans but also for farm animals. This process is called “Pharming”.
  • Hunger: According to data from the World Food Programme, around 795 million people do not have enough food to live a healthy life. So many people are still suffering from starvation and malnutritions and this can become even worse in future.

Arguments against GM crops:-

The main arguments that have been put forward against the use of GMOs in agriculture include:

Potential negative effects on the environment:-

  • Genes can end up in unexpected places: – Through “gene escape” they can pass on to other members of the same species and perhaps other species.
  • Genes can mutate with harmful effect:

– Artificial insertion of genes could destabilize an organism by encouraging mutations.

Interaction with wild and native populations:
– GMOs could compete or breed with wild species.

– GM crops could pose a threat to crop biodiversity, especially if grown in areas that are centres of origin of that crop.

– In addition, GM crops could compete with and substitute traditional farmers’ varieties and wild relatives that have been bred, or evolved, to cope with local stresses. If genetically modified crop varieties substitute them, they could be lost.

Impact on birds, insects and soil biota:

– Potential risks to non-target species, such as birds, pollinators and microorganisms, is another important issue.
– Besides, it is feared that widespread use of GM crops could lead to the development of resistance in insect populations exposed to the GM crops.

Potential negative effects on human health:-

  • Allergenicity (Transfer of allergenic genes): These could be accidentally transferred to other species, causing dangerous reactions in people with allergies.
  • Outcrossing: The migration of genes from GM plants into conventional crops or related species in the wild (referred to as “outcrossing”), as well as the mixing of crops derived from conventional seeds with GM crops, may have an indirect effect on food safety and food security. Cases have been reported where GM crops approved for animal feed or industrial use were detected at low levels in the products intended for human consumption.
  • Studies in the U.S. have shown a strong correlation between growth of GM crops, and diseases such as acute kidney injury, diabetes, autism, Alzheimer’s and cancers in the past 20 years in the U.S.

Potential socio-economic effects:-

Loss of farmers’ access to plant material:

– Biotechnology research is carried out predominantly by the private sector and there are concerns about market dominance in the agricultural sector by a few powerful companies.

– This could have a negative impact on small-scale farmers all over the world.

– Farmers fear that they might even have to pay for crop varieties bred from genetic material that originally came from their own fields when they buy seeds from “companies holding patents” on specific genetic modification “events”.

  • Intellectual property rights could slow research: The proprietary nature of biotechnology products and processes may prevent their access for publicsector research.

Ministry of Science & Technology

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Ministry of Science & Technology:-

Introduction:-

  • The Department has major responsibilities for specific projects and programmes as listed below:Department of Science & Technology (DST) was established in May 1971, with the objective of promoting new areas of Science & Technology and to play the role of a nodal department for organising, coordinating and promoting S&T activities in the country. The

Department has major responsibilities for specific projects and programmes as listed below:

1) Formulation of policies relating to Science and Technology.

2) Matters relating to the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Cabinet (SACC).

3) Promotion of new areas of Science and Technology with special emphasis on emerging areas.

a) Research and Development through its research institutions or laboratories for development of indigenous technologies concerning bio-fuel production, processing, standardization and applications, in co-ordination with the concerned Ministry or Department;

b) Research and Development activities to promote utilization of by-products to development value added chemicals.

4) Futurology.

5) Coordination and integration of areas of Science & Technology having cross-sectoral linkages in which a number of institutions and departments have interest and capabilities.

6) Undertaking or financially sponsoring scientific and technological surveys, research design and development, where necessary.

7) Support and Grants-in-aid to Scientific Research Institutions, Scientific Associations and Bodies.

8) All matters concerning: 

a) Science and Engineering Research Council;

b) Technology Development Board and related Acts such as the Research and Development Cess Act,1986 (32 of 1986) and the Technology Development Board Act,1995 (44 of 1995);

c) National Council for Science and Technology Communication; National Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board;

d) International Science and Technology Cooperation including appointment of scientific attaches abroad (These functions shall be exercised in close cooperation with the Ministry of External Affairs);

e) Autonomous Science and Technology Institutions relating to the subject under the Department of Science and Technology including Institute of Astro-physics, and Institute of Geo-magnetism;

f) Professional Science Academies promoted and funded by Department of Science and Technology;

g) The Survey of India, and National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organisation; National Spatial Data Infrastructure and promotion of G.I.S;

h) The National Innovation Foundation, Ahmedabad.

9) Matters commonly affecting Scientific and technological departments/organisations/ institutions e.g. financial, personnel, purchase and import policies and practices.

10) Management Information Systems for Science and Technology and coordination thereof.

11) Matters regarding Inter-Agency/Inter-Departmental coordination for evolving science and  technology missions.

12) Matters concerning domestic technology particularly the promotion of ventures involving  the commercialization of such technology other than those under the Department of  Scientific and Industrial Research.

13) All other measures needed for the promotion of science and technology and their  application to the development and security of the nation.

14) Matters relating to institutional Science and Technology capacity building including setting  up of new institutions and institutional infrastructure.

15) Promotion of Science and Technology at the State, District, and Village levels for grass- roots development through State Science and Technology Councils and other mechanisms.

16) Application of Science and Technology for weaker sections, women and other disadvantaged sections of Society.