30 January 2014

India continues to have the weakest IP environment of all countries included in the Index, the report said.

India ranked at the bottom of Intellectual Property Index

For the second consecutive year, India has been ranked at the bottom of 25 countries in terms of protection and enforcement of intellectual property practices, a US Chamber of Commerce report said today.

India has been a low seven point out of a maximum 30, with the United States topping the Intellectual Property (IP) index with 28.5 per cent.

A report by the Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) of the US Chamber of Commerce maps the IP environment of 25 countries from around the world utilising 30 factors, which are indicative of an IP environments that fosters growth and development.

"India, which again finished last in the second edition of the Index, continues to allow for the deterioration in its IP climate," the report said adding that India continued to score lowest, most notably in categories relating to patents, copyrights, and international treaties.

China shows improvements in certain aspects of its patent regime, however, its overall IP environment continued to see challenges, particularly in regard to trade secret protection and enforcement.

The United States received the highest overall score, but came in third after the United Kingdom and France in the enforcement category.

Canada's treatment of pharmaceutical patents, copyright laws, and unwillingness to ratify international IP treaties resulted in significantly lower scores than other upper-income economies, the report said.

"Despite the 2010 declaration by the then-President of India that the next 10 years will be India's 'Decade of Innovation', the continued use of compulsory licenses, patent revocations, and weak legislative and enforcement mechanisms raise serious concerns about India's commitment to promote innovation and protect creators," it said.

According to the report, in the bio pharmaceutical space, Indian policy continued to breach international standards of the protection of innovation and patent rights, revoking patents generally accepted around the world and announcing that other patented medicines are being considered for compulsory licenses.

Most notable was the April decision by the Supreme Court of India on the patentability of the anti-cancer drug Glivec, the court held that the drug did not meet patentability standards as imposed by the Indian Patent Act's Section 3(d) regarding "incremental innovation" and limiting patent protection to what is specifically disclosed, again in contradiction to global norms, it said.

"This is despite Glivec being recognised as a breakthrough drug and given protection in 40 jurisdictions around the world.

"Given the prominence and size of India's generic pharmaceutical industry, other countries have taken notice and begun to introduce similar provisions into their own laws and regulations," said David Hirschmann, President and CEO of the GIPC.

"A robust IP system provides the critical foundation needed for nations wishing to advance their economic and social progress, and provide assurances to consumers that the products they use are authentic, safe, and effective," said Hirschmann.

"By highlighting countries that are leading or lagging in fostering a strong IP framework, the GIPC Index provides a clear and objective tool for policy makers to strengthen innovative potential and for business leaders to assess risk and investment," he added.

According to Hirschmann, the United States may lead the overall ranking, but has fallen behind in its enforcement efforts.

"Therefore, we urge the Obama administration and Congress to expand on current enforcement programs and allocate dedicated resources throughout the government to effectively enforce IP rights and protect consumers," he said.

India Ranks Among Top Investment Destinations

India has received total foreign investment of USD 306.88 billion since 2000 and 94% of this amount has been received during last 9 years. India’s Foreign Direct Investment policy has been progressively liberalised to make the investment regime more investor friendly. In a recent review of the policy the government has amended the sectoral caps and/or entry routes in some sectors viz. petroleum & natural gas; commodity exchanges; power exchanges; stock exchanges, depositories and clearing corporations; asset reconstruction companies; credit information companies; tea sector including tea plantations; single brand product retail trading; test marketing; telecom services; courier services and defence. The review of FDI policy is done with a view to boost investor confidence thereby stimulating FDI inflows and contributing to accelerated economic growth.

The government approved liberalisation of FDI norms in a number of sectors, including 100 percent in telecom and higher caps in insurance and defence sectors. FDI in multi-brand retail has been allowed up to 51%. The minimum foreign investment requirement is US$ 100 million, at least 50% which shall be invested in 'backend infrastructure' within three years of the induction of FDI. The FDI limit in Single Brand Retail has been enhanced to 100%. It was also decided to allow 49 percent FDI in single brand retail under the automatic route and beyond through the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) route. While the FDI cap in defence sector remained unchanged at 26 percent, it was decided that higher limits of foreign investments in 'state-of-the-art' technology manufacturing would be considered by the Cabinet Committee on Security.

The result of the liberal foreign investment policies is that India has been consistently rated amongst the top three investment destinations globally by all international bodies including World Bank, UNCTAD. This is also mirrored in the foreign investment data. Between 1999- 2004, India received US$ 19.52 billion of foreign investment which increased to US$ 114.55 billion between 2004-09, and increased further to US$ 172.82 billion between 2009- September 2013.

FDI inflows have a positive impact by supplementing domestic capital, technology and skills of existing companies including in the aviation sector, as well as through establishment of new companies. It has indirect multiplier effect on other related sectors also, and thereby stimulates economic growth. FDI inflows also have a positive impact on the current account balance.

When it comes to the impact of FDI in retail trading towards the consumers, it is beyond doubt that they have gained a lot from organised retail on multiple counts. Studies in comparable situations have revealed that lower income consumers saved more. Farmers too have benefited significantly from the option of direct sales to organised retailers. The profit realisation for farmers selling directly to organised retailers is about 60 per cent higher than that received from selling in the mandi.

Small manufacturers will benefit from the safeguard pertaining to a minimum of 30% procurement from Indian small industries. This would provide the necessary scales for these entities to expand capacities in manufacturing, thereby creating more employment and also strengthening the manufacturing base of the country. They will also derive the benefits of technology upgradation, which will provide a fillip to productivity and local value-addition, thereby raising the profitability and earnings of the small manufacturer. The sourcing condition will also enable the small enterprises to get integrated with global retail chains, thereby enhancing their capacity to export products from India. Small retailers would continue to be able to source high quality produce, at significantly lower prices, from wholesale cash and carry points. The young population joining the workforce will benefit from the creation of employment opportunities, in the entire range of activities from the backend to the frontend retail business, as also from the skills imparted to them by the prospective investors.

Price stabilisation and inflation control could be achieved through direct buying from farmers, improving supply chain inefficiencies to lower transit losses, improved storage capabilities to control supply/demand imbalances, better quality and safety standards through farmer development and increased processing of produce. FDI in retail may thus be an efficient means of addressing this issue as this would bring in large investments required for the back end infrastructure & value chain and requisite technical &management know-how.

India has highest population of illiterate adults: UN report

India has by far the largest population of illiterate adults at 287 million, amounting to 37 per cent of the global total, a United Nations report said highlighting the huge disparities existing in education levels of the country's rich and poor.

The 2013/14 Education for All Global Monitoring Report said India's literacy rate rose from 48 per cent in 1991 to 63 per cent in 2006, the latest year it has available data, but population growth cancelled the gains so there was no change in the number of illiterate adults.

India has the highest population of illiterate adults at 287 million, the report published by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation said.

The report further said that the richest young women in India have already achieved universal literacy but the poorest are projected to only do so around 2080, noting that huge disparities within India point to a failure to target support adequately towards those who need it the most.

"Post-2015 goals need to include a commitment to make sure the most disadvantaged groups achieve benchmarks set for goals. Failure to do so could mean that measurement of progress continues to mask the fact that the advantaged benefit the most," the report added.

The report said that a global learning crisis is costing governments USD 129 billion a year. Ten countries account for 557 million, or 72 per cent, of the global population of illiterate adults.

Ten per cent of global spending on primary education is being lost on poor quality education that is failing to ensure that children learn.

This situation leaves one in four young people in poor countries unable to read a single sentence.

In one of India's wealthier states, Kerala, education spending per pupil was about USD 685.

In rural India, there are wide disparities between richer and poorer states, but even within richer states, the poorest girls perform at much lower levels in mathematics.

In the wealthier states of Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, most rural children reached grade 5 in 2012.

However, only 44 per cent of these children in the grade 5 age group in Maharashtra and 53 per cent in Tamil Nadu could perform a two-digit subtraction.

Among rich, rural children in these states, girls performed better than boys, with around two out of three girls able to do the calculations.

Despite Maharashtra's relative wealth, poor, rural girls there performed only slightly better than their counterparts in the poorer state of Madhya Pradesh.

The report said widespread poverty in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh affects the chance of staying in school until grade 5.

In Uttar Pradesh, 70 per cent of poor children make it to grade 5 while almost all children from rich households are able to do so.

Similarly, in Madhya Pradesh, 85 per cent of poor children reach grade 5, compared with 96 per cent of rich children.

Once in school, poor girls have a lower chance of learning the basics. No more than one in five poor girls in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh are able to do basic mathematics.

The report added that children who learn less are more likely to leave school early.

In India, children who achieved lower scores in mathematics at age 12 were more than twice as likely to drop out by age 15 than those who performed better.

In some countries, the engagement of teacher unions has improved policies aimed at helping disadvantaged groups. In India, teacher unions have a major influence on state legislatures and governments.

If days are lost because teachers are absent or devote more attention to private tuition than classroom teaching, the learning of the poorest children can be harmed.

Across India, absenteeism varied from 15 per cent in Maharashtra and 17 per cent in Gujarat – two richer states – to 38 per cent in Bihar and 42 per ccent in Jharkhand, two of the poorest states.

There is much evidence of the harm done to students’ learning because of teacher absenteeism.

In India, for example, a 10 per cent increase in teacher absence was associated with 1.8 per cent lower student attendance.

Governments should work more closely with teacher unions and teachers to formulate policies and adopt codes of conduct to tackle unprofessional behaviour such as persistent absenteeism and gender-based violence.

It said codes of practice should be consistent with legal frameworks for child rights and protection and a range of penalties, such as suspension and interdiction, clearly stipulated.

Policy-makers should ensure the curriculum focuses on securing strong foundation skills for all, is delivered at an appropriate pace and in a language children understand.

"India's curriculum, which outpaces what pupils can realistically learn and achieve in the time given, is a factor in widening learning gaps."

28 January 2014

India ranked 155th in global environment performance list at World Economic Forum

India has been ranked at a low 155th position in a global list that places countries on how well they perform on high-priority environmental issues.

The 2014 Environmental Performance Index (EPI), released today here, has ranked 178 countries in total. Among them, India is placed at the 155th position, with an index score of 31.23 points. Its rank is also much lower than BRICS peers.

Among the BRICS, South Africa was placed at the 72nd rank with an index score of 53.51, followed by Russia (73rd rank, 53.45 points), Brazil (77th rank, 52.97 points) and China (118th rank, 43 points).

Besides, India has fared poorly compared to neighbouring countries like Nepal and Pakistan -- which are ranked 139th and 148th, respectively.

The overall list is topped by Switzerland followed by Luxembourg, Australia, Singapore, and Czech Republic.

"Emerging economies, including China, India, Brazil, Russia, and South Africa, have had modest improvement over the past decade, but they have also paid an environmental price for their rapid growth," the report said.

The emerging economies represent 55 per cent of global growth from the end of 2009 to 2012.

Urbanisation without sufficient investment in environmental safeguards is a key reason for emerging economies' poor showing when it comes to air quality, biodiversity and habitat protection.

The 178 nations in the index represent 99 per cent of the global population, 98 per cent of the world's total land area, and 97 per cent of the global GDP, the report said.

"The EPI reveals that improved environmental results are possible when measurement and management practices align. When data and measurement are poor or not in concert with policy priorities, natural and human systems suffer," Yale University Professor Daniel Esty said.

The index also demonstrates what happens when countries are unable to prioritise environmental management, EPI said.

As per the report, the bottom five performers Somalia, Mali, Haiti, Lesotho, and Afghanistan ¿ all are grappling with civil unrest, significant economic development pressures, and political turmoil.

EPI ranks how well countries perform on high-priority environmental issues mainly in the areas of protection of human health from environmental harm and protection of ecosystems.

The index is prepared by researchers at Yale and Columbia Universities in collaboration with the World Economic Forum (WEF) as well as with support from the Samuel Family Foundation and the McCall MacBain Foundation.

National Communal Harmony Awards 2013 Announced

The Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, Mumbai has been selected for the National Communal Harmony Award 2013 in the Organization category. Dr. Mohinder Singh of Delhi and Dr. N Radhakrishnan of Kerala have been selected for this Award in the individual category.

Established in 1996, the Centre for Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS) is a Mumbai based organization working to promote peace, secularism and communal harmony in the country. It has also been working on human rights issues and issues of the marginalized and deprived sections of the society.

The Centre has published a number of books and literary material highlighting different facets of violence and communalism, peace, secularism and communal harmony which have a wider readership. The Centre has also been regularly publishing a quarterly journal ‘Indian Journal of Secularism’ which is popular amongst academics and the masses.

Dr. Mohinder Singh, aged 72 is a scholar and presently member of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions. Earlier, he was also Member of the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities from 2005 to 2007.In 1984, he along with other social activists, organized relief camps at Delhi and restored friendship between the Hindu and Sikh communities in the wake of anti-Sikh riots. In 1985, he set-up a Communal Harmony Forum along with Dr.Nirmala Deshpande, which worked for nearly four years and organized inter-faith meetings and visit to holy places by its members

Dr. N Radhakrishnan, aged 69 is a well known academic, a Gandhian scholar and a peace worker. He initiated the Shanti Sena programme at the Gandhigram University and extended this work to other parts of the country. He has been actively working to restore peace in communally tense areas of Tamilnadu and Kerala. Having served as Director of Gandhi Smriti & Darshan Samiti, New Delhi for more than a decade, he was instrumental in initiating and implementing many innovative activities in educational institutions by using Gandhian values and principles. His campaign ‘Himsamukth Bharat Andolan’ motivates people to become foot soldiers in campaigning for peace and sustainable development.

Cern physicists have succeeded for the first time in producing a beam of antihydrogen atoms

Physicists from Cern's Atomic Spectroscopy and Collisions Using Slow Antiprotons (ASACUSA) experiment said they have produced at least 80 atoms of antihydrogen. 

Primordial antimatter has so far never been observed in the universe, and its absence remains a scientific enigma.

Nevertheless, it is possible to produce significant amounts of antihydrogen in experiments at the Geneva-based European Organisation for Nuclear Research (Cern) by mixing antielectrons (positrons) and low energy antiprotons produced by the Antiproton Decelerator.

The spectra of hydrogen and antihydrogen are predicted to be identical, so any tiny difference between them would immediately open a window to new physics, and could help in solving the antimatter mystery.

It has been a puzzle to scientists why humans, stars and the universe are made of matter, rather than of antimatter.

With its single proton accompanied by just one electron, hydrogen is the simplest existing atom, and one of the most precisely investigated and best understood systems in physics.

Thus comparisons of hydrogen and antihydrogen atoms constitute one of the best ways to perform highly precise tests of matter/antimatter symmetry, researchers said.

Matter and antimatter annihilate immediately when they meet, so aside from creating antihydrogen, one of the key challenges for physicists is to keep antiatoms away from ordinary matter.

To do so, experiments take advantage of antihydrogen's magnetic properties (which are similar to hydrogen's) and use very strong non-uniform magnetic fields to trap antiatoms long enough to study them.

However, the strong magnetic field gradients degrade the spectroscopic properties of the (anti)atoms.

To allow for clean high-resolution spectroscopy, the ASACUSA collaboration developed an innovative set-up to transfer antihydrogen atoms to a region where they can be studied in flight, far from the strong magnetic field.

"Antihydrogen atoms having no charge, it was a big challenge to transport them from their trap," said Yasunori Yamazaki of RIKEN, Japan, a team leader of the ASACUSA collaboration.

"Our results are very promising for high-precision studies of antihydrogen atoms, particularly the hyperfine structure, one of the two best known spectroscopic properties of hydrogen.

"Its measurement in antihydrogen will allow the most sensitive test of matter/antimatter symmetry. We are looking forward to restarting this summer with an even more improved set-up," Yamazaki said in a statement.

India and China launched the ‘Year of Friendly Exchanges’

India and China launched the ‘Year of Friendly Exchanges’ at a lively Republic Day reception attended by Vice President Li Yuanchao in Beijing, China. From India, new Indian Ambassador Ashok K Kantha hosted the function.

This year China will commemorate the 60th year of Panchasheel (5- Principles), along with Myanmar.

Correspondingly, in February 2014, a function is expected to be organized by the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi to formally inaugurate the Year of Friendly Exchanges in India.

Facilitating Administration of Justice that Ensures Easy Access and Timely Delivery of Justice to All


The vision for our justice system is to provide the people of India with a court system that fairly and impartially administers justice, efficiently resolves disputes, and ensures that the rule of law protects the rights of all. However, increasing case loads and complex court procedures have led to cases pending in courts. Many factors contribute to this pendency - shortage of judges, lack of basic infrastructure, the accepted practice of repeated adjournments in courts and a general lack of urgency. The Government has launched several initiatives, including providing support for better court infrastructure, ICT enablement of courts, encouraging increase in the strength of subordinate judiciary, recommending policy and legislative measures in the areas prone to excessive litigation and suggesting re-engineering of court procedures for quick disposal of cases, to achieve this vision.

About three hundred court buildings are expected to be completed by March, 2014 with Central Government funding support to State Governments through the Centrally Sponsored Scheme for development of infrastructure. Against targeted computerization of 14,249 district & subordinate Courts under the eCourts Project March 2014, 13,227 courts have already been computerized by 31st December 2013. Services such as case filing, registration, cause-lists, daily proceedings and orders/judgments have been initiated in many of these courts. Along with the better availability of infrastructure facilities and ICT enablement of courts through these initiatives, States in consultation with respective High Courts have also taken necessary steps to increase the number of subordinate courts at district/taluka level to reduce the burden of cases on existing courts and improve justice delivery. They have also set up many fast track courts for trial of cases of rape.

A pilot National Judicial Data Grid has been launched in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra, to be available in all States shortly, to facilitate information and analysis of performance of all courts in the country, performance management of all judicial officers, and improved planning of the justice sector. In parallel, High Courts are undertaking an overhaul of court procedures through a process re-engineering exercise.

Special attention has been given by the Government to situation of the marginalized sections of society through two projects on Access to Justice, one in eight States in central India and another in the eight North Eastern States and Jammu and Kashmir. The first project has already created legal awareness in more than two million people and trained 7000 para-legal workers and 300 lawyers to provide free legal aid to them. Voice based information kiosks that provide information about laws and entitlements are being established in 25 locations each in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.

As a result of a number of initiatives taken by the Government and Judiciary in the recent past, the increasing trend of pendency of cases in subordinate courts has been checked and older cases are being taken up for disposal on priority basis besides the cases relating to crime against women and children, senior citizen and other marginalized sections of society.

Right to Education


Right to Education (RTE) is by far the most historic development in universalisation of elementary education in the country. Enacted in 2010, it implies that every child in the age group of 6 to 14 years has Right to elementary education. They are entitled for free and compulsory education.

The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is the main vehicle for implementation of the RTE Act. It is one of the largest programmes of its kind in the world. It is primarily funded from central budget and it covers the whole country. More than 19 crore children are covered under this scheme in 11 lakh habitations. 98% of habitations in this country have elementary schools within 1 km and 92% have upper primary schools within 3 km of their locations.
The programme has been implemented in order to narrow down gender and social gaps in elementary education. Special efforts have been made to reach out to girls and children belonging to SC/ST and Muslim minority communities.
Over 3500 Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBV) have been set up as residential upper primary schools for girls from SC, ST, OBC, Muslim communities and BPL girls in the educationally backward blocks. Free boarding / lodging, books, stationary and uniforms are being provided to the children in these schools.
Under SSA, special attention has been given to urban deprived children, children affected by periodic migration and children living in remote and scattered habitations. Attempts have also been made to reach out to children suffering from autism. It involves their identification, preparation of individualized Education Plan, teacher training on Autism and therapeutic support.
As part of the scheme, steps have been taken to improve the standard of elementary education in the country. It includes improvement in infrastructural facilities and sanctioning of new teacher posts in government schools. Free textbooks are being provided to all children in government and government aided schools.
Last year, the centre released more than 23800 crore rupees and during the current financial year (2013-14), in the first eight months, over 16000 crore rupees have been released.
This increased funding has led to massive creation and improvement of infrastructure at school level. About 95% schools have drinking water facilities and 90% schools have toilets. Similarly about 75% upper primary schools have furniture. More than 3 lakh new school buildings with toilets, drinking water facilities and electricity have been created under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, a flagship programme of UPA government to implement RTE.
Since the enactment of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, the enrolment of children at the elementary level has increased from about 19 crore in 2008-09 to about 20 crore in 2012-13 as per District Information System for Education (DISE) data. A total of over forty three thousand five hundred schools, seven lakh additional classrooms, five lakh forty six thousand toilets and thirty four thousand six hundred drinking water facilities have been sanctioned to States/UTs under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) programme to meet the objectives of the RTE Act.
The enrolment among the SCs has increased from 3 crore to 4 crore during 2008-09 and 2012-13. Similar positive trends have been noticed among STs and minorities also. Thirteen states have also admitted children belonging to disadvantaged groups/weaker sections in private unaided schools as per the RTE Act.
Along with the Mid Day Meal Scheme, the Right to Education Act has made substantial impact on universalisation of elementary education, reduction in dropout rates and fighting classroom hunger.
The improvement is reflected in the Net Enrolment ratio in Primary Education. It was 99.89% in 2011-12. There has been a substantial drop in dropout rate among the kids at the elementary level. The number of out of school children has come down sharply from more than 1.34 crore in 2005 to 29 lakh in 2012-13.
Several new measures have been taken for improving quality under RTE, in letter as well as in spirit. About 20 lakh additional teacher posts have been sanctioned under SSA upto 2012-13. Out of this twelve lakh forty thousand posts are reported to have been filled. After RTE, it is compulsory that only those people who are able to clear the Teacher Eligibility Test may be appointed as teachers.
To improve quality of learning, children are provided free text books upto class 8. Continuous and comprehensive evaluation system is being promoted. Curriculum reforms are made to make learning more children friendly and inclusive. Training for in service teachers and head masters are being incentivized.
The focus of all HRD Ministry schemes under the 11th Five Year Plan was access and growth whereas quality is the key under the current Five Year Plan.

must read about IIIF

MSME and National Innovation Council Launch The India Inclusive Innovation Fund (IIIF)
The National Innovation Council (NInC) and the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) jointly announced the creation of the India Inclusive Innovation Fund (IIIF) here today. IIIF approved by the Union Cabinet seeks to combine innovation and the dynamism of enterprise to solve the problems of citizens at the base of the economic pyramid in India.

Speaking about the Fund, Sam Pitroda, Chairman of NInC and Advisor to the Prime Minister on Public Information, Infrastructure and Innovation said: “The needs of the people at the base of the economic pyramid are today served by philanthropy and Government grants / subsidies which can never be either adequate or scalable. IIIF seeks to leverage the model of Venture Capital to transform the lives of the less privileged”.

The Fund will be registered under SEBI’s Alternative Investment Fund Category I guidelines with an initial corpus of Rs. 500 crores, with the Ministry of MSME committing to 20% (Rs 100 crores) and the balance being given by Banks, insurance companies, overseas financial and development institutions. The Fund will endeavour to provide modest financial returns, while ensuring significant social impact to the community. The Fund’s eventual aim is to expand the corpus to Rs. 5,000 crores over the next 24 months.

Speaking on the occasion the Secretary, MSME, Shri Madhav Lal said that the underline philosophy of the programme is to bring various stakeholders together not only for financing the enterprises but also providing handholding support in different manner through technical inputs to connect with the markets. A number of initiatives will be brought on board and will have a bearing in future on this programme. The Ministry of MSME is very happy on playing an important role, so that programme reaches new heights. The Programme is first of its kind in the country.

The IIIF seeks to create a new class of capital which helps set up and scale entrepreneurial skills and innovation which address the needs of the base of the economic pyramid. The Fund will invest in innovative ventures that are scalable, sustainable and therefore profitable but address social needs of our less privileged citizens in areas such as healthcare, food, nutrition, agriculture, education / skill development, energy, financial inclusion, water, sanitation, employment generation, etc.

Lack of Capital is one of the major reasons why ventures and entrepreneurs seeking to address the needs at the base of the economic pyramid have failed to take off. IIIF seeks to address exactly this gap and therefore at least 50% of its investments initially will be to enterprises that fall in the MSME stage. It has been observed globally that new enterprises have the highest potential for job creation and hence IIIF will seek to address this aspect as well.

The IIIF will also partner the entire ecosystem in this space, including incubators, angel groups, and also public R&D programmes and laboratories to support the commercialisation and deployment of socially relevant innovative technologies and solutions.

The Government will not be involved in the day to day operations of the Fund, which will be entrusted to an Asset Management Company (AMC), set up as a Section 25 not for profit company. The AMC will appoint a professional management team for this purpose as also an Investment Committee comprising professionals of repute, which will take all investment / divestment decisions. A Governing Council comprising government nominees as well as eminent persons from the fields of public service, industry, finance, entrepreneurship, etc. will provide oversight and ensure the Purpose of the Fund is maintained. The AMC will also build a mentoring network, enable incubation and provide training and skills development programmes to entrepreneurs and IIIF assisted companies.

Present on the occasion were Mr. Saurabh Srivastava, Chairman, CA Technologies, Dr. B. K. Gairola, Member Secretary, National Innovation Council and Mission Director, NeGP and other Senior official of the Ministry of MSME and National Innovation Council.


Shri Avinash Chander Inaugurates Dhruva-3, India’s One of the Fastest High Performance Computing System
Dhruva-3, the latest in series of indigenous High Performance Computing Systems designed and set up by DRDO for solving mission critical Defence Research and Development applications was inaugurated today by Shri Avinash Chander, DG DRDO and Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister at Advanced Numerical Research and Analysis Group (ANURAG) in Hyderabad. Addressing the function, he said Dhruva-3 is a high end facility and very useful for the design of aircraft, particularly Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) and other such aircraft where we require analysis of aerodynamics at high speed and under different conditions. “It is one of the fastest computing facility in the country and will also play a very good role in cyber security and information processing”, he stated. He congratulated the scientists for setting-up High Performance Computing System DHRUVA-3 in a short time. Shri Chander appreciated the multi-dimensional capabilities acquired by ANURAG while retaining its core strength. He also visited various Work Centres in ANURAG and saw the indigenous microprocessors, System-on-Chips and Trusted Computing Systems developed by ANURAG.

Dr KD Nayak, Distinguished Scientist & DG (Microelectronic Devices and Computational Systems), Shri CVS Sastry, Outstanding Scientist & Director ANURAG and other senior DRDO officials were present during the inaugural function. Speaking about the ANURAG, a premier DRDO laboratory, Dr Nayak said, ANURAG works for empowering the nation with computing power and has been extensively involved in the design and development of indigenized systems and products to solve and compute complex mission related applications. Shri CVS Sastry, informed that DHRUVA-3 will be used for designing aero-frame structures, stress analysis of materials and simulation of complex systems.


Life expectancy increases by 5 years in the past decade, Government increases health sector allocation by 335% to Rs 3 lakh crore in 12th Plan
The health indicators across the country have shown significant improvements. The life expectancy has increased by 5 years in the past decade. What used to be 62.3 years for male and 63.9 years for female in 2001-2005 is now 67.3 years for male and69.6 years for female in 2011-2015. There has been reduction in new HIV cases by as much as 57%. Infant Mortality Rate has come down to 42 in 2012 from 58 per 1000 live births in the year 2005. Maternal Mortality Ratio has declined from 301 per 100,000 live births in 2001-03 to 212 in 2007-09. The pace of decline has shown an increasing trend from 4.1% annual rate of decline during 2001-03 to 5.5% in 2004-06 and further to 5.8% in 2007-09. Total Fertility Rate has come down to 2.4 in 2011 from 2.9 in 2005. Adding a new feather in the cap is declaration of India as Polio Free Nation. On the 13th January, 2014, India made history by completing three years without a single case of wild polio. This feat was unimaginable till 2009, when India accounted for more than half of the global polio burden.

The appreciable developments in the healthcare sector are attributable to the strengthening of the health infrastructure in the country, and a focused approach by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The Government has increased budget outlay by 335% to Rs 3 lakh crore in 12th Plan for healthcare to achieve universal and inclusive healthcare for all citizens. Moreover, under the National Health Mission (NHM) there are two subcomponents namely National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and National Urban Health Mission (NUHM) which aim to provide accessible, affordable and quality health care to the rural as well as urban population.

The National Urban Health Mission (NUHM) as a sub-mission of National Health Mission (NHM) was approved by the Cabinet on 1st May, 2013. It envisages to meet health care needs of the urban population with the focus on urban poor, by making available to them essential primary health care services and reducing their out of pocket expenses for treatment. In the 12th Plan an allocation of Rs. 15,143 crores has been made for National Urban Health Mission.

NRHM was launched by the Government over eight years ago and substantial progress has been achieved under it. More than Rs. 1, 11, 000 crores has been released by the Health Ministry to 35 State Governments and UTs. Nearly 51,000 new health infrastructures have been created, including new construction and up-gradation works to improve health facilities. More than 70,000 beds have been added in Government health institutions for provision of essential and emergency services across the country. Addition of nearly 1.6 lakh human resources that include specialists, doctors, nurses, ANMs and para-medics and nearly 9 lakh community health workers called ASHAs have been appointed in villages to facilitate interface between the communities and health system.

Under NRHM National Ambulance Services, support free ambulance services to provide patients transport in every nook and corner of the country connected with a toll free number to a Call Centre. Over 15,000 basic and emergency patient transport vehicles have been provided under NRHM. Besides these, over 3,000 vehicles have been empanelled to transport patients, particularly pregnant women and sick infants from home to public health facilities and back. To increase visibility and awareness- 102 & 108 ambulances are being repositioned as “National Ambulance Service” with universal colour and design.

NRHM also provides for institutional delivery among the poor pregnant women under the Janani Suraksha Yojna (JSY). Substantial increase in institutional deliveries has resulted in the steep decline of the IMR and MMR. The scheme is operationalized in all the States with more than 12 million beneficiaries.

The Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram (JSSK), launched in June 2011, entitles all new-borns and children under one year of age besides pregnant women to absolutely free and no expense services including free diagnostics, drugs, consumables, food and blood, if required, besides free transport from home to institution, between facilities in case of a referral and drop back home. Nearly 1 crore 23 lakh pregnant women and more than 12 lakh children have benefitted in 2012-13.

Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) was launched in February, 2013. It entitles children in the age group of zero to eighteen years across the country to receive free health screening services and free treatment including surgeries, where required. An estimated 27 crore children are to be covered across the country eventually, with screening for 30 common health conditions for early detection of: Defects, Diseases, Deficiencies and Developmental disorders. More than 1 crore 86 lakh children screened; more than 7 lakhs 64 thousand children referred; more than 90 thousand children have availed free secondary or tertiary health care

The Government has implemented Home Based Newborn Care up to 42 days of life through ASHAs, Newborn care corners (NBCC) at delivery points and training of health care providers in Navjaat Shishu Suraksha Karyakram(NSSK) for effective essential newborn care is a key component of the newborn continuum of care have been established. And Special New Born Care Units (SNCUs) at FRUs/DH and Newborn Stabilisation Units (NBSUs) have been established to provide care to sick, low birth weight and preterm newborns.

For management of children with Severe Acute Malnutrition, 872 Nutrition Rehabilitation Centres have been operationalized in the country till December 2013. Training Package for Facility Based Management of Children with Severe Acute Malnutrition has been shared with the States in 2013.

The Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK), launched recently, aims to bring in several new dimensions like- mental health, nutrition, substance misuse, gender based violence and non-communicable diseases. The programme introduces community based interventions through peer educators. The strategic approach to RMNCH+A (Reproductive, Maternal, New born, Child Health + Adolescent) in which `A` denotes adolescents

To meet the challenge of high prevalence and incidence of anaemia amongst adolescent girls and boys, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched the Weekly Iron and Folic Acid Supplementation (WIFS) Programme for 10-19 years adolescent population. Also the National Iron + Initiative was launched for prevention and treatment of Iron Deficiency Anaemia among different age groups. Under National Iron + Initiative initiative it is envisaged to ensure provision of IFA supplementation and therapeutic management of mild, moderate and severe anaemia in the most vulnerable groups – children (6months- 10 years), adolescents (10-19 years), pregnant and lactating women and women of reproductive age group (15-45 years) through a continuum of care approach.

The National Programme for the Health Care of Elderly (NPHCE) addresses health related problems of elderly people. The basic aim of the NPHCE programme is to provide separate, specialized and comprehensive health care to the senior citizens at various levels of state health care delivery system including outreach services.

Government of India initiated an integrated National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancers, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS).

The Government has launched some of new vaccines like indigenously developed JE Vaccine (JENVAC) in 2013. Also, Hepatitis B vaccine and second dose of measles vaccine are now part of the Universal Immunization Programme. Pentavalent, a combination vaccine, which includes DPT + Hep-B + Hib has been introduced in eight states: Kerala, Tamil Nadu in December 2011 and Puducherry, Goa, Haryana, Gujarat, Karnataka and J & K in 2012-13. This ensures complete immunization against five diseases and also reduces the chances of an adverse event following immunization due to less injection load. Government of India earlier provided only one JE dose and now has introduced two doses of JE vaccine under Routine Immunization with first dose at 9-12 months and 2nd dose at 16-24 months with effect from 1st April 2013.

The Government has also launched Reverse Dot Blot Hybridization (RDB) Thalassemia Diagnostic Kit and AV Magni-Visualiser the screening device for cervical cancer in December, 2013 and indigenously developed Diabetes Screening System and Test Strips in January 2014.

Efforts have been made to increase the number of doctors the Government rationalized the land use norms for setting up New Medical Colleges, bed occupancy norms, retirement age of faculty, and teacher student ratio was relaxed from 1:1 to 1:2 generally and 1:3 in some specific cases for post-graduate courses. The availability of MBBS seats has gone up from 33,567 to 51,979, i.e. an increase of 18,412 seats or almost 55%. During the same period, the number of PG seats has increased from 13,838 to 23,931 i.e. an increase of 10,093 seats or almost 73%. Within this period, 97 new medical colleges, including six new AIIMS, have been established raising the number of Medical Colleges from 290 to 387, which is all time high. Similarly, 19 Government Medical Colleges have been up-graded as super speciality hospitals. Together the 6 new AIIMS, and 19 up-graded institutions would provide speciality and super-speciality care in all disciplines with a net addition of 11,390 beds covering 27 locations spread across the country.

RBI surprises again, raises repo rate by 25bp to 8%, keeps CRR unchanged

Highlights of the RBI's third quarter review of monetary policy 

Following are the highlights of RBI's third quarter review of monetary policy: 

* Key lending rates hiked by 0.25 per cent to 8% 

* Cash reserve ratio kept unchanged at 4% 

* Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) rate stands at 9% 

* GDP growth to be less than 5% in current fiscal 

* Growth to improve to 5.5% in 2014-15 

* Current Account Deficit to be below 2.5% this fiscal 

* March-end inflation could exceed 8% 

* Rate hike will set economy securely on disinflationary path 

* Growth likely to lose momentum in Q3 of 2013-14. 

* Slowdown in economy getting increasingly worrisome 

* Inflation is a tax that is grossly inequitable, falling hardest on the very poor 

* Fiscal and monetary authorities should continue to work for macroeconomic stabilisation 

* Henceforth, policy review to take place every two months. Next review on April 1. 

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