IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs [Prelims + Mains Focus] – 1st November 2018

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Ease of Doing Business Index: India jumps to 77th rank

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Indian Economy; Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

About:

  • Ease of doing business: This index is an aggregate figure that includes different parameters which define the ease of doing business in a country.
  • The index ranks 190 countries based on 10 indicators across the life-cycle of a business, from “starting a business” to “resolving insolvency.” (observe figure below)

In news:

  • India jumped 23 ranks in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index 2019 to 77 (for 2018). In the 2018 report, the country was ranked 100 (for 2017).
  • India became the top ranked country in South Asia for the first time and third among the BRICS.
  • In the last two years the country has climbed 53 notches, a performance matched in the past only by Bhutan.
  • The biggest gain was in construction permit where India climbed 129 ranks to 52nd place on the back of targeted government effort to remove hurdles.

Pic: https://d39gegkjaqduz9.cloudfront.net/TH/2018/11/01/DEL/Delhi/TH/5_01/a85c539d_2496872_101_mr.jpg


SC: live-in partner can seek maintenance

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Government schemes and policies; women violence

In news:

According to a recent Supreme Court order –

  • A live-in partner can seek maintenance under the Domestic Violence Act.
  • The 2005 Act provides an “efficacious remedy” for maintenance even if the victim is not a legally wedded wife.

About the Domestic Violence Act, 2005

  • The function of the law was to be simple—address violence against women within the home.
  • It is considered a landmark Act because for the first time, an act stepped inside the home and dealt with private spaces of individuals—something the law had avoided doing until then.
  • The Act defined domestic violence for the first time – The definition includes not just physical abuse, which is more identifiable and is easier to prove (for example, using medical records), but also aspects like emotional and sexual abuse. It even includes threat of violence as part of the definition.
  • One of the main objectives of DVA was to secure residence for a woman; it was immaterial that she didn’t have title or ownership of such a shared household.

The Act provides for four fold support system to women who have suffered violence at home:

  • Residence orders,
  • custody orders,
  • protection orders and
  • monetary relief from a respondent.

Miscellaneous:

  • Deal inked for biofuel research: Department of Biotechnology (DBT) inks ₹11 crore deal with The Energy and Research Institute (TERI) to set up a centre to produce “advanced biofuels and bio-commodities.” This is the fifth such dedicated centre for bioenergy-research and development set up by the Department.
  • Section 7 of the RBI Act:  Section 7 of the RBI Act empowers the central government to issue directions to the RBI in public interest. This section has, however, never been invoked by the government so far.
  • NASA’s Kepler Mission: It was launched by NASA to discover Earth-size planets orbiting other stars. The Kepler space telescope has run out of fuel and will be retired after a nine-and-a-half year mission, in which it detected thousands of planets beyond our solar system and boosted the search for worlds that might harbour alien life.


NATIONAL

TOPIC:General studies 2&3

  • Human Resource development; Education
  • Science and Tech: Issues related to IPR

Universities and patents

Introduction:

  • India witnessed significant changes in IPRs since the introduction of the National IPR Policy in 2016.
  • There was a 32% increase in the number of patents granted in 2017-18 compared to the earlier year.
  • While the disposal rate has increased, the filing rate for patents has not changed significantly.
  • In 2016-17, the Patent Office reported a dip of 3.2% in filing compared to the previous financial year.
  • To create entrepreneurial universities, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has asked all universities in India to set up Intellectual Property (IP) Centres.

Reasons behind increase in Patent disposal rate: Reforms in Patent office

  • The Patent Office increased its workforce with the inclusion of new examiners and is on the lookout for more.
  • The timeline for filing responses to official objections for patents has been reduced by half.

Intellectual Property and Universities

  • Patents help universities to improve their ranking, establish an innovation ecosystem, incubate knowledge-based start-ups, earn additional revenue and measure research activity.
  • The number of patents applied for, granted and commercialised by universities and institutes is factored in the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) rankings.
  • The top ranked engineering institutes in India are also the leading filers of patents.
  • The National Assessment and Accreditation Council awards up to 24 points to an institute which sets up an innovation ecosystem and has a facility for identifying and promoting IPRs.

The problem: Dearth of IP professionals

  • Despite the policy push to have more IP, we simply do not have enough IP professionals in the country.
  • The rising dearth of IP professionals is due to various international treaties and trade agreements, along with the legal-centric approach where law schools and colleges are the only institutions which mandate teaching these subjects.
  • India has a poor patent agent density, with only about 2,000 registered patent agents currently in practice.
  • The last time when the Patent Office conducted the patent agent exam, in 2016, around 2,600 candidates took it, a paltry number if one looks at the ambitious goals set by the IPR Policy.

Qualifications for an IP professional: Patent exam

  • The Central government conducts the only competitive examination in the country to check a person’s proficiency in IP.
  • This year, the government conducted the competitive examination to test proficiency in patent law, a type of intellectual property right (IPR), after a gap of two years.
  • Any Indian citizen with a bachelor’s degree in science or technology can take the examination.
  • Upon clearing it the person is entitled to practise before the Patent Office as a registered patent agent.
  • Qualifying the exam allows science graduates to draft, file and procure patents from the Patent Office on behalf of inventors.

Centres in universities

  • The new policy has pushed universities to file more patents.
  • Kindled by the call to have more IPRs, the higher education sector has witnessed many reforms.
  • The UGC’s call to universities has come after a series of policy directives to introduce awareness about IP in higher educational institutions.
  • The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) model curriculum for its member institutions lays emphasis on the need for IPR education in technical institutes.
  • The lack of IP professionals to teach IP was one of the reasons the institutes of higher education do not have the mandatory IP courses.
  • Online courses on IPR are available on the National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning platform. Though thousands register every year, much needs to be done to build capacity on IP in universities.
  • Despite the infrequent manner in which the examination has been conducted, the private sector does give good weightage to the examination as it is considered to be the de facto IP qualification today.

Way ahead

  • The ambitious goal set by India’s IPR Policy will be realised only when the examination becomes the foundation for making a career in IPR.
  • Fine-tuning the patent agent examination to cater to the growing IP needs of the country can be a successful way to build a band of professionals and create career opportunities.
  • In a dynamic field such as intellectual property, in order to create a band of qualified IP professionals there should be a push towards post-qualification continuous education as well.
  • To achieve this, the format, membership, syllabus and the frequency of the patent agent examination will need to be addressed.
  • This will not only increase the number and quality of IP professionals in the country but also become a new career choice for graduates with a degree in science and technology.

Connecting the dots:

  • The ambitious goal set by India’s IPR Policy rests on how universities embrace patents. Critically analyse the state of innovations in Indian higher education institutes.

INTERNATIONAL

TOPIC:General studies 2

  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests

Define ‘strategic partners’: India-U.S. Relations

Introduction

  • The U.S. President Donald Trump has turned down an invitation from India to attend next year’s Republic Day parade as the chief guest even though India is a purported U.S. strategic partner.
  • India and U.S. differ on what constitutes as being ‘Strategic’ in their relationship.

Transformation in India US relationship

  • For more than a decade, a bipartisan consensus in Washington had supported India’s entry into an exclusive club of the U.S.’s strategic partners.
  • Along with India, only Israel, the U.K., Australia, Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia enjoy the “strategic” or “special” relationship designation.
  • The former U.S. President Barack Obama shifted the date of his State of the Union address so that he could come to India in January 2015.
  • The U.S.’s relationship with India, and the broader world, is drastically different now, amid the revolution in its foreign policy since Mr. Trump’s arrival in the White House.
  • Today, U.S. officials pay lip service to notions of a strategic partnership with India; the Trump administration, led by its businessman-in-chief, is transactional to the core.

What is Strategic relationship?

  • India currently does not define Strategic relationship.
  • Its usage in international diplomacy signifies a bilateral relationship more important than others, but stops short of an actual alliance.
  • The term “strategic” further implies a future convergence of interests in areas that are vital: security, defence and investment.
  • However the term is now being used in a loose sense, with India having strategic relationship with over 50 countries ranging from US to Rwanda.

Where do India & US differ?

  • India expects technology transfers, intelligence sharing in defence cooperation, however the US still consider India as importer of defence equipment and not co-developer of defence equipment.
  • US expects operational cooperation with India such as through LEMOA, however cooperation under these foundational defence agreement is yet to move forward on the ground.
  • Both countries are yet to have a common understanding with regards to Rise of China and terrorism from Pakistan.
  • India-US relationship is largely a transactional relationship under Donald Trump that focuses on achieving a set of objectives but may not be considered as a priority that a strategic relationship entails.

Conclusion

  • To fully take advantage of the relationship’s repositories of trust and goodwill, and of its enduring shared interests — from China’s rise to terrorism — these fundamental questions must be addressed.

Connecting the dots:

  • Critically examine the “Strategic Partnership” between India and US.

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)

Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)

Note:

  • Featured Comments and comments Up-voted by IASbaba are the “correct answers”.
  • IASbaba App users – Team IASbaba will provide correct answers in comment section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers.

Q.1) Which of the following reports are published by IMF?

  1. World Economic Outlook
  2. The Fiscal Monitor
  3. Global Financial Stability report
  4. Ease of Doing Business

Select the code from following:

  1. 1 and 3
  2. 2 and 4
  3. 1,2 and 3
  4. All of the above

Q.2) Which of the below are part of  NASA’s series of Four Great Observatories satellites, designed to examine a specific wavelength/energy region of the electromagnetic spectrum (gamma rays, X-rays, visible and ultraviolet light, infrared light) using very different technologies?

  1. Hubble
  2. Spitzer
  3. Kepler
  4. Chandra
  5. Compton
  6. Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS)

Select the correct answer:

  1. 1, 2, 3 and 5
  2. 1, 2, 3 and 6
  3. 1, 2, 4 and 5
  4. 1, 2, 3 and 5

Q.3) Ease of Doing Business Index is released by

  1. World Bank
  2. International Monetary Fund
  3. World Trade Organization
  4. World Economic Forum

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