20, January 2017

State Government of Andhra Pradesh for leading cashless reforms and becoming first State in the country to have introduced digital payments under PDS

1.India 60th in inclusive development index; ranks below China, Pakistan: WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM

Source: Indian Express

India has been ranked 60th among 79 developing economies, below neighbouring China and Pakistan, in the inclusive development index, according to a WEF report. WEF’s ‘Inclusive Growth and Development Report 2017

The Inclusive Development Index (IDI) is based on 12 performance indicators. In order to provide a more complete measure of economic development than GDP growth alone, the index has three pillars — Growth and Development, Inclusion and Intergenerational Equity, and Sustainability.

Reasons for India’s lower rank:

India’s debt-to-GDP ratio is high, that raises some questions about the sustainability of government spending.

  • India’s labour force participation rate is low, informal economy is large and many workers are vulnerable to employment situations with little room for social mobility.
  • India needs more progressive tax system to raise capital for expenditures in infrastructure, health care, basic services and education.


Lithuania tops the list of 79 developing economies that also features Azerbaijan and Hungary at second and third positions, respectively.

  • While India is placed at the 60th spot, many of the neighbouring nations are ahead in the rankings. China is ranked at the 15th position, Nepal (27th), Bangladesh (36th) and Pakistan (52nd).
  • Two BRIC nations, Russia and Brazil, are at 13th and 30th places, respectively. Others in the top ten are Poland (4th), Romania (5th), Uruguay (6th), Latvia (7th), Panama (8th), Costa Rica (9th) and Chile (10th).
  • India, with a score of only 3.38, ranks 60th among the 79 developing economies on the IDI, despite the fact that its growth in GDP per capita is among the top 10 and labour productivity growth has been strong.

2.Divorce decree by church invalid, can’t override law: SC

Source: Indian Express

In an order granting supremacy to parliamentary laws over personal laws of religious groups, the Supreme Court ruled that divorce decrees passed by ecclesiastical tribunals under the canon law will have no validity and that Christian couples must abide by the statutory law to have their marriages legally annulled.

Key facts:

  • The court order, which dismissed a three-year-old PIL filed, may also have a bearing on a clutch of petitions that have sought declaring triple talaq as unconstitutional and illegal. With this order, the apex court also rejected an argument made that canon law decrees have to be made binding on courts of law since triple talaq has been accorded legal sanctity for granting divorce to Muslim couples.
  • A bench dismissed the petition filed and invoked a judgment holding that parliamentary laws shall override personal laws and that statutory provisions shall prevail and override any personal law
  • That a divorce decree can be passed only by a district court or a high court, authorised under the Divorce Act.
  • The two-judge bench of the Supreme Court had declared that power to grant divorce “has been vested either in the district court or the high court” and “there is no scope for any other authority including ecclesiastical tribunal (Church Court) to exercise power in connection with matrimonial matters which are covered by the provisions of the Divorce Act.”
  • Citing this judgment, the bench rejected the plea to ratify decrees of dissolution of marriage granted by an ecclesiastical court and to grant immunity from criminal prosecution to Roman Catholics under Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code for the offence of bigamy.

3.MoU for Cooperation in SMEs for IORA Member States

Source: PIB

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) constitute more than 90% of all business enterprises in the world and provide nearly 70% of global employment.

  • SMEs contribute significantly to economic development, employment generation, inclusive growth and export promotion in most of the IORA countries.
  • Focusing on SMEs makes business sense as SMEs is at the core of inclusive growth and connects micro-enterprises and the informal sector with larger firms and international value chains. However, they face grave challenges in accessing finance, technology and innovation, skilled labour and knowledge, economies of scale and expanding markets.

IORA Member States have agreed to explore creation of a platform for IORA SMEs and governments to enhance market access and internationalization;

  1. Promote access to finance,
  2. Foster innovation as a key competitive advantage and
  3. Build capacity in management and entrepreneurship.

With the above in mind, a Workshop to draft a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for cooperation in SMEs for IORA Member States.

  • It is proposed that the draft MOU will include mechanisms for SMEs to interact, participate in trade fairs, facilitate buyer-seller meetings and visits of delegations, acquire appropriate technology and explore trade and investment opportunities.
  • Women’s economic empowerment is also to be considered, as it is an important core cross-cutting issue as a driver of economic growth and inclusive development that requires strengthened institutions, programs and legislation.

The Workshop is being organized by the Government of India, through the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).


The Indian Ocean is the world’s third largest ocean. It carries half of the world’s container ships, one third of the world’s bulk cargo traffic and two thirds of the world’s oil shipments. It is a lifeline of international trade and transport. The region is woven together by trade routes and commands control of major sea-lanes.

The countries of the Indian Ocean Rim vary considerably in terms of their areas, populations and levels of economic development. They may also be divided into a number of sub-regions (Australasia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, West Asia and Eastern & Southern Africa), each with their own regional groupings (such as ASEAN, SAARC, GCC and SADC, to name a few).

IORA Membership

The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) is an international organization with 21 Member States – Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalai, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, UAE and Yemen

4.Bengaluru tops list, five other Indian cities among world’s most dynamic places

  • Six Indian cities have made it to the world’s 30 most dynamic places that have the ability to embrace technological change, absorb rapid population growth and strengthen global connectivity, with Bengaluru topping the chart.
  • Cities in India, China and Vietnam, along with several in the US, head the list of world’s fastest changing cities in JLL’s fourth annual City Momentum Index.
  • Other Indian cities in the list are Hyderabad at the 5th position, Pune (13), Chennai (18), Delhi (23) and Mumbai (25). Asia Pacific cities comprise half the top 30 fastest-changing cities.
  • India has taken over from China as home to some of the world’s most dynamic cities. Six Indian cities feature in the CMI Global Top 30, with the country’s primary technology hub, Bangalore, moving into the top spot for the first time.

Top 10 cities in the JLL index are Bengaluru, Ho Chi Minh City, Silicon Valley, Shanghai, Hyderabad, London, Austin, Hanoi, Boston and Nairobi.

In all, 134 cities were assessed by CMI using 42 variables including recent and projected changes in city GDP, population, corporate headquarter presence, commercial real estate construction and rents. Other factors included education, innovation and environment.

5.Dharamshala is second capital of Himachal

Source: Indian Express

Declared Dharamshala as the second capitol of the state making Himachal Pradesh second state of India having two capitols after Jammu & Kashmir

Dharamshala has had a significance and history of its own and fully deserves to be the second capital of the state

  • Dharamshala, the district headquarters of Kangra, the biggest and a politically important district, was declared the second capital of Himachal Pradesh
  • People of these areas would benefit from this special status as they would not have to travel long distances for official work
  • Dharamshala was home to Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama and attracted people from across the world.

6.Milestone in cryogenic engine test paves way for GSLV-MkIII

Source: The Hindu

A milestone crossed in the making of a new cryogenic rocket engine set the stage for the first flight of the country’s most powerful satellite launcher to date, the GSLV-Mark III.

  • The cryogenic stage and the entire launch vehicle’s readiness is closer to fruition after the engine, technically called CE20, passed the ‘high altitude flight acceptance test’ lasting about 25 seconds at Mahendragiri in mid-December.
  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) plans to fly its new launch vehicle powered by this new engine around March, and send the 3,200 kg GSAT-19 communication satellite to space on it by MKIII. ( GSAT-19 carries 3,200 kg, MKIII lifting power 4,000 kg)
  • The launch was earlier slated for December 2016. MkIII, when it completes trials and commences functioning in the coming years, will double ISRO’s lifting power for communications satellites to 4,000 kilos.

High Thrust Cryogenic Engine (CE20) Development

  • ISRO is developing a high thrust cryogenic engine to be used for the upper stage of its heavy lift launch vehicle GSLV Mk-III.
  • This high thrust cryogenic engine produces a nominal thrust of 196.5 kN in vacuum with a specific impulse of 434 seconds.
  • The engine works on “Gas Generator Cycle” which has flexibility for independent development of each sub-system before the integrated engine test, thus minimising uncertainty in the final developmental phase and reducing development time.
  • This engine generates nearly 2 MW power as compared to 1 MW generated by the engine of Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS) engine of GSLV. The high thrust cryogenic engine is one of the most powerful cryogenic engines of upper stages in the world.
  • The high thrust cryogenic engine is designed and realised by Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC)
  • The engine assembly, integration and testing is carried out by ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC) at Mahendragiri.

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