Current Affairs National

  Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog has begin a series of innovation demo days. The series aims to unite the stakeholders of the food processing and agriculture sector in India. The innovation demo days will act as a platform where start-ups, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), entrepreneurs, corporate partners and sector academics are brought together to be spectator of government-funded innovations.
  • Inaugural event of series of innovation demo days:
The first innovation demo day was held in New Delhi bringing together Ministry of Food Processing Industries and Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare at Atal Incubation Centre (AIC)- Entrepreneurship & Management Process International (EMPI) Business school. The event featured the exhibition of more than 30 govt-funded/supported technologies which are related to food processing and agriculture. Out of the 30 govt-funded/supported technologies, 12 technologies were spectated in detail by the budding innovators and researchers to the stakeholders from the agriculture and food processing ecosystem. The exhibition was followed by a networking session.
  • Objective of the series of innovation demo days:
The innovation demo day series started by Atal Innovation Mission aims to promote the commercialisation of technologies which are funded by the Ministries of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare and Food Processing and Industries. It also aims at bridging the innovation with sectors like Indian MSME industry and government funded research industries. This new programme is expected to take the new innovations from the laboratories to the market, hence establishing the collaborative ecosystem. The vision behind this new initiative is to provide government’s support to the start-ups. These initiatives are expected to help government to ensure the development of innovation and entrepreneurship in the country.

  The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved to bestow the status of Institution of National Importance to the five Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs). The status will be provided with the inception of the Indian Institutes of Information Technology Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020. The bill will provide the status of Institutions of National Importance to the remaining five IIITs along with the existing 15 IIITs in PPP mode. The 5 IIITs in PPP mode includes IIITs in Bhopal, Raichur, Bhagalpur, Agartala and Surat.
  • Impact of the provision of Institution of National Importance to IITs:
The status will empower the IIITs to award degrees and will also allow them to use the nomenclature of Bachelor of Technology (BTech) or Master of Technology or PhD degree. The change of status will the institutes to attract more students to develop a strong research base in the country in the field of information technology.

  The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its in-principle approval for setting up a new Major Port at Vadhavan near Dahanu in Maharashtra. The new Major Port will be established on the basis of land lord model. The projected cost of the Vadhavan Port is over Rs 65,000 crore. After the development of this new Major Port at Vadhavan in Maharashtra, India is expected to enter the list of countries with top 10 container ports in the world. For the implementation of the project, a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) will be formed along the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) which will act as the lead partner with equity participation of 50% or more. This SPV will be responsible for the development of the port infrastructure, including construction of breakwater, reclamation with the establishment of connectivity to the hinterland. All the business activities will take place under the public private partnership (PPP) by private developers.

  India’s biggest rural technical festival titled ‘Antahpragnya 2020’ held in Rajiv Gandhi University of Knowledge Technologies (RGUKT), Basar, Nirmal District, Telangana. The theme for the year 2020 was “Spot and encourage rural tech innovators”. The festival displays 300 prototypes, working models, exhibits technologies such as automatic switch for water, homemade electricity, smoke absorber, automatic street lighting system, smart dustbins, zero budget farming, automatic irrigation etc. The team of Antahpragnya in collaboration with SSERD (Society for Space Education, Research and Development) organized an Astrospace camp which aimed to create awareness about the exciting career in space.

 World’s largest meditation centre was inaugurated at Kanha Shanti Vanam in Hyderabad, Telangana. This centre is built to mark the 75th anniversary of the formation of Shri Ram Chandra Mission (SRCM) and Heartfulness Institute. The meditation centre with a central hall and eight peripheral halls to accommodate 1,00,000 people will offer meditation training free.

 On January 23, 2020, Ghana announced that the country will replicate the Ujjwala model of LPG connection under the guidance of India (represented by Indian Oil Corporation).
  • Highlights
LPG coverage in Ghana is 23%. Citizens of Ghana spend hours together at petrol stations to refill their cylinders. Ghana is to fix the issues around LPG with India’s support. Ghana inspired by India’s bottling plants of LPG is to implement its replica aiming to cover 50% of population in the initial stage.
  • MoU
India has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Ghana to provide assistance in Ghana’s National LPG Promotion Policy. The MoU will strengthen cooperation between the countries and will increase the support offered to National Petroleum Authority of Ghana by India. Indian Oil Corporation will aid in developing infrastructure, technical support and value chain on the sidelines of the agreement. This symbolizes India as a global leader in providing clean energy.
  • Achievement of PMUY
Under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, 8 crore cooking gas connection were provided to poor women in less than 3 years. The Programme was launched to safeguard health of children and women by replacing firewood with LPG.
  • Controversies
India’s CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) in its report on PMUY expressed its concerns over delays in supply of cylinder, low consumption, diversions of LPG, etc.

  Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair the 32nd interaction through PRAGATI platform in New Delhi. PRAGATI is the ICT-based, multi-modal platform for Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation. This platform was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 25th March 2015. It is an integrating and interactive platform aimed at addressing the common man’s grievances. PRAGATI also helps in simultaneously monitoring and reviewing important programmes and projects of the Centre as well as projects flagged by various State governments.

  President of Brazil Jair Messias Bolsonaro will be the chief guest at the 71st Republic Day Parade at Raj Path, New Delhi on 26 January. This will be the third time that India has invited a Brazilian leader as the chief guest at the country’s Republic Day event. New Delhi had invited Fernando Henrique Cardoso for the celebrations in 1996 and hosted Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as a guest of honour in 2004.

  The Supreme Court has set up a committee to firm up draft legislation to give legal sanctity to disputes settled through mediation. The panel, to be headed by mediator Niranjan Bhat. The other members of the panel, appointed by the Mediation and Project Conciliation Committee (MCPC) of the Supreme Court, included Justice K Kanan, former ASGs AS Chandok and PS Narsimha, senior advocates Sriram Panchu and JP Singh, and senior mediators Susheela S, Sadhna Ramchandran, Laila Ollapally, and Anil Xavier.

  The Government of India has created “National Startup Advisory Council“. The council is being set up to advise the central government to create a strong ecosystem to nurture innovation and start-ups in India.
Chairman and the composition of the National Startup Advisory Council? The Commerce Minister will be the chairman of the National Startup Advisory Council. The council will also constitute the non-official members to be nominated by the Government of India. The non-official members will include the founders of successful start-ups, veterans who have grown and expanded their companies in India and the individuals who are capable of representing interests of investors into start-ups. The tenure of the non-official members will be for a period of two years. The nominees of the related ministries, departments and organisations, not below the rank of joint secretary will be ex-officio members of the National Startup Advisory Council.
Objectives of setting up the National Startup Advisory Council:
  • The Council aims to boost the culture of innovation among the students.
  • It will recommend measures to facilitate public organisations to embrace innovation, promote creation, protection and commercialization of intellectual property rights, making it easier to begin, operate, grow and exit businesses by narrowing the regulatory compliances and costs.
  • It will also give its inputs in enhancing the ease of access to capital for start-ups, mobilise global capital for investments, incentivise domestic capital for investments, and keep control of the start-ups with original promoters.


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